1. Read Aloud Together
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This is the number one, all-time greatest
thing to do together as a family.
this time as relaxed and enjoyable as
possible, but stop to explain or discuss
items that come up.
a special book to read during your break that
will keep the interest of all family members.
or take turns reading, with expression and at
a slightly slower pace.
An alternative is to listen
together (at home or in the car) to an audio
recording of good literature, such as those
from your local library or Sing
'n Learn, Jim
Hodges Audio Books, or Vision
2. Play Board Games & Do Puzzles
For an electronic-free evening, turn off
the TV, video, computer, etc. Clear
the table, pop some corn (see six pages of flavored
popcorn recipes), and get out board games
Board games and puzzles provide time for
all your family to visit, interact, and have
Before your scheduled game time, check
your local thrift shop for games and puzzles
at one-tenth the price you would pay for them
new. Check the box and count the game
pieces; if pieces are missing, buy a second
game and still save eighty percent. If
the rules are missing, you can find them free
Homeschoolopoly, the ultimate homeschool
game, and also look for time-tested family
games such as Scrabble, Checkers, Chess,
Chinese Checkers, Boggle, Dominoes, Password,
Bible Trivia, Outburst, Upwords, Pictionary,
and Uno (see All
Games for Fun!). Two of our new
games are Bananagrams
Our extended family thoroughly enjoys a
rousing game (it gets that way!) of
Pictionary or Password when we get together
at Thanksgiving or Christmas. We
abandon the board part of these games, and
everyone, youngest to oldest, takes turns
pulling out a card and giving the clues.
Play one of the versions of charades
for a more dramatic or active game.
3. Take a Walk
In the winter, when we are not outside as
much, a walk is even more special. You
might need to check the weather report to see
when you can plan to go out for a walk
Besides being an excellent form of
exercise, walking along, removed from the
scene of your daily life, you can get a
different perspective and a unique
opportunity to visit with your children in an
Having this time to talk things through in
a nonstressful time and place can greatly
benefit your relationship with your
child. Really listen to your child; ask
about his interests and what he is thinking
4. Cook & Bake Together
Have you always wanted to make bread with
your family? Pick an afternoon, have
all the ingredients on hand, and just do
it! You might even have some extra
read-aloud time while it is rising.
video demonstrating bread making, healthy
bread recipes, or order "The Art of
Breadmaking" DVD from Franklin
Springs Family Media.
you regularly bake all your own bread, try
something else that you have always wanted to
a special meal — double it and take it
to someone in need! Or take some of
your fresh homemade baked goods to share with
a neighbor or shut-in.
to make some ethnic foods. See recipes
cuisines by region, world
cuisine, or more ethnic
another like-minded family to join you for
your special meal (or any meal, an activity,
or a day). When like-minded
home-school families spend time together,
they provide needed support and encouragement
for the whole family.
family might also like to work together one
afternoon cooking ahead for your next school
quarter. If you don't do the complete
meal package, just cooking and freezing meat
to add to your regular recipes can save you a
lot of time in the weeks to come. See
5. Visit the Lonely
Take a few hours during your break to
reach out to others. Is there an
elderly relative or shut-in whose life you
could brighten with a visit?
Although your presence, smile, and
listening ear is often enough, a small
practical gift, photo, or flowers permit your
visit to linger after you are gone.
Be sure to offer the love, joy, peace, and
hope of our Lord in your words. It is
appropriate to ask if they would like you to
read some Scripture, sing a hymn, and pray
with them as well.
6. Out with the Old
No, we don't want to unclutter the whole
house. Just spend a few hours one
afternoon on one small area voted by your
family as the one they would most like to see
Use the four-box method: throw away, give
away, put away, and store away. Maybe
you can do this before your rewarding game
night and take your giveaways to the thrift
store when you go to look for games and
Even one little spot of improved order can
be very encouraging and make you feel like
you accomplished enough to sit down and enjoy
7. Arts and Crafts
Perhaps your younger ones need something
to keep them busy while you are baking.
It takes just a few minutes to mix up a
playdough or dough art recipe that will keep
them busy for hours.
See the best Playdough
recipe, a basic Dough
Art recipe and instruction for keepsake
ornaments, and Morton Salt's "Dough
It Yourself" Handbook (42 pages, free
You could also do some of those other
messy, time-consuming art projects you don't
have time for during your school days.
