Are you on winter break yet? I hope so! Taking a break from our normal routines help us regroup and be re-energized. I always take several weeks off of homeschooling my children during the winter. We use that time to make crafts, bake cookies and do holiday things like watching movies and seeing family. I personally believe that those things are just as important as the school work we will pick up again in January. Why? Let me tell you about the value of all of those things.
1. Watch Holiday Movies.
Why am I advocating watching something instead of doing something? Movies are a great touch point for children learning to understand pop-culture and give us a peek into what life is like for others. Watching old movies gives children a touch point for history. Seeing movies where people had only a radio and no television is a great start to talking about how technology has changed so much over recent years. Discussion about family, traditions, and geography have all been a result of watching a holiday movie at my house.
2. Make Cookies.
Baking with a child is priceless. Most kids can’t help but be happy about having a sweet treat to eat, and if you can make extras to share with friends and family, all the better. Children who struggle with school work can be proud of the accomplishment of making something themselves that is a hit. You can also work in some of those school skills, by having your child help read the directions, measure the ingredients and figure out how many treats will be left to share if you eat a few. For some reason, division is much more meaningful when you are discussing how many cookies each child can have.
Since our children have some food allergies, we will be making Rice Krispie Treats and fudge instead of cookies this year, but I have no doubt that the children will be happy about it anyway.
3. Create Crafts.
I adore crafts for the skills they build. To make even a simple craft the child has to follow directions, use fine motor skills and pay attention to what they are doing. The ability to focus and create something of beauty is extremely valuable and translates into work ethic in other situations. I like to get craft kits to make ornaments to go in our own home or to gift to grandparents. This is one way to have the children make a craft that I don’t have to worry about whether to keep or throw away. I just put the child’s name and year on them and pack them away to put on our tree year after year. My kids get to see their art hung up and enjoyed and it has a function.
4. Visit friends and family.
As a homeschooler, I don’t worry much about socialization. I know the word gets more play than it deserves. However, I also know that I can get heads down on school work and not make enough time to just see our friends and family. Children need those connections with others to feel safe in the world. Knowing there are other people, beyond your mom and dad, who care about you and wish you the best is good for their mental health.
So visit friends and family and let school work wait. Go for broke and while with them make some cookies together!
Enjoy your holidays and when you re-start in January you will have a renewed sense of purpose! Your child and you will not be “behind”… you will be happier and healthier for taking a break.
If you are using a curriculum that makes you feel behind, throw it out and try one of ours. You don’t need that stress. They only get one childhood. Enjoy it!
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About the Author
Laura Sowdon, OTR/L is an occupational therapist, writer, speaker, educator and creator of the Five Senses Literature Lessons homeschool curriculum. She has worked as an occupational therapist with children in public and private schools, as well as private practice. Laura has taught and managed homeschool co-ops as well as homeschooling her own three children. Laura is dedicated to the idea of educating children at a pace that aligns with brain and physical development milestones and respects neurodiversity in all its forms.