Christmas Homeschooling- 5 Easy Steps for Successful Planning!
Twas three weeks before Christmas, when all thro the house,
Every creature was stirring, including my spouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were running all over the place,
Because of the remnants of sugar plums seen on their face,
With Papa in his La-Z-Boy and I preparing for the long day of lessons,
I had to stop and remind myself, my life is full of blessings.
As I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
Now! Johnny, now! Suzy, now! Chandler, and Dixon,
On! Colin, on! Carrie, on! Hunter and Ashlyn;
To the table in the kitchen! To the chairs all around!
Now work away! Work away! Work away all!
And I laughd when I saw them in spite of myself;
A wink of my eye and a twist of my head,
Soon gave them to know they had nothing to dread.
They spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
And finished most of their lessons, then one turned with a jerk,
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, they secretly arose.
They sprang to their feet, to each other gave a call.
And away they all ran, down the length of the hall:
But I heard them yell, as they disappeared out of sight,
Christmas break will be here soon, if we just hang on tight!
I thought it would be fun to take the Twas the Night Before Christmas poem and express the frustration we homeschoolers can feel during the holiday season. Did any of that resonate with you? The battle of getting the kids to the table, the lack of attention because their brains have checked out for the holidays, or them binging on candy like a woman who gave up chocolate for a month? Homeschooling during the holidays can be very challenging! I can remember in my early years attempting to stick to our regular school schedule while still trying to fit in all the holiday stuff as well. My kids were bouncing off the walls with excitement. I was frazzled with everything that needed done around the house with a deadline coming fast! Im here to tell you trying to do it all is a recipe for exhaustion by the time Christmas rolls around! Sometimes we need reminded that Christmas isnt just about one day. There are so many other events and activities we can enjoy leading up to it. That is why its referred to as a season. If you are worried about your childrens education suffering if you cut out some of their lessons, but youre tired of fighting a battle you cant win, you need to try Christmas schooling.
What if you could
- have time to do the fun holiday activities youve been too busy to do in the past?
- create learning opportunities your children enjoy while preparing for Christmas at the same time?
- have fun without having to sacrifice your childrens education?
- wake up on Christmas day prepared and relaxed?
I believe you can easily educate your children and have fun with some simple planning and creativity during the holiday season. The Unexpected Homeschooler
Christmas homeschooling is the answer to your problems. It could also be called creative homeschooling because you are being creative about how you do school. Figuring out ways to have some fun while sneaking in some learning. December is a busy month and when you can combine your efforts, you will save time and energy, all while your kids learn in a fun way that keeps them on task. The trick is not making it feel like school.
Homeschool Planning During the Holidays
With so much to do, how do you fit it all in and not lose your mind in the process? Its really simple if you break it down into a few steps. I like to sit down and schedule out my month. Even if you dont like to plan, having some sort of framework will make sure you get to the important and fun things. If youre starting this with only a few weeks left, its still helpful!
Here Are the 5 Steps
Step 1: You will make two lists. I have already created these for you. You can find them in the download in this post. On the first one, list all the subjects to want to cover in school during the month of December. The brackets are for step 5. On the second one, list everything you need to do during the month. Already scheduled activities, events, appointments, etc. Then you will add all the fun holiday festivities you want to enjoy with your children. I have included some ideas in the Christmas Homeschool Ideas section later in this article. If youre fresh out of fun ideas, go there now and when youve finished, come back here. Think of this as a brain dump. Get everything out on paper and then you wont miss the holiday light festival in your town or have a panic attack in the middle of the night because you forgot to bake three dozen Olaf cookies for your homeschool co-op in the morning.
Step 2: Once you have your lists completed, set the school subjects list aside for a minute. Go through the other list and prioritize each and every item with the following letters: A- These are your must-do, non-negotiable things such as doctors appointments or baking cookies for an event. B- These are the things you really want to do this year. C- These items would be nice if they got done, but they arent a priority.
Step 3: Print the calendar for the month of December. Its also included in the download in this post. Just fill in the correct dates.
Step 4: Take your printed calendar and write in all A items first. Second, write in the Bs. And last, if you have any room left (Dont over schedule yourself!), you can add some Cs. Leave some margin in your schedule.
Step 5: The last thing you will do is tackle the educational part of your plan. Look at each item on your calendar and think about the ways you can incorporate learning into them. If you look closely, you can find learning opportunities in just about anything or easily tweak them to make them educational. This is where you have to get sneaky! Your kids are ready for a break, so you need to plan things they will want to do. As you identify the subjects covered for each of your activities, list the activities on the bracket next to those corresponding subjects. In the next section, you will find a list of examples to help you see how learning occurs in any experience. When you finish, you can see if there are subject areas you need to add an activity too. Try to find other fun ideas to fill in the gaps. Here is a great article on educational ways to use the Elf on the Shelf. The activities cover a variety of subjects.
Christmas Homeschool Ideas
There is an endless amount of educational Christmas activities when you start looking around. These are the most common ones you will find. Your hometown may have some unique opportunities as well.
There are always plays going on during the Christmas season such as The Nutcracker or Charlie Browns Christmas. If any of them are based on a book, you could read it before going to see the play. After the play, casually ask your child to tell you what the play was about or what his favorite part was. This is called narration, which is an excellent tool for memory, language skills, and sequencing. Discuss the different settings, who the main characters were, and what was the main problem in the story. Subjects/skills: Literary elements, literature, social skills, music, dance, cognitive skills, history or culture depending on the play.
