The beauty of homeschooling is the flexibility to make it work for your family. No need to be a cookie cutter image of the homeschool down the street.
But who doesn’t love the inspiration that comes with hearing what has worked for other homeschoolers? Let this post encourage you and give you ideas. There is not one right way to homeschool during the holidays!
Many thanks to the wonderful homeschool bloggers who shared their proven strategies.
Let’s get started!
I asked several homeschool bloggers:
What does your homeschooling look like leading up to Christmas? Or, how do you give your homeschool a fresh start after the holidays?
Mom of 6 children
Blogs at Raising Royalty
I homeschool on a year-round schedule. So we always take the month of December off. Between the changing schedules (my ex and I split the holidays), the concerts/plays/programs/special events, the travel, and just plain wanting to enjoy the season, I don’t bother trying to fit in school. The December break makes a natural end to my semester, and I tally up progress, for a fresh start in January. Taking the 4-5 weeks off also lets me adjust things that aren’t working in our schedule, or books that don’t suit students. I can take out, add in, and figure out a new plan if I need to. And we all get a nice break, so we don’t burn out in February!
Mom of 8 kids
Blogs at Maggie’s Milk & Lisa Tanner Writing
We have stopped ninety percent of our “school” until January. Instead, we’re learning through play, reading, and experiences. The break will recharge us all, and we’ll be ready to hit the studies again when it’s time.
Life is so full of learning opportunities, and we’re all enjoying this time to learn in nontraditional ways.
Mom of 2 kids
Blogs at ADHD Homeschooled
I’m doing at least 3 days a week instead of 4. He’s in Kindergarten so the sessions are 30 minutes each. I found an affordable online phonics program to fill in the gaps.
Mom of 4 kids
Blogs at Hope in the Chaos
This time of year we are all ready for a much needed break. Our school year starts in mid-August and we take very few days off between then and December. At this point in the year we are finishing up our subjects and taking a few tests so we can afford to take an extended break, typically three weeks. This doesn’t mean we are throwing our books to the wayside though because we do a lot of atypical learning right alongside. Things like holiday baking may take the place of math for the day, or reading our favorite seasonal stories may replace Language Arts. The older kids love it, because they know they are prepping for a few weeks without book work and the little guys enjoy the change of pace as well. This is the time of year I may look online for a small unit study on Christmas around the world or the life cycle of a snowflake… because where we live, we get lots of snow!
These amazing homeschool moms had some other great advice and insight not related to the holidays, so I just had to share!
What is your go-to book recommendation for a homeschool mom?
I think I’d recommend three: SideTracked Home Executives for housekeeping/home management, When You Rise Up for homeschooling, and Hope Unfolding for motivation and encouragement. This homeschooling thing isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. (Sarah Wall at Raising Royalty)
As odd of a recommendation as it sounds, I’m going to have to say Family Friendly Farming by Joel Salatin.
It’s a farming book, yes. But, it’s so much more than that. It talks about the importance of making life family friendly. Of teaching good solid work ethics, and recognizing individual strengths. This book made a huge impact in not only how I farm, but also how I teach. (Lisa Tanner at Maggie’s Milk)
The Kazdin Method for Raising the Defiant Child. My son is homeschooled because of his ADHD. He wasn’t the only one in his class but he was an easy target because of his impulse issues plus he’s biracial. Children of color tend to be targeted by administrators. (Bonnie Price at ADHD Homeschooled)
Can you dispel a homeschool mom myth for us?
My job as a homeschooling mom is to provide resources for my children and focus on their strengths, therefore I rely on my networking and scheduling skills, arranging standing playdates so I can write during the day and cook them fresh food. So this dispels two myths: one that homeschool kids are undersocialized—in our case my kids are oversocialized with 10 to 12 hour playdates. The second myth is that learning only occurs when sitting down—not for my kids, who rarely sit down, and instead prefer to invent elaborate games with their friends that involve cooperation and negotiation, such as when they play a game requiring elected officials and large sheets of cardboard as currency. (Jennifer Griffin, Mom of 4 kids, Blogs at Spiritual Gift Institute)
All homeschoolers are married, conservative, religious Christians. Because I break all the stereotypes. I’m divorced, I’m not conservative, I’m definitely not religious, though I do follow Jesus. I’m a single mom homeschooling six little girls, on my own! There’s always a way to do what you want. (Sarah Wall at Raising Royalty)
The biggest myth I’ve run across is that it’s easy for me since I already work from home. Nothing could be further from the truth! It’s a balancing act. Some days I don’t want to be bothered but I keep pushing because this is what he needs. (Bonnie Price at ADHD Homeschooled)
There are so many! For one thing, I am not a patient person (as my children will gladly confirm for you), but homeschooling has helped me grow in that area immensely. You don’t need to have the patience of a saint, but be willing to work on growing your patience and make sure your expectations are not too high for your children.
You do not need to know everything to homeschool, but you do need to be willing to learn. You have to be willing to learn and understand the lesson or materials to help and encourage your children to learn them as well. You can (and will!) learn right alongside them.
You do not need to be an expert in a subject in order to teach it. There are many curriculum options available to allow your children to learn even the most challenging of subjects independently. It’s OK to let them exceed your understanding of math or science or even history. Don’t hold them back because you may not remember how to diagram a sentence or when the USSR broke up. (Kelly Warner at Hope in the Chaos)
So, how about your homeschool? How does it look before and after the holidays? Share in the comments below.