Let's face it, homeschooling during the holidays can feel like navigating a festive obstacle course.
You've got twinkling lights, family gatherings, and all sorts of holiday excitement vying for your attention. Suddenly, getting your kids to focus on their lessons seems as easy as herding cats.
Did you notice your kids' eyes glaze over during math this morning? No? It’s coming.
Your little darlings are turning into feral little elves long before the 25th as sensory overload hits.
And let’s be real. It's not just them. You're also finding it hard to maintain the usual teaching rhythm with so much holiday cheer on your to-do list.
But here's the deal: It doesn’t have to be that hard. Yes. Homeschool during the holidays can be a beast if you let it get out of control. But if you can get ahead of the holiday challenges and you’ve got about 98% of your struggle smoothed out.
Armed with a bit of planning and creativity, you're all set to keep your homeschool engaged, joyful, and relaxed.
- Strategies to balance holiday fun with educational goals.
- Creative ideas to integrate holiday themes into homeschool curriculum.
- Tips for maintaining a structured homeschool schedule amidst holiday festivities.
Balance Fun and Learning
When it comes to homeschooling during the holidays, think of it as blending peppermint into your hot cocoa—it’s all about finding that sweet spot.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, and the way you blend the holidays into your learning will depend on your children’s ages, interests, and attention spans.
Plan Themed Learning Days
Ever tried a 'North Pole Day' where math involves counting Santa's reindeer or geography is all about mapping Santa's flight? It’s not just fun, it's educational!
Have you explored the Science of Santa? If he travels against the Earth’s rotation does that give him more or less time before the sun comes up? What about the other animals of the Arctic?
Dive into a comparison study of the Arctic vs the Antarctic. Complete with art projects, Earth Science, and more.How about creating a fun hot cocoa bar that you sell to stuffed animals or relatives. Your kids will practice math, language arts, and creative thinking.
Crafts, Unit Studies, and Projects
Holidays are perfect for hands-on activities. From making ornaments to holiday-themed science experiments and art projects, these projects keep learning lively and festive.
Depending on your state requirements, can you adjust to a bit more gentle approach? Whether it’s Santa, grandparents, or a distant penpal, use writing letters for your composition.
It’s easy to push aside the science and art and history lessons during the normal routines when basics always seem to take more effort than expected.Maybe this season you set aside the basics one or two days a week to focus on the electives. Easy win for keeping the kids engaged.
For example, you can dive deep into learning about reindeer. But change that worksheet into an art lesson on the Parts of a Reindeer, an Arctic-themed dramatic play or sensory bin for younger siblings, and some non-fiction reading about Caribou. So many rabbit trails to follow from there.
Story Time with a Twist
How about reading holiday classics and then having your kids write their own endings? This sparks creativity and hones writing skills. They can write letters to the characters or create literature-based art projects.
Does your curriculum have a lesson on multiplication coming up? Can you utilize ornaments on the tree? Or tinsel? (So pretty, but so messy!)
Don’t Start From Scratch
Remember, the goal isn't to overhaul your entire curriculum. Most kids thrive when their normal routine is still the foundation of their days.
Instead, it's about finding opportunities to sprinkle holiday magic into your homeschool during the holidays. Keep things light, engaging, and relevant.
You might find that you can incorporate a special project to support your holiday themes that can double as a holiday gift for grandparents or other loved ones. That’s called winning!
Include Routine In Your Homeschool During the Holidays
Amidst the holiday whirlwind, a touch of routine can be the anchor that keeps your homeschool ship steady. It's about striking a balance – mixing the predictable with a dash of holiday sparkle.
Set Daily Goals
Even if it's just one math problem and a quick science quiz before heading out for holiday shopping, a small daily goal can keep the learning momentum going.
Don’t forget to set daily goals for yourself that help you take a big-picture look at everything you have on your plate. Decide if it’s realistic.
If you feel stressed out before you even start, it’s time to adjust somewhere. Maybe include a few more learning videos or YouTube story times so you can wrap a present or make dessert for a holiday party.
The holidays might mean shifting your usual schooling hours. Maybe mornings are now for crafts or park play dates and afternoons for lesson plans. Flexibility can be your best friend.
If you can, consider taking a longer break over the holidays. We homeschool year-round at my house so that we can intentionally take a three or four week break in December. We spend more time learning on sweltering hot summer afternoons instead.
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can adjust it to meet your needs. Embrace the holiday flow, and find new, creative times for learning.
Amidst the excitement, don't forget to carve out some quiet time. It could be reading, journaling, or even just daydreaming by the window. This downtime is crucial for both you and your kids.
You all get to recharge and reflect. Also, it’s easy to lose track of the sugar intake during the holidays. Which can derail the most focused kiddos quickly. Keep a mental list of treats and ensure you’re setting them up for success with plenty of water and good nutrition to balance
In the end, it's all about creating a holiday rhythm that works for your family. Some structure, mixed with plenty of holiday cheer, can make this season both educational and incredibly fun.
Deal with the Holiday Stress
It’s easy to set ourselves up for a bit of a let down. We scroll Pinterest and see all of the happy, organized, clean homes with the treats you can almost smell.That’s unrealistic and you’re setting yourself up for a bit of a let down. Instead, be realistic about the fact that adding extra tasks and activities to your season is stressful. The stress is natural and it doesn’t make you anything but human to acknowledge it.
Here are some tips to keep stress at bay:
Prioritize and Simplify
It's okay to not do it all. Prioritize what's most important to you and your family.
Maybe that means store-bought cookies instead of homemade for one of the co-ops, or perhaps it's okay to skip that third holiday event in a week. Simplifying your to-do list can be incredibly liberating.
Self-Care for Everyone
Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup. Ensure you're taking care of yourself, and teach your kids to do the same.
Whether it's a quiet walk, a relaxing bath, or just a few minutes of deep breathing, self-care is crucial.
Keep Expectations Realistic
You don’t have to do it all. The perfect holiday season as seen in movies and on social media isn't real life. No one has the time or money for all of that in real life.
Embrace your family's version of the holidays, imperfections and all. This mindset can significantly reduce stress. Remember, your kid’s holidays will not be ruined if you say,
“No, that’s not going to fit into our time or financial budgets this year. Let’s add that to the list of options for next year.”
Communicate and Collaborate
Keep the lines of communication open with your family. Discussing plans, sharing responsibilities, and even venting a bit can help manage stress levels. Remember, you're a team.
Find Joy While You Homeschool During the Holidays
Sometimes, it's the small moments that bring the most joy. A hot cup of cocoa, a laugh with your kids, a quiet evening with a book—cherish these little pockets of happiness.
Incorporating these tips can help make your holiday season more enjoyable and less stressful, allowing you and your family to focus on what truly matters - spending quality time together and making beautiful memories.
Looking for more holiday tips? Read the holiday edition of our online magazine for free.