Fun Homeschooling: Using Holidays to Spice Up Your Year


Have your days started to feel like drudgery?  Is it a toss-up over who is more bored by school, you or your kids? Do the words “this is boring” get tossed around far too often?  If so, you may be suffering from Boring homeschool Syndrome.  Not to worry.  I’ve got the perfect thing to break yourself out of this rut!  I’m going to teach you how to use five types of holidays that will get back to fun homeschooling this year!

Use holidays to make for a fun homeschooling year. Teach your kids that they can have fun while still learning, and taking a break from their routine! #funhomeschooling #homeschool #homeschooling
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Type 1: Traditional Holidays

These are the holidays we all know and love.  It’s celebrations like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and 4th of July.  While they may seem like prime times for taking a break, they’re actually perfect for school!

Why

There are a few key reasons to incorporate traditional holidays into your lessons.

  • If you live in a state that requires you to track hours and days for school, this will allow you to meet that requirement in a more relaxed way.
  • Understanding why we celebrate holidays is an important part of celebrating them.  Otherwise we are just going through the motions with no real meaning behind what we are doing.
  • Guys, this is one of the coolest parts of homeschooling.  We get to bake cookies and do service projects and count those as school.  Take full advantage of this perk!

How

You can incorporate these holidays into your school days pretty easily.  Making decorations, memorizing related scripture, and even cooking are great options.  For specific ideas you can use my posts on Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, 4th of July, and the fall/winter holidays, as well as the great printable packs I have in my store!

Type 2: Food Holidays

These are our FAVORITE holidays.  They make for some truly fun homeschooling!  Some focus on nutrition, like Better Breakfast Month in September.  Others focus on specific foods like National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day on August 4th and World Pasta Day on October 25th.

Why

Do you really need any other reason than an excuse to eat and play with food?  You do?  OK, then here are a few more great reasons to add food holidays to your fun homeschooling plans.

  • This is a fantastic chance for your kids (and you) to discover new foods.  Doing it as part of a fun holiday can help kids be more open to things that are new and different.
  • This is a wonderful way to have fun with geography.  You get to explore the cultures of the world through their food!  Use this is a springboard to learning other things about the people and places related to these foods.
  • We’ve all seen those videos of grown adults who don’t know how to crack an egg or chop an onion.  Do you really want that to be your kids one day?  Of course not!  Food holidays give you the perfect chance to practice valuable life skills!

How

  • Field trips!  One of the things I hated when I was a classroom teacher was the lack of field trips.  As homeschoolers we get to do them whenever we want.  Yippee!  Use these holidays to explore local ethnic stores and your library in your search of ingredients and recipes.
  • A love of history! There are fascinating stories (and often a little conflict and controversy) behind various dishes.  Like the lore behind how the French Dip sandwich was invented.  Help your kids move from the mindset of ‘history is boring’ by learning these stories!
  • Cooking Lessons!  Like I said before, this is the perfect opportunity for your kids to learn about cooking.  Work together to find a recipe for the food of the day, then make it together as a family.

Type 3: Good Character Holidays

Believe it or not, there are a lot of unique holidays throughout the year that focus on aspects of good character.  You can use something like Relaxation Day on August 15th to help your kids learn to deal with stress.  Fight Procrastination Day (September 6th) is something I wish had been around when I was a kid.  Teach your kids about the importance of kindness on Do Something Nice Day on October 5th.

Why

Michael Josephson said, “If we don’t invest now in building character in children we will surely invest more tomorrow in trying to repair adults.” An education without any focus on character is not only lacking, it’s setting our kids up for failure.

