Self Directed Learning During the Holidays

From the beginning of November until the end of December, our lives are filled with holidays and special occasions. In early November we celebrated our oldest daughter’s sweet sixteenth birthday. Thanksgiving is just nine days away, and we are cooking for the family this year. Then in December we have another birthday, our wedding anniversary, Christmas, and then New Years.
I always feel like we have to squeeze each of these special days into our lives between all of the daily lessons, chores, and extracurricular activities, Then not only do we feel rushed through the holidays, we also don’t really get much out of our studies since our minds are elsewhere. 

This year I’ve decided not to let the holidays pass us by. I want to cherish them to the fullest with my family. But at the same time, I cant officially take two whole months off of school.

Here’s my solution. Each child has a bucket that I have filled with some things like handwriting books, math pages, science experiments, books I’d like them to read, maps, counting blocks, piano books,sentence building cards, blank notebooks and more. It’s sort of like workboxes but with more choice.

Each day, I’m giving them a few guidelines and then letting them them choose what to work on. As they work through lessons in their buckets I will replace those with new ones. In this way, they take ownership of their learning, get work accomplished without zoning out, and we are all freed up to enjoy much of our time celebrating the holidays.

I know what you are thinking. What if they never choose math? My plan is to subtly suggest that they might want to get ahead and work on some math pages. Maybe they will. If not, we will do plenty of hands on measuring and fractions in the kitchen and money math as we shop and temperatures as the weather is changing, and… You get the idea, and the same goes for writing and reading. This will work for my elementary kids until January, and then we will pick up our formal studies again. (My high schooler is already self driven in her studies and is choosing to work on math and writing daily. She’s preparing for the ACT.)

The key to making this successful will be my being present, looking for ways to encourage them toward new things, cooking and shopping with them, including them in all of the holiday preparations and teaching them naturally occuring lessons along the way. And wasn’t spending time with my family and cherishing the holidays my goal in the first place? I’m looking forward to the holidays. How about you?

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