I don’t know about you, but homeschooling this time of the year can be challenging. The kids and I have been at it since August with just a few days off since we started. Excitement about both an extended break and of course the upcoming holiday have permeated the air. Shorter days due to a lack of sunlight leave us all wanting to put away the books and simply enjoy the time together.
And quite frankly there are just so many other things to do. Preparing for Christmas. Holiday shopping. Christmas parties. Decorating the house. Sending out cards. And of course baking, lots and lots of holiday baking.
By themselves, these things are not bad. We have a few time-honored traditions when it comes to Christmas that we enjoy. Decorating together listening to Christmas carols while drinking homemade hot chocolate has been something we have done for as long as I can remember. Setting up our home in anticipation of Christmas day is just about as fun as the day is itself.
But, there is still work to be done.
We aren’t quite ready yet to put the school down yet. Stopping now would mean picking up in January in the middle of lessons, chapters, and assignments. It would also require our school year to extend as we are required to count school days in our state.
But it is a great time to locate those ideal stopping points. Those places in the books and workbooks where we won’t start back up in January lost, confused, and repeating our work.
However, not all of our subjects are on the same path. Some subjects will need longer to wrap up than others, and some less. We still have a history project to complete for the Middle Ages and a short story to put the final touches on, among other things. And of course, we want to grab as many school days as possible before the break so our school year doesn’t extend too far into our summer.
So I have been thinking about ways to fill in the gaps. Ways to make sure our school days can still count, and ways to make sure I am not overwhelming the kids. This time of year offers a great opportunity to slow down and learn in a different way than the majority of our school year looks like.
5 Great Ways To Learn In December
- Learn about Christmas around the world. Study and explore how Christmas is celebrated in places other than your backyard. See how they decorate and plan. Bake a new dessert or try a new regional meal. The possibilities are endless! You can also check out Confessions of A Homeschooler and download her unit study.
- Study the history of Chrismas. It’s truly fascinating when you start digging into the history of Christmas. Our current celebrations show an intermingling of cultures, traditions, and pastimes. Dig deep into why we do just what we do every December. You can get a brief overview to start your learning from History.com here.
- Study some music and learn a new Christmas song. This is a great time of the year to revamp (or even start) a music program in your homeschool. The options are endless from common songs about Santa and the North Pole to traditional holiday favorites. Check out this list of 50 of the most loved Christmas Hymns here.
- Learn about snowflakes. Whether you live in a snowy climate or not, kids are fascinated by snow. Books and movies do a great job of making the white stuff look absolutely amazing, mysterious, and almost magical. Living in New England we are all too familiar with the white stuff that typically shows up around Thanksgiving and stays until March or later. Last year I used this Lifecycle of A Snowflake Booklet from Mama’s Learning Corner with my 1st grader and he loved it. Grab a copy for your family and start studying science in a hands-on way.
- Learn about the change of seasons. December is not just about Christmas. It’s also when we change from Autumn to Winter. Grab this Learning About the 4 Seasons printable and start teaching the seasons with your kids.
But wait, there’s more!
(I just had to throw that in!) Like I said in the title, I wanted to give you a list of 10 options. And while the previous five options are great ways to change the pace of your homeschool in December, they may not change it up enough. You and I both know that those are not the only ways to mix things up. So if you are looking for less in the way of December lesson plans, here are five more ways that don’t take a ton of prep time to complete and still keep you schooling for a few more days.
5 (More) Ways To School In December
- Read. Yup, read a book. This is a great time to dust off holiday and seasonal classics or grab a few from the library. So grab some coffee (and cocoa for the kids), your favorite seasonal book, and read the day away. Both you and the kids will enjoy the change of pace.
- Copywork. Grab the same book you just read and have the kids copy a sentence or even a passage of great writing from it. This is a great way to practice writing and penmanship. All you need is a great book, some lined paper, and a pencil.
- Make Christmas Cards. Dig out the craft supplies (even the ones collecting dust) and have the kids make some cards for friends and family. It will be a great experience for the kids, and the recipients will love a homemade card.
- Baking. You don’t need to make every batch of cookies or bark by yourself. Get you kids in the kitchen with you and teach math, chemistry, and home ec. right in your kitchen.
- Visit a nursing home or send cards to the military. If you have a nursing home in your area you have a great opportunity to teach the kids about community service. You can even bring them some of the holiday treats you made while baking. The residents will love the company and your children will learn a great lesson about compassion. Sending cards to the military gives you a great way to teach the kids about service and being away from home for the holidays.
December can be a challenging month to homeschool, but there are ways to keep the learning going a little longer. Try out a few of these ideas and see how amazing a simple change of pace can be!
There are so many ways you can incorporate holiday or season studies into your homeschool this December. Comment below and let me know what you are doing this month!