Each year I homeschooled my younger children it seemed the months of November and December got so hectic with extracurricular activities, parties, service projects and Christmas gift shopping, it was difficult to keep the school schedule intact. After a number of years of frustration, I gave in to the season and embraced it. Now I encourage you to do the same.
There are many educational opportunities we have at this time of year which don’t necessarily follow our curriculum, but are equally rewarding. Here are a few ways we did school through the holiday season.
Take time to read Christmas stories – especially the classics like A Christmas Carol and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – whose themes stay in touch with the Christian message of Christmas (ie the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ). Reading these stories, writing Christmas letters or even better, creating family Newsletters, are wonderful ways to integrate the season with reading and writing lessons. Listening to some of these as audio books in the car to and from activities is not cheating. You can creatively make the learning process fun and interesting. One year we dressed up as characters in the nativity and acted out the final scene in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I am sure my children will remember that longer than any other reading comprehension activity we might have done in the schoolroom.
Math doesn’t have to disappear either. How about teaching about fiscal responsibility and stewardship while shopping for gifts? There are many good books on teaching money matters to children. We began by giving the children a small gift allowance in December and had them plan out a budget for their shopping. Challenging them to spend within their means forced them to come up with good, creative and thoughtful presents for each other and their friends. Rather than making them stingy with their funds, I found that our children exhibited a greater degree of generosity when they managed their own money. It also brought a new excitement to Christmas morning as they eagerly awaited the opening of their gifts to one another.
Visit nursing homes to sing Christmas carols and have your children ask the residents how they celebrated Christmas when they were young. What a wonderful way to encourage the elderly and teach our children a little American history at the same time.
Final word on the subject : Embrace the season in your schooling! It will relieve your stress level and make learning more of a natural occurrence in the lives of your children.