We tend to start school in mid August and by Thanksgiving have finished a first term. I've enjoyed this very much. It gives us about five weeks to shift our CM education towards preparing for the Christmas season. We don't stop school and our style doesn't change; materials just get replaced a bit. The month is filled with activities and to do lists outside our home; that I really noticed a sense of rush rather than the calm that should be. So for the last several years I've felt that letting the kids enjoy the time filled with great books, handicrafts, poetry, music, nature study/science, art and good thoughts about the coming of our Savior in our home was important.
All our regular school book baskets are put away and filled with lots of Christmas and winter type books. This year the kids and I will be enjoying the following:
Religion/Faith: Destination Bethlehem by Sharon Altman and Christine Winkelman
Geography: Christmas Stories 'Round the World edited by Lois Johnson
Music/Composer Study: All About Christmas by Maymie R. Krythe (the last four chapters on carols)
Poetry: The Young Oxford Book of Christmas Poems
Art Study(&Religion): A King James Christmas edited by Catherine Schuon & Michael Fitzgerald
Nature Study/Science: And Everything Nice: The Story of Sugar, Spice and Flavoring by Elizabeth Cooper (this ties in great with the Marco Polo year we're having too) and Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed (not scientific, but a cute story that gives us some thoughts to research)
The kids also each have independent reading time. They have lots of books to choose from and I've not been keeping up with my new purchases so I've had to make a few trips to the library to get some new titles for them. Besides their chapter books; we have on our schedule a picture book daily (which we read as a family). On the schedule is also a craft or baking/cooking. They really enjoy this (I'll post next on how this has turned out great with our Spices books). This gives us lots of time to enjoy our days, but daylight is shorter. What are they to do? Well, I've noticed they ended up indoors more this time of year and this gives them time to create or make handmade gifts for people. One of my girls is on her third set of crochet items she'll be gifting; don't want to spoil what it is in case the grandmas' & aunties are reading ; )
Our math continues as usual (not so creative here, sorry). I do, however, create a notebook for them to keep all their copy work or written narrations/pictures for the season; a spot for our language arts you might say. Another instance when I just love my binding machines, pretty paper and my StartWrite program:
This is our second week on this schedule and already I feel like we've slowed down and are enjoying each other. I can't wait to share with you what's on our nature study table and the cute things the boys are enjoying in that little nook.