*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *
I know you are thinking that its only the beginning of November but if your house is anything like mine December will be here in the blink of an eye. A little forethought and planning now can make December a more peaceful and joyous month in your homeschool.
Our first year homeschooling I had big plans for December. We were going to do all of our regular school plus tons of great holiday themed activities that I found to go along with the season. By the time Christmas arrived I was burned out, stressed out, and feeling way behind. It has taken several years to work out a plan that works for us, but one thing I learned quickly is that those holiday activities need to replace the other things rather than supplement. December is typically a busy time of year for families already and so adding even more to an already full plate is a recipe for problems.
I started out with some of the easy subjects to switch out for holiday themes. First, we switch out our copywork and focus on Christmas and nativity themed verses or passages. Hymn study is another easy and powerful switch that can be made. There are so many great Christmas hymns. Not Consumed Hymn Studies is a great place to start if you are looking for easy to use ready made plans. She has some great plans Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as bundles including other hymn studies. They are very well done.
Our read aloud and novel studies were another place where we could easily switch out ‘regular’ schoolwork for holiday themed work. There are so many good books. Some years I have a basketful and we just pick one when we are ready to read and some years I’ve wrapped them up and let them pick one and open it each day that we have time to read aloud. We have done novel studies independently and together as a family. I’ve included a list of books we have really enjoyed below to get you started on your basket.
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas was a book recommended to me by a friend of mine. She wrote this blog post that explains more about the book. We have used it as a part of our Bible and devotional time and found it to be simple but meaningful.
Art is another one that can be an easy switch, many years I have found various Christmas crafts, made Christmas cards, and gifts during our art time. This year we are looking at using these Christmas Chalk Pastel Art Lessons to supplement our art since the children love the pastel lessons. If you have never tired these lessons be sure to check out the free Christmas Star lesson. I’m sure I’ll throw in a few crafts as well because we all enjoy spending that time together.
This year we will continue with our normal math lessons for most of December since we are using a more formal curriculum. However when the children were younger and I was creating the curriculum I used December to review and brush up on skills using fun Christmas and winter themed activities. We also did fractions and other math in connection with our holiday baking. This was a great way to make math fun and memorable. I may still pull one or two fun Christmas themed math activities as a review, like this fun decimal freebie.
Writing is another great area to bring in Christmas. Whether it is a natural assignment like writing Christmas cards or thank you letters or a fun printable like this Christmas story writing printable or Christmas memory journal prompts from Write Shop. As part of the Lightem’ up activities that I talk about below we also often write letters of encouragement or appreciation to others during this time. If you are traveling during the holidays a travel journal can be a great way to save those memories and get in a little writing practice at the same time.
Music is another great way to incorporate the holidays into your homeschool. We listen to a variety of music while we work and will be switching most of that over to Christmas music during December. We have a collection of CDs with Christmas music, you can also find music on Youtube or if you don’t like the ads on Youtube Amazon Prime Music Unlimited may be a good fit and they have a free 30 day trial. We also look at the composer that we are studying to see if they composed any Christmas music. For example, last year we were studying Handel so we naturally listened to and studied The Messiah.
Another activity that ranks high on our list, Lightem’ Up, doesn’t actually take the place of anything but is something our whole family enjoys and that we make sure to work into our calendars ahead of time. Some of these activities can take hours and some just a few seconds as you go through your day. We pick out a list of those we want to try to do each year and get together any supplies in November so that implementing them in December is as simply as we can make it. This is a great list of ways that we can bring cheer and happiness to other people during this season. While certainly not an exhaustive list, it is a great resource for finding fun and easy ways our family can serve others.
I can’t leave Legos off the list. My older two children love Legos and Proverbial Homemaker has these great challenges for them to do small Lego projects each day including a great Christmas Challenge.
