Are you a homeschool family looking for a few Christmas ideas to add to your curriculum? There are many options for families who want to incorporate the holiday spirit into their winter curriculum. The only tricky part is deciding how to squeeze in all of your subjects while still managing to complete all of your other holiday tasks. If you’re looking for a few ideas to get you started, check out the following Christmas lesson plans and homeschool activities that are sure to keep you covered through January.
Think about having your children write their own notes or letters this year to include in your Christmas cards. You can teach fine arts skills by having them design your family’s card, then teach handwriting, English and spelling skills by addressing the envelopes by hand. You can even add in some computer skills by creating a database of family and friends’ addresses on your PC or Mac. Finish it off by utilizing math skills when you compute postage. You can also use e-cards from a number of free online sites.
Read Holiday Classics
Why not download a copy of A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens and then choose selected passages to illustrate? You can also encourage your children to think about the true meaning of gift giving with a reading of The Gift of the Magi. How about reading Luke 2, from the Bible to learn about the first Christmas? Children have the opportunity to learn some old English grammar with this reading. You can use these classics to talk about how language evolves and look at how some words cease being used and how new ones are created. For more, try Holiday Stories and How to Choose Them by Marty Layne, or share The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories.
Teach how to handle money.
If your children are younger, you can teach them about addition and counting. You can use this in real life by going shopping and having them add their purchases together and multiply the tax. Your Christmas lesson plan can focus on budget skills too! Shopping with a Christmas list is a great opportunity for kids to learn more about how to budget and how to stick to their budget. If your children are older, you can work on more advanced skills like Algebra and Geometry. For example, when it comes to wrapping your gifts, you can have a discussion about the surface area of solids for a geometry lesson. And you can work on estimation skills by measuring dimensions with a tape measure after trying to estimate the exact amount of paper you need.
You can teach your children about complimentary colors by looking at wrapping paper and ribbon. If you have access to a color printer, you can even print out Christmas wrap personally designed by your children. Here’s a link for festive holiday clip art to use for your projects. And what would Christmas be without a gingerbread house? You can bring in some history by using your building time to create a house from another era, or even a house from some time in the future. Some of the math questions you can use include: How is the structure held in place by the geometry of the pieces? How can you make parts of the house symmetrical?
Teach some science.
You can utilize science skills by teaching about The Star of Bethlehem. There are many many theories as to what the wise men really saw and why it propelled them to seek a newborn king. Did they witness a comet or a supernova? If your area has clear skies mid-December, get outside and look for the Geminids Meteor Shower display. You can teach science with a lesson on holiday plants, too. Find out how Christmas trees are cultivated, and whether or not they can be planted after the holiday. There are lots of great sites to learn about poinsettias and mistletoe and holly. Check out this one if you’d like to learn how to sing The Holly and the Ivy.
Teach through festivals.
Keep your eyes open for local cultural festivals in your community. Think about joining in with other cultural groups. The Jews celebrate the Festival of Hanukkah, and the Germans celebrate St Nicholas’ Day. Italians wait for Old Befana, and Mexicans celebrate with pinatas. African-Americans celebrate several days of Kwanzaa, Celts the Winter Solstice, and the Scots Hogmanay.
Teach the value of volunteering.
Reach out to your local community by spreading some cheer to those without family, or those who are less fortunate. You can collect food for the hungry and participate in caroling at a senior citizen center or a health care facility. If you are looking to get more involved, there are usually volunteer services and coordinators at nearby churches or city hall.
Incorporate visual and performing arts.
Your homeschoolers can join a chorus or just form an impromptu group and go caroling around the neighborhood. Some families participate in a Christmas play or join in a community sing-along of The Messiah. If you play an instrument, you can incorporate it into the production so others can sing along. Research the words to favorite holiday songs online, and publish a family sing-along book, so everyone will have the words. Another fun idea is to learn how to play popular carols on a pennywhistle.
You can always utilize arts and crafts skills by making decorations for the tree. Browse fine art books at the library to see how the Christmas story is told through painting and sculpture. Make candles or scented soap. Homemade gifts and craft supplies make great stocking stuffers or presents for young children. Sew, knit or quilt gifts and decorations.
Check out some dance or theater.
How about getting tickets to see The Nutcracker? There are many great theater productions this time of year and many of them are great for all ages of kids! Remember that some places even offer group deals or discount tickets for students too! If you are really ambitious, you could also try your own performance of A Christmas Carol.
Check out some of these great lesson plan links:
A Mini-Study of Christmas from Home School in the Woods has some great ideas for homeschooling families. There are many aspects of this holiday that are interesting to learn about. For Christians, it is important to know and understand just how events and traditions come about by using the Bible.
Christmas Around the World. This virtual theme unit takes you around the world to learn more about different Christmas holiday traditions and stories.
Clay Christmas Ornaments. This site has a great lesson on making your own clay Christmas ornaments and is geared toward the primary grades.
I hope this gives you lots of inspiration for Christmas lesson plans and how to create educational activities in your holiday preparations. If you want more tips, follow our blog and facebook page! And most of all, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!