I cannot wait until after Thanksgiving to pick my gifts for the people on my list. To do it right takes time, so I get started early. The same can be said for homeschooling. You need to prepare in advance. Therefore, this is your official authorization to begin planning for your homeschool Christmas lessons now, before Thanksgiving ends. In that, however, you have a problem. The closer it gets to Christmas, the less everyone wants to do school (except if you find some really cool short courses like this 3 week, LIVE English course on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol for 6th-8th graders). Well, you are the boss of your child’s education, remember? So rather than becoming a course-schedule Nazi, liven up the season – and possibly your child’s enthusiasm for learning – with some unique and fun homeschool Christmas lessons!
1. Study the Obscure Christmas Passages
Your kids are probably anticipating Luke 2 and the story of the wisemen. Switch things up on them a little with some passages that have a lot to say about Christmas but may not occur to them as “Christmas passages.” Try Hebrews 2, or think about John 1:1-14:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made . . .And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth
Do you think this passage has anything to say about Christmas? There are many others.
And without controversy great is the mystery of Godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory (1Timothy 3:16).
And I will shake all nations, and the Desire Of All Nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of Hosts (Haggai 2:7).
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law (Galatians 4:4).
But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:7-8)
Don’t worry if Christmas tradition in your house directs for the traditional passages. Read them too. But sometimes, you’ve got to change things up to keep things interesting. So take some time for your kids to work through passages similar to the ones above. It may be important for them to realize that there are still parts of the “church-y” side of Christmas they haven’t explored yet. The incarnation really is a marvel, mystery, and miracle. Perhaps the greatest of all time. Don’t let familiarity bury the wonder of what we are remembering at Christmas time. Dig a little deeper into God’s Word for an engaging Bible homeschool Christmas lesson!
2. Statistics: Christmas Version
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a math-related homeschool Christmas lesson! Here’s my idea. Assign the most mathematically inclined of your children to be the “smile counter” during a Christmas activity around the house. Once you have a smile count at the end of the activity, there is no end to the numerical felicitations. You can practice your multiplication by extrapolating the number of smiles from this activity out by the number of activities you have. That will tell you have many extra smiles you get out of your Christmas traditions! After you’ve done a couple of smile-counted activities, you can find the average smile per activity. Then, by performing another set of multiplications, you can update and refine your smile total. If you want to get really advanced, you can even rank your Christmas activities by smiles produced. That way, when you decide what you are going to do for Christmas next year, you can target high-smile activities. I bet this will be a homeschool Christmas lesson that will appeal to the math lover in your family!
3. Cross-Cultural Christmas
This is an old favorite for many. There is something appealing about understanding what Christmas has meant in other cultures. That sort of research can be a great Christmas-related spin on history, social studies, cross-cultural studies, or even language studies. For instance, consider this unique Singing Time Spanish – Blanca Navidad course. At only $5, it’s a great way to give your 5-10 year old a cross-cultural Christmas lesson. Learn a second carol in Spanish with Singing Time Spanish – Cascabel! These are fun ways to add social studies and language studies to your December palate.
There is a new spin you can put on this, too. It might be harder to research, but why not try to find out about Christmas traditions from other parts of the good old USA. How different do you think Christmas in Hawaii – or even Louisiana – is from Christmas in Maine? I’ll bet they celebrate differently in Chicago than they do in Amish country, Pennsylvania. It may take a little patience and discernment with the internet searches, but that’s a good skill for your kids to pick up, too.
4. Retell the Christmas Story
This one doesn’t sound too original, but that’s the challenge. If you want to, you can hear half a dozen representations of the Christmas story every year. You’ll probably hear them even if you don’t want to! You’ll be hard pressed, however, to find a unique approach to retelling the Christmas story. Why not task you kids with coming up with one? Believe me, your kids will be uniquely suited to the task.
There are couple of different angles you can take, here. I prefer the free-expression-of-the-imagination angle. Let your kids tell the story the way they want to! That includes something like a mural or song just as much as a written story. If you’re really ambitious, try to make a Christmas short film! Playdough is a great option for the younger ones. You can also try the more structured angle and add some rules. You can mimic an essay contest and create a theme. Try “An Angel’s View of Christmas”.
5. Prepare a Christmas Themed Dramatic Presentation
Find a favorite Christmas poem or essay, according to the age and reading level of your student, and prepare a recitation. This one could be very meaningful. Your student should choose a section of literature that means something to him or her. It could be scripture, it could be a classic, it could be modern, or it could even be an original work. Set a time and place for the recital, and make sure your student respects it. Make it fun, but make it serious. For the right kid, the inner performer will embrace the opportunity. Just make sure your family respects the work your student has put into it. Get everyone showered, dined, seated, quiet, and waiting for the show before the appointed hour. Do not let your child think no one is interested! Do not let him or her be forced to drag the rest of your family away from another activity to pay attention – get everyone else excited and looking forward to it. You might have to overcome some nerves, but that will be great for your kids too!
So there you have it, five great alternatives to the traditional homeschool Christmas lessons. Enjoy! Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go and try not to sing Jingle Bells for a few more weeks!