It’s that “most wonderful time of the year” again! Many homeschool families take the entire month of December off while others continue on with their regular school routine. In years past we have taken a break from our regular studies – even the 3R’s – to focus on some type of Christmas unit. This year, however, because of some unexpected changes in our schedule, we will be sticking with our regular schooling until the week before Christmas.
Whatever route you choose for your homeschool, there are many enjoyable opportunities for learning through the Christmas season. The following are some simple activities that have become cherished holiday traditions in our home.
- Read a different Christmas story each day to countdown the days until December 25th. You can see a list of some of our favorite books here. (You don’t have to start this on December 1st. Just jump right in whenever you want.)
- Make a simple Christmas ornament. Have your child sign and date it, and it will become a treasured keepsake on your tree for years to come. (I have some ornament ideas on my blog – here and here – that I paired up with the reading of particular Christmas books. You can also Google up an abundance of ornament ideas – as simple or as complicated as you’d like – in the blogosphere right now.)
- As you decorate your tree together, you can simply point out the meaning of various Christmas symbols to your children. The evergreen tree itself reminds us that Jesus came to give us eternal life. The lights remind us that Jesus is the “Light of the World”. The ornaments remind us of the beauty of God’s love for us. Candy canes remind us of the staff carried by the shepherds. Bells remind us to “ring out the good news” of Jesus’ birth and His sacrifice for us.
- Sing, sing, sing! Even if you don’t think you have a great voice, your children will not care. Christmas carols are a treasure trove of great poetry set to music that you and your family don’t want to miss out on. And you don’t need an instrument to enjoy singing Christmas songs together. A cappella will do just fine. If you really feel the need for some instrumental accompaniment, turn on your local radio station or break out some Christmas cd’s. Let your children choose a favorite carol and research the history behind it. There are some wonderful stories behind the writing of these beloved songs.
- Bring out the nativity set. Some families enjoy the tradition of setting out one piece of the nativity each day until Christmas, with baby Jesus being laid in the manger on Christmas day. You could research the history of the nativity scene, or creche, to fit in a bit of history. We have a plastic set that we put out all at once because we have little hands in our home that enjoy playing with it so much.
- Although it’s a lesson that can be learned year round, Christmas provides us with numerous opportunities to give to and serve people in need. Community and church groups often collect toys, food, and clothes for families in need during the holiday season. Local soup kitchens often encourage families to volunteer to serve meals on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. International ministries such as Samaritan’s Purse, Compassion International, and many others provide food, gifts, and other types of relief for families around the world. Involving your children in this type of giving is a lesson that can become a special family tradition.
No matter what activities and traditions you enjoy with your family, may you and your family have a blessed season of celebrating together the birth of Jesus.
Written by Shannon, who is enjoying simple Christmas traditions with her children this year, and can be found blogging at Song of My Heart.