Sponsored post by Time4Learning.com
It’s the same dilemma every year: How do you keep homeschooling when you’re overwhelmed by the holiday madness? And let’s not forget your children, who are also distracted by the season. Between shopping trips, menu coordinating, guests dropping by, wrapping presents (and hiding presents!), and taking care of your home, there’s not much free time.
Some parents take a break from just after Thanksgiving until after the New Year. However, that may cost you and your children in the long run. Donna, a homeschooling mom of two children remembers when she took a break a few years back. “By the time we started homeschooling again it was difficult to motivate my children. Their routine was broken and it was not easy getting them back into the learning mode. I became very frustrated. After that difficult time, I swore that I’d never take a complete break during the holidays.”
Now parents, like Donna and yourself, can include fun learning lessons throughout the holiday season by incorporating things that you’re busy with, such as shopping, cooking, and coordinating holiday events, with your children’s education. After all, learning comes in all forms not just from textbooks or online courses. There are so many things that your children need to learn before they reach adulthood. With that in mind, use these fun activities and keep the educational momentum going during the holidays.
Shopping and Learning
Shopping doesn’t just occur at the store or online, most parents prepare a shopping list first, which includes gifts for friends and relatives, food, and other necessary items for the holidays. If your children are old enough, have them help you prepare the lists, choose the gifts, look up the prices online, compare prices, and set and keep a holiday budget. Math will never be this much fun! This also teaches an incredible life lesson — personal finance. According to a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education and George Washington University, only 8 percent of millennials polled had a high level of financial knowledge, and only 24 percent demonstrated just a basic understanding of how to manage their money. The sooner you get your children involved with money management, the better equipped they’ll be for things such as saving money, avoiding credit card debt, student loan issues, and responsible spending.
The Kitchen Factor
If you’re hosting any holiday events, you’ll probably be serving either snacks or a full meal. Enlist your children as your personal helpers. This not only teaches them about food preparation, which will become valuable later in life, but it also incorporates math, reading comprehension, attention to detail, and time management. They’ll learn quickly that a quarter cup means a quarter cup and the consequences of deviating from the directions. It’s also a great time for sharing ideas and inspirations. Let your children decorate cookies or cakes. Have them make a side dish on their own. They might be amazed at how all the various ingredients combined create one delicious thing. For example, how sugar, eggs, flour, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, butter, and salt turn into cupcakes!
Holiday Unit Studies
Holiday traditions differ around the world and this is a great time to highlight the fun and wacky traditions that take place. They can learn about:
- The Gavle Goat in Sweden: Find out about this 13-meter tall goat and what its fate is once the holidays end.
- The Philippines Giant Lantern Festival: Held every Christmas Eve in the city of San Fernando, villages band together and try to build the most extravagant lanterns — and this competition is serious!
- The Icelandic Yule Lads: For 13 days before Christmas, 13 mischievous “trolls” visit children across the country. Children simply place their best shoes by the window and the trolls leave gifts for the good children. Your children will love their names such as “Bowl-licker” and “Sausage-swiper.”
- The Broom Tradition in Norway: Many families still hide their good brooms on Christmas Eve for fear that an evil spirit will fly away with it.
- Saint Nicholas Day in Germany: Traveling on a donkey on December 6, St. Nicholas leaves coins, oranges, chocolates, and toys in the shoes of children across Germany.
- Cavalcade of Lights in Toronto, Canada: Toronto kicks off the holiday season by lighting their cities Nathan Phillips Square and it’s official Christmas tree with over 300,000 LED lights.
Those are some fun traditions, but there are also more traditional holiday celebrations such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, Diwali, and more. Holiday Unit Studies are nearly limitless and your children will enjoy learning about how other families celebrate this festive season. But it doesn’t end there — have your children read classic holiday poems and stories. Perhaps you could make cookies and sit with your children and read to them or have them read stories to you. This will most certainly put them in the holiday spirit and provide additional knowledge about the stories, poems, and the people who wrote them.
During this festive time of the year, teach your children about supporting and giving to those who are less fortunate. Have them pick through their clothes, school supplies, toys, and other things that they might not want or use any longer. These can be donated to shelters, orphanages, foster homes, and more. Set aside a day and locate a few places with your children and have them do some research on the organizations that manage them. Other great ideas include donating canned goods to food pantries, volunteering your time at a nursing home, and delivering meals.
This teaches your children to be humble, kind, and generous. It also shows them that some people struggle every day and have difficulty enjoying something as common as a hot meal. It’s unfortunate, but the holiday season is not a festive time for everyone. The desperate and needy remain in that state regardless of the holidays, but teaching your children that they can make a difference through empathy and compassion is a valuable life lesson; it’s one that has the power to brighten another person’s day.
As you can see, there are many teaching moments available during the holidays. This doesn’t mean that you completely abandon your core schooling lessons, it just gives you the opportunity to loosen up your schedule, have some fun, incorporate different learning experiences, and spread the holiday cheer.