Christmas homeschooling: I remember the homeschooling years when I’ve been so stressed out by the Christmas season that we put away all school work for the entire month of December…and into January.
Christmas homeschooling can be a tricky thing because there’s SO much fun happening in December that you don’t want to miss a thing.
But Christmas break can almost be like a mini summer break where everyone takes weeks to get back into school mode and they all forget what their 8-facts are.
I’ve decided there can be a happy medium.
There is a way you can happily balance Christmas and homeschooling. You don’t have to throw out the fun of the season just to stick to the more strict homeschool regiment. And you don’t need to throw out the school books in exchange for the Nutcracker and baking your great-grandma’s famous sugar cookies.
You can have both a meaningful AND educational Christmas season.
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This post will give you ideas for every school subject and how to make it meaningful AND full of holiday spirit.
Christmas Homeschooling: Making it Meaningful
Every year, my biggest goal of the advent season is just to make it meaningful.
I don’t want to buy a bunch of garbage to stock the shelves of Goodwill in June.
I don’t want to drag my kids around to a bunch of activities just because it’s “the best” for someone else’s family.
And I certainly don’t want to feel like I’ve been hit by a train on January 1st because I couldn’t say NO to what wasn’t meaningful to our family.
Saying no to certain things–even traveling on Christmas–has ruffled feathers and pissed off more than one person along the way. In the end, we have a meaningful season that we remember as such and that means everything to me. And that’s all I can hope for–creating meaning with my people. Pleasing the masses has only ever left me run ragged.
My advice for homeschool mamas looking to create meaning this season rather than madness is to sit down and write it out. Write out your top ten (or four or five) traditions or traditions you want to do.
>>That list is your family treasure chest–it comes before all the things.<<
List in hand, let’s make a plan for Christmas homeschooling that will be peaceful, meaningful and above all…doable!
Here we go.
Christmas Homeschooling: Pausing the Unnecessary Things
The Nutcracker, baking cookies, making gingerbread, Christmas stories–these things and more are suddenly dropped in your lap on December 1st. Our goal is to figure out what we’re going to skip, what we’re going to invest our time in, and how it’s all going to tie in with the school work we need to get done.
Pause the things that don’t have to get done in December.
- Dentist appointments.
- Extracurricular activities.
- That history unit study that used to be fun, but with Christmas it just seems annoying.
- Science. 😉
If it doesn’t have to get accomplished in December, leave it be for a while.
That goes for the regular math or language arts regimen, too. I love to lessen the “regular school” load and add in a twist of holiday. It’s OK to set aside the grammar workbook for the month of December or the basic math lessons that you’ve been struggling to get your kid to do since September.
Let’s take a step back, pause the things that aren’t totally necessary, and learn a ton this December.
Expanding on your Christmas Activities
Remember that list of “have to’s” you made? All those traditions that were non-negotiable? Grab your December calendar and plug those activities into the calendar. Before all the other busyness, get those items into the flow before they get pushed out. With those in place, you’ll see how much extra time you have for the other stuff that pops up.
With those “have to’s” in place, let’s expand them into a learning experience.
Is baking cookies on your list? Add in books like The Baker’s Dozen or The Legend of the Christmas Cookie to start your day. Then make the baking into a math lesson and talk about parts of a whole as you measure.
Nutcracker by Maurice Sendak: This book is GORGEOUS! More like a read-aloud than a picture book–there are some longer chapters in here. But the pictures are so lovely.
The Nutcracker retold by John Cech: I love this one because it’s a shorter book and a little easier to read as a bedtime story to Vera and it’s gorgeous to look at!
The Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker: This might be my favorite Christmas book purchase this year. You guys!! This book is amazing!! The illustrations are so so soooo good. And the best part, each page has a button to push and play a movement from the music. It’s a really special book. Vera has sat for HOURS with this book!
Going to the Nutcracker? Take the day before to listen to the music. The rendition below is our favorite version! Create some art for the whole afternoon while you listen to the music. Read the story and talk about the different world cultures shown in the dances.
Our favorite classic CD’s are from Maestro Classics. Their Nutcracker CD is SO GOOD! Plus there’s many other to choose from as well. The CD’s come with a 24-page booklet with stories and more info about the music and the composer.
