Holiday Homeschooling Backpack – When We School on the GO!


It is completely unsurprising that the Holiday Season can really throw a wrench in the schedule and routine of most children. There are parties to attend, trips to take, photographs to shoot, and general schedule changes caused by longer and longer to-do lists. As a preschool homeschooling family, our school schedule has been off since the week of Thanksgiving. Travel, cooking, cleaning, and seasonal errands have made our daily safety net almost nonexistent.  I’ve come up with a plan on how to keep schooling during the holidays and it all fits nicely into Miss Moo’s backpack.

The Pack

Moo has a backpack from her preschool days and she’s still proud to put it on and wear it about town. She has become aware of our altered school schedule and now tends to ask for school when we are trying to get things done during time she’s used to doing an activity. Drawing on the idea of what I packed for our Thanksgiving journey, I’ve set up a traveling “school” on her back. She loves the notion of something to be responsible for as well as taking pride in her autonomy . We packed it together with items we both chose to include to incorporate her interests as well as the skills and concepts that we have been building and those that we need to work on.

What She Chose

What does a 3 year old want in her traveling school pack?

  • Colored pencils and art paper — She has always been a child that has loved to draw and create. Choosing to add these to the pack was unsurprising, a good independent and self driven activity, an exercise in fine motor skills, and an opportunity to work on writing.
  • Stickers — As with her first choice, she loves to give stickers out as well as make things out of them. We have Santa stickers as well as nativity stickers in her pack for education on the season, kindness, giving, the true meaning of love, and learning the Christmas story.
  • Safari book — She LOVES elephants and hippopotamuses so we threw that book in for reading and review.
  • Worksheets — We got a book over the summer to look at letter and practice writing. Now, she LOVES to do worksheets to play “school” and just to complete them in general. I don’t force or suggest doing them, she does and that’s the only time we do them.
  • Noah’s Ark by Lucy Cousins —  She is infatuated with Noah, his journey of faith with God, and all his animals. Our ark is pulled out here each day and she loves to read the story and tell me about the animals.

What I Chose

I don’t want school to feel like school, especially since we are trying to do child led learning rather than a curriculum. However, there are some concepts that I know she needs to work on and I try to find ways to include those.
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible — I can’t express how much I love this book! The stories are so child friendly, the concepts are simple for them to understand, the scope of the book gives even the smallest children a general knowledge, and every story includes Jesus. We use this book to keep Jesus in our minds and our hearts.
  • Seasonal stories/games — I found several links on Pinterest that provide worksheets, sorting games, sequence games, etc. that deal with Christmas and the Birth of Jesus. I decided to print out and laminate all the people and animals present at the manger. We use it to tell the story, ask sequencing questions for her to answer, recall information about who each person is, and do basic phonetic and mathematic exercises.
  • Stickers — Basic star stickers not only for encouragement but for counting, patterns, sequencing, and sorting.
  • Her letter binder — I purchased and downloaded a book from Play at Home Mom that provides circles in the shapes of upper and lowercase letter and numbers. Using standard blank circle labels, she fills in the shapes of the letters or numbers. She LOVES to play this “game” and we add to it by naming animals, objects, etc. that sound like the letter she is working on at the time. I also try to think of anything Christmas related to whatever letter she is doing to spark further discussion.

When Do We Use It

I’ve used her backpack when she’s needed a break from all the activity at family gatherings, to get one on one time at hotels, after lunch or dinner if she shows signs of boredom, or when she asks and we can sit and use it. It stays in our play room and is readily accessible.

Using It For the Long Haul

It’s my plan to keep her pack up to date. After the Holidays end, we’ll move on to winter concepts, the Chinese New Year, Presidents, and babies as we prepare for the home birth of her little brother.  I want to keep her engaged and begin adding in more challenging material as well as update the contents of her pack as she grows and find other interest that ignite her zest to learn.

How do you deal with school around the holidays? Do you adapt your schedule and materials to work on the go as you travel?


  1. says

    What a great idea! My oldest son is 2, but I have been trying to think of learning activities to do with him. I am going to check into the Jesus Storybook Bible and I love that idea about putting the stickers on the letters. Thanks!

  2. infaeyth says

    I love this idea!! My kids are a bit older but my daughter will become frustrated in the car and packs extra books and art supplies for that reason. She also asks for school lessons on weekends and whenever she’s bored.

    • says

      I also love that you can do this for any age. I am hoping we can keep it going so each of the kids has their own pack for travel, etc. It really was a Godsend at Thanksgiving when the people and activities were just too much for us both 😉


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