Homeschooling parents always face a harrowing choice at Christmas (or any gift) time... Do we give our children experiences, educational, life enriching items and events? Or do we stick with the items we know they will like for the moment. In short: are we looking for a great reaction? Or a great long term effect?
Can we do both? I don't know. I'm seriously asking.
Our five being of a newly transitional ages (but really, is there an age that's NOT transitional?...ages 11.5, 13, 15, 16, and 18... new teenager, new adult... new - new - NEW) we usually make some sort of combination work. One or two educational, prepare for life items, and one or two super fun items that will get the big reaction.
Some of our ideas over the years that have gotten a pretty good reaction (makes their lives better) and yet are also of an educational benefit are listed below.
After 18 years of homeschooling, I hope some of these help stuff your stockings and their brains! (Click the pics to get pricing and info from Amazon.com)
I'm out of the "littles" stage, but this set was passed down through ALL five kiddos for many nature studies:
That one reminds me of our other favorites, the ant study, and the butterflies. ANY or all inspire curiosity for ages, making life long learners with all your 'littles.'
Older students are looking for ways to efficiently access and categorize information, but still be fun and chunky!
Flash cards are always useful, especially when they are colorful and come hole punched!
From labeling items for your weekly co-op to decorating new skids (shoes), sharpies becoming an item that BELONGS to a child, rather than something that is forbidden is almost a yearly thrill for our children.