Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You CAN Homeschool the Holidays

I'm seeing "You don't have to homeschool through the holidays posts" everywhere these days. AND they're right of course. But, what if you want to homeschool through the holidays? What if you feel like taking that much time off would really and truly cause problems with your child's progress or retention? What if you have a real reason for needing to get x amount of work or days finished by a certain time of the year?

Fear not! I am here to tell you that you absolutely can homeschool through the holidays. Not only that but that you, your children, and your family don't have to stress out while you're doing it!

Here are 4 ways to homeschool through the holidays without loosing your mind!

Stop, think, pray, list. Stop fretting and stressing out. Think about what little Suzey really needs to get done over the holidays. Perhaps she needs to read each day, practice her math skills, and work on her hand writing. The other stuff can easily either wait or be decreased for the remainder of the holiday season. Pray about how much you need to do and ask for patience during this time. List, list, list! I love lists. I write everything that we need to do school wise on one sheet of paper, everything I'd like to work into our lessons on another sheet of paper, all of the appointments and places we need to be and on what days on yet another sheet of paper, and all of the other "stuff" on a fourth piece of paper. This makes it easier to see what you need to get done, what you have done (check them off as you do them), and what things aren't necessary.

Plan. OK, maybe you're not the organized type. You'd rather wing it through each day and not worry about lists and planning. And maybe you're really good at that. But, maybe, you are a giant ball of stress by mid-December and you can't figure out why. Take an hour or two after the kids are in bed (or before they get up) and plan out the next few weeks. You won't have to stress about when you'll fit in Christmas shopping, decorating, visiting, lessons, etc etc etc. You'll have planned it all out, just remember not to freak out if plans don't go exactly as you thought they would.

Pare it down! You need the decorations, the tree, the gifts, family members and friends need visited, every lesson for every subject just has to get done right? Nope. Put up those things to decorate that you really feel you need or the kids need. The tree, the advent wreath, your 24 days before Christmas calender, the things that all of you enjoy each year and may have built traditions around. Instead of buying little Jimmy 20 gifts this year and each of his siblings the same, plus those 10 perfect gifts for each cousin and a few more for aunts, uncles, grandparents (the list is extensive isn't it?) - buy just a few gifts that will mean the most to your child. One gift for everyone else, small and well thought out, will be enough. Or if you're quick at making things make something homemade to give out.

As for those lessons, remember STPL. You did that first right? Suzey only really needs to read, write, and do arithmetic (ooo the three "r's"), you already decided that remember? You don't need to keep the Language Arts material out for that (unless you want to), grab some books at her level all about the season and holidays. Join her and let her read them to you. You don't need those fancy copy work books either, have her help you write out Christmas cards or buy her some of her own to fill out and mail. Baking a ton of things for the season? Bring her into the kitchen to help you out, baking (and cooking in general) is all about measuring and math. 

If you feel the text books are a must do, then simply figure out how to scale back a bit to be able to get the lessons you feel you must get finished done. Are 5 lessons in the math book really that important when Aunt Jo is on the phone telling you that there's an impromptu get together tomorrow night at Aunt Lynn's house and you're expected to bring that wonderful desert that only you can make.

Breath. The world is not going to end if you can't fit in every wonderful thing out there about the holiday. So you didn't watch documentaries about Christmas around the world, you didn't get those 25 math lessons finished, and Suzey's writing looks the same as it did before the holidays began. It's OK. Really. Think of all those things that you are getting finished. Think of the wonderful lessons you're teaching your children when you rush to help Grandma get her house cleaned up for the big family get together, bake cookies for the elderly neighbor, or stop that few seconds to drop your spare change in the Salvation Army bucket. 

Lessons are wonderful and I love having formal school time and teaching from our text books. I also love reading living books to my children, doing fun worksheets I find online, cooking with my kids, and letting them get creative. There's a million things to stress about this season, but you don't have to. 

Maybe writing Christmas cards for a few minutes a day for the next couple of weeks is enough writing practice. Perhaps baking cookies and other yummy things in the kitchen to share and to eat is enough Math practice (or doing wonderful color by number after you solve the math problem worksheets). Maybe reading a different Christmas story each night is plenty to do for reading practice. Or, maybe you want to do just one subject a day each day of the week. Perhaps an hour working on math before doing other things is what you find little Suzey really needs.

Those subjects that you're not really on a *ahem* "dead line" for don't have to be forced right now. Life is hectic this time of year. Give yourself and your children a break.

** I never give advice that I myself don't use. This is why our nature study is being extended, our states history units are being extended, and the core subjects will be done as much as we can. I have several days within the next 30 that are scheduled off to do the other things. **

Make sure to go to our Facebook page tomorrow afternoon for a special message from the campers! Also, check back there on Saturday to see what other things happen in December besides Christmas (the most important of them for me but that's me :-) ).

We're linked up today with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

*There will be no post on Thanksgiving.

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