Homeschooling through the holidays can be a challenge! We’re all ready for a break and we have to balance the need to keep learning with our desire to slow down, relax more, and make holiday memories with our families. Not to mention all the crazy holiday schedules we sign ourselves up for at this time of year.
My approach to homeschooling through the holidays is definitely all about slowing down and spending lots of time together making memories. Learning happens naturally during the holidays as we play games together, learn new skills (gingerbread houses anyone?), and read awesome books together.
This year, I got an idea while doing our holiday shopping. Keep reading to discover my favorite new interest-led learning project for the holiday season. You don’t want to miss this!
What if I told you it’s possible to enjoy the holidays, relax as a family, and build deep connections with your kids all while homeschooling? Yes, it can be done! Let me share our secret to successfully homeschooling during the holidays without giving up any of the family fun.
Homeschooling During the Holidays
Homeschooling during the holidays is different. The kids are filled with holiday treats and anticipation. You’ve got a busy schedule and somewhere in there, you’ve got to find time for Christmas shopping and making memories with your kids to last a lifetime.
Following my approach to holiday homeschooling is a great way to slow down and enjoy the season with your whole family. Plus, you’ll still be learning so much from exciting Christmas stories and holiday games. This year, I added something new and I can’t wait to share this new holiday math project with you!
Our Approach to Holiday Homeschooling
If you’ve been following the Waldock Way for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of an interest-led approach to homeschooling. Interest-led learning focuses on following our daughter, Emily, by shaping our lessons and unit studies around her interests and passions. In this way, we’re creating a lifelong love of learning as she dives deep into the topics she’s fascinated by like astronomy, survival, and even Harry Potter.
During the holidays, we slow it down and focus on fun Christmas activities like reading good books and playing games with learning built in. This year I decided to add some project-based learning to squeeze in real-world math practice and important lessons about making decisions, the spirit of giving, and managing a budget.
Real-world Learning with Project-Based Homeschooling
What is project-based homeschooling? It’s all about combining interest-led learning with projects that encourage complex learning and diving deep into subjects that matter to your homeschooler. Real-world projects give your homeschooler the reins as they work on things that really matter to them with you there for support along the way.
Through real-world learning, homeschoolers can discover their passions and build self-confidence as they work to tackle important questions and problems in a safe environment. Games are a great first step to real-world learning and projects are the logical next step. Check out our new Christmas shopping math project to learn more about how we’re learning through projects this holiday season.
Our Christmas Shopping Math Project
In this Christmas shopping math project, your homeschoolers will get to do some of their favorite things! They will get to go shopping, purchase gifts, and wrap the holiday presents too.
I have fond memories of being given some money and turned loose at the dollar store to purchase gifts for grandparents, aunts, and uncles. I was given some guidance, but for the most part, I was allowed to choose what to gift these loved ones. Along the way, I learned important lessons about saving some of my dollars for the unavoidable tax at the end and how to choose a gift that the recipient might actually want to receive.
This year, I’m reviving that fond memory and turning it into a project-based learning opportunity for Emily. She will purchase real gifts for some of the family members and friends on our shopping list this year while staying on budget and accounting for things like tax, gift wrap, and more. She’s excited about helping with the Christmas shopping and I’m excited about all the real-world math learning.
Christmas Shopping Project Rules
First, I had to set some ground rules. I didn’t just hand our daughter $75 and set her free. I set some guidelines to support her in her holiday math adventure.
- Purchase presents for all 6 people on your list and stay within budget.
- Account for taxes, shipping, and associated costs like wrapping paper and gift bags.
- Think about what the person on your list would like to receive. Asking for suggestions and talking about your ideas with someone else is encouraged.
- Learn to shop around by checking multiple stores for the items you wish to purchase.
This project led to so many fun opportunities to apply real-world math. We answered the “Do I really need to know how to do this?” question thoroughly! Here’s a peek at some of the math equations we did along the way:
- Adding the amounts spent on individual gifts to determine how much was spent
- Adding tax and shipping costs to the listed price of the item to determine the total cost
- Subtracting savings from coupons and 20% off sales on certain items
- Subtracting the cost of items purchased from the total budget
- Multiplying costs on items purchased more than once. (Example: We purchased 3 plants from the holiday market all priced at $10 each.)
- Division to determine how many packages of shirt boxes or gift bags would be needed for wrapping presents.
In the end, we had so much fun! Emily loved that she got to participate in purchasing gifts for the people she loves. Plus, she learned a lot about how to set a budget and shop for the holidays, a skill she will use all her life. That’s what real-world learning is all about! This Christmas, we put down the workbooks, stepped away from the curriculum, and we still learned a lot!