Thanksgiving through New Year’s is often exhausting and stressful. Take the stress out of your homeschool with these tips to homeschool during the holidays without losing your mind.
As much as I love the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, it is often an exhausting, stressful time. We cram the weeks with more activities and travel than usual. (And more people. My fellow introverts will understand.) Add to that the shopping (ack!), baking, wrapping, and homeschooling.
Instead of stressing this year, try these tips for:
10 Insanely Easy Ways to Homeschool During the Holidays!
1. Do a unit study or other hands-on activity.
Use the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas to break from your regular curriculum and try a unit study or other hands-on activity. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Try ADVENTure Schooling!
Do a Unit Study.
- Christmas Around the World Unit Study from Confessions of Homeschooler
- Free Christmas Around the World Unit Study and Lapbook Printables
- 12 Days of Christmas Mini Book
Do Some Other Fun Holiday-Related Activities and Lessons.
- 10 Holiday Activities for Your Homeschool
- How to Say Merry Christmas in 14 Languages!
- Christmas Journal: 25 Days of Creative Writing for the Christmas Season
2. Give unschooling a try.
This busy holiday season, give unschooling a try. Not sure where to start? This article explains what unschooling is and suggests resources for learning more.
3. Relax your expectations.
Don’t expect to get it all done. Don’t expect your kids to have their usual focus – even if their usual focus is already somewhat lacking. Instead of writing lesson plans and stressing over what’s gone undone, go with the flow and log what you have accomplished at the end of each day. The holiday season is just a season. It doesn’t define your entire homeschool year.
If you have young children, try some fun Christmas-related printable lessons like the ones below. If you have older children and younger children, let the older kids help the younger kids. That’s a great way for the older kids to get a refresher without even realizing it!
- Christmas Nouns Word Wall
- Christmas Verbs Word Wall
- Christmas Adjectives Word Wall
- Past, Present, and Future Tense Verbs for Christmas
- Christmas Parts of Speech Word Search
- Nativity Word Wall and Picture Memory Verses
- Christmas Math – Rounding Decimals
- Christmas Money Math – Counting and Adding Coins
- Christmas Math – Three Digit Add and Subtract
- 12 Days of Christmas: Ordinal Numbers
- Christmas Tree Addition Puzzles
Other Fun Christmas-Related Activities
4. Capitalize on hands-on learning opportunities.
Sometimes we get so caught up in checking off lesson plan boxes that we overlook the educational moments in the everyday. There are so many hands-on learning opportunities to help you homeschool during the holidays which are already woven into your family’s holiday traditions. Take advantage of those opportunities!
- Bake cookies together. By the way, did you know, we have Santa’s favorite cookie recipes?
- Learn about Christmas in other countries and make some recipes from this Christmas Around the World Cookbook for Kids.
- Make salt-dough ornaments.
- Write Christmas letters to relatives or support our troops and write to our service men and women!
- Build a gingerbread house.
- Do a Christmas Countdown! (Be sure to print it out and have it ready to go at the beginning of December.)
5. Delve into handicrafts.
Also, don’t forget the importance of handicrafts. Letting your kids work on those often-overlooked skills as they create homemade Christmas gifts and ornaments equals a win-win situation!
Try these ideas for decorations and Christmas crafts to share!
- Teach your kids to sew, knit, or crochet.
- Decorative Vintage Christmas Tree Craft
- Paper Cone Christmas Tree Craft
- Gorgeous 3D Gingerbread House Paper Craft (with Free Templates!)
- 3D Papercraft: Festive Winter Scene
- 3D Papercraft: Cozy Winter Scene
Or try these ideas for crafts you can give as Christmas gifts.
- Hand-Stamped Jewelry
- DIY Girl Gift: Handmade Scrunchies
- Easy DIY Christmas Gift: Eucalyptus Bath Salts
- DIY Gift in a Jar: White Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Cookies
- Friendship Soup: DIY Gift in a Jar (with Free Printable Gift Tags)
- DIY Crayon Candles
- Easy DIY Vintage Freezer Paper Bleach T-Shirts
- DIY Tutorial: Mod Podge Tile Coasters
If you celebrate Hanukkah, try one of these crafts!
6. Serve others.
Not only is serving others personally satisfying, but you can document service hours on your teen’s high school transcripts and college applications. So, don’t feel that you have to choose between school time and service time.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Prepare meals for struggling (financially or emotionally – Christmas isn’t a joyous season for everyone) families or collect and donate canned goods and non-perishable foods to your local food bank.
Or use some of the ideas found on this Christmas Kindness Calendar.
7. Try loop scheduling.
If you really must check off lesson plan boxes, move everything to a loop schedule during the holidays. Loop scheduling lets you progress through the schoolwork you need to finish without the constant pressure of feeling behind.
8. Cut back to the basics.
Don’t try to do all the things this Christmas season. That leaves you stressed and burned out, and your kids feed on your emotions. Cut back to the basics. All the books, lesson plans, and science experiments will still be there waiting for you in January. I promise.
Or try ADVENTure schooling. It’s a great way to keep your kids learning while celebrating the true reason for Christmas.
9. Reconsider the basics.
We’ve had the Three R’s drilled into our heads. Reading, writing, and arithmetic make up the quintessential basics list. But for artistic kids or right-brained learners, consider that the basics might mean art, music, or drama. And, the Christmas season is an excellent time to delve into those subjects with Christmas plays, cantatas, caroling, and ballets.
Just don’t homeschool during the holidays. We homeschool year-round so that we can take off school from Thanksgiving until New Years. It makes the season so much less stressful and more enjoyable for all of us.
That doesn’t mean we don’t do anything over the holiday season. But what we do is not our usual routine. Instead, we do things like some of the suggested activities on this Christmas Kindness Calendar.
With all the shopping and baking and traveling along with the cantatas and Christmas plays and candlelight services, the Christmas season is busy enough without the added stress of trying to maintain your regular school schedule. Cut yourself and your kids some slack so you can enjoy the season and focus on Christ, family, and friends.
What are some of your best tips for schooling from Thanksgiving to New Years?
Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Road Trips, Love These Recipes, and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 31 years ago, and they live in the South. They have three adult children. Hannah, age 27, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 25, was the second homeschool graduate and the first to leave the nest. Mary Grace, age 19, was the last homeschool graduate. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow a garden every summer with limited success. (But she's learning!)