If you’re like me, you’ve already fallen behind on the homeschool curriculum that intended to accomplish with your child’s homeschool studies this year. Here it is in the midst of December, and you’re beginning to feel that little twinge of guilt over not following your plans and neglecting school work occasionally. Now you realize you’re substantially far behind where you wanted to be at this point in the year.
All around you, your child’s friends from an online homeschool or even public or private schools are having their breaks from school, and you feel the pressure (a.k.a. guilt) to take a break as well (never mind the fact that you desperately want to take a break, yourself). Yet your anxiety is making you contemplate carrying on with school as usual, and perhaps even doing some additional catch-up on what’s been missed.
Learning the Homeschool Curriculum through the Holidays
As each day brings us closer to the holidays, kids get increasingly excited. Expecting them to focus on Math and Reading feels futile at this point. They’re focused on where the Elf on the Shelf has shown up this morning, and when they get to open the next piece of Advent calendar candy, whether or not there is a special on ABC Family tonight that you are willing to let them watch, how many more days until the visit with Grandma and Grandpa, and whether or not Aunt Susan will bring her new puppy to the yearly holiday party on Saturday.
Here are some ways to give your children’s shortened attention spans some exercise, and to sneak in some educational fun into the homeschool curriculum that they have to learn before Christmas.
- Do a unit study related to a feature within that holiday movie you plan to watch tonight. Tie in some history or geography, some Science or Writing along with watching it. Research and learn more about the producer, actors, history of the story, etc.
- Visit the library and pick a holiday book to read as a family. Create a report or present some interesting fact or lesson learned from it, use parts of the book for handwriting practice or a grammar/story elements lesson, learn more about the author/characters/setting/plot, find out what life was like during the time period of the book, etc.
- Bake (hey, it’s reading and following directions)! Do a mini-lesson on how recipes are written, or make the recipe card “copywork” – and while you’re at it, why not write it on decorated cardstock or a pretty recipe card, package the baked goods attractively and give it as a gift to a friend. There is a LOT of Math you can throw in at the same time – measurement of course, but also fractions, word problems, and mental math (if we triple this recipe that calls for 1/3 cup flour… etc…)
- Find a homeless shelter, a crisis pregnancy care center, a food pantry, a church outreach ministry, or just an elderly neighbor, and ask what your family could do to help out. Research statistics concerning that specific mission, and write up a report (or create a lapbook about it) and share your experience with others to inspire them to help out too.
- Throw in some Art or Technology here and there – have your child draw where the Elf showed up overnight. Make a YouTube video about the history of the Christmas tree or the menorah, or learn how to use a graphics program to create an infographic representation about the holidays to share with family or friends.
With a little flexibility and imagination, anything can become educational. And it doesn’t have to seem so much like homeschool curriculum work. Find what is important to you and your family, and focus on those things. Blend them in with the busyness and excitement of your days, and you can feel satisfied that you are, in a way, giving your kids a break, while also staying on track with their education and encouraging a love of learning.