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3 Reasons Not to “Do School” in December

Lately I’ve heard from lots of homeschooling moms who wonder if they should take off the entire month of December because of their busy holiday schedules.  They are a bit overwhelmed trying to do school, handle the house and laundry and all of those things that must be done on a regular basis all year round  as well as take care of so many holiday-related responsibilities.  It is my honest opinion that it’s perfectly fine to take off December if you want or need to do so!  There are lots of things that your children can learn during the holidays even without doing regular school work.

First of all, our children need to learn to love and care for others.  What better way could we teach them than to let them see us doing those very things?  If we are too busy with school to do things with or for others during this holiday season, then we definitely need to make some changes!

I think of it this way:  One of my main reasons for homeschooling my children is to teach them to be Christians who make a difference in the world.  Sure they need to be well educated.  But, as I’ve mentioned before, I’d rather they be good Christians than good students if I had to choose one or the other.

Second, there really are lots of things that our children can continue learning as we do our regular holiday activities.   Christmas shopping provides a wonderful opportunity to have our children (especially older kids) practice skills such as making price comparisons and budgeting.  These skills are often neglected, and your children will definitely benefit from learning them at a young age!  If I’d had some practice at those before I got married, it could have kept my husband and me from making some very unwise financial decision during the first few years of our marriage.

Our children could help with grocery shopping and meal planning.  (And this is another area in which they could practice making  price comparisons and budgeting!)  This is will not only benefit you right now, but it will also be a wonderful skill for them to have when they get married and have their own families one day.

They can help with baking and delivering holiday treats to friends and neighbors.  One of my younger daughter’s favorite things to do each year at Christmas is help me make a gingerbread house.  She’s not only having fun, but she’s also using her imagination and creativity!  It’s great “exercise” for our brains to be creative and artistic.  And of course baking and cooking can turn into a great chance to use those math skills!

Third, being with the family and working together on holiday activities, traveling, or taking care of whatever other responsibilities we have is a good time for our children to work with us and their siblings to foster a closer relationship with each other.  I’ve been talking to my children lately about the fact that God put each of us in this family for a reason.  He wants us to be a team.  He wants us to love and support each other.  Whether we’re doing holiday cleaning, cooking, buying gifts, decorating the Christmas tree, wrapping presents, or attending church or community Christmas events, we should support each other and work as a team.  This is a perfect time to talk about those skills and then practice them!

If you look at it this way, you’re not really taking the month of December off at all.  You’re just doing a different kind of teaching and learning, and that’s a good thing!

Do you take December off from formal school?   Tell us why you do or don’t take this month off. What other kinds of activities do you keep busy doing instead?

NOTE:  photo above from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Wendy

Wendy

HHM co-owner and owner/writer at Homeschooling Blessings
Wendy lives in the South with her wonderful hubby and 3 great kiddos! She is a Christian, homeschooling, work-from-home mom. She and Scott were high school sweethearts and have been married for more than 20 years. Her oldest child has autism, and Wendy began homeschooling her at age 2. Her son, a typical boy, would rather do anything than school! Her youngest child is a little social butterfly and people lover. Wendy loves reading and quilting and will hopefully return to scrapbooking some time soon.
Wendy
Wendy

Comments

  1. We are not taking the entire month off because we need the routine days of school. This past year we had many many non-routine days because my husband had a heart-transplant. Too many of those days make life hard, so we’re enjoying the comfort of having routine in our days. That said, we’re stopping formal schooling December 14 because we also want time to enjoy the season. During our break we will bake, make ornaments, prepare for hosting a large family celebration, and simply rest. In my experience, it’s all about balance and what works for your specific family this specific year.

    • Becca, I hope your husband is doing well after having had his heart transplant. It’s no wonder that your school routine was off last year! Some years we go ahead and do school for the first couple of weeks or so of December. Other years we take the whole month off. It’s a wonderful advantage of homeschooling to be able to tailor our schedules to work best for our particular family! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Valerie Reeder says:

    We start back school the first week of August in order to take all of December off. :)

  3. WOW!! What a great idea, public schools usually take the last week and a half off and they haven’t done nearly as much as a Homeschooler. We tend to begin to double up on some subjects right after Thanksgiving up until the tenth, then stop with our traditional way and do some of the things you mentioned, making homemade cards and gifts and baking and caroling and practicing those great math skills when shopping . Great article, Merry Christmas!!

  4. Beth Jones says:

    I wish I read this before I had already decided to take the month off, maybe I wouldn’t have felt as badly (although we are continuing in some small areas where the kids had fallen behind.) Our major reasons (including yours above) are we do tons of crafts, cookies, and making our own present. My son wrote a short novel for someone, and although I have to proofread it and help him with some of it, I feel like if he wants to write a novel, why should I force him to write a 5 paragraph essay? Plus he made someone a pillow and learned how to sew. Today my daughter is learning how to make earrings for presents, and we’ll be making potholders this week, too! It may not be typical school but we’ll be able to focus on making gifts and spending our reading time with Christmas books, singing, etc… Thanks!

    • Beth, that sounds great! Yes, often when we give our children “time off,” they spend it much more creatively and learn so much! I hope you and your family have a wonderful December and a merry Christmas. :)

  5. I’d love to take December off but that’s to an uncommonly large amount of doctor appointments I already feel like I’m so far behind what I had mapped out for the year. We’re two weeks behind to be exact and it’s making me feel like a total failure. This is only our second year homeschooling and I know that there are always setbacks but I have a highschooler. There’s this sense of urgency and importance in getting everything right and on a schedule. How do you guys handle when you can’t keep up with the plan?

    • Erin, I understand that sense of urgency. I have 2 high schoolers and a 5th grader. I feel like I still have plenty of time with my 5th grader, but the other 2 not nearly as much! Two weeks isn’t so bad, though. I hope you won’t feel like a failure! Kids in schools NEVER finish their books each year! I don’t know of one single child in school who ever actually finished an entire book. (Not that we are trying to keep the same standards as the schools do. I do think our standards should be higher. I say this, though, just to say that your kids are already getting more than they would if they were in school somewhere.)

      One thing I do when we fall behind is simply double up some days. Or we might simply do an extra science lesson every day one week and an extra history lesson each day another week. Occasionally we decide to do school on a day that we would have otherwise been off. I’d encourage you to try not to be discouraged and to just see where you can make up some classes here and there. As you homeschool over the years, you’ll learn not to let small setbacks discourage you. I think most new homeschooling moms feels so much more pressure!

      Blessings to you and your family! Please stop by the Hip Homeschool Moms Facebook page to ask any questions or ask for suggestions if we can help you!

      Wendy

  6. I think on of the great advantages about homeschooling is being able to teach in seasons instead of periods. We can have a history day, or a science week, or even a home economics month. That more closely reflects real life anyway!

  7. When I read through the curriculum I got in the beginning of the year, I noticed that December was extremely light! I could not figure that out, until now! I do not remember last year being quite so busy but this year we have been nuts. I have to remind myself often that it is ok that we are not officially schooling everyday. Thank you for another reminder. :)

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