5 Things to Remember if You Are Homeschooling Through ChristmasEmily Copeland
Homeschooling through the holidays is an overwhelming concept for some homeschool families. After all, holiday meal planning, scheduling, and gift buying add enough stress on their own. Add homeschooling to the picture, and the time between Halloween and New Year’s Day seems like madness.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, homeschooling through the holidays doesn’t have to be an issue at all. In my experience, having the comfort of a normal homeschool routine is the very thing that helps me maintain sanity during the holiday season.
We’ve tried taking the month of December off, but we’ve eventually made our way back to homeschooling through the holidays with only a few off-days. Here’s why:
- We thrive with the structure of our typical homeschool day.
- My kids get bored if we go more than a day or two without homeschooling.
- Getting back to normal after a long break was a nightmare. We didn’t miss one month. We missed two due to the time needed to get back to our normal routine.
- Playing catch-up added extra stress to our usually relaxed homeschool once we were back to normal.
For sure, I’ve learned that homeschooling through the holidays is a must for our family. The good news is that I’ve picked up some tips along the way to make our holiday homeschool time happen without extra stress.
1. Set Realistic Goals
It’s important to set realistic goals for what you’ll accomplish during a busy holiday season. If your schedule is packed with extra gatherings and obligations, your goals should reflect that. It’s not fair to you or your kids to expect a normal outcome when time is limited and focus is fleeting. Instead, adjust your homeschool goals to reflect your holiday plans.
2. Lighten the Load
Continue homeschooling, but don’t overdo it. Lighten your schedule by covering only a few subjects each day. This is a crucial element for homeschooling during the holidays.
You can still accomplish quite a bit if you look for ways to spread it out over the season. That will help you stay focused on your homeschool goals without being overwhelmed by the extras that naturally come with the holidays.
3. Integrate Holidays into Lesson Plans
Integrate the holidays into your existing lesson plans whenever possible. History is one of the easiest ways to do this. For example, we’re exploring the Renaissance through The Mystery of History in our homeschool this year. I plan to continue our history lessons during the holiday season, by researching how Christmas was celebrated during the Renaissance. The holiday will find its way into other subjects too!
- Geography – Christmas around the world
- Language arts – Christmas-themed literature
- Math – holiday baking
4. Change It Up
Although we’re a routine-driven homeschool family, we enjoy the opportunity to try new things. That’s especially true when the holiday season arrives. As we finish chapters or units around Thanksgiving, we opt not start new ones until the next calendar year.
Instead, we use that time to learn through unit studies, lapbooks, and other methods we don’t regularly use. It’s fun to try new things and learn in different ways; holidays provide a great chance to work those into our homeschool plans.
5. Remember the Meaning and Celebrate
Don’t get so caught up in the to-do list, homeschool or otherwise, that you miss the meaning of the holiday. That’s where (affiliate link) Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift and similar family Advent activities are helpful. These guides help you build Christmas traditions and focus on the reason for the holiday itself: the love of God and the gift of Jesus.
Advent activities aren’t the only way to ensure that homeschooling through the holidays isn’t business as usual. Celebrate the holidays homeschool-style by sprinkling art, music, crafts, and baking into your plans so you can enjoy the holiday season without becoming overwhelmed by your regular school routine.
Do you have tips for homeschooling during the holiday season? Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comments below.