My three year old loves to ‘do school’ with us and needs plenty to keep his attention occupied when I’m working with the older two. I will of course be reading many good Christmas picture books, he loves singing with us, and anything crafty. However, for those times when I need him to play quietly I love the Little People Nativity. We have one at home and one in my preschool classroom at church. They are a great way
for children to be able to play with the decorations without fear of breaking them and learn about the Jesus’s birth in a hands-on way. We also enjoy using pattern blocks to work on fine motor skills and these free Christmas templates are a great addition this time of year.
No matter how much you want to switch out or what you want to accomplish I think it is important to have a plan. You can write it out on paper or print out one of the many free holiday planner’s available, like the one over at Proverbial Homemaker (in her freebie section). Whatever method works for your family, having that plan can take a lot of the stress out of this busy season. I also highly suggest talking as a family to work out at least part of the plan. Find out what is important to you children so that you incorporate at least some of what everyone is hoping to do and don’t spend time on things that no one thinks are important.
In addition to switching things out so we are not overwhelmed I find it important to remember that it is good to take some time off and enjoy the holidays. We take several weeks off so that we can focus on Christ and on family and friends. The 12 days of Christmas used to be celebrated starting on December 25th. This means that when I get to Christmas and feel frustrated that we didn’t get a chance to make the gingerbread house or do some other fun activity we had planned, I still have almost two weeks to fit it in.
I pray that you will find peace and joy in your life and your homeschool this year. I hope that these tips and resources can bless your family. If you have other ideas I’d love to have you share them in the comments.
The Night Before Christmas ( My husband reads this aloud to our children each year.)
An Otis Christmas ( I have not read this one, but my son loves the other books in this series and I’m purchasing it for this year. )
Tale of Three Trees (the story from Christmas to Easter)
Kindle Books (free or cheap):
If you do not have a kindle you can download the app for free and read the books on your computer or other device.
Itsy Bitsy Christmas ( I haven’t read this one yet but I love Max Lucado’s other books and its a great price. I think I”m going to add it to our list this year. )
Hymn Study Resources:
Not Consumed Hymn Studies (You can purchase a set with several holidays or the Christmas one.)
Hymn Studies for Each Month (December has some great Christmas ones)
Audio Books or Stories:
Cinnamon Bear (These have become a favorite in our house and we listen to at least some of them every year. You can purchase them, use an Audible Credit, or if you are not a member click here first and get a free one month trial which will include 2 free audio books. )
March Sister Christmas (excerpts from Little Women)
If You Give A Mouse A Christmas Cookie (free with Amazon Prime, if you don’t have Amazon Prime you can get a free trial here and enjoy lots of free movies and the free shipping during this busy season.
Also check our free resource library for two new Christmas freebies, Christmas Traditions and a Christmas Bucket List. These are great ways to help plan and prepare for some simple holiday fun!
When you sign up for our free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.
This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.
Friday Deals and Freebies
Need a good way to organize all of these great printables and have access to them when you need them? Try a free Dropbox Plan.
Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial. If you do not yet have Amazon Prime this is a great time to try it for free for 30 days! Get your Christmas shopping done with free shipping, enjoy Christmas music and more.
Schoolhouse Teachers has a great fall sale going on right now. use code FALLGIFTS to get $40 off a one year subscription as well as some additional gifts.
$10 Sign-Up Bonus for Ibotta and they are doing some major savings and rebates starting today. Great way to save money on the things you are already buying.
$40 off your first HelloFresh Box
If you are looking for some maps to help extend your geography check out these from Knowledge Quest Map Trek (including a free sampler).
Homeschool Buyers Co-Op is offering a great deal on Discovery Education Streaming right now. 60% off and bonus Smart Points redeemable for other products. We have used this in the past and enjoyed it.
Two Free Audio Books with an Audible Trial and if you aren’t sure what to start with I’d suggest checking out the Green Ember or The Penderwicks for good family choices.
FREE: Check out this great new FREE resource for classical and Charlotte Mason education! Classical Christian Education & Charlotte Mason. Great for folks already homeschooling or if you have friends that are looking into it!
FREE Fantasy and Fairytales StoryBuilders from Write Shop!