As much as I love the holidays – and I really do – it can be challenging to lesson plan during this season! Between the service projects, Christmas gatherings, and the days where everyone’s just sort of done, it can be easy to throw in the towel. I’d love to share some holiday lesson planning tips that I’ve learned over the years!
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Do a Holiday Unit Study
One of our go-to holiday lesson planning strategies has always been a unit study. We love Christmas Around the World units; they’re easy to put together and there’s so many fun things to learn!
With these units, you can learn fascinating things about cultures from around the world. Many nations have a wealth of holiday traditions, crafts, recipes, and stories to pull from! And to save you time, I’ve put a bunch of our favorites together to pick from – for free! (Hint – they’re linked at the bottom of this post!)
Christmas units are also a great way to keep your kids working on whatever skills they need to practice, but in a fun way!
Focus on Others
The holiday season is an amazing time for serving others. Service projects abound! While you shouldn’t let them take over your schedule, they are a great way to help your kids learn to focus on others and mix things up a bit.
We’ve done a wide range of service projects over the years, ranging from packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child to packing Christmas shipments for Blue Star Mothers to send to troops overseas. There have been times we have helped hand out holiday meals at a local homeless shelter. This year, we are serving with a community outreach through our church.
The opportunities really are endless, and they tend to teach our kids far more than worksheets ever could.
Do you remember what the holidays were like when you were little? It was kind of a whirlwind of activity, and every day brought something new. There were parties, crafts, amazing new treats to sample, and programs and service projects galore.
In the midst of all of that, English pages and math tests seemed to take a back seat.
The same is true for your kids! If they seem to be getting a bit restless, it may be time to change things up a bit. It really is fine to put your normal lesson plans on hold for a few weeks and allow your kids to explore and discover. (Trust me – we did it for years!)
Make New Traditions
I love the traditions that have been handed down through my family, and my husband feels the same about his. We’ve carried a lot of those traditions on in our own family.
However, as our son has grown older, we’ve also made a lot of our own traditions. Some of them are just plain fun, like watching certain movies each year. (White Christmas is a fave at our house!) Others have become pretty ingrained in our holiday schedule, like cooking and baking days.
My son and I were both diagnosed with celiac disease about 10 years ago; basically, our bodies can’t tolerate gluten, even in trace amounts. Because of this, we had to relearn how to prepare almost every recipe we loved.
When this happened, we had two choices. We could decide to abandon our favorite dishes due to overwhelm, or we could have fun learning how to make and enjoy them again.
We chose the second option. Over the past 10 years, my son and I have spent time picking out interesting recipes and figuring out how to remake old favorites. These Each Thanksgiving and Christmas, he and I spend part of the day making our favorites and trying out new ideas. Then we get to enjoy the results!
We’ve had a few, um, interesting results, but overall, we’ve made a lot of delicious recipes and had a lot of fun in the process. In addition, we’ve learned a lot about food science and other cultures. We’ve also learned that new foods can be just plain fun!
Enjoy the Holidays
No matter which option you choose for your holiday lesson planning, take time to enjoy the holidays with your family. Learning and schoolwork are important, but spending time together as a family is what your children will remember the most.
By outsourcing classes and being flexible, you can free yourself up to show your children the true magic and delight of the holidays. The crazy schedules that come up this time of year don’t have to put a crimp in your holiday lesson planning!
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