What does Christmas look like at Hodgepodge? Do we homeschool in December? I invite you to come and sit by the fire, enjoy a warm cup of coffee, hot chocolate or tea and put your feet up – for about five minutes. Just five minutes because in December things are changing moment to moment. Like most families, it’s so very busy. Time to head to this practice, get your dress shoes for this performance. Precisely why…
How We Homeschool in December
…In the last several years I’ve shared how we take December off from homeschool. Well, in reality we don’t completely take the month off. We just change up our learning. Our focus is on all the celebratory things leading up to Christmas. And it looks a little different each year according to ages and stages (at least two different stage performances).
Back to the Manger Children’s Musical. Two of my girls sang a 70s duet: “This is how we know what love is…Jesus gave His life for us…”
What Christmas School Looks Like for Us
It’s simply a new twist on subjects for homeschool in December. Baking Christmas cookies for math, decorating and writing thank you notes count for handwriting. We are so blessedly busy with all kinds of drama troupe productions, choir programs, piano recitals.
This year with several bouts of sickness, we are going to keep up a daily Teaching Textbooks math lesson for the older three and Saxon Math 1 for Littlest Girl. Below are a few more ways we’ll keep the learning going but the fun first:
My two drama girls were part of this wonderful dowels variety act with dowels – set to Toby Mac’s The First Noel. They also participated in a choric – taking turns reciting portions of Luke 2.
- Family read aloud – how quickly the children all get bathed and pjd! That is so we can all gather around and read Jotham’s Journey. My friend, Little Sanctuary, shared about this trilogy of advent stories several years ago. We’ve read all three and are starting over with Jotham again this year. We’ve also read Amon’s Adventures at Easter.
Lil’ Buddy sang in his Melody Makers choir. Middle Girl sang in her last children’s choir Christmas performance since she moves up to youth next year. Sadly, Littlest Girl was sick this night and missed her choir performance.
- Choirs at church – all those wonderful hymns, children’s choirs
- Piano – a recital coming up for two of my girls so their practicing makes Christmas music fill the house.
- Drama Troupe – Christmas performance this year was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. My girls played Doubt and Joy in the skit portion of the show. Representative virtues painted a wonderful picture of Christmas. They also participated in variety acts, as I shared above.
- Living Math – baking cookies – our favorite recipe made allergy-friendly.
- Handwriting – thank you notes, addressing Christmas cards.
- Unstructured Art – painting those thank you notes, making homemade wrapping paper, making gifts like the painted canvas, above.
- Reading for pleasure – eldest girl is aiming to reread the Lord of the Rings series in anticipation of the new Hobbit movie. Middle Girl was rereading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.
- Nature study homeschool in December – we do a ‘hunt for red and green’ on a nature walk this time of year. Amazing how much we notice so many other colors in nature – here at almost winter. This December we are also enjoying the nature grid prompts from the Handbook of Nature Study.
1. On the road quite a bit in December | 2. Nana’s Chicken & Noodle soup is healing for sick ones | 3. Homeschool Drama Troupe practice | 4. Eldest Girl treated me to Starbucks! | 5. Late night computer networking lesson – Eldest Boy and Hodgepodgedad | 6. A warm morning fire to cozy up to thanks to Eldest Boy | 7. The colors of nature in December | 8. Eldest girl with her white glove and sign for the dowel routine with black lights | 9. a sink contraption by Lil’ Buddy | 10. Homemade wrapping paper by Littlest Girl – can you see her handprint Christmas tree?
I’m sure there are other things we do that I’ve forgotten. Guess what? this change for the month of December helps us be so very ready for a Return of the Routine come January.
So, it’s a Hodgepodge of homeschooling in December. How about you? Do you have a lighter schedule or just take a few days off? How do you homeschool in December?
-originally published December 2012
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Ellen, the Bluestocking Belle says
We follow our regular schedule until about two weeks before Christmas, and we don’t start back up until after the new year. I do this because I want us to finish up at the end of May. A lot of activities kick in come June: swim team, VBS, middle school church camp, etc. We still manage to squeeze in some Christmas activities before we take our break!
I agree Ellen! Exactly why we start the last week of July when the mosquitoes are biting. It’s just wonderful how we can all tweak our schedules to meet the needs of our students – our family! Hooray for homeschooling.
Shelly @ Homeschooling Despite the Labels says
We plunge ahead at full speed as long as we can in December. My kids do better emotionally and academically if we keep on schedule. Then again, we also don’t want to do all work with no play! Today the girls went to see a special performance of The Nutcracker, while the boys interviewed their grandparents for a special project!
All Things Beautiful says
I love all the theater you guys do. (You know my degree is in that.) My youngest wants to start acting. It looks like a lovely month of learning, for sure.
All Things Beautiful says
How do you sign up to win the blocks? I clicked on the link and it brought me back here. 🙂 I am going to hop on over to Barb’s now.
Oh thank you for noticing Phyllis! Just updated it. But for good measure, here’s the link as well: https://www.thecurriculumchoice.com/2012/12/larsen-toy-lab-blocks-review/
plus Barb’s http://harmonyfinearts.org/2012/12/quality-building-blocks-from-larsen-toy-lab/
I hadn’t exactly planned to take December off, but that seems to be what we are doing! We’re just busy with lots of holiday things that it’s kind of nice not to also do school. (But I miss it!) My kids are still pretty young (6, 5 and 2) so our school schedule isn’t brutal and we are year-rounders so I’m hoping this break will cause us to be fired up in January. My oldest loves science (and I kinda hate it) so I might slip in some science during our break. Thanks for posting this. It’s encouraging for people like me who being on my 2nd yr of homeschooling still wonder if I’m “doing it right!” 🙂
Tricia ~ Thanks so much for always linking with Collage Friday.
I really like your idea to have kids address the Christmas cards. I think I will use that for handwriting practice with my kids when our cards are ready next week. Anna has been making yarn pom poms to put on packages this year, but I need to get the kids involved a little more in making Christmas goodies.
I’m so impressed with your church. What a wonderful place!
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Barb-Harmony Art Mom says
Whew…for taking the month “off” you are doing a lot! Love seeing all the art and drama, such fun!
Homeschooling in December has been a struggle. I just want to bake and craft and skip math and spelling 🙂 Thanks Tricia for these great ideas to keep motivated and learning during the holidays!
I am so with you! Today we decided that after history and science we needed to pull up a version of the Nutcracker ballet. It’s time to make memories. There is so much to learn with family just being together, baking (math!) and crafting (small motor skills). Merry Christmas!