For the last few years I've enjoyed finishing up our first term right before Thanksgiving. Our next term always starts after the New Year. So what do we do for the five weeks in between? Our math continues as routine (lighter to allow for some math drills), but all our other subjects will have a focus relating to the season with lots of baking and craft making : D Somehow, lightening our load and shifting to a more faith filled time, really helps us welcome the Christ Child with open arms and more sincere hearts. Our plans are pretty much finished (for now).
Picture Book Baskets: We have two crate like baskets filled with Christmas books. We pick one a day to enjoy. I pretty much let this lead us on any trails. I'll try to post what books we've read for the week.
Faith & Religion & History: This will be our first year through a Jesse Tree. I found a great branch tree at Michaels to hold our very simple but elegant (and free) Jesse Tree ornaments provided by the lovely Michele from Family Centered Press. I miss doing this every year so we are excited. I went ahead and splurged a little on these (again) simple but elegant O Antiphons ornaments for our live tree. We'll also have weekly readings from Children's Advent and Christmas (sorry this is a hard one to find but it looks just right for my little ones). The other one we chose is certainly easily attainable One Wintry Night by Ruth Graham; the illustrations are very nice in this book.
Geography: We used this book once a week last year too, so the girls are eager to read some different stories from it: The Return of the Light: Twelve Tales from Around the World for the Winter Solsitce by Carolyn M. Edwards. The girls read a story and then will look it up on a map or even go off on a trail about the country they just read. The stories are not too long, but they are captivating.
Poetry: I will pick one poem per week for copywork out of O Holy Night: Masterworks of Christmas Poetry. Each section also includes some good bible verses for copywork and/or dictation.
Art Study: We chose The Saturday Evening Post Christmas Book by Norman Rockwell. There are some wonderful prints and good stories in it. Our focus is Rockwell.
Music: Our favorites are always the Wee Sing Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Classical Kids Christmas and this year we are adding Christmas Carols for a Kids Heart. These pretty much just get played as background for now. We also delight in listening to the girls practice for their choir performance at the Christmas Eve Mass.
Nature Study & Science: I was so excited when Jen posted about the books by Glenn Blough. We bought Christmas Trees and How They Grow and will be the focus of our studies for the next five weeks or so. Once a week the girls will also be reading from a fun scientific-like (IMO) book: Flight of the Reindeer by Robert Sullivan.
Baking & Crafts: I was excited to find on Currclick Scipture Adventures: A Christmas Adventure. While it could stand alone as our Faith Studies; I'll be honest I liked that there is a craft or baking activity for every day in December 'till Christmas!
Independent Reading & Read Aloud: We started this last year so this year it will be our focus; Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien. The girls will also have some nice chapter books to choose from for independent reading. First up is Just David by Eleanor Porter for my sixth grader, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson for my third grader and with my first grader we'll continue with Frog and Toad Treasury by Arnold Lobel skipping to Frog and Toad All Year to the Down the Hill and Christmas Eve Chapters.
It might seem like a full load but really the weekly readings don't take too long. This leaves plenty of room to enjoy the season with each other mostly cuddled with a book of choice or in the kitchen creating.