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10 Homeschool Holiday Traditions | @iHomeschoolNet | #ihsnet

As Busy Boys Brigade progresses through our 4th year of homeschooling, we are excited to continue (and add!) to our homeschool holiday traditions. Some activities have shifted from family holiday traditions into our homeschool day.  Other customs have developed as we learn and grow together during the holidays.

I love incorporating special times like holidays into our homeschool.  By adding hands-on and creative learning activities and games, I am able to help my boys channel their pre-holiday excitement into positive learning opportunities.  Also, I get much better cooperation and engagement when I mix in holiday themes with our typical homeschool routine.

Advent

One of my favorite times of year is Advent!  I love the anticipation of Christ’s birth, as well as the preparatory time in our Catholic Church.  I was introduced to the Church through my future husband’s family during the season of Advent so it is an extra special time for me.
beeswax-candles
Easy, DIY Beeswax candles are wonderful to use during Advent!

I was given an Advent wreath during my R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process that we continue to use.  My boys and I have started to make our own beeswax candles to use with our Advent wreath.  As with most of our activities, I find when the boys play an active role in creating part of it that participation and engagement increases.
jesse-tree
Our simple Jesse Tree with DIY ornaments made years ago from coloring page

When we began homeschooling (after a few years in public school for my 2 older boys), I was thrilled to be able to include our Advent devotions using our Jesse Tree during our Morning Gathering Time.  By including these devotions in the first part of our homeschool day, we have more time to really delve into reading and discussion of the daily Bible stories.  Often our Advent devotions lead to rabbit trails of exploration of our faith and other educational pursuits.

Family Read Aloud Time

We try to include read aloud time as much as possible into our homeschool day.  I love when the holiday season rolls around because our monthly book basket is filled with delightful holiday-themed books.  The boys love all things holiday-related and family read alouds are eagerly anticipated.

Here are a few of Busy Boys Brigade’s favorite holiday books:

christmas-books

Music

During the holidays, my boys and I love to listen to holiday songs throughout our homeschool day.  Captain, my oldest, often turns on a local radio station after our Morning Gathering Time.  Cheery Christmas carols fill our homeschool area and brightens all of our moods.  We also enjoy listening to favorite Christmas hymns during our homeschool day.

One addition that I am planning on making to our homeschool holiday music collection is Shane Philen’s beautiful holiday jazz, All Is Bright

Movies

With all of the holiday activities and excitement, I find that it is often helpful to have a few holiday movies in queue.  We use these holiday movies as times to learn, discuss life lessons, and to relax after a busy day.  Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures has shared these rockin’ holiday movies available on Netflix.  We have come to enjoy many of her highlighted selections, especially The Polar Express.
christmas-movies
Professor & Captain with a few of our favorite holiday movies

Baking

My husband and I started our family tradition of baking Christmas cookies together in our tiny little apartment near Baltimore during our first year of marriage.  We had so much fun baking cookies and sweet breads from recipes from both sides of our families.  We have thoroughly enjoyed passing on this family tradition to our boys-especially during our homeschool day!
easy-pumpkin-bread-muffins
Easy Pumpkin Muffins (also featured in Holiday Bake Hop)

Prior to the start of our learning fun in the kitchen, the boys work with me in creating lists of recipes, ingredients, and planning when we will tackle each.  Captain has now taken the reins and started to train his younger brothers in baking cookies, breads, and other holiday treats.  He turns up the Christmas tunes and gives mini-lessons in kitchen measurement, science, and baking tips to his “elves”.

Crafts

Our homeschool art time during the holidays often turns into craft time!  Every year, my boys cut out Christmas trees from green construction paper and decorate according to their own tastes.  They also fashion a paper countdown chain and take turns removing a link a day.
mugs-for-gifts
DIY Mugs-Fun & Easy Gift for Kids to make!

We enjoy researching new craft projects and adding them to our traditional holiday craft time.  Our craft time is also used for creating gifts to give to family and friends.  We shared a few of ourDIY craft ideas for gifts and fun during iHomeschool Network’s Christmas Hopscotch.

Decorating

Christmas decoration time has become a homeschool tradition!  Captain (13) gets our bins out of storage and initiates the process in his customary Buddy the Elf-like self.  We typically spend one homeschool morning or so spreading Christmas cheer all about our home.

During our decorating time, my younger boys practice counting and adding ornaments.  My older boys work on team work and management skills as they direct their younger brothers in carefully handling and hanging decorations.  All boys get practice with estimation and physics as they determine placement of ornaments on our tree.

Games

To harness their Christmas exuberance, I include educational games with holiday themes.  Hands-on activities with plenty of movement are great choices, especially as we near the long-awaited date. During iHomeschool Network’s 5 Days of Holiday Hopscotch, I shared 6 Holiday Minute-to-Win-It & Activity Games.

holiday-minute-to-win-it

Another fun game that we play during family and homeschool time is I Spy A Christmas Ornament.  We whip up some hot chocolate, pop in a few marshmallows, and cuddle around the tree.  Each family member takes a turn picking a Christmas tree ornament, gives a clue (or two), and lets others try to figure out the ornament. We enjoy this time of reminiscing about special ornaments and sharing family memories.

Writing

A special holiday tradition that has rolled into our homeschool time is our Letter to Santa.  Around the age of 4, Captain began to ask a lot of questions about Santa, the North Pole, and elves.  Not sure how to answer, I encouraged him to work with me on making a list of questions to place next to Santa’s milk and cookies.

santa-list

Captain continues this tradition with his younger brothers and all look forward to Santa’s responses Christmas morning.  My boys run straight to the empty glass of milk and plate of cookies to find the answers to their questions.  I love how this Letter to Santa tradition involves creative thinking, cooperation, and writing skills.  We shared a few more homeschool holiday writing ideas in Day 3:  4 Holiday Activities for Writing Fun! of iHomeschool Network’s Christmas Hopscotch.

Holiday Family Card

As much as I love to look back on our Holiday Family Cards, I have found the process of preparing and creating Holiday Family Cards to be exhausting.  Not only is it difficult to find coordinating outfits for 5 boys ages 1-13, it is draining to try to capture a moment where they are all looking at the camera without making a funny face, blinking, or crying.  When Captain suggested that we start to use some of our homeschool time to prepare, plan, and shoot the pictures, I was all for it!

boys-christmas-card

Professor and Captain help me wrangle their brothers into Christmas pajamas (graciously provided by my in-laws around Halloween).  Our tradition has been to take a picture in front of our fireplace (although I see how in a few years there may not be enough space with 5 growing boys!).  The boys discuss various poses and props. Their contribution to the process has reduced this ordeal to only lasting a few minutes and saving us quite a bit of money!

I appreciate you reading through our Homeschool Holiday Traditions.  I pray that some of our Christmas learning fun ideas may bless your family. Many blessings to you & your homeschool this holiday season!

About AmyM

Amy Milcic shares encouragement, support, & resources at Rock Your Homeschool. It is her passion to help homeschoolers find their groove & unlock their unique potential. Amy hosts a weekday live broadcast & Facebook community for homeschoolers to connect & find refreshment.

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