Homeschooling with Joy: Embracing a Season of Delight

The word “joy” has a strong association with the Christmas season. The angels bring good tidings of great joy. One of the Advent candles represents joy. The word joy is often printed on decorations and Christmas cards! In this episode, Leah and Amy ask what joy really is, and how we can have more of it in our homeschools. We hope that this conclusion to our ‘Art of Homeschooling’ season encourages you to cultivate joy in your home this Advent and Christmas season.

Listen now, or scroll for show notes!

Thus it seems to me that above all things the first thing to try to do, is to teach a child to associate all it finds most happy and delightful with the idea of God, to point out that he loves his mother and she him just because they are both the handiwork of God who is Love, that the flowers are so beautiful just because they are God’s flowers and are revealers to us of the Beauty in God, whom, except in His creation, we cannot see, and to make him realize that God is part and parcel of the world and all its beauty and all its innocent enjoyments, the very joy of which is from Him.

Miss Carta Sturge, The Parents’ Review

What is Joy?

[1:47] Bill St. Cyr’s talk about joy in education

[3:05] 1928 Webster’s definition of joy – “The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.”

[7:40] St. Cyr said that joy means, “It’s good to be me here with you,” and this tells us something big about our homeschools. Our children need to feel loved and like they belong in order to experience joy and have open hearts that are able to learn.

Keeping Joy and Dealing with Anxiety

[9:51]  I try to not get caught up in little moments but to think about our rhythm and routine more broadly.

[12:15] I grew up with a habit of anxiety.

[15:14] This helps us understand why so many children struggle with school. It’s a high-anxiety setting with competition, grades, separation from those who love them most. Our homes are almost automatically the opposite of that and I think that’s one of the main reasons homeschooling is so successful for so many families.

Cultivating Joy in the Home

[20:02] If we cultivate gratitude, that will overflow into our children.

[22:13] Probably the most important practical thing I do is to wind down our schedule as we come to the end of November.

[25:04] I need to allow my children to be joyful and remind myself that it’s not necessarily that same as chaos.

[27:11] “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19

Mentioned in the Episode

Video Series with Bill St. Cyr

Reading Morning and Evening Office – Amy uses this book.

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