  • Obviously we all want our kids to grow into decent human beings.  Nobody wants their grown kid to be inconsiderate or even mean.  These holidays give you a fun way to tackle more serious issues like generosity and compassion.
  • I can’t be the only one who flounders a bit with figuring out how to teach character development.  At least I hope I’m not alone!  It’s such a big area that many of us feel lost.  These holidays can give us some much needed inspiration!
  • Kids are real turkeys sometimes.  You tell them to be kind to others and it goes in one ear and out the other.  Yet if Do Something Nice Day rolls around, it’s the ‘holiday’ telling them to do it.  Suddenly they’re all in.  I know it can be annoying, but don’t fight it.  Use it to your advantage. 😉

How

  • First thing first.  Talk about the significance of the day with your kids.  Why are you celebrating it?  Why is it important?  Again, understanding why we do this is vital.  From there, it’s going to depend on the age of your children.
  • If your kids are still young, plan an activity for them.  Think of something simple and fun that helps them honor the spirit of the day.  For example, on Do Something Nice Day you could take your kids down to the dollar store and have them each pick out something small to give a neighbor.
  • Older kids are ready to come up with their own activities.  Work together to brainstorm ways they can celebrate.  Help them come up with possibilities for practicing these character traits and for sharing what they learned with the others.

Type 4: Academic/Educational Holidays

Do you have a future engineer, history buff, or little grammarian at home?  These holidays are designed just for you!  Your budding scientist will love learning all about optometry during National Eye Exam Month in August.  Historians will be fascinated by learning about the fist female telephone operator on September 1st while your author-in-training will swoon over Dictionary Day on October 16th.  These are seriously easy holidays to incorporate into some fun homeschooling plans.  It’s like they were made just for homeschoolers!

Why

This one seems to fall into the ‘why not’ category.  Can you really think of any reason NOT to include holidays that are purely academic in your fun homeschooling year?  If you need a little encouragement, try one of these reasons.

  • School isn’t all about memorizing math facts and diagramming sentences.  These holidays give you a chance to focus on core academic subjects in a fun and unique way.  These is particularly useful for homeschoolers who have to track hours.
  • Curiosity is the key to becoming a lifelong learner.  Educational holidays are a fantastic way to inspire curiosity in your kids.
  • The next time that Nosy Nellie at the grocery store starts quizzing your homeschoolers, they can pull out these random facts and quiz her right back!  Just kidding.  Sort of!

How

  • These ones are going to require a little advanced preparation.  I know many of us tend to fly by the seat of our pants, but requesting library books in advance is a great plan here.  I can help make it a bit easier.
  • Do you remember the excitement of seeing the TV cart in your classroom growing up?  Kids love educational videos!  Find some shows and movies that cover what your holiday is about.
  • Knowing something is good, but being able to share that with others is even better.  Find fun ways for your kids to share what they learned with others.  It could be a video, a comic book, a poster, or some other fun idea that works well for them.

Type 5: Just for Fun Holidays

Learning math and science is important, but it’s also just as important to learn to have fun!  ‘Just for Fun’ holidays are the perfect way to pause serious work and do something for the pure enjoyment of it.  Whether it’s National Mountain Climbing Day on August 1st, International Square Dancing Month in September, or Mad Hatter Day on October 6, take a break from your regular work sometimes and play the day away!

Why

Why?  Simply because they’re fun!  Seriously.  Plus there are a few more important reasons.

  • We all need to do things that are just for fun from time to time.  Celebrating these days will make for fun homeschooling AND they’ll give you some entertaining family bonding days.
  • Being a workaholic is becoming an epidemic.  Teaching your kids to stop and smell the roses now can develop good habits of work/life balance that will carry them through life.
  • Nothing leads to Boring Homeschool Syndrome faster than being a slave to a routine.  These ‘just for fun’ holidays provide the perfect break from your typical days.

How

  • Pick one ‘just for fun’ holiday to celebrate each month.  If you want to, pick a few!
  • On your special day, center your activities around that theme.  So, on Mad Hatter Day you could make hats, watch Alice in Wonderland, and have a tea party.
  • Explore the history of the holiday and why it was created.  Use the library, internet articles, and YouTube videos.

 

Make This a Fun Homeschooling Year

Don’t let your family suffer from Boring Homeschool Syndrome.  Take some time this year to embrace the silly, the whimsical, and the joyful.  Use holidays throughout the year to show your kids that you can have a great time while learning.

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