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Ho, Ho, Hold On...How Do I Homeschool During the Holidays?

You may have noticed it already since we just made it through Thanksgiving, but it can be a little harder to be productive in school during this holiday end-of-year time. The kids are excited. Our schedules have different things added in. Regular activities may be on hold for a while.

Remember the little elf from the Frosty the Snowman movie? Hermey the Elf was different because he wanted to be a dentist. A dentist? What does being a dentist have to do with Christmas?

I'll tell you what. Trying to get school done during this time of year can be just like pulling teeth!

Do not despair, dear homeschool parent. You have choices:

  1. Stick to your regular schedule as much as possible. There are advantages to this approach. Some children/families do better with everyday routines. The excitement of the season can be handled better when they know what to expect in their daily routine. If this is your child, then maintaining your normal daily routine can be important. Since we know some things will be different, it will help to make a calendar together. When my girls were younger, I printed off blank calendars and we all filled them in together. We wrote the dates in, titled it with the month, and then put stickers on the days that were special. It can be helpful for children to see that there are three more days until that Christmas party or special event, but today does not have a sticker so that means it's a normal day.

  2. Take the month off. Swinging to the completely opposite approach, some families simply hit the pause button on school for the entirety of Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. They want to enjoy the season and not fight to get through poorly done schoolwork. Instead, they put the books away and simply have a break. This can work just fine as long as your state laws allow you that flexibility. Of course, you can always read Christmas books, write Christmas cards, and use math skills in the kitchen baking. Learning doesn't stop just because school does.

  3. Take a middle approach. This can look like many different things. Perhaps you still want some learning to go on, but also want the season to be special. Why not do a unit study or thematic study on a holiday topic (Christmas Around the World, snow/winter, Advent, etc.)? Or, you could do a "just the basics" schedule where you sleep in a bit, aim to complete only the core subjects, and then have extra time for holiday activities. You could do most of your normal day, but add in special arts and crafts pertaining to the holiday. You could take one subject off per day and spend that time doing special things.

  4. Make a temporary schedule. This is what my family will be doing this year. I still want school and learning to happen, but I admit this time of year is...different. Therefore, I will be making a new schedule for just this period between Thanksgiving and New Year's. We will still have a routine. We will still make progress in our curriculum. But I will spend some time focusing on things that get neglected such as typing/handwriting, art, nature walks, etc. It will make each day special in that we will NOT be doing the same thing we have been doing since August, but we will still have that framework of a schedule to rest in.

So much of your decision will be based on your family. Are your kids all young and your oldest is in elementary school? Or do you have mostly high school and middle school students with one elementary student at the tail end? Those two families may need to make very different decisions on how to approach homeschooling during the holiday season. What you choose this year may not be your choice next year. Enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling and find what works best for you!

And remember to stop, look your children in the eyes, and love on them every day. There is ALWAYS room in the schedule for that, no matter what time of year it is.


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