The word “holiday” universally means a day in which an event is commemorated, a day when the usual is suspended for rest or celebration. Reasons to celebrate holidays are many and may hold special significance for entire groups of people of numerous locales, cultures, and beliefs. When referring to “the holidays” it is that time in midwinter and stretching into the new year when many are paying tribute to their religious beliefs, some are paying tribute to their individual traditions. For some, it can be a reverent time infused by acts of reflection, introspection, or rest. For others it’s a season for social gatherings and celebrations, and perhaps even for sightings of bearded jolly ol’ souls in red suits.
Before the lingering evidence of halloween has been cleared from the store counters we begin to see signs of “the holidays” to come. We notice window displays in our favorite shops taking on green and red hues, a decorated tree here and there. By December 1st we see the indicators of celebration (and in every way we could choose to celebrate!) in full regalia everywhere we go. They are found in our local grocery store, Costco, Target, downtown, and even in our schools. Coincidentally, and contrary to the base meaning of “holiday” – observed days of rest and recreation – our stress levels begin to rise.
As we embark on the month of December, regardless of how you celebrate or even if you celebrate this time of year, we encourage you take a moment and reflect on the learning opportunities that are presenting themselves to us. As homeschool parents you use every learning tool at your disposal and we’d like to share these suggestions with you:
- When at the grocery store buying items for holiday meals enlist your school aged children to comparison shop by finding the best deals.
- While at the mall, doing some last minute shopping share with them your traditions and pass on your values of the holiday or season.
- Discuss ways to give and ways to fill up other people’s buckets through giving.
- Allow your preschooler and kindergarten student to wrap those gifts, a perfect opportunity to refine their motor skills.
Everywhere we look we have problem solving situations, signs to read, math computations, choosing the right size box for the perfect gift. Preparing holiday meals (after the earlier cost comparisons at the grocery store) can be a great learning opportunity for our kids, reading and following instructions, measuring, mixing and more! There are art projects in the form of presents to wrap and creativity with holiday cards or homemade gifts. These teachable moments are around every turn and allow your children to contribute to, as well as enjoy the celebration.
The month of December can be full of learning and creativity and it can also be full of stress and anxiety. Let’s, all of us, try to expand on the former and limit the latter (stress and anxiety) as much as possible.
It is our greatest wish that each of you take a bit of time for yourself to recharge for the upcoming year.
We at the Innovative Education Management Family wish all of you and your families a happy holiday season! We’ll see you back in 2016.