Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Homeschool For The Holidays

In our home we have traditions and rituals for the holidays like everyone else. Of course, most of them were started “for the children,” but over time I think I began looking forward to them even more than the kids did. This year promises to be our most exciting holiday season yet! Not only are we getting ready to celebrate but I’m also now homeschooling all three of my children.

Homeschooling offers a whole new perspective to everything we do. Suddenly, watching baby birds hatch becomes a lesson in Animal Science, measuring the ingredients for zucchini bread becomes a Math and Chemistry lesson, and preparing for the holidays becomes a homeschooling parent’s dream come true. To us, this time of year is like a huge study unit just waiting to be explored.

Everything we do this holiday season will hold even more meaning than usual. We won’t just be doing things, we’ll also be learning why we are doing them. Celebrating Winter Solstice will lead to lessons on Weather, Geography, and the History behind it. My children will “meet” ancient cultures and understand why the day meant so much to them.

Around Christmas my children will again have a lesson in History as they are told of that day’s origins and the meshing of traditions. Hopefully they will also develop an appreciation and understanding of other religions.

Even our decorated tree will hold its own lesson. On it will hang one ornament for every year of each child’s life. As we put them on the tree we always discuss what year they received them and why they chose that particular one at the time. In place of bright plastic garlands we will make colorful paper chains to symbolize the links that bind us together and strings of popcorn just for fun. Each ornament and decoration holds special meaning to us and by homeschooling I’m able to make them even more meaningful.

So this year after we finish reading “The Polar Express” on Christmas Eve (like we have for eight years now) we will reflect on all we’ve learned and then start our next and favorite lesson: The lesson of family, love and togetherness.

What lessons are you teaching your children this year?