Counting Holiday Homeschool Days

How do you count holiday homeschool days? Do you take a break completely? Plan ahead or play it by ear? What works for you when it comes to homeschooling during the holidays? Read these tips from a veteran homeschool mom to help you find what works best for you.

holiday homeschool days

Holiday Homeschool Days

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons, everyone is busy, and homeschool families are no exception. Since we’re in charge of our own schedules, we do have the freedom to just carry on with the same school routines we have the rest of the year, or take an extended break and set schoolwork aside during the holidays. But most families are looking for a balance, a way to enjoy lots of special events and activities while making the school days count.

My own family does take plenty of time off this time of year, but unless we are traveling, I leave our basic school routine alone. It’s not fool-proof by any means, but I plan ahead for a slowdown during the holidays, so that when we get back to the books in January, we’re usually not far off the pace. The total number of days that we can count as school is lower in December, but we do try to make those days count!

  • Plan your school calendar with the holidays in view. Okay, it’s too late for this year if you haven’t already done this, but write yourself a reminder for next year. If you do some version of a year round schedule, you probably are already set for the extra time off you might want to take in December. But even those of us who use a calendar a little more like the traditional school year can plan ahead to allow extra downtime between Thanksgiving and New Years. We sometimes start the school year a bit early, and I always push the schedule pretty hard in September and October, because I know all those Christmas extras are coming. By getting in a little extra early in the year, we can buy some breathing room for holiday activities and fun.
  • Relax and enjoy. I stopped beating myself up years ago about sticking to a full five-day school routine during this busiest season of the year. I used to think we could at least get in four days during Thanksgiving week, taking only Thursday off, but NO. We have a family activity on Wednesday night every year, so I’ve learned to plan on taking the afternoon off from school, and even though I rarely go Black Friday shopping, I don’t plan on doing school that day either. We might; we might not; and either is okay. It all evens out.
  • Study the season. Especially with younger children, the seasonal activities and traditions can lead to wonderful educational opportunities that spark their joy and interest. We still take a day off our regular schoolwork to participate in our homeschool group’s Christmas Craft Breakfast, for example. It’s a get-together that gives kids a chance to create decorations and gifts, and older kids can teach and help younger ones. How about replacing your regular history lesson with a mini-unit on St Nicholas Day during the first week of December? Or learning about Christmas traditions around the world for Geography and Social Studies? And then there are all the opportunities to do art projects or music studies! Even Christmas baking and holiday menu plans can provide starting points for learning.
  • Adjust your calendar for your family’s needs. If you have your big family get-together scheduled for Thanksgiving week or the week before Christmas, for example, that’s when you need your break from school. Be flexible and enjoy the fact that you can take charge over your school calendar and your family calendar!

Above all, enjoy family time during the holidays. Whether you’re creating new traditions or continuing your family’s time-honored ways of celebrating, make the holidays your time to be together and store up joyful memories. Count your blessings and your moments together. You can count school days and catch up on the grading in January, when I do!

You can also read about our relaxed approach to homeschooling through the holidays for more ideas!

Our favorite Christmas unit study:

Our favorite Thanksgiving unit study:

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One Comment

  1. We set science aside and I added a Christmas Unit Study, along with Virtual Field Trips. Other than that, we are full steam ahead. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

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