Holiday Homeschooling: Counting Down the Days
Christmas is my favorite holiday, and not just the day but the whole season. Homeschooling provides the extra blessing of flexibility to enjoy all that this delightful time of year has to offer. Over the next couple weeks I’ll be sharing how we celebrate the holiday while homeschooling. Not in spite of homeschooling, but tying everything together.
Advent calendars are a great tool to savor the season. I use a wooden snowman with 25 drawers that I purchased at a craft store and painted. I fill each drawer with a small piece of candy and a slip of paper with an activity. Having our advent calendar has improved our celebration of the Christmas season:
- It gives my children a visual reminder of how many days before Christmas Day.
- The activities give them so much to enjoy throughout the season that they savor it, rather than just wanting it to be over so the big day arrives.
- Coming up with activities for the days assures that we enjoy the holiday season together and it won’t be December 22nd when I realize we haven’t done all that we wanted.
So, are you persuaded that you need an advent calendar? There are many options for the actual calendars: most stores sell fabric ones with pockets and wooden ones with drawers, and the Internet is loaded with ideas to make them from everything from paper bags to baby socks.
Are you thinking, “But how can I come up with TWENTY-FIVE activities?” Don’t fret! Trust me, it really isn’t that hard. If you sit down and write the things you enjoy doing during the holiday season you’ll probably be half way there anyway. The activities don’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. Are you going to visit friends or relatives to celebrate? What about scheduled events in your town, homeschool groups or church?
Still not convinced? Let me prove it:
- Make a paper chain to count down the days.
- Look at family Christmas photos (or videos) from previous years.
- Drive around looking at Christmas lights.
- Put up Christmas lights outside.
- Decorate our Christmas tree.
- Wrap Christmas gifts.
- Write a letter to Santa.
- Make paper snowflakes.
- Attend town tree lighting or parade.
- Have a candlelight (and tree lights) dinner at home and dress fancy.
- Visit friends to admire their decorations.
- Deliver homemade treats to friends and neighbors.
- Play games or put together a puzzle by the Christmas tree.
- Read the Christmas story in the Bible.
- Go out for dessert.
- Decorate gingerbread houses.
- Make place cards or place mats for Christmas dinner.
- Go caroling.
- Attend a Christmas concert or sing-a-long.
- Attend a holiday performance (check local theaters/schools for a holiday play or ballet).
- Have hot cocoa with only the tree lights on.
- Make Christmas cards.
- Visit Santa.
- Make cookies for Santa.
- Decorate a tree outside with food for the birds.
- Make a popcorn garland.
- Make a birthday cake for Jesus.
- Make handmade gifts.
- Walk around the neighborhood to enjoy Christmas lights.
- Participate in or watch a church Christmas pageant.
- Have a sleepover beside the Christmas tree.
- Attend a church Christmas Eve service.
- Watch a Christmas movie (many choices for all ages–I use this several times).
- Make a Christmas craft or ornament (I use this more than once, too).
- Bake a Christmas treat (I use this one a few times, too).
Now that is THIRTY-FIVE ideas, and I use a few of the ideas more than once! Are you convinced that this is actually easy? It doesn’t add hustle and bustle–it stretches and slows the season. And in case you think I’m super organized, I don’t actually fill all the drawers ahead of time. I have my list and supplies ready but I schedule specific activities a few days at a time (or the night before!) so I can see what we have time for, add in fun events that come up, and adjust if anyone is sick.
Still think it sounds like a lot? Remember that the food treats don’t have to take hours–and in fact they shouldn’t if you want to work with kids in the kitchen! Grab a box of sugar cones, slather them with frosting and decorate with sprinkles and candy. Making peppermint bark is easy and the kids love crushing the candy canes. The same is true with crafts. Pick up some wooden ornaments at the craft store and let the kids loose with paint. Swirl paint around inside clear glass ball ornaments. You’ll treasure the memories and the ornaments when you unpack them next year.
Check out my Pinterest Christmas Activities with Kids board for fun food and craft ideas that will help you have your advent calendar filled in no time.
Stay tuned, for I’ll be sharing how we focus on the reason for the season and keep on learning while celebrating!