Today is the Monday before Thanksgiving. The next eight weeks will see one season of advent, two anticipating kids, three major holidays, four possible family gatherings, and five rooms that need to be cleaned and decorated. I am tired just thinking about all the work. But I am invigorated too. I love the holidays. The joy of it all. The tumbling down the rabbit hole of tinsel and lights. Reflections on faith, forgiveness, generosity and gratitude. But how will this jumble of busyness and reflection affect homeschooling?
Are you homeschooling through the holidays?
Oh, yeah. One of the fantastic things about homeschooling is not being locked into someone else's calendar. Taking time to do what is best for student and family. When Zippy was in school I always looked forward to Christmas vacation. After months of getting up early, nagging about homework, and making sure lunches were packed the idea of putting down that load for a couple of weeks was bliss. By the end of vacation, however, the cries of boredom were loud and the arguments frequent. I foresee this year as something else entirely. I get to choose when we have time to learn and time to vacation. I plan to only take off Thanksgiving Day and the week of Christmas, with several light days throughout. Lessons give structure to our days. Giving that up entirely for an extended period of time would be as detrimental as a traditional school holiday. Rather than a vacation I see the "The Holidays" as a time riddled with opportunities for learning.
But how will this jumble of busyness and reflection affect homeschooling?
Five ways to incorporate the holidays into homeschooling:
- Community Service This time of year is full of opportunities to help others. Giving to others in always a learning experience. We helped Little Dude's preschool class make up a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. Zippy went with the youth of our church to deliver Thanksgiving baskets to a food bank in Detroit. There are so many opportunities both national organizations and locally to give time, money and compassion to others which is a learning experience which can be far greater than book learning.
- Art Use the holidays as a springboard for art projects. The turkey feathers Zippy made already have been fun to make and display. There will be handmade Christmas gifts, cards and ornaments. (You can find some of my inspiration on my Christmas Pinterest board)
- Homemaking skills Practicing hospitality, baking cookies, cleaning, decorating, cooking all go into this holiday season. Include the child in all aspects of making a home for the holidays.
- Math The real life application of math is so exiting to me. Zippy will have a certain amount of money that she can use to buy Christmas presents. She will have to make a budget, deciding who she wants to gift this season, what presents she wants to buy and what she wants to make.
- Writing Make the holidays a time of reflection. Make a gratitude journal for the whole season, not just Thanksgiving. Sprinkle in writing prompts and projects that directly relate to Christmas, Hanukkah or New Years.