It is the end of November and today I am sitting down with my planner/calendar, teacher manuals, some Christmas craft idea books to begin to plan for December. Our homeschooling looks different each year at Christmastime, last year we took off the entire month of December, some years we have only taken a week off.
This year I don’t really want to take off too much time because I am due in April and I would like to get the bulk of our school year done before that so we can take a good amount of time off then. (Everything will not be done by then but we will have the summer to finish what doesn’t get completed, benefits of homeschooling year-round!)
It can be hard to find a balance between the pull to get that schoolwork done and wanting to take the time to do all the holiday related crafts, baking, and activities that I know the kids enjoy, and that bring the real meaning of Christmas into our home. I want to sew and make homemade gifts with my children, I want to let them each pick holiday recipes to try to make on their own (as much as they can), make cards together to give to the relatives, use their holiday spirit to go cheer up the elderly or serve at Mathew 25 Ministries.
I love the flexibly with homeschooling and that we have the option to take the time to enjoy all the holiday things that are important to us, but I always wonder what other homeschoolers do during this time…
Do you plan Christmas related unit studies for the month of December?
Do you keep plugging through your regular curriculum and just take off the days/weeks that the public schools are off?
Do you set aside all school related stuff and make cookies, gifts, and Christmas crafts all month?
As I am writing this I am thinking….hummmm, all of those sound like good options that have benefits. My first thought is to work the first 3 weeks of December on our normal school materials and then take the last two weeks off, that seems sensible, we would be getting work done that needs done and then still have a nice break at the end of the year.
That idea of planning Christmas related unit studies is really appealing right now…we could go through the timeline of Jesus’s family tree and birth (history)…read Christmas stories, write our own, do narrations, etc (Language Arts)…baking and crafts (science & math skills). And have time to do all those things I listed that I want to do with them…which incorporates life skills, relational skills, domestic skills, etc.
As you can see I am no expert here and I am literally figuring this out as I type because today just happens to be the day I wanted to sit down and figure out what our homeschool was going to look like this holiday season.
I think we will do a relaxed version of school, moving forward at least a bit in the curriculum stuff, but put most of our focus on this holiday season, doing the Christmas type unit studies and just taking the time to enjoy this time together. These kids are only young for such a short time and they are also at great ages to make the most of the fun memories we can make when we slow down life to have the time to do what matters most…focus on the reason for the season.
What does your homeschool look like at the holidays? Will it look different this year than previous years or have you already found what works well for you?
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2 thoughts on “Homeschooling During the Holidays By Shannon Mangicaro”
My three kids are young, only 4 and under, so I have (obviously) not worked this out with elementary or middle school ages. However, living in an apt with cranky downstairs neighbors and a napping baby, I have started “school time” with my 4 and 2 yos. I am a huge fan of the Circle Time or Morning Time element at which all the kids, all ages, participate. Right now for us, this includes our memory work (a hymn, Bible passage, folk song or other culturally relevant song, Korean song, and a poem), memory work review, and as much reading out loud as we want, both “assigned” books and spontaneous picture or poetry book selections. The idea is that Morning Time covers everything that can be combined, then, as they get older, they will have their individual work as well.
For the Christmas season, we are memorizing Christmas hymns (building a foundation that we will add to slowly over the years), the Birth Story from Luke 2 (memorizing a little more each year, no pressure to learn anything more than reading through it once each morning with occasional guided listening allows), Frosty the Snowman, and part of The night Before Christmas. It’s really hard to pare things down, there’s so much great stuff to get to, but we have all of the upcoming years, right? Then our Christmas books must replace our regular reading. I am also introducing age appropriate portions of Hoffman’s ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’ alongside the ballet. We’ll take several weeks to do this. And any craft time with Mama will include home made gifts for loved ones.
I love hearing what others are doing with their “older” kids. I’m getting all kinds of advice and inspiration! I look forward to growing into our homeschool alongside my littles!
Erika, sounds like you are doing a great job with your little ones!! I love what you are doing, thanks for sharing!!