The summer heat is blazing, but it’s never too early to think about how to jazz up your curriculum in the coming school year. Why not plan ahead to celebrate the holidays?
By holidays, I mean all American holidays, not just Christmas. Don’t overlook Labor Day, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving in the fall; Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, and Valentines Day in the winter; and St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Memorial Day in the spring. The holidays can bring both excitement and learning to your homeschool.
I know the holidays are easy to overlook in homeschooling. There is math and grammar to be finished, handwriting to be practiced—not to mention the piles of laundry and dishes. The holidays can seem like just one more thing to tack onto an already a huge amount of work.
But celebrating the holidays is worth it. Here are 5 benefits that the holidays can bring.
1. Holidays Help Students Learn History
There are rich histories behind each of our holidays. Unfortunately, many of these rich histories are not taught in schools. Do you know that Labor Day came out of a Pullman railroad strike? Do you know why we observe a moment of silence at 11 o’clock a.m. on Veterans Day? Do you know what the Pilgrims really ate on the first Thanksgiving? Many people do not. But dig a little deeper into each of the holidays, and you will discover some fascinating people, events, and facts.
2. Holidays Break Up the Homeschool RoutineIt is easy to sink into the homeschooling doldrums. The shine of new schoolbooks soon wears off. Erasers wear down. Crayons break into pieces. If your homeschool is anything like mine, complaining about math flashcards and sentence diagramming will rapidly ensue. Marking the holidays is a great way to break the homeschool routine. A special meal or baking project—we do waffles served on china and a special red tablecloth for Valentines Day breakfast—or project or craft can really get your kids excited and back into the groove of learning.
3. Holidays Help Students to Get Involved
Too often, our kids' learning is limited to the walls of our home and the words of the curriculum we purchased. But the best learning—hands-on learning—takes place outside of our homes. The holidays are a great time to help students get involved in the world beyond. For example, Veterans Day is a great time to serve those who have served our country. Memorial Day is the perfect occasion to visit a local war memorial to learn more about a foreign war and the people who served in it. Martin Luther King Day is a great time to do a community service project. The opportunities for getting involved are limitless!
4. Holidays Instill Shared Culture and Values
Holidays are about togetherness. They are about shared values and traditions. They are about uniquely American values and what makes our country great. The holidays can really bring these values home to students. Thanksgiving is a great time to learn about freedom of religion in the New World. Martin Luther King Day highlights the struggle for equality. Memorial Day shows how some have given all to preserve democracy.
5. Holidays Help Families Make Memories
One of the goals of our homeschool is to make memories. When our curriculum is not working and the kids are bored, I know I need to refocus on our goal of making memories. The holidays are perfect for memory-making. Stringing popcorn for the Christmas tree together, crafting valentines together, participating in a service project together—these are all great ways to make memories as a family.
So, consider intentionally marking the holidays in your homeschool this year. The little extra effort will be worth it!
Posted by: Jill