homeschool plans Christmas The month of December is usually a family time for us where intense academics take a back seat and we focus on our relationship with God, building memories with each other, and creative pursuits.

This year we’ll have two focus times in our day – one is as a family, and the other is independent. We don’t usually do independent studies but due to circumstances this year we will be.

This year (2012) independent studies will be:

  • Naomi:  Reading 1 hour, Math and Piano
  • Daniel: Speech Therapy 1 hour, Reading 1 hour, Math

Our family focus time (1-1.5hours) will be:

  • Christmas theme Bible Study
  • Christmas theme Read alouds
  • Reading Journal and Notebooking

Creative time (at least 1 hour a day)

  • Making gifts
  • Cooking Christmas food
  • Decorating the house
  • Sewing a Christmas outfit (myself and Jessica)

We’ve done many different things over the years and you can read more on my website (under Christmas – Family Traditions) and under the tag ‘Christmas’ on my blog.

This year I am very aware that my children are growing up and though they may have their favourite read alouds that we may revisit year after year, when it comes to thinking about Jesus and our Bible study time I need something different than Jesse Trees and the normal Christmas crafts.  I need to find something that meets my older children where they are at.

This year we will do the study The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem.  Between the Book and the DVD there is so much material to help me guide discussions (and there is a devotional book as well which we won’t use).

We will watch the DVD and ensuing discussion at our mid-week Bible study which involves people other than our family.  Daniel doesn’t usually join this but he will do for the next 4-5 weeks (though he may excuse himself through the discussion – we’ll see.)

Then during our ‘homeschool’ study time we’ll read the book – 1 chapter a week.  We’ll discuss and ask questions and dig into other resources (research) as we go along.  As we read we’ll take notes and at the end of the week we’ll create a notebook page or art project to reflect the theme of the week.

Then on Sundays when we are all together as a family (as the above homeschool time only involves Naomi and Daniel) we will look at a Reflection written for that chapter (included in the book).

I have also ordered Christmas Carols for a Kids Heart which we’ll read as a part of our read aloud time.  Haven’t decided when we’ll do read alouds this Christmas.  I have  a feeling Jessica in particular won’t want to miss out but she has a different schedule than the other kids so we may well move our read aloud time to after dinner.

Two books we have earmarked for Read aloud time

  • Tabitha’s Travels – this will be the first time we read this
  • An Angel’s story – this is our all time favourite (not suitable for little kids).  Not only is it a great story but it turns our hearts towards God and worshipping him every time we read it.

We have many picture books that we have read in the past during the month of December.  I’ll put them on our coffee table and let the kids enjoy them at their will.  A good picture book will entice any age reader!

Do you have your plans sorted yet?  There are lots of resources available on line and it is tempting to buy too many or we can find ourselves too overwhelming and not buy any!!  Here are a few that I think look good but please be aware that I haven’t used these – a few I have considered and a few are too young, but they look good.  (No affiliations are linked with these recommendations)

Before you go and buy any resources have a good look at what is on your bookshelf.  Have you bought things in the past thinking they would work in your family and yet time didn’t allow you to use them.  Consider them for this year.  No resource is going to be perfect for your family – you are going to have to tweak whatever it is you buy so consider carefully before you buy more.

Another thing to carefully consider before you set out on a grand plan – and that is what time do you really have.  Do you have other things happening in your home that is going to reduce the time you have for Christmas crafts, read alouds and study?  Carefully consider what you can let go before you add something to your days.

Preparing for Christmas can be a lot of fun, but it can also add a lot of stress.  As I read articles online this week about stress-free holidays the one thing that comes to me is simply don’t plan too much.  We tend to live over our limits – over our time limits, over our energy limits, over our money limits and this is what creates stress.  So be realistic this year – memory making is not much of a memory with a cranky, stressed, tired mum!!

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