Most of us are creating benchmarks for the new school year during the summer months. We’re just thinking about the curriculum itself and how it breaks down. But various holiday seasons are coming, and by the time we get to them, we often wish we’d have incorporated more space for holiday learning into our school plan and benchmarks.
Fortunately, it’s still possible to make it happen! Let me share with you some of the ways I enjoyed incorporating holiday learning into our lesson plans.
My Holiday Learning Traditions
When the kids were in elementary and middle school, we would center our reading around gratitude in November and then the birth of Christ in December.
It was always exciting to see their interest grow as, each year, they understood more and more the importance of the season.
For language arts, we would incorporate these topics into dictation, handwriting, and writing. Having the kids write papers on gratitude seemed to result in a better atmosphere.
As a family who loves to create in the kitchen, we spent many hours listening to Christmas songs while baking.
How did that translate into school? Well, I couldn’t always check off math, science, or history in my planner, but I did see more important education occur.
The kids learned how to cook, measure ingredients, and follow instructions while singing and laughing. They also developed traditions and relationships that could not be learned from a textbook.
Our holiday learning would have made Charlotte Mason proud.
Holiday Learning with the Well Planned Gal Team
I asked my team to share how they mesh homeschool and holidays. Here’s what they had to say:
Being a ministry family means that mid-November through Christmas break is a busy time. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for great holiday learning and lesson planning. But, several years ago we started a tradition that is easy to implement and doesn’t require extra planning.
Using Robert J. Morgan’s Then Sings My Soul Special Edition, we read stories behind favorite and new-to-us Christmas songs. We also pick an Advent devotional or calendar to go through together.
Incorporating holiday themed books into our reading is such a fun and easy way to tie holiday learning into our homeschool lessons!
One of my favorite holiday projects is one that we do every year around Thanksgiving. I look for some kind of “thankfulness” project to do, whether it’s just a simple list of the things we are thankful for on the whiteboard or a more elaborate art project. It’s a good attitude check for all of us (even mom!) to focus on just how much we have to be grateful for.
I always plan our year with some extra time off from normal school work around the holidays. We spend time reading some of our favorite holiday books such as Squanto, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Christmas Carol, or Carol Bird’s Christmas. We do special baking projects and crafts, which we often use to minister to others during this time.
At Thanksgiving we implement holiday learning by studying thankfulness as part of our Bible lessons. We have learned Christmas carols and gone to sing at assisted living and nursing homes. We have also volunteered with non-profits, been involved with our homeschool group’s Christmas program, and helped pack shoeboxes with gifts for needy children.
We have an Advent calendar that my mom passed down to me. Before school, we read a Scripture and devotion, sing a hymn, recite a memory verse, and hang an ornament on the tree. Also, a local church has an Advent organ concert series; once a week, we enjoy Christmas carols played on a large pipe organ followed by refreshments.