Christmas Break

photo by jspad

Last year someone mentioned to me that they take the entire month of December off – no homeschooling. My initial reaction was – are they crazy? A whole month?  What do they do with their kids with no school structure for a whole month? Aren’t they going to be behind? How will they ever finish?

Then, December came and went. Each day we accomplished less of our regular school agenda only adding stress to what already can be a stressful month.  I struggled choosing between the various invitations we received and schoolwork.

This year we too will be taking a holiday sabbatical from our regular school work. I will pack up our curriculum and put it away until after we ring in the New Year. On December 1st, we will replace our math books and history folders with red and green boxes filled with decorations and holiday fun!

My children (and I) do crave the consistency of a daily routine. I will keep our morning chore sticks, our daily music practice, and our morning devotion time.

In the place of our curriculum we will:

1 – Complete one advent activity daily. I am using this site as our spine and adding other activities as we go along.

2 - Review our basic math facts. That means addition for one and multiplication for the other.

3 – Practice the art of service. We will say “yes” to helping a grandparent wrap gifts. “Yes” to taking a meal to a family in need. “Yes” to making that long drive to see a relative that we don’t see often. “Yes” to seeing the Nutcracker and lunch with friends afterwords.

4 – We will read – and read and read! I envision afternoons of hot chocolate and cozy Christmas books. Through the years we have collected 25 – one for each day leading up to Christmas!

Most of all, we will enjoy a much desired break from our regular schedule and focus our thoughts and energy on the real meaning of Christmas for our family. I’d say that it is pretty educational after all!

When Michele’s not relaxing by her Christmas tree with a good book and two sweet children, she can be found blogging about her journey into preparing her children for the real world just in case they don’t become famous rock stars at  http://rockstarthing.blogspot.com.


Comments

  1. says

    We do the same thing–I am hoping for a bit more structure this December, and to take some planning time for Mom in January too, this time. It is nice to take “time off ” and be able to focus on the more hands-on things of home education during the holiday season.
    Thanks for sharing your resources!

  2. says

    We have always been “one of those families” that takes the entire month of Dec. off. Our break actually begins the week of Thanksgiving followed by a week at Disney to kick off the Christmas season. When we get home we focus our “schooling” on homemaking skills. So…it isn’t exactly no schedule and order around here. We would all go crazy! Everyone continues on with their daily responsibilities. Our homemaking focuses on the children polishing their baking skills as we prepare Christmas goodies for our own personal enjoyment and as gifts. We also spend a lot of time practicing our sewing as we make several different gifts and work on other individual projects. Basically, this is the perfect time to get all those things in you always want to do but just can’t seem to find the time to squeeze it in between math and science. The only thing we never give up is reading. Both my big girls will be reading a book or two of their choice and together we will be reading Little Women this year. This break also gives me a chance to reevaluate how things are going and plan and adjust our school for next semester. It truly is a time we look forward to all year. This break = more cuddle time, more play time, and the precious opportunity to spend time together as a family. It really is the “most wonderful time of the year!”

  3. says

    This is us too! We typically school through the end of the first week of December, but after that we say good-bye to full days of schooling. We, too, will review math facts, but mostly our days will be filled with decorating, crafting, wrapping, and outings. And we wouldn’t have it any other way!

  4. Maxine says

    This is such a wonderful idea! I think we’ll adopt it. Sounds like it will result in a very satisfying Advent. Thanks for sharing all the links.

  5. says

    Hmm…this sounds so wonderful!! I hadn’t thought to do this. But as you were talking about all the things to be done and the stress that mounted, I began to remember how it was last year for us – and it was much the same way.

    Personally, I love your idea and it still provides a rich learning environment. You may find me joining you on that! :) Thanks!

  6. says

    Awesome idea! I think we may have started early, as we have done no schoolwork for 2 days now.

    Thanks for the link to the advent ideas, I was just trying to compile a list of things for us to do.

  7. Sue Elvis says

    We are almost finished work for this year. As usual, we will take 2 months off formal learning: December and January. Here (Australia), it is almost summer as well as Christmas. There is no time for bookwork during December. Too much real life learning is going on as we prepare for Christmas. Then after Christmas we need time to relax and read and be lazy before starting to make plans for the new school year starting in February. The two months pass so quickly we never have a chance to get bored. I wonder if everyone in the Northern Hemisphere has a similar extra long break during the summer.

    • says

      Yes, Sue, I think a lot of people take an extra long break in the summer. Traditional schools all seem to have a long summer, and then a lot of homeschoolers do too.

  8. Mrs. H says

    We’ve always taken December off. It gives us the time we need to do all of the family things that everyone else we know wishes they had time to do. Hot chocolate and favorite books, museum tours and sight-seeing, crafting and baking… The list goes on and on. It’s not that we don’t have a schedule, it’s just that there are other things on it, instead of what we would normally do. We also tend to view it as an opportunity to reach out to others in need, and to focus on the real reason we celebrate.

    We still read (more than usual) but everything else gets set aside until the new year. The boys never seem to lose any knowledge. They just go back to their studies refreshed and eager to begin work again.

    Thanks for the Advent link… It looks like fun!

  9. says

    I think that taking the whole month off may be far more realistic than planning to do even light homeschool. When I plan and then don’t achieve my goals, I always have a sense of failure. Besides, the long break will refresh all of you for a new term in January. Merry Christmas!

  10. Amber Pamper says

    That is such a wonderful idea! Not only do you get a mid-year break but you get the whole month to celebrate Christmas! I love the idea and may try that next year. :)

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