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Homeschooling is a busy venture at any time of the year, but when the holidays roll around, it can feel absolutely overwhelming trying to keep things on course. Fortunately, one of the best parts about teaching from home is the fact that you can control your own schedule.
Giving in to the Holidays
It’s easy to feel intimidated by your school schedule as the Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas triple-header slowly overwhelms everyone’s calendars. Keeping up with your curriculum can feel like an impossible task in the midst of the holiday hubbub — largely because it is an almost impossible task!
Unless you live under a rock, chances are the months of November and December are booked solid with decorating, tending to traditions, time spent with family, and an endless string of holiday parties and special events. Simply put, assuming that your regular school schedule will naturally “fit into the cracks” is a silly notion. There just isn’t enough time in the day — and that’s okay.
When faced with the holiday pressure, many homeschoolers — especially those with a few years of experience under their belts — decide that rather than fight it, it’s easier to simply steer into the holiday spirit. There’s no reason a homeschool year has to play out along the public school’s calendar.
If you’re feeling the need to ease off the educational gas pedal around the holidays this year, either as a parent or a student, it may be worth trying. Instead of prioritizing those math textbooks and literature courses, take some time to focus on what lessons the holidays naturally have to teach us. After all, one of the basic tenets of homeschooling is the fact that learning is always happening, right?
So reign in those unreasonable ambitions, pump the breaks on the homework, and let your homeschooling journey bend to the whims of the holidays this season. Enjoy the breaks when they come. Embrace the emotional lessons that the season has to offer. Simply put, try enjoying where you are in your learning journey rather than fretting over sticking to a strick schedule.
Tips and Suggestions to Embrace the Holiday Spirit
Here are some suggestions for ways to spice things up in both big and small ways as you shift that learning focus and stoke that festive spirit this holiday season.
Don’t Slow With the Snow
Winter is an easy time to slow things down, physically speaking. Summer sports are over and the chance to head outside in a t-shirt and flipflops is long gone. If you’re feeling a bit sluggish as you spend most days cooped up indoors, use the holiday school lull to specifically spend time outdoors.
If you’re intimidated by the thought of tracking down everyone’s snow gear multiple times a day, take some time to organize everything into cubbies, dedicate hangers for drying out wet clothes, or even try storing your winter gear in a locker. Having a home for the coats, hats, and gloves is a great way to control the chaos and enable the chilly outdoor phys-ed on a regular basis.
Remember, the giving doesn’t stop with Thanksgiving. In fact, the entire holiday season can be the perfect time to foster a sense of empathy and compassion with your children. As you slow down on the school work, encourage them to consider ways to take some of that precious time we all covet and invest it in others.
Volunteer at a local food bank, help shovel a neighbor’s driveway, or visit a nursing home with some homemade cookies in hand. However you go about it, giving time can be an excellent antidote to the hectic, perpetually rushed nature of the holidays.
Look for Other Ways to Give
Of course, there are many other ways to give beyond one’s time. As you focus on your family and friends this holiday season, encourage your homeschooling students to look for other ways to give to those around them.
For instance, writing hefty checks for bigwig charities isn’t the only way to donate. Have your kids go on a hunt around the house looking for spare change to give to a local food bank. Ask them to pick out toys, canned food, or other items to give while you’re shopping. Encourage them to look through their clothes and find quality items that can be donated.
In other words, look for ways for them to get involved in the giving spirit. If you’re feeling short on ideas, you can reference this holiday donation guide for more inspiration.
Take Your Studies Abroad
If you’re feeling the need to truly get a break this holiday, one way to spend the slower school days is to take your studies abroad. Traveling while your daily school expectations are artificially lower can be a great way to get away from the daily grind.
Whether it’s an overnight at grandma and grandpa’s, a weekend out of town as a family, or a full-blown international trip to a hotspot like Mallorca, traveling during the holidays can be a great way to capitalize on the slower school schedule.
Steering Into the Skid
Fighting to maintain a rigid school schedule throughout the holidays is a sure recipe for stress, anxiety, and unhappy students. It’s also a scenario that can easily be avoided by confidently stepping out in your homeschool liberties.
The flexibility of schooling from home makes the holidays an ideal time to slow things down, ease up on the educational expectations, and enjoy a time of the year devoted to faith, family, and friends.