As the holidays seemingly arrive with astounding speed this year, it can be quite easy to be overcome with the stress of knowing that not only has the Christmas season appeared with little warning, but as a homeschooling parent, you are still responsible for educating your child during this time.
What to do?
Although many families attempt to trudge through like the troopers they are, quite a few realize after a brief time that it just isn’t going to work. How can it with all of the busyness that often accompanies this time of year?
There’s shopping and baking to be done, relatives to visit, carols to be learned, scarves to be knitted, and trees to be decorated. Where does homeschooling fit into all of this?
I think a better question is, where DOESN’T homeschooling fit into all of this?
You see, while we homeschool moms are rushing to and fro trying to find the right curriculum, the best co-ops, and the most awesome extracurriculars, we’re forgetting about the most amazing learning opportunity there is.
Yes, life. Not so long ago, the thought that children wouldn’t be learning alongside their families or other members of the communities in meaningful ways would be considered absurd. Now, it’s the other way around. We’ve become so accustomed to the idea that education is something that has to be poured into a child via textbooks and lectures that we’ve forgotten- or maybe never knew- that life experience is the best teacher.
That solution you’ve been looking for? It’s been there all along.
The holiday season is the perfect time to drop the curriculum, put away the lesson plans, and set your academic expectations aside, and let your children live life with you. There are so many lessons to be learned without any of the added stress of, “What subjects will we have time to cover today?”
How? Let me show you.
The Perfect Christmas Homeschool Curriculum
Christmas shopping may not exactly be what some would consider to be the most educational activity to do with your kids, but think of all that’s involved:
- price comparison
- calculating discounts
- learning to read fine print
- counting money
- learning to take part in business transactions, and
- people skills
Just to name a few. 😉
Oftentimes, when cooking or baking skills come to mind, the go-to assessment for educational value is home economics. But is that really all that these abilities entail?
- the math involved with doubling, tripling, or halving recipes?
- the critical thinking skills necessary when a measuring cup inevitably goes missing and someone must figure out how to measure one cup when only a 1/4 measuring cup is available?
- the impromptu chemistry lessons that occur when watching bread rise from a bit of yeast?
- learning how physics can turn some heavy whipping cream into a frothy delight?
Kitchen skills go far beyond Home Ec., ladies and gentlemen.
Just because something’s fun doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable!
The skills obtained from holiday decorating goes far beyond learning how to unravel a clump of Christmas lights.
Think about it. While learning about aesthetics is a wonderful opportunity and can certainly be considered art, there are so many other benefits such as:
- learning to measure
- ladder, staple gun, and hammer safety
- learning about electricity, and
- practicing handling things with care
Not too shabby, eh?
The holiday season is the perfect time to work on those character issues with your children; volunteering is the perfect way to do that. Whether it’s through working at a food bank or soup kitchen, participating in Operation Christmas Child, visiting a children’s hospital or nursing home, or sponsoring a child, the advantages to your child will abound.
Volunteering is the ideal way to teach your children about:
- compassion, and
Sometimes I think the volunteers may benefit more than those whom they are serving.
While I truly believe that hands-on learning always has value, there’s just something about those things that are made with an actual purpose that make them all the more special.
Year round you’ll find my own kids painting, making clay figures, drawing, and making upcyle sculptures. As much as they enjoy any type of crafting, the intensity of their passion completely changes when they know that what they are making is going to have an actual use. Imagine the joy your children can experience as they learn to:
- crochet potholders
- knit scarves
- string popcorn garland for the tree
- make cardboard box dollhouses for their siblings, or
- assemble a wreath for the front door
The possibilities are endless!
Visiting Friends and Relatives
If you’ve ever looked for the perfect Social Studies activity, look no further. Visiting friends and family members far surpasses any textbook lessons your child will ever do.
Although the stereotype of relatives at Christmas time is often not very flattering, there is an abundance of things to be learned from them such as:
- family history
- family anecdotes
- family/cultural traditions, and
- tolerance (this is for those relatives who may fit the stereotype)
I’ll take these life lessons any day.
I’ve only touched on a few ways life learning can be the ideal homeschool curriculum during the holiday season, but I hope this has encouraged you that it’s okay to go with the flow this time of year. You’ve got this.
Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear what life learning lessons you’d add to this list of holiday happenings. Leave a comment and share your experiences!