Making Great Use of Family Gatherings and Homeschooling

So many family gatherings are coming up. Thanksgiving has just passed, December is upon us, and many homeschoolers are looking at the calendar and wondering exactly how many more school days and official school activities they will be able to fit in with the holidays taking center stage.

Why not use family gatherings for some fun AND educational time?

Interviewing relatives is a great tool for research writing, creative writing and career exploration. These important elements of high school get attention with a fun flavor when added to a holiday gathering.

family gatherings and homeschooling


Family Gatherings and Homeschooling

Use Family Interviews for Research Writing.

Is your teen unsure of the topic for his research paper this year? Pick a topic in which one of your relatives has expertise. Is Uncle Miles a bankruptcy lawyer? Is your cousin Walter a sprinkler fitter and union rep at his company? Has your grandmother been making quilts for decades? People love to talk about their work if it’s also a passion. Encourage your teen to put together a list of questions that would provide information for a research paper, and take a slice of time at the family gathering to sit in a quiet corner and listen to an expert relative. (Just be sure to let the relative know ahead of time, and ask if this idea is appealing to him or her. No one wants to be put on the spot!) 

Family Narrative Guide

Use Family Interviews for Creative Writing.

Every family has stories that are well-known by all, but often several family members will have a slightly different take on the details. Your teen can take quick notes while the family debates the finer points of a piece of your family history…the sillier, the better! Reminisce about the year the Christmas tree fell over at Grandma’s house in the middle of Christmas dinner. Ask people to offer their unique perspectives on the time the heater went out in the middle of the coldest January on record. Your teen can use those notes later to write a fun, colorful family narrative. (Need help with the structure for Family Narrative writing? Vicki Tillman’s guide takes your teen through the steps with an easy, conversational tone for only $6.99. Click to view excerpts and download your .pdf copy from the 7Sister’s ebookstore.)

Use Family Interviews for Career Exploration.

Is your teen open to considering some of the fields that are careers for any of your family members? Have her make a list of some smart questions for each (7Sisters Career Exploration Workbook is a good tool to use in conjunction with this interviewing process). By finding out a few simple things from each person, a lot of insight can be gained with no cost and without great effort. Consider questions like these:

* What kind of training did you get to enter your field?

* How demanding is your career? What types of things have you had to sacrifice to have this job?

* What are some of the most rewarding things that have come to you in your career? What do you love about it?

* What were some of the most intimidating obstacles you encountered as you got established in your field?

* What advice would you give to someone who was considering a career similar to yours?


Combining fun and family with education is what homeschooling is all about, anyway! Try getting some true academic work done in a relaxed way during holiday gatherings this year.

Career Exploration Workbook

Family Gatherings and Homeschooling

Sabrina Justison

20+ year homeschool mom and curriculum developer for Fred's wife. Writing, drama, music, blogs, kids, shoes, coffee, & books in varying orders on various days. He is God, He is good & He loves me.

2 Replies to “Making Great Use of Family Gatherings and Homeschooling”

  1. Brilliant ideas!

    This is the kind of thing that can give shy kids an “excuse” to ask relatives about their lives and learn more about careers and family history all at the same time!

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