As a homeschool mom of over 15 years and a speaker at homeschool conferences, one of the questions I hear most often is “how do I plan out our homeschool day?” Finding a successful homeschool schedule and routine is at the top of every homeschool parents’ wish list, mine included! It’s hard enough to get into a good rhythm during the fall, but during the holiday season, it often feels impossible! In my years of homeschooling I’ve learned that discovering a good winter homeschool schedule is all about setting priorities and letting go. Here’s how to find a winter homeschool schedule that works for you!
How to Create a Workable Winter Homeschool Schedule
When I consider how busy our November-December often is with programs, traveling, holiday fun, etc. it’s hard to imagine how we’re going to accomplish what we do August-October. And, the simple answer is, we’re not! That is, we won’t if we want to experience the fun of the holidays, which we do. Holiday homeschool schedules should be focused on the important stuff and enjoying the holiday season with your family. That being said, we do still have to homeschool and get some work done or risk being totally off course come January.
Often the key to creating a great homeschool schedule is knowing when to work and when to play. During November-December, we focus on our core subjects in the morning during key blocks of time. Using this learning style assessment I discovered what time of day each of my kids accomplishes the most work, which happens to be during the morning! So, I block out 3 hours, 4 mornings to devote to our core studies including math, science, language arts, and history.
I pace more slowly and focus on getting about ¾ of the work we normally get done in a week accomplished. Why? Because distractions happen, especially during the holidays! And, we only work 4 days a week and often take Friday or Monday off to enjoy time together. The holiday season is all about making memories that your family will cherish and pass down to the next generation. That’s why we homeschool, after all, isn’t it? To create a legacy of family togetherness and unity?
The holidays are such a special time that I want to make them an integral part of our homeschool schedule and integrate them into what we’re doing each day. All it takes is a little planning and letting go of the normal to-do list, replacing it with a much abbreviated and holiday oriented one!
First, I sit down with the kids and we create our holiday season bucket list. What do we want to do? Where do we want to go? How can we serve others this year? We get a good list going as a family, and then I do the harder work of planning it out and making it tie into our homeschooling.
The afternoons of our homeschooling day are filled with fun, enriching seasonal activities that coincide with our arts and extra-curricular plans. We bake Nana’s cookies (and learn a little about fractions and chemistry), decorate the house, prepare meals for our church food pantry, etc. Ornament making and decorating certainly counts as art class. Listening to Christmas carols and researching their authors and history provide ample music history for the month.
By allowing our core subjects to be completed in the morning and saving blocks of time in the afternoon, we’re able to enjoy all the holiday season has to offer while still maintaining a workable homeschool schedule. By January we’ll be on track, having not lost any ground, and be ready to dig back into our normal 5 day a week routine. Creating a winter homeschool schedule that works for you is all about making choices about what you want to accomplish and how much time you want to devote to the holidays. For us, Christmas takes front seat as we celebrate, fellowship, and marvel at the amazing gift God gave us over 2,000 years ago.