5 Simple Ideas for Homeschooling Through the Holidays and a Printable Holiday Fun Ideas List

It’s hard to believe it, but the holidays are just around the corner as I write this. I confess that the thought hasn’t always made me happy. Holidays always symbolized a stressful time for me, and as a young wife and mom, I tried to enjoy the season, but I really didn’t.

Over the years, however, I’ve learned to have different expectations and to truly enjoy the holiday season as a special time to do fun things as a family. Homeschooling has been a great part of this shift. As homeschoolers we’ve had even more opportunity to enjoy the holidays together.

What do you do in your homeschool throughout the holidays? Do you take the whole month off? Do you homeschool through with only a short break?  If you’re looking to make the most of the holiday season in your homeschool, here are five simple tips to help.

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Take time off when you need it.

Whether you have a relaxed approach to homeschooling or a more strict and structured approach, sometimes you just need to take time off during the holiday. Sometimes you may need to take a good bit of time off.

Whether your family travels during the holidays or you’re just extremely busy with outside activities, it’s okay- even valuable- to take time off when you need it. The great thing about homeschooling is that you can adapt your school times and schedule to the needs of the family. So take time off when needed.

Use the holidays to teach history.

I know. I know. Homeschoolers are often accused of- and sometimes rightly accused of- trying to make everything “educational.” But…holidays are truly an awesome time to make your history learning relevant.

If you want to delve into the history of Thanksgiving and Christmas with the kids, here are a few resources that might help.

~ 4000 Years of Christmas– This is a short book that traces the origins of Christmas from pagan times through the Christian celebration.

~ Encyclopedia of Christmas- This reference book is a resource for all things Christmas. Want to know where different Christmas traditions and symbols came from? The book will help.

~ Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims– This short chapter book tells the story of the pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving from the viewpoint of Squanto, the Wampanoag Indian.

~ Pilgrim Stories– This classic was written in the early 1900s by a primary school teacher who collected original sources and compiled these stories of the early Pilgrims.

Serve with the family.

Although it’s good to teach our kids to serve all year long, there are often many and varied service opportunities around the holiday season. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Shop for gifts for children at a children’s home. Gather coats for a homeless ministry.

One of our family’s favorite ways to serve in November/December is through Operation Christmas Child. In this post I share about how we fill shoeboxes to be sent to children around the world. This is a great way to serve others with your family around the holiday season.

Create traditions to look forward to.

Traditions are so important to families. Establishing traditions helps family members to connect, to bond. And many traditions that seem small become special times that you’ll remember year after year.

One of the most important things to remember is that traditions don’t have to cost lots of money in order to be meaningful. Some of our traditions don’t cost anything, but they are special to our family because we do them together year after year and we look forward to them.

Some of our favorite holiday traditions are…

~ Heading to the mall one night in December- not to buy anything but just to enjoy each other’s company

~ Setting up an Advent Wreath in early December and lighting candles throughout the season

~ Opening up a gift of pajamas on Christmas Eve Eve- because we open our regular presents on Christmas Eve

If you’re looking for more family fun traditions to establish this holiday season, pick up this free Holiday Fun Ideas for the Family printable.

Use unit studies to make learning fun.

One of my favorite things to do in our homeschool is to take the month of December to do lighter school, something focused on the holiday season. I like to use unit studies that the whole family can use together so that even our academic learning time becomes a special family tradition that we look forward to.

Over the years we’ve done Christmas Around the World unit studies; we’ve done unit studies that focus on the history and symbols of Christmas; we’ve done studies that focus on the Biblical story of Christmas; we’ve even done a unit study that focused on the 12 Days of Christmas song and the meanings behind the song’s symbols.

If you’re looking for literature-based unit studies for Christmas, you can find five free unit studies based on classic kids’ Christmas books here.

Do you homeschool through the holidays? Or do you take a large amount of time off?

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