Christmas Read Alouds are the best!
Are you reading a Christmas read aloud? Use your read-aloud for language arts lessons. Do copywork. Pull grammar lessons from the text. Do long narrations with your kids.
Our Daily Reading for this Advent
This year, we are using All Creation Waits as a daily reading book to get us into the meaning of Christmas. We are also using a companion guide with it called Unearthing Wonder and we cannot wait! Each day includes a passage and activity we can do if we choose.
Christmas Homeschooling Ideas Subject by Subject
Christmas Math Ideas:
- Cut back on some of the regular, daily lessons.
- Add in lots of math games.
- Do quick flashcard reviews instead of full lessons to keep everyone up on their math facts.
- Bake Christmas cookies! And make it into a math lesson.
For math this December, we are using Math in Nature: Shapes and Patterns. It’s not Christmassy exactly, but it’s very different than the normal math regimen for us and we are looking forward to switching it up!
- Tie in grammar and copywork with your Christmas read aloud.
- Create your own spelling lists this month with Christmas words like tinsel and holly.
History Christmas Ideas:
- If you’re already studying a period of history, research some Christmas traditions from that period and read about them.
- Bake something from the time period you’re studying. Idea: molasses candy from the Civil War era!
- Create Christmas crafts based on a certain time period like Pomanders from the Colonial Times.
- We have used Homeschool in the Woods Colonial Life unit study and loved it. There’s a whole chapter on Christmas in Colonial Times!
Science + Nature during Christmas:
- Let’s be honest, science isn’t my forte for most of the year. December won’t change that. BUT my kids do love science experiments. I love to give them projects they can do on their own so I can accomplish something else on my list–like stuffing our Christmas cards or ordering gifts.
- We LOVE Tinker Crate for their amazing projects that my kids can do on their own. I can work on something nearby to help if they need it, but mostly it’s hands-off for mama! You can see how we use Tinker Crate and other KiwiCo creates HERE.
>>You can get 60% off your first KiwiCo. box RIGHT NOW through January 1! Use code: EARLY to take advantage of this deal!<<
- Pop Bottle Science Experiments is another awesome kit.
- Magic School Bus monthly science kits are another all-time favorite my kids have really loved too!
- Nature Study through the Holidays is a wonderful resource and all laid out for mama! Easy peasy for December homeschooling!
- A couple of years ago, we had the kids write a newsletter and sent it out instead of our traditional Christmas card. We worked on it for a couple of weeks and got some great writing and editing practice.
We are doing the following activities in December for writing:
- Start a Christmas journal and use these story starters for inspiration
- Here’s some December writing prompts for teens that look really great!
- And some more writing prompts for elementary, too!
- Writing a Christmas Haiku looks like so much fun!
Art! My favorite kind of Christmas Homeschooling!!
- There’s SO many amazing Christmas art ideas!
- We are currently using Chalk Pastel’s Nutcracker lessons to go along with seeing the Nutcracker ballet this last weekend.
- Chalk Pastel’s also offers an awesome Christmas Lesson course we love!
Christmas Homeschooling Lesson Plans
I don’t normally do this, but this year I created a rough plan, week by week, with all my Christmas homeschooling ideas. It’s all typed out and neat and tidy, but it’s not set in stone by any means. It’s a guide for me. That is all. Because I forget everything. And if I don’t write it out, I will forget!
Snag fancy planning pages like these in my LESSON PLANNER.
Looking for More Christmas Homeschool Ideas?
- How to Beat the Winter Blues this Year
- 13 of the Best Christmas Read Alouds that will Make the Best Memories
- 70 SENSATIONAL CHRISTMAS PICTURE BOOKS TO MAKE THE BEST HOLIDAY LIBRARY
- 13+ of the Latest Christmas Books You’ll Love
- 103 Unique Stocking Stuffers that Will Encourage Learning
I hope this season is peaceful and full of wonder for you and your crew. You’re doing a great job, mama. Hang on to that list of “have to’s” and stick to it.
Now, choose a few items from the list above and have a great time learning with your kids this holiday!!