Ohh… just typing that blog post title makes me shiver a little. What will people think? They’ll assume I’m neglecting my children’s education, won’t they? Will my kids forget what a fraction is without math lessons for a month? (Of course not because baking is all fractions)
I’ve listened to three podcast episodes (not all the way through, but enough) about holiday season homeschooling. One seemed to advocate for Christmas schooling, tailoring the lessons in a Christmas themed unit studies (goodness know us homeschoolers love a good unit study). One advocated for a shortened break, like going hard because you know you’ll have a two week break. A third episode advocated for take it off and enjoying the heck out of it. That third one just felt 1000% (extra zero intentional) right to me.
I can see how each approach might be a good option for a different season of life. So perhaps my choice simply lines up well with my current “life is flying by and my kids are growing so fast” crisis. Whatever the reason, I’ve decided to lean into all the magic this year. And with no guilt. How many of these do we get after all? Why not go all in? Isn’t this why we start homeschool in July after all?
A few thoughts I had while wrestling with whether I really could do this or not…
The holiday season adds so much to our plates, from events to responsibilities. It’s silly to think I can maintain the same school structure and do all the extras without running ourselves into the ground.
There is a lot more to learn in life than just academics. There is the importance of family, giving, reflection and rest. We value these things as much as academics and having a few weeks to focus more heavily on those seems reasonable.
When I say we aren’t “doing school,” it doesn’t mean the kids aren’t learning or engaged in life. Our days will fill up with Mystery Science, math dice, reading books together, board games, bundled up outdoor picnics, sewing projects, ice skating, baking cookies, helping me plan and execute a Christmas menu, planning charitable giving, digging into the Kiwi kits that have piled up… and look at that, it’s me here trying to prove I’m not failing my children. Nope, no more.
One last thought I had… giving my children space to just see what they come up with is invaluable. Hailey will often choose to write stories, pouring out chapter after chapter for the pure joy it brings her. Kaitlyn will play scientist, mixing up concoctions and taking about old machines around the house to see how they work. Just a few days ago the girls took apart my broken kitchen scale. Hailey made a fire in the backyard pit, heated the metal face plate, and bent it to make a sign that says “be happy” for her room. Kaitlyn figured out how to break the circuit to make the light turn off then reattach it to reconnect the circuit and make it turn back on. Then she hot glued a bunch or gemstones to it- ha.
Those moments are my favorite thing about homeschooling. It must be my inner unschooler. Just watching them follow their interests, figure out how to solve problems, be fully engaged in what they’re working on, then shine with pride when they show off their work. Priceless.
I bought the Christmas Gather Round Unit with intention of it being the perfect way to do school in December. It still intrigues me and we might still pull it out if we need a focus for the day. However, deciding to let go and just lean into the joy and magic December brings has already brought me so much peace and happiness- and we’re not kicking that off until Monday.
And perhaps by leaning fully into the rest, we’ll be even more ready than usual for the fresh start, structure, and focus that come with the new year. But we’ll get to that in January. For now, crank up the Christmas tunes and stock the flour. Here we go!
Lynn Thow says
I’ve always enjoyed your approach to December with your girls. I don’t ever think they will forget all of the special memories made during the holidays.🎄
Enjoy this time and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks! It’s two weeks before break starts and the girls are still learning/making memories. I agree with you on the time flying by and enjoying the Christmas magic with them. Our 7yo son just told us last night that a few of his classmates said Santa isn’t real, your parents are putting the presents under the tree! 😥 He still believes in Santa but I panicked (internally) thinking pretty soon he might not.
Brittany Dixon says
I’m going to email you 🙂
Don’t worry — NO ONE thinks you’re failing your kids. Haha. Plus you start school early! Didn’t you begin in July?! Enjoy that month “off”. Even though like you explained they will still be learning and participating in tons of different life skills. One thing on our to do list for this weekend is bake Christmas cookies so Camryn and Britton can decorate them.
Brittany Dixon says
Cookie baking is the best! I mean, it’s messy and can feel stressful but I found if I know that ahead of time, it’s lovely 🙂 Have a fun weekend, Kelli!
High school teacher here…I found myself shaking my head and saying yes, yes, yes, to so much of what you were saying! Fortunately I teach an elective class where students often have the opportunity to pursue their own interests. It is awesome and they have taught me so much. Enjoy this time…from one teacher to another… you are doing a beautiful job!
Brittany Dixon says
That’s so encouraging for me, thank you! And thank you for pouring into all your kids; what you do is so important <3