Have you ever considered translating your holiday preparations into education-speak and counting them as “school”? We need to remember that learning happens in many different ways and can easily be accomplished outside the curriculum box. December lends itself well to holiday-themed project -based learning, especially for our younger students:
- Baking translates to Home Economics, Nutrition, or Math
- Making gifts and crafts becomes Art, Home Economics, or Community Outreach
- Addressing Christmas Cards can count for Penmanship or Spelling
- Looking up places on a map where you are sending cards or receiving them from is Geography
- Holiday shopping teaches Math, Finance, and Budgeting
- Singing, listening to, or playing Christmas Carols on a musical instrument is Music
- Walking around the mall or out to your car on the outskirts of the parking lot is P.E.
- Investigating holiday traditions and Christmas customs can become Social Studies or History
- Learning more about Christmas, Hanukah, and other faith-based holidays translates to Bible or Comparative Religions or Social Studies
In short, you can put away your formal curriculum for a while and still teach your children valuable lessons which count for school too!
What about your older children? Although they may need more formal school days to accomplish their academic goals or keep current with group classes, consider an extended curriculum vacation for them whenever possible. Yes, that may mean you end up schooling longer in the summer. However, Christmas celebrations lend themselves so well to the lesson of putting others first.
If you carefully plan school as usual for each student during the month while you merrily create gifts, bake, and look for ways to bless others, aren’t you subconsciously reinforcing the “me-centered” attitude that already comes naturally to your children? They’re not thinking about giving – you are! As an alternative, look for ways you can bless others together as a family.
Ease the stress of the holiday season! Instead of adding shopping and decorating to an already full school schedule, why not take a short curriculum break and make your holiday preparations the focus of your learning? Seek to become more intentional in reaching out to others and in your own celebrations. Doing so might help you better reflect Jesus during this season of his birth and also provide a much-needed worldview adjustment for your students!