Welcome to Build Your Library’s Homeschool Tidbits: Episode 38 – Homeschooling Through the Holidays: Do’s and Don’ts. In this weekly video series, I will delve briefly into a topic related to homeschooling and will share some of my knowledge and expertise as a long-time homeschooling mother of 4 children. Three of whom have graduated high school and one who is a college graduate!
I don’t know about you and your family, but I find that December is our most difficult month when it comes to homeschooling. There is just too much going on. The combination of excitement, holiday-related activities, and just the knowledge that a school break is looming on the horizon, is a recipe for kids who cannot focus and are just too antsy to participate in the usual academics.
So what do you do? If your children are small, say under the age of 8, you can just take the month off entirely. That’s what I did for years. I just planned our year around that being one of our larger breaks. As the kids got older, it became more challenging to take that whole month off. High schoolers, for example, can’t always stop lessons for the whole month. My 13-year-old tends to forget a lot of math concepts if we take too long of a break. How does one manage to get through this month without ripping out all their hair in frustration? Let me present you with some holiday season homeschooling do’s and don’ts!
Why not take a break from your usual homeschool routine and do something holiday related instead? This way you can keep the learning going, but you can focus on something they are already excited about! Build Your Library has two holiday season unit studies you can choose from, or you can focus on a different topic. Maybe do a fun unit about your family’s holiday traditions, take a deep dive into baking or cooking, or learn more about the Winter Solstice!
Sometimes you just need to step back and relax your expectations. December is a challenging month for homeschooling, the same goes for traditionally schooled kids! Think back to your own school days. Most of December was spent watching movies, doing holiday craft projects, and having little parties. I don’t think anyone in public school is getting much learning done this month either. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do anything but bake cookies (math and fractions) and read picture books this month!
If you struggle to fit arts and crafts into your regular school routine, now is a great time to make those activities happen! There are tons of fun winter and holiday-inspired crafts you can do this time of year. You can make decorations for your house, make some gifts for the grandparents, or just have fun with paints and crafting kits. Pull out the paints and any fun crafty supplies you’ve been hoarding for a rainy day and do them now! Decorating holiday cookies and building gingerbread houses can fall into this category.
There is no better time to snuggle up with a stack of books than the holiday season. Grab a big cozy blanket, and some delicious hot beverages, and snuggle up with your favorite holiday reads. There are so many great winter or holiday-themed picture books you can enjoy together, as well as some great holiday-season chapter books! Here are just a few recommendations:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solstice by Carolyn McVickar Edwards
The Golden Dreidel by Ellen Kushner
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Embrace the idea of hygge this time of year and just be cozy and read great books!
This is a tricky one because I know for many of us, December and the holiday season, in general, is very busy and stressful. But your homeschool doesn’t need to be. If you are feeling stressed out, try to take a step back and remember what it is like to be a kid and why you are homeschooling in the first place.
I feel like all my advice in this article is to just relax your expectations and try to find joy in this season, because that is the best advice I can give you to get through December. Trust me, your routine is ready and waiting for you come January. For now, enjoy a slower pace and add some fun to your homeschool. Whether it’s an art project you’ve been putting off, diving into a new wintery read-aloud, or dancing around the house to loud holiday music while you bake cookies – embrace the season!
I hope you found this Tidbit helpful! Come back next week for more homeschooling inspiration!
Until then, happy reading!
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full-year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 21 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also make incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books, and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.