The busy holiday season can be especially challenging for homeschooling families. While children enrolled in traditional schools are on a break, many homeschooling families are continuing studies. Just because you homeschool doesn’t mean that you are any less busy during this time. It can be stressful to teach your children while preparing for the holidays.
Much like the start of the school year, there are many little things that need to get worked out during the holiday season. Here are a few tips for homeschool families during the holidays.
Tips for homeschool families during the holidays
1. Bring the Holidays into Your Schoolwork
In a traditional classroom, students will do activities focused on the holidays. Young students might do holiday crosswords. Older students might have math lessons that revolve around a holiday story. There is no reason that you can’t mix holiday fun into your classroom lessons. You can also teach the history of the holidays for a truly educational holiday-themed lesson.
Telling stories is another great way to incorporate the holidays into the classroom. Books about Christmas or Thanksgiving can be both fun and educational. You can pass the book around the room so that every kid has the chance to read part of the story aloud. Doing this, you can get kids of all ages involved in the same activity.
2. Shorten School Time
To give your children a little bit of a break, you can agree to shorter school times. Instead of five-hour days, cut it down to two or three hours. Give your children a little extra time to do their own things or
help with holiday celebrations. There are so many benefits to shortening the school day during the holidays. Even if your children aren’t spending time on schoolwork, you can assign them chores or other duties, or they can have a little extra downtime like many of their traditionally schooled peers.
If you are planning a lot of travel over the holidays, you might have to get creative to keep schooltime practical. For long car rides, you can have your kids do lessons in the car. If this doesn’t sound suitable for your family, you can take time away from classwork, as well.
3. Spend Time in the Kitchen
The kitchen is probably the busiest room in your home during the holidays. Bring some of your lessons into the kitchen. Not only will this switch things up a bit, but it also provides some life lessons for your children as well. For example, you can do a math lesson while baking. Measuring ingredients can help you teach fractions, while your kids get to learn how to make delicious goodies.
Plus, a lot of kids enjoy spending time cooking with their parents. Turn on some Christmas music and sing and dance while you make your holiday meals or baked goodies for friends and family.
4. Maintain a Schedule
Children tend to do better when they have a routine. While you are likely to deviate from your normal schedule, it is a good idea to have a few constants. For example, if your children are used to a snack at 2:30, you can still provide a snack even if the rest of your routine has been completely thrown off.
Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule might be the most important routine that you should stick to. Cranky kids aren’t going to enjoy the holidays, and they definitely aren’t going to do as well on their schoolwork if they aren’t getting enough sleep. Try to stick to your normal bedtime for some normalcy.
If you are dedicated to doing some schoolwork every day, you can also establish a temporary routine during the holidays. Maybe you only spend an hour or two a day doing schoolwork. That’s great! Try to do it at the same time every day. For example, get everyone up and ready for two hours of work starting at 9 a.m. and do that every day during the holiday season.
5. Be Flexible
Yes, the last tip was to keep a schedule, but flexibility is a key piece of the homeschooling puzzle year-round. During the holidays, it is important to adjust school times to allow for fun! Taking a day off to spend extra time with your extended family shouldn’t make you feel guilty. Instead, embrace time off that is spent with family or celebrating holidays. Don’t stress if you can’t do some schooling every day.
6. Incorporate More Adaptive Homeschooling
Much like a couple of our previous tips, adaptive homeschooling is when you look for ways to incorporate learning into other tasks. During the holidays, you can do a LOT of adaptive homeschooling. A few fun ideas include:
- Write a family newsletter to send to extended family and friends. Your students can work together to draft and design a newsletter detailing all of the fun your family has had over the past year.
- Teach budgeting and math with gift shopping. If each child only has a set budget for gifts, you can teach them how to calculate totals (including tax) to ensure that they don’t go over budget.
- Focus on giving and recycling by cleaning out old clothing and toys that are no longer useful in your household. Have the kids sort items and donate these items as a family.
- Create art! Your kids can do this in so many different ways. Learn to play or sing Christmas songs. You could even perform them or go caroling around your neighborhood. If your children want to make crafts or works of art as Christmas gifts for family members and friends, this is a great opportunity to learn and play at the same time.
- Learn about how other cultures celebrate holidays at this time of year. You can also learn how people of various languages wish each other happy holidays.
No matter how you choose to homeschool during the holiday season, be sure that your family still gets to enjoy everything that the holidays have to offer.