Visit a Christmas tree farm to learn about the different types of trees and how they are produced and harvested. If possible, choose and cut down a tree for your home. Your child can study the tree up close, and as a bonus, you get a real tree, which has such a wonderful smell! Subject/skills: Science, agriculture, business, physical education. Do a holiday light tour through the neighborhoods in your area that always have great decorations. To make it educational, let your kids draw a map of the route you will take. For older kids, have them include street names or a compass rose with the cardinal directions. Talk about electricity and how it works. Also, how the power company measures how much each home uses and what it costs your family per month. Subject/skills: Drawing, mapping, science, life skills.
Books and Movies
There are several Christmas themed books that have been turned into movies. Read the book first and then pop some popcorn and watch the movie. Discuss how they were similar or different. (You could draw a quick Venn diagram and have them write their answers down.) Talk about which they liked better and why? How could they change the ending? Some suggestions are The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or The Velveteen Rabbit. Subjects/skills: Literature, language arts, history or culture depending on the book.
Acts of Service
Go Christmas caroling with some other homeschoolers or friends. You could walk around a neighborhood or visit some nursing homes. Subjects/Skills: Music, character training, manners, social skills.
Pick an easy recipe and bake some cookies to take to friends and family or a nursing home. People enjoy receiving a small gift like this and also the time you spend visiting with them. Subjects/Skills: Home economics, math, reading, social skills, character training.
Participate in Toys for Tots or an Angel Tree Program
Letting your children shop for others is a great way to take the focus off themselves and support a great charity. Give them a certain amount of money they can spend while shopping and let them use a calculator to stay within their budget. Subjects/Skills: Math, budgeting, character training.
Soup Kitchens always need volunteers and this is a great experience for kids. They learn empathy towards others who are less fortunate. Subjects/Skills: Volunteering, character training, Bible, following directions.
Take a walk in the woods and gather some branches from pine trees. Twist them together around a metal wire or coat hanger (you can also use a foam ring to stick them in) to form a wreath. Gather a few pinecones to paint and add as decorations. You could attach some bulbs as well. Discuss evergreens and deciduous trees and whats the difference. Talk about pinecones and if they are seeds. Research how to germinate one to grow your own tree. When youre done, you have a wreath to hang on your door. Subjects/skills: Science, nature study, physical education, art, computer skills.
Every kid (even adults) enjoys making gingerbread houses. Buy a kit (or if you are going for Mom of the Year award, bake the pieces from scratch) and let your kids work together to build and decorate it. Use it as a centerpiece on your table. Subjects/Skills: Cooperation, reading directions, art, creativity.
If you enjoy making homemade gifts, but find them very time consuming, involve the kids. There are great skills to learn and you can make memories in the process. Subjects/Skills: Depends on the project you choose.
There is always Christmas baking that needs done. Get your kids to help and let them learn to bake in the process. You could even do a cookie swap with a few families and have cookie trays ready to go when the holiday arrives. Subjects/Skills: Home economics. math, reading, cooperation.
If you have to lock yourself in the bedroom for hours the day before Christmas because all of your gifts need wrapped, why not let the kids help? Teach them how to do it and then let them wrap other family members or peoples gifts for you. If you want to be wild and crazy, use butcher paper and let them use markers to decorate the paper. Give them gift tags for labeling. No, you will not win a prize for the prettiest gift at the family get together, but they will be done, and you got to sneak off and eat some cookies while the kids had a blast wrapping presents. Be sure to buy lots of tape! Speaking from experience here! Subjects/Skills: Art, writing, life skills, scissor skills, estimation.
Card making is a great handicraft to learn. Writing letters and notes is a lost art. If you only send out a few Christmas cards, let your kids make homemade ones, especially if you have older kids who love to do artsy activities. Have them include a short personal message. For little ones, let them draw or use stickers. If you do send out lots of cards, buy the ready-made ones or order the photo cards online, and let them sign, stuff, seal, address, and stamp them for you. Have them locate the cities and/ or states they are going to on a map. Check that item off your to-do list and have some peppermint fudge! Subjects/Skills: Art, handwriting, crafts, spelling, addressing an envelope, geography, cooperation.
Homeschooling during the holidays doesnt have to be stressful. Dont let the season go by in a blur because you think your childs education will suffer if you arent sitting at the table using a curriculum. You will regret missing out on these precious times when you look back. Learning happens everywhere and you can do Christmas homeschooling while enjoying special times together as a family.
Christmas Homeschool Planning Printables
I have created all the printables needed to make your holiday season easier and more enjoyable for you and your children. Grab your copy and youll be on your way to some fun and stress free homeschooling before Christmas! I hope you will give Christmas homeschooling a try. Id love to hear what activities you do together as a family and how your children learn in the process.
Heidi is a Christian wife and mom of three children. She is also a former school teacher turned homeschool mom. She runs a blog called The Unexpected Homeschooler where she believes your home doesnt have to be chaotic just because you homeschool. She teaches systems to manage your time and tasks, creating a homeschool thats more efficient, organized, and productive. You can find her at www.theunexpectedhomeschooler.com. Heidi Miller-Ford The Unexpected Homeschooler
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