Do you homeschool through the holidays? Every year, I go back and forth. The problem for us is if we take a break in December, it’s very difficult to get back in the groove in January. So this year, I’m taking the bull by the horns, so to speak.
Here are a few ideas for easy homeschool days through December (just in time for your monthly planning):
1. Revisit some of your favorite holiday books. While looking for one of my Advent devotionals last night (yes, I’m extremely late trying to find it), I came across a bunch of picture books we *used* to read aloud in December. Books like If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Donkey Who Carried a King, and, of course, The Night Before Christmas. I plan to read these aloud to my kids (ages 16, 14, and 11) during our morning time. I think they’ll enjoy it probably as much as I do.
2. Christmas book and movie review. We have in years past read The Nutcracker and then watched the ballet. My plan this year is to read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and then watch several different films, including the Muppet version, while cuddled up on the couch with hot chocolate and popcorn. (Here is a tasty Hot Chocolate Popcorn recipe, if you feel like making something fun.)
3. Plan some crafts. I’m not a crafty person, so this one probably won’t be done in my house. However, Pinterest is flooded with some amazing craft ideas for the holidays. If you’re that type of mom, go for it! Get the red and green glitter, the popsicle sticks, the craft glue and go crazy!
4. Bake cookies and treats. Now this one is right up my alley! We love to make cookies, gumdrops, marshmallows, and other treats for friends and family. So pull out your favorite sugar cookie recipe, grab or make some icing and go to town decorating cookies. Or find a treat that you haven’t made before and experiment. (I suggest making marshmallows. They aren’t that difficult and are so yummy, especially in a steaming mug of hot chocolate! Check out the recipes here and here.)
5. Find a place to volunteer. Whether it’s a local food bank, a church, animal shelter, or a nursing home, find a place to volunteer. Collect food for a local food bank, make meals for someone who is ill or living on their own, or visit someone who doesn’t have family local to them. It helps get us out of our comfort zone and provides an opportunity to help someone else.
6. Go caroling or look at Christmas lights. When my kids were little, we would put them in their jammies, give them hot chocolate in their special insulated Christmas cups, and ride around looking at Christmas lights. Now that they are older, they still enjoy going out to see the Christmas lights (not in jammies) with hot chocolate. We also plan to visit some friends and church members and treat them to some Christmas carols and goodies.
7. Go easy on the bookwork. If possible, go easy on the bookwork. While we have co-op and tutoring into December, my plan is to limit our actual work to a couple of hours in the morning. For us, this will mean block-scheduling or completing our weekly work (or as much as we can) for one subject in one day. You could also focus on one subject per week or ignore the basics and concentrate on the arts: music, dance, or theatre. Another option is to find some fun educational activities, like games or Mad Libs. If you opt for a lighter schedule, keep track of the activities you are doing. It might surprise you how much learning is accomplished, even when you’re not looking.
8. Complete a Unit Study. Unit studies are a great way for all the kids to learn together, whether it’s Christmas carols, holiday traditions and food from other countries,or even other holidays celebrated in December. If your kids are younger, lapbooking is a great option as well.
9. Play games together. Take an afternoon or evening and break out those board games or card games that you haven’t played in a while. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try playing your kids favorite video games with them. The point is to spend time together and have fun.
10. Spend time together. So much of our year is spent running and keeping up with schedules. Take time to relax and enjoy the holiday season with your family.
No matter the activities or plans for December, remember to take time to enjoy your family and being together. Those are the memories that will last.
Tamara is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom of three great kids. She never dreamed of homeschooling her kids because she loved her career as a legal secretary, however, a cross-country move from Texas to Maryland/West Virginia changed that. She has homeschooled her kids for the past 7 years. Prior to that, Tamara’s mother homeschooled the children. Tamara enjoys teaching literature classes for boys at her local co-op, leading worship at her church, and cooking.