Staying on Track During the Holidays
The holidays can be a bittersweet time of year for many families. On the one hand, you’ve been looking forward to this special season all year long. You’ve anticipated the sights, sounds, baking, family gatherings, crafts, and so forth that take place year after year. On the other hand, however, you could just throw in the homeschooling towel for this season of your life and resume back in January. If that last sentence is even remotely tempting, keep reading!
One of the best things you can do to help your family stay on track with homeschooling through the holidays is to plan ahead. In the summer when you’re choosing your curriculum, check out how the publisher handles holidays. (In addition, if it’s a faith-based curriculum, make sure the way they teach things such as Christmas and Easter line up with your family’s beliefs.) Do they create a special Christmas unit? Whether they do or not, do they expect you to carry on teaching with the usual lesson plans (Day 1, Day 2, etc.) or does it seem like they give you a break during this time of year? While you’re looking at how they handle holidays, count the number of days you’ll need to spend in your curriculum to cover everything. You’ll also want to count the number of days you can take off during the holidays.
Of course, this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker; if you love the curriculum but aren’t crazy about how they deal with holidays, buy it anyway! You can always come up with your own schedule for the holidays. It’s just easier if it’s already laid out for you by the publisher.
Re-do Your Daily Schedule
Some people find it best to re-create their Daily Schedule each season. Others find it easier to re-do it on an annual basis. Whatever your method, consider that it might be time for something new to help you stay on track during the holidays.
For instance, your summer and fall schedule might have had the kids going outside to play after dinner. Since you’ve noticed that it gets darker sooner in the day, you may have been letting them go outside earlier in the day, cutting into your school time and decreasing your chances at staying on track. If you re-do your daily schedule, you can schedule outside time for the morning or early afternoon and schedule completion of certain subjects inside once it gets darker. This way, you still accomplish everything but you’ve switched it around in a way that will enable you to be successful.
Do Holiday-Themed Unit Studies
Unit studies are a fantastic way to cover all bases with multiple grade levels. the amount of information kids will take away from a unit study is amazing. Given that same information in a textbook format, they’d quickly forget it.
You could do a unit study on various Christmas-themed topics, and you could make this a regular part of your homeschooling schedule – a homeschool holiday tradition. Kids will look forward to this special way of schooling and you won’t feel overwhelmed if you’re only doing unit studies a few times a year. You can purchase pre-made unit studies that come with everything you need (even lapbook components). If you don’t mind hunting the internet some, Pinterest is loaded with FREE resources on just about any topic you can think of. Enjoy this time to be extra creative and learn many new things with your children!
Do you struggle to stay on track during the holidays? Do you tend to want to throw in the towel? If either of these describes you, try some of (or all) of our tips above! If you found ways to overcome this struggle, tell us in the comments section.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]