Many school boards have a policy against homework over the holidays or on any days of significance, yet, despite this, many teachers do indeed assign traditional, tiresome assignments that kids must scramble to complete the day before school reunites. And every year, I have several parents who request work for the break, perhaps envisioning endless bored-kid hours to fill. This year has been more stressful than most and your kids (and you!) deserve a break.
Here’s my advice for the perfect holiday homework:
Throw out any actual homework assigned for the school that seems the least bit tedious or stress-producing. Cite the school board’s policy or send a note for the first day back, explaining that you were all taking a break and homework will be looked at again in the New Year. The holidays are a time for students to rest and recharge. Let that happen without twenty math problems and an incomplete social studies report hanging over their head.
Bake something together! Given the chance, most kids love to help in the kitchen (although maybe not so much with the clean up). Let your child research an inspiring recipe or introduce them to a family favourite. Have the kids write an ingredient list and help you shop. Children will love spending time with you and will be proud of what they create in the end. There is a ton of learning that goes along with baking - math, literacy, life skills, planning and time management - not to mention a delicious treat to enjoy together for days to come.
Teach your kids about your traditions. I don’t mean the historical significance of Christmas or Chanukah customs from ancient times - although if those stories are important to you, then by all means, include them. What I’m talking about is help your kids connect with their family history. Tell them the story of how Grandma made the angel on top of the tree, or how you celebrated as a child. Let them know about the time Uncle Mike drank too much eggnog and knocked over the tree (when it seems age-appropriate, of course). Relate the tale of their first Christmas and flip through old pictures. Sharing your family history and the stories that mean the most to you, help kids feel connected and rooted.
Play together. Play board games, play card games, play in the snow. Sure, your kids will gain mathematical and problem-solving skills, but more importantly, you all just may have some great fun together. Family fun leads to more confident kids, which boosts success in school.
Let your kids enjoy some quiet time on their own. The holidays are a time to take a break. Give your kids a chance to relax on their own - reading books, building elaborate Minecraft worlds, sketching their dream house, sleeping in - however they like to pass their time. We all need to learn to enjoy our own company and revel in the downtime. Give your kids time and space to find and pursue their own passions.
Holidays should not equal homework; they should be a well-deserved, much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The best homework for your kids this season involves spending time together, having fun, eating delicious food and sharing a laugh. Your A+ holiday homework is simply to let go of the stress and the over-scheduling and to relax together with those you love most.