Our Holiday Homeschool Plans — 2017

I haven’t shared about our homeschool this year because I’ve just been too busy, but we are trying out a new Charlotte Mason-based curriculum called The Alveary, which is providing our school-age girls with a FEAST of living ideas from a BUFFET of subjects, many of which I personally never had in school, or not in so lovely a way. It has truly been enjoyable. No mindless memory work or tedious worksheets. No lengthy school days (we’re done by lunch). I could go on but that’s a whole ‘nother post.

But December only occurs once a year. 

In years past we have pressed on and tried to do School and Christmas. We also tried this one year. Let’s just say that it didn’t work for us. So this year, in an attempt to simplify life and enjoy the holiday season, we will take a brief hiatus from our regular school work.

Because we need to make time for baking our favorite sugar cookies and making homemade fudge, and dipping pretzels in chocolate. And to make huge messes…

And we need time to really listen to Handel’s Messiah and pore over the prophesies of long ago. And wonder…

We need plenty of space in our days to create Christmas treasures for family and friends. And to be creative…

And we just can’t do it all and maintain an atmosphere of peace and joy.

And all I truly want is peace and joy.

So what will be doing in December? Some people plug on with their school work, while others take off completely. We will be doing . . .

Five Things

These five things consist of Bible (Advent study), Math, Writing, Reading, and Memory-Making. Here’s a little more in-depth view of what we’ll be doing this month.

(1) Bible: While our church doesn’t participate in Advent, I believe that it’s a great opportunity to teach our children about the anticipation of Christ’s arrival on earth. This year we are using Cindy Rollins’ Hallelujah: A Journey through Advent with Handel’s Messiah and reading the passages from the Bible that correspond to Handel’s Messiah.

Per Rollins’ guide, we will also be learning a Christmas hymn — “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and reciting a poem by Christina G. Rossetti (a family favorite poet). So we will pray, sing, read, recite, and listen. That’s exactly what we do for our Morning Time now, but with different pieces. All of the children participate.

(2) Math– I firmly believe we need to keep up with our Math even during the holiday seasons. We recently “started over” after 5 years of math using a well-known math curriculum that just wasn’t teaching my oldest daughter the “why’s” behind the “how’s.” So, we will be slowly working through our new Math curriculum. (If you are interested, we are using Richele Baburina’s Mathematics: An Instrument for Living Teaching and The Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithematic Series: Book 1 with both of my girls.)

(3) Daily Writing– This year I want to start a Family Christmas Journal as a keepsake for our family. I got this idea from Sheri Graham and am tailoring it to work for our family. This binder filled with card stock, handwriting paper, and printer paper will be a place to document the memories we make each year, including Christmas baking, candy-making, gift-making, places and people we visit, people we’re praying for, favorite Christmas movies, books, and carols, etc. It will also serve as a repository for copy work of favorite Christmas poems, carols, quotes, and stories.

Every family member can contribute, whether by writing, drawing pictures, or glueing in Christmas cards and photos. My school-age girls will have time each afternoon to practice their penmanship by writing in the Family Christmas Journal. I hope it will be something we can add to each year and enjoy looking back at.

(4) Daily Reading– This subject consists of Reading Aloud and Independent Reading. Because we love books here.

Read-Aloud Books: We read a book together every morning at breakfast. Currently, we are reading through The Chronicles of Narnia series and enjoying The Voyage of the Dawn Treader right now.

We will continue this series but add in an An After-Lunch Read Aloud time. During this time, we will be reading Christmas books. I have shelves of them. Some favorites include: The Story of Holly & Ivy, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, and The Sweet Smell of Christmas.

I will also be reading a longer Christmas book in the afternoons. Last year we read Miracle on 34th Street. This year we plan to read “The Gift of the Magi” and The Birds’ Christmas Carol.

Independent Reading: My older two daughters who read independently will also continue reading in their history, science and nature, and literature books. This reading also occurs in the afternoons.

(5) Memory-Making Activities– I am not a crafty person but my children love making things. This month we will create some handicrafts, bake some special goodies, and do some fun activities together.

Here are a few things I’m planning for us to do. We will probably not get to all of them. However, I have created an Advent countdown banner for Dec 1-25 with each of these activities listed, plus a few family celebrations, to hold me accountable.

No-Cook Cinnamon Ornaments

Make a Snow Globe

Make a Christmas Tree for the Birds

Sugar Cookie Decorating with friends

Visit a local Bethlehem Market walk-through

Make Fudge

Make Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels

Watch some Christmas movies

Make Beeswax Candles

Green & Red Nature Walk

Family Game Night

Cut down & decorate Christmas Tree

Shop for our Angel

 

Make Gingerbread Cookies

Read a different Christmas book every day

Have Hot Cocoa & Candy Canes

Deliver holiday goodies

Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Dress up & reenact the Christmas Story

Drive around & look at Christmas lights

Make Cinnamon Rolls for friends & family and deliver

Here’s our holiday plans. I think they’re intentional and focused yet leave time for fun and space to play. 

Don’t stress this holiday. Keep it simple. Keep it fun. Keep it focused on Jesus. 

What is one of your favorite Christmas activities to do with your children? 

Any favorite Christmas foods? 

 

 

 

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