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It’s that time of year! When parents and students are swept up into the holiday spirit. It seems once Thanksgiving comes, everyone wants to play Christmas. If you school year round, this is quite often a possibility. But, how do you handle the holidays when you don’t school year round and your kids are too old to take off a whole month for holiday fun?
We’ve had to do some traveling this year for our senior’s illness and we don’t homeschool year round. So, we simply do not have the time set aside to take the whole month of December off from our curriculum. Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m not a slave to curriculum! However, as our kids get older, bigger things are at stake. Finishing Algebra is required before taking advanced algebra and geometry both of which are necessary for success on the PSAT and SAT. Of course, the month of December is not what will make or break whether or not we finish when we’d like to, but it does have a significant effect on momentum. So, what do you do when you want to continue with homeschooling and still enjoy Advent? Homeschooling Older Kids through the Holidays:
Strategies for Enjoying the Holidays & Continuing Your Studies
Participate in an Advent Study– This year we are doing Advent in Narnia which has been lovely. The study focuses on the first portion of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as everyone awaits the arrival of Aslan.
Each lesson coincides with a piece of this familiar story and takes us into the world to reflect on Christ’s coming in this world. These have been outstanding for us and it’s not too late to jump in. Each reading will draw you into the story and the questions that go with the lesson are compelling. This study is appropriate for the whole family. It’s helped to quiet our souls and keep us connected to Christmas and it only takes a few minutes each morning during Morning Meeting Time.
Make Ornaments– We can take on small projects and still get our regular work finished. When our kids were younger, we always made ornaments and it can get overwhelming to have four of everything every year. However, I’ve found the last few years that none of the kids have as many ornaments on the tree as our oldest (he made piles in his public school kindergarten) and our youngest has the fewest. Time to make sure we even the score!
Take Some Time to Bake– I’m not a good candidate for all day baking projects, but short spurts of a batch here and there I can handle. This sort of baking fits in with regular school work. Enlist some eager teenagers to work with you.
Incorporate the Holidays into Your Daily Read Alouds– We read aloud daily as a whole family. In addition to our Advent study and school related read alouds, we will insert some holiday favorites such as, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which is always good for a laugh and an extraordinary example of grace.
Watch Holiday Favorites– How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Charlie Brown Christmas are annual watches at least once along with Elf. You don’t have to do this during your regular instructional time, but they make a nice break or evening activity.
Focus on Subjects Which Need to Keep the Momentum– like math and writing or perhaps there is a subject that you are beginning to lag in. Choose that one to continue for the month of December. Allow some of the other topics to take a break or relate them to another study.
When It’s Time for a Break, Take It– Decide what day you will finish the more formal work and stick to it. Make sure you take a clean break so everyone feels like they’ve had one. I’ve made the mistake of taking “sort of” breaks and they usually don’t work well in the end. We break for Christmas around December 21st to the 23rd and start back up again around January 2nd.
The holidays are a time of anticipation and joy, but they can easily be overwhelming and lead to over commitment and illness. What strategies do you use during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas?