If you’ve homeschooled for any length of time, you know that homeschooling through the holiday season is often chaotic and stressful. Trying to meet the school obligations, prepare for visits (both to your house and out of town), finish the baking, and the million and one other “little things” that have to be done just to maintain every day can be extremely overwhelming!
And, unfortunately, our kids often feel the brunt of our stress. It’s hard for them to learn and it’s hard for us to teach under such pressure.
But what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way?
Rethink your school approach in December. Remember you homeschool. You don’t public school at home. There’s freedom in catering your lessons to your season in life. (Read: Less stress)
Enjoying a Christmas unit study is one great way to break away from the norm for the month of December, but be careful not to get caught up in following every single detail. Pick and choose what appeals to your family and focus on those items. Keep it simple and make it meaningful!
And don’t forget the often overlooked benefits of incorporating your holiday preparations into your school day.
Homeschooling Through the Holidays can include:
Baking: Younger kids can learn measurements, counting, multiplying, working together; your older children can focus on doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling ingredient amounts, budgeting for ingredient costs, the importance of maintaining a clean work environment…Really, the possibilities are endless.
Cleaning: Younger kids can be given extra age-appropriate chores, learning about working together and time management; older kids can be in on the strategic planning involved in setting a cleaning schedule that isn’t overwhelming.
Gift Buying: Earning money to buy gifts offers an excellent opportunity to focus on teaching entrepreneurial skills that will last a lifetime. Selling baked goods or homemade crafts can be a simple affair for the younger kids (make, sell, budget, and buy) or a more of a learning experience for the older ones (profit/loss, budgeting for ingredients, marketing, packaging, basic accounting, etc.).
Character Building: Compassion, kindness, and empathy are a few characteristics that are sadly missing in many children today. There’s no better time than the holidays (a season normally focused on “what I want for Christmas”) for shifting the focus toward others as there are so many opportunities available. Volunteering to help feed the homeless, putting together small gifts to show your appreciation to those often overlooked (postal workers, sanitation workers, UPS/FedEx deliverers, Sunday School teachers, church custodians, etc.), sending cards or making visits to the elderly or those who don’t have family nearby are a few things that quickly come to mind.
Creating Traditions: I love what Shannon shares in her article 10 Ways Traditions and Rituals Enrich Families. Last year Pat and I gave you a peek into our own Christmas traditions (we’ll be updating that this year, too!), and Advent is always a sweet time to incorporate something meaningful into your preparations.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg, but I bet they’ll get your creative juices flowing and, hopefully, take some of the pressure off of homeschooling through the holidays.
What are YOU doing this Christmas to keep the stress level down? We’d love to hear your thoughts below…
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