Thursday, December 6, 2012

How Do You...Keep Up With School in December?

How do you keep up with school work during the busy weeks of the holiday season?

We purposefully keep our weeks of December as stress-free as possible, but between my baking and wrapping and the kids' brains checking out of school on December 1, it can be a struggle to plug away at our pencil work until Christmas.  However, because we take an extended break lasting from the week before Christmas until the first week of February, we can't afford to totally zone out in December.

Here's how I make it work:

I sketch out a very loose schedule for the month.  I use notebook paper-- one sheet per week-- and write out a short list of what I'd like to accomplish each school day.  I check the calendar for special events and plan accordingly.  For example, we set aside an entire day in December to bake with my mom and sisters so I plan nothing academic and give ourselves a day off from official schooling. Because I know about it ahead of time, I do it with no guilt, but even if something comes up unexpectedly, I take a lighthearted approach, knowing that this season comes only once a year.

In the margins of my notebook, I write short notes of other things (besides academics) I want to do for fun.  I scribble in ideas of crafts for the little ones or books I want to read to them.  By seeing it all planned out together (no matter how messy), I can more accurately predict if it's a good day to bring out the glue and paint for a craft project or whether it would be better to stick with the basics. 

The best part about homeschooling is that I can choose to lighten our load in December...or rename the things we want to do anyway and label them school!  Last year, we dumped our regular art study for the month of December.  Instead, we took an afternoon a week to make a batch of Christmas cookies and called that art!  This year we're trading in our regular Bible reading plan for Allyson's The Names of Jesus Advent Cards (free download), and since we've been reading and singing our way through Christmas Carols for Kid's Heart this entire school year, it's been easy to incorporate music into our December days, even on the weekends! 

How do you keep up with school in December? Let us know in the comments. 

Also, if you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail!   I'd love to hear from you. 

1 comment:

  1. We've also scaled back a bit during the month of December. We're doing a few more crafts, reading lots of Christmas books and finishing up some Christmas gifts.

    I also have settled with writing down my plans in a spiral notebook. I usually have a hard time keeping track of which notebook I use for what, but I recently bought a few Mead notebooks with colored paper. I have one pink, one yellow, and one green. The covers are clear so you can see what color the notebook is from all sides. I've designated the yellow notebook for school and this has helped a lot.

    We're also using the Names of Jesus Advent Cards for Bible this month. I love how simple it is, but how the kids are learning different aspects of Jesus. I think it's easy for kids (and adults, too) to think of Jesus as simply a baby in a manger or a man on a cross, but there is so much more!


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