8. Go for a Drive or a Day Trip
Anyone can gain a fresh perspective from a
change of scenery, but for us who are "city
folks" by necessity, it is especially
refreshing to drive through the
countryside. You, like we, might also
like to listen to books on tape some of the
time along the way, such as Dickens'
Is there a little shop or park that you
pass by and never have time to stop and
explore? Take an afternoon off to do
those things. Or visit a museum or
historical home that might be decorated for
9. Shop the Sales
Would you like to save 40-50% or more on
needed (that's the key word here) items that
are on sale after Christmas?
If you haven't arranged your budget to
take advantage of these tremendous savings
this year, take a few hours to check them out
anyway and see if it would be worthwhile to
do so next year.
One large family we know used to wait to
shop for gifts for their family until after
Christmas when they got more for less.
It was a family tradition to receive their
gifts on New Year's instead of Christmas, and
it worked very well for them.
10. Give Each Family Member
As important and enjoyable as family
togetherness is, everyone needs a little time
alone once in a while.
your children some personal free time to
follow their own interests. They might
enjoy a whole day or afternoon off to catch
up on a hobby or do something they haven't
had time to do.
caught up on your rest.
some writing just for fun and pleasure to
record your thoughts and memories.
(A little free time each day is something
that needs to be built into your regular
daily schedule as well.)
11. Give Each Family Member
It is important to give each family member
individual attention each day.
might also want to spend several hours alone
with each of your children during your break.
each child (and your spouse!) what they would
like to do alone with you. Be prepared
for anything from building with Legos to
listening to your child talk about his
problems and dreams.
your break, your children could each choose a
favorite activity and/or menu. When
our children were younger we let them take
turns in choosing an activity for family
night each week.
12. Watch and Discuss a Good Movie
Find a good, uplifting video that will
entertain and inspire your whole family.
the DVDs offered by Franklin
Springs Family Media that set forth a
vision for the fullness of a God-honoring
family life, Pendragon,
the new Christian epic feature film set in
Britain's Dark Ages, and Mr.
Button Family Videos.
out the Christian perspective or
appropriateness of a movie you consider
viewing at Plugged in
Online or Christian
Spotlight on Entertainment.
Christian Spotlight's lists rated with excellent
(Have you ever seen "The
Fourth Wise Man"? It's a great
Christmas or Easter movie.)
13. Spend Time Together with the
Be sure your family's break schedule
includes daily time with the Lord.
Family Bible Time, or Devotions, do not need
to be long or complicated.
aside a time each day, perhaps while everyone
is still at the breakfast or dinner table or
before going to bed at night.
God talk to you by reading His Word.
You can read through the Bible each year in
only about 15 minutes a day. (See
schedules.) Our family likes to
listen to an audio recording of the Scripture
while we follow along in our Bibles.
a few minutes to discuss what you've
read. Recall facts, test comprehension
by paraphrasing, and make applications.
sing a song, or review a memory verse.
14. Make Music Together
A good ol' family sing is a wonderful
experience for your children to remember.
If your family doesn't regularly sing or
play musical instruments together, why not
It doesn't have to be a long session,
unless your family wants to continue
longer. This is one of our extended
family's favorite activities during the
holidays — in fact, any time we get
You can also go to a concert in your own
home by scheduling a time to sit down
together and listen to a piece of music on a
CD, cassette, radio, or a concert on TV or
video. You might want to start with
Handel's "Messiah" (or parts of it).
One of our fondest family memories is when
our father brought home a stereo set and put
on some classical music while we sat with the
lights off and the curtains open to view the
moonlight on the Alaskan snow.
Want to learn how to play the guitar or
piano easily and quickly in your own
home? Check out Jean
Welles Worship Guitar Class or Mark
15. Plan Regular Family Nights
for the Coming
Hopefully your family will have enjoyed
your time together during your break so much
that you will want to continue some of these
activities during the coming year.
One of the best things we did with our
children when they were growing up was to
have a "family night" each week. It
was a time set aside to enjoy one another's
company, doing something relaxing and fun
together. It didn't have to cost money
or be very educational; it was just family
Why not take an hour during your break for
a family planning time to get started on
family nights if you are not already having
This can create a family tradition that
will be remembered and cherished for years to