Teaching when there are images of candy, presents, and time with cousins, bouncing around in your kid's head can be worse than difficult. I remember how hard it was to focus during this time of the year, when I was in school. As a parent I have the added stress of making Santa decisions, decorating the house, completing all the activities on the calendar, and since we home school, teaching the kids. We cannot afford to lose a month of school.
So, what have I learned?
1. Be realistic. You are not going to teach on Christmas Eve. Seriously, when you plan the year make sure you create time for school and the holidays. Make a written note of how long it took you to decorate the house, bake cookies for the neighbors, buy presents, or whatever you do for the holidays. Then when you create the school calendar, for the following year, you will know exactly how many days to take off, during the holidays in December.
2. I find that the kids really enjoy doing work that has a festive feel to it. If you can add Christmas or Chanukah lessons to your history program, do it. I also like to print out holiday school pages. Here are a few links I recommend.
3. Station Lessons - This is one of my favorite ways to pack in some learning for elementary age children. I have not figured out how to make this work for junior or senior high students.
I place four different subjects for the same child around our dining room table. They get 15 minutes to finish the assignment and then move to the next subject/chair. Make sure and use a timer. For each one that they complete they receive two Starbursts or 15 cents. They really like receiving money, for gift buying this time of the year. This works to get them focused and complete work in a very timely fashion.
So, what do you do to stay focused with school lessons during this festive time of the year?