Homeschool Holidays

Celebrating homeschool holidays is a fun way to teach history and culture, but more importantly, it helps make great memories.

Growing up, my mom and I would make a heart shaped, 3-tier cake every year for Valentine's Day. She me gave the pan when my oldest was a preschooler, and now I make the cake with my children.

Begin creating your own holiday traditions. They promote family bonding, help parents pass along values, and give children something to look forward to and something to remember.

Keep your homeschool holiday celebrations simple and fun. Use inexpensive, easily attainable materials to keep projects from becoming overwhelming. I sometimes choose activities at a skill level that is slightly lower than my children's so I can get them started and let them make the project their own.

Tips for Homeschooling Holidays:

Homeschool holidays are a great time to learn about art, history and culture. Here are some tips for learning through the holidays:

  • Decorate your home using traditional symbols and colors. Make homemade decorations to save and use year after year.

  • Help your children express themselves and learn to be resourceful by encouraging them to make gifts to give to family members, neighbors and friends.

  • Give your children the gift of giving by looking for opportunities to serve children, the elderly, and others who are in need.

  • Prepare meals centered around a holiday theme. Serve heart shaped food for Valentine's Day. Serve green food on St. Patrick's Day. Host a soul food Sunday during African-American History Month. Learn about the history of the foods served at traditional holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving.

  • Wear traditional holiday colors, or dress in costumes from other cultures or time periods.

  • Read stories, memorize poems, tell jokes, sing songs, or watch related documentaries or TV specials.

  • Study the people, customs and history of the holiday. Learn about the celebrations of other cultures or ethnic groups.

  • Study related science topics. For example, Valentine's Day is a great time to study the heart. Halloween would be a great time to study night animals.

If your family has chosen not to celebrate certain homeschool holidays, provide an alternate activity. Be honest with your children about the reason you don't participate, but don't pass judgment on your neighbors.

Homeschool Holiday Activities

Here are some ideas for celebrating holidays. Follow the links provided for step by step instructions for homeschool holiday activities:

New Year's Day, January 1 - Reevaluate the past year and set goals for the new year. Make party decorations and throw New Year's Eve party. Study art, party planning, time and calendars. Also study other New Year's celebrations around the globe.

Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, 3rd Monday in January - Commemorates the birth of Martin Luther King Jr. Read and recite MLK's speeches or watch them over the internet. Study the history of nonviolent protest and the Civil Right's Movement.

Groundhog Day, February 2 - If the groundhog sees his shadow on this day, there will be six more weeks of bad weather. If the sky is overcast and the groundhog does not see his shadow, spring will soon arrive. Study weather, weather forecasting, superstitions, and wives' tales.

Valentine's Day, February 14 - Bring cheer to those in a nursing home or VA hospital. Study Cupid, the Roman god of love, and other Greek mythological figures.

President's Day, 3rd Monday in February - Commemorates George Washington's birthday and Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Study the lives and contributions of both presidents, and memorize some of their famous quotations and speeches.

Leap Year, February 29 - Study time, calendars throughout history and the Earth's rotation.

Saint Patrick's Day, March 17 - Study Ireland and Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Easter, Late March or Early April - Celebrates Christ's resurrection. Study Christianity and compare it to other major religions. Learn about the history and meanings of traditional Easter symbols.

April Fool's Day, April 1 - Read joke books and funny stories. Write jokes and comic strips. Develop public speaking skills by giving a stand up comedy performance.

Mother's Day, 2nd Sunday in May - Honor the women in your family. Study queens, famous women throughout history, and the women's suffrage movement.

Memorial Day, Last Monday in May - This day honors those who died in war. study the Civil War and Decoration day. Learn about other days of remembering the dead, such as the Festival of Lanterns in Japan and Dia de la Muerte in Mexico.

Father's Day, 3rd Sunday in June - Honor the men in your family. Learn about kings, famous heroes, and our country's founding fathers.

Independence Day, July 4 - Commemorates the signing of the Declaration of independence. Study the American Revolution and the United States flag. Sing patriotic songs and learn about our national symbols.

Labor Day, 1st Monday in September - This day honors working people. Learn more about the Industrial Revolution, workplace safety, child labor laws and labor unions.

Grandparent's Day, 1st Sunday after Labor Day - Make cards or gifts for grandparents. Study family history.

Columbus Day, October 12 - Commemorates the day Christopher Columbus reached America. Learn about famous explorers, oceans and sea travel.

Halloween, October 31 - Make your own costumes, and study sewing and drama. This is also a great time to learn about nocturnal animals.

Veteran's Day, November 11 - Commemorates the end of World War I. Visit a VA center or military cemetery. Study World War I.

Thanksgiving, 4th Thursday in November - Discuss gratitude. Find ways to serve others. Study the dress, food, customs, and surroundings of the Pilgrims and Native Americans.

Christmas, December 25 - Commemorates the birth of Jesus. Make your own decorations and prepare a special meal. Learn about the origins of holiday traditions and Christmas carols. Create special family traditions.

For pictures of my family's homeschool holiday celebrations, check out my homeschool blog.

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