Somehow November seems to have flown by, it is hard to believe that Sunday will be December 1st. I have been taking a little bit of time today to gather my thoughts and plan out our December school schedule and activities. Each December, I like to change things up a bit and do ‘Christmas School’. It is such an exciting and wonderful time of year and we like to incorporate the holidays as much as possible into our school days. This helps us enjoy the holiday even more by allowing us to do more of the fun activities. Also, by not trying to do all of our regular school and the Christmas activities, we can help avoid burnout and overwhelm.
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As my children have gotten older, I do have them continue with some of their regular studies. My Kindergartner will be doing Christmas math from a variety of fun resources but my sixth and eighth graders will continue with their regular math curricula. One of the math activities that my son is very excited about is Christmas pattern blocks from our Crafty Classroom pack. For history, we will continue to study North Carolina history but make a point to focus on holiday traditions of the time period.
For reading, we are going to focus on lots of fun Christmas books. We will be reading aloud some of our favorite picture books, listening to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and reading aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. There are so many good books that we can never get through them all and we always add at least one new (or new to us) book to our collection each year. This year we added Christmas with Anne and Merry Christmas Strega Nona. Cranberry Christmas is a family favorite that we make sure to bring out every year. You can check our more of our favorite books at A Cozy, Book Filled December.
I am also very excited to be doing two new advent activities. First, I was blessed to receive a copy of Kayla Jarmon’s A Christmas Journey to review. We are looking forward to reading the book together (it has nine chapters and discussion questions for each chapter) as well as completing the activity book. The activity book consists of 24 days of activities, with each one having a short devotional thought, a scripture, a Christmas song suggestion, and a family activity. For example, day six talks about faith and then gives several scriptures including Acts 7 and 1 Corinthians 15. The song for that day is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and the activity is to take turns leading family members blindfolded around the house. This gives a simple demonstration of faith as they must follow the directions in faith. As we get started with this program, I plan to write a full review but I wanted to go ahead and share a little bit so that you would have time to check it out and get it before Advent starts!
The second activity we are going to try is called The Traveling Wisemen: A Christmas ADVENTure. Years ago, when my older two children were younger, we tried the whole “Elf on a Shelf’ thing. The children loved it but I was tired of finding places for him to hide and honestly, I felt like it put way to much emphasis on the wrong part of Christmas. I know it works for some families, but it wasn’t working for us. So we stopped using the elf but this year my daughter really wanted to bring the elf back for the younger kids because she remembered having lots of fun trying to find him each morning. I did not want to bring back the elf, but I was open to an alternative that allowed them to enjoy the hunt but with a different focus. There are many options available but we are excited to try The Traveling Wisemen: A Christmas ADVENTure. With this program, you purchase the book and use your own wise men to hide each day. The children will know that they aren’t magical but will still have the fun of finding them and seeing what silly antics they have done overnight. My daughter has agreed to take on responsibility for hiding the wise men each night. You can use your own ideas of they have this website with some suggestions. I am hopeful that this allows us to have the fun of the elf but with a focus on Christ (and the best part for me is that I am not responsible for remembering to move them each night.)
I love using this time of year to get in a bit of extra art time. We will be using a variety of lessons from Nana at Chalk Pastel’s Christmas Video Art Lessons and Nutcracker Lessons. The Christmas lessons also go along very well with our hymn studies. In addition, because we have a clubhouse membership we can enjoy some lessons that coordinate with Handel’s Messiah to add in some music to our studies. We will also be doing various crafts and projects to give as Christmas gifts. My daughter is working on weaving some items for her dad and brother, knitting a hat for our youngest, and sewing some adorable fairy pillows for a few cousins. If time allows she may also make some ornaments using the lesson in Gifts to Make and Give. In addition, I am using some of the plans from The Activity Room with Hands on As We Grow to set up some fun art projects for my youngest two children.
My daughter has been working on learning how to play Silent Night on her violin so that she can play at the nursing home. The song was one that was recommended by her violin teacher and she has been really enjoying learning how to play. I decided that we should expand that learning with a hymn study. You can join us for this free hymn study: Hymn Study: Silent Night. In addition, we love the song Away in a Manger and I am putting the finishing touches on an Away in a Manger hymn study which will be published later this week. Last year we did December Hymn Study: O Holy Night.
Finally, I plan to include some of the fun videos and lessons from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Their Christmas corner has lots of great videos, lesson plans, copywork, and poetry for Christmas and Hanukkah and we look forward to fitting in several of those each week. They are having a great sale this week and it is a wonderful time to give this program a try! We use a variety of courses from them each year and enjoy the flexibility.
I hope this gives you a few new ideas for incorporating Christmas activities into your December schedule. I would love to hear more about what activities your family loves! Share your ideas and plans in the comments.
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