Written by Kara S. Anderson
If you have spent any time at all lately on the internet, you have probably heard a lot of ideas for “holiday homeschooling.”
At the same time, you have probably heard advice to take a break!
“My co-op quits at Thanksgiving and starts again on St. Patrick’s Day, so we follow the same schedule,” one blogger you love writes …
Meanwhile, another tells you that letting go of math, or worse, rhythm and routines, will mean hours of catch-up when you start back promptly at 7 a.m. on Jan. 2.
So what’s a homeschooler to do?
Pretty much whatever works for you. That’s the beauty of homeschooling. You know your family best, so you know what you have planned (travel? tons of rehearsals for the church pageant? Grandma and Grandpa visiting?)
You also know your crew’s temperament – will a break quickly turn into chaos?
I am a fan of a break from more formal learning during the holidays for a lot of reasons:
- There is a a lot of other stuff to do
- That other stuff can provide educational opportunities
- I want to enjoy this special season with my family
- I have tried the other way and it made me a little nutty
I also know that we’ll continue to learn through real-life:
- Planning and shopping
- Cooking and baking
- Charitable giving
- Making gifts and decorations
- What I call “holiday-schooling”
So what is holiday-schooling?
In December, we shift to a different kind of learning here. We find ourselves home a lot more thanks to Midwest winters.
We get cozy – we hang lots of twinkle lights, light candles and a fire in the fireplace and we settle in.
Here are a few other things we add for holiday-schooling, that last through January and February:
Game and puzzles
We play a lot of games and seem to always have a puzzle going in the winter. Games can be super educational, and I like the pace they bring to a day at home.
We also love Ravensburger puzzles.
Our newest love here is You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels. The video tutorials are wonderful, and easy to follow, and pastels are a forgiving medium!
We tend to have a lot of fun with subscription boxes during the winter – probably because we are home more and opening one of those boxes can be a commitment! When kids get a box in the mail, they’re so excited – they want to jump right in, and that’s easier to say yes to when you don’t have as many other outside commitments!
Is there anything better than curling up with a mug of hot chocolate and a good book? My kids don’t seem to think so!
Winter feels like such a natural time to grab a giant stack of books from the library and read through them for hours on end.
And so, for us, the Christmas season becomes a bit about Advent, a bit about just enjoying the season, and it also ushers in a more relaxed pace for the cold months ahead.
It feels like a break (even though we’re still learning a lot), and it always seems to refresh us in time for spring, when everything changes again and we can’t wait to get outside.
So tell us in the comments – do you take a break this time of year? What does holiday homeschooling look like at your house?
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