Bring the holidays into your homeschool
If you’re beginning to feel the winter homeschool blues or your children are getting bored with the same old school routine, it might be time to change things up — holiday style! Your kids will love these holiday projects and activities.
Years ago our family decided to take some time to enjoy the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. The beauty of homeschooling is that we have the flexibility to school "outside-of-the-box," allowing us to enjoy all that the holiday season has to offer.
This time of year, we stop our formal lessons and try to incorporate our holiday planning and projects into our schooling.
Homeschool outside for a change of scenery
What better way to start enjoying the season than by going outdoors? If it's not too cold where you are, you can set up a learning area where children can read and do lessons outdoors. Our boys love to read in their playhouse or do their math work on our deck. Observe as changes take place in your own backyard and have fun with leaf rubbings, nature journals or photography on nature walks.
Try a nature study for science with this free book you can download or read online — Handbook Of Nature Study from 1911. You can download this book authored by Anna Botsford Comstock in PDF or Kindle here. A great autumn and winter nature study resource to go along with Anna Botsford Comstock’s book can be found at the Handbook of Nature Study blog.
Learn more about taking your homeschool outdoors >>
Homeschool holiday crafts and projects
Since we take a break from our formal lessons, we have more time to do crafts and science projects that we might not have time for throughout the year.
This year we are attempting to make handmade Christmas gifts for our friends and family. Many of our gifts will be made in the kitchen, in the form of breads, cakes and jar mixes. Kitchen crafts are the perfect opportunity for science and cooking lessons. Holiday-related science projects are another way to incorporate the holidays into your homeschool. About.com's Chemistry page has a long list of holiday science projects to do for all grade levels.
- Math — The kitchen is my favorite place to teach fun, hands-on math. Children will learn skills such as recognizing numbers, measuring, fractions and counting. You can print this math vocabulary list to use with your cooking lessons.
- Science — Explain how food goes from liquid to solid, physical properties of matter, changes in matter and what happens when you heat a sugar solution? Discuss where foods come from, how they are grown, the effects foods have on our bodies. How certain ingredients work, such as yeast, baking soda and baking powder.
Read more about teaching the science of cooking >>
More craft and science projects:
- Winter science craft activities from Scholastic
- Holiday science projects
- 10 Christmas science activities from Science Sparks
Holiday unit studies
The holidays are the perfect time of year to create mini unit studies, while also making fun memories with your children. Try one of these fun Christmas unit studies.
- A Blessed Christmas
- Names of Jesus
- Countdown to Christmas
- Winter Holidays Around the World
- More Christmas unit studies
Incorporating the holidays into your homeschool will allow you to achieve your academic goals while giving your family time to relax and enjoy the season. Most importantly, you will make memories and start homeschool traditions that your entire family will look forward to year after year.
How do you incorporate the holidays into your homeschool learning?