November and December are two of the busiest months of the year for us, at least until summer starts. Maybe the whole year is crazy busy now that I think about it. There’s something about these two months, though, that make me want to draw in and stay close to home, but there are get-togethers, dinners, celebrations, singing, and more. Last year, we had three places to be, all starting an hour apart from each other for three separate days over those two months. It was hectic! This year we’re keeping things a lot more simple, while still bringing in some favorite traditions, as well as trying out some new things that will hopefully make us look back on this holiday season with fondness and not stress!
Our Fall Harvest Curriculum comes to an end on November 17th and then our plan is to take a week off for Thanksgiving. Our Winter Wonderland Curriculum doesn’t start until the first week of January, which leaves us with the last week of November, and all of December to slow down and recharge.
In terms of learning, I plan on doing a lot of reading aloud, crafts, and playing educational type games that don’t require a lot of prep work or clean up. Some of my favorite ideas for free games and craft ideas are:
We’re going to do a book advent starting on December 1st. I wanted the girls to be able to each open one book a day so to make this affordable, I’m going to check out books at the library and use books that we already have. I’ve been stockpiling Christmas books all year from library book sales to save money. The ones in our area end with a $5 a bag sale so this is an awesome way to stock up on early readers and educational children’s books.
The wrapped books will be numbered to avoid any overdue books. If you do this with library books, make sure to not place any tape directly on the library books!
Keeping Our Routine, Just Slower
The “summer slide” is not something I want to repeat in the winter, so even though we’ll be toning down what we’ve been doing, I still want to keep us doing the same general format. When we pick back up in January, this will make easier than if we just stop doing anything structured in December. Each week will focus on one book, one craft, and one recipe, and then free time can be spent watching videos, playing learning-oriented games, reading, etc.
Staying in Touch with Nature
Winter is one of the hardest times to get in enough time outside and we’re already experiencing a little bit of resistance now that we’re deep into fall. In addition to following our nature study guide, we’re going to set up bird feeders to keep the birds fed who didn’t migrate to warmer weather. Being able to observe birds should be a great motivation to get us outside more!
A lot of what we already do focuses on keeping learning fun and light so it may not be too much of a change. My hope is that by slowing down just a little more, we can have a calm and cozy Christmas.