Additional studies can involve practical living and community. There are many ways to help during the Christmas season, and getting your child involved with an act of compassion is a wonderful way to teach character. Of course, food is a staple at this time, and there are many tasty recipes to choose from. Think of the elderly and widowed or those without family. You can take cookies or shovel a walkway or driveway. Learn to knit and make a blanket for a pregnancy center to give to a new mom, or make mittens for the homeless. You can volunteer to serve a meal at a homeless shelter or offer to babysit for a couple with young children so they can get their preparations done without little eyes watching!

Learning the history behind the holidays through mini unit studies allows for a break from our regular studies and gives children something to look forward to. It also gives us a better understanding of the holidays we celebrate annually and offers an opportunity to develop new traditions that will create memories to come!    

Federal Holidays

Holidays that are shared in one way or another by many countries around the world are called national holidays. In the United States, these are designated as “federal” holidays. In the United States, we have ten federal holidays:

  • New Year’s Day January 1
  • Martin Luther King Day Third Monday in January
  • President’s Day   Third Monday in February
  • Memorial Day Last Monday in May
  • Independence Day July 4
  • Labor Day First Monday in September
  • Columbus Day Second Monday in October
  • Veterans Day November 11
  • Thanksgiving Day Fourth Thursday in November
  • Christmas Day December 25

Ed and Amy Pak have been homeschooling their four children since 1996, establishing Home School in the Woods in 2002. With their younger sons still in high school, they employ their oldest children, Jaron and Hayley, full time. Their focus is developing a love of learning history through hands-on materials. To view their “History of Holidays” Activity-Study, visit

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Publication date: July 4, 2013