The holidays are a magical time for us, which makes homeschooling during the holidays both fun and exciting. We’re huge fans of Christmas and Thanksgiving, so I had a ton of ideas for incorporating the holidays into Reese’s daily learning.
While we’re still really new to homeschooling, I thought I would share a few ideas we came up with for some holiday fun. The cool thing is you can do these things even if you don’t homeschool! Use them as fun and educational ways entertain your kids when they are home from winter break (a.k.a., driving you crazy).
Introduce Them to a New Life Skill
Use the holiday season as a chance to take a step back from traditional school and find fun ways to mix learning into everyday life. Focus on life skills as you work your way through cleaning and preparing your home for holiday guests. Teach them how to make minor repairs around the house, how to sew, how to read a recipe or even how to cook a family dish.
Dust Off an Old Toy
The holidays are a perfect time to revisit toys your kids have but don’t play with. Pull out all those old toys and figure out ways they can be used educationally. I purchased a VR headset for Reese early last year and we never really used it. Over winter break I pulled it out and we spent time learning out space and virtual reality. Have you tried LEGO math? Even I have fun with this!
Make an Advent Calendar
Do a fun and educational advent calendar. Reese loves to read, so we decided on a book advent calendar. Pick up a few books (used is even better) and gift wrap them to make them mysterious and fun. Each night let them pick a book and spend that last 30 minutes of the night reading to each other.
Spend the Day Baking
We love baking—but holiday time is when we kick it into full gear and can spend the entire day baking. Reese loves eating the cookies and I love that baking is a great opportunity to work on her math skills. Incorporating math into baking is easy. First, choose a recipe you need to double or even triple. Then, have your kids help you multiply the recipe before baking. Dividing finished cookies up in containers to give away is a great opportunity to practice division skills. They can work on their subtraction skills as they eat them!
Get a Lesson on Budgeting & Consumer Math
Use shopping for gifts and holiday meals as an opportunity to teach your children how to create a budget—and stick to it. Teach them the basics on how to save money by shopping sales and using coupons. They can use this time to also learn how to calculate percentage and sales tax. If you’re headed to the mall or hitting up the grocery store, take the kids. This is a great time to practice reading labels. Do they know what the word organic means? What about “vegan,” “kosher” or “gluten-free?” Can they figure out the price for something that 10%, 15% and 20% off? Now’s a great time to teach them!
Get in Some History, Geography & Map Skills
If you’re headed out of town for the holidays introduce your kids to geography by letting them research the city, state or country you are visiting. Have them point it out on a map, read about its history and popular landmarks. Traveling with kids can be very educational. Use this time to visit a museum, watch a few documentaries during a long car ride or plot the route on a real map (no GPS).
Study Your Family Geneology & Work on Interview Skills
Since Reese is a history buff, she loves studying our family history as well. She looks forward to family gatherings so she can meet someone new and learn more about our family history. Have each child sit down with an older member of the family for a one on one interview. Kids can learn so much by talking to elderly family members and listening to all their stories. Score extra brownie points with a lesson on DNA by incorporating a DNA/genealogy kit like 23andme. This is also a win-win for the older person in your family who might be overlooked with all the hustle and bustle of the day.
Teach Them about Community & Charity
Use the holidays to teach your child about the importance of helping others. Enlist the entire family to help with a charity project, whether it be gathering items for the needy or volunteering at the local food. Food banks are stretched to the max during the holiday influx and could really benefit from a helping hand.