December already! Last thing I remember is the kind of September when life was slow and oh so mellow. (Yes, I stole that from a song that randomly popped in my head. Obviously the writer wasn't homeschooling when the inspiration for the lyrics hit.) The mere fact that it's December makes it easy to come up with homeschool lesson plans for the final month of the year. Last year I did a post on "Homeschooling on the Holidays about the Holidays" that has educational links that can be used for homeschool lesson plans on calendars, holidays, geography, traditions, culture, math, reading, etc., that can be incorporated into any subject. This post probably won't be that long nor as informative. If you're looking for heavy duty December lesson plans for homeschooling, head on over to that link.
I was trying to fix my search engine that searches only free educational online games and came across some cute sites I wanted to share, so thought I'd do a post on December Lesson Plans. I couldn't get results from Abc'ya to show up as much as I wanted to for certain searches - and I have much to learn about annotations and xml before I ever figure it out. Abcya has a lot of free online games and worksheets that are lifesavers in the December rush.
What I thought was really cute was a simple math game for first grade, second grade or third grade students that rewards the child with a number of Christmas lights that can be used to decorate a house using the mouse. (Not to be confused with the house where not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.) The mouse can run all over the house and there's flashing lights and jingle bell chimes when your child is done decorating their house with Christmas lights. (I think when you hit "go" the lights and music begins.) There's even a link that preschoolers and kindergarteners can use to escape the math lesson "clause" of the game and just have fun putting lights on the house. (Poor attempt at a joke. Legal clause. Santa Clause. Nobody thinks this is funny but me do they?)
Another simple Christmas game for kindergarten and first grade students (heck, my fourth grader still likes these) is a simple drag and drop "decorate the Christmas tree" game for the little ones. Just look at it as a homeschool lesson plan on Christmas traditions that can keep the little ones busy while you hide in the bathroom to sneak a piece of Christmas candy. I love these simple things that don't have all the fluff and dander of webkinz, but still entertain with their simplicity. If you type "Christmas Games" (without the quotes) into my search engine for educational games you'll see a few pages of Christmas Games from reputable, educational websites.
A December lesson plan for elementary homeschoolers to learn the calendar months can always be supported on a daily basis with Starfall's educational virtual calendar activity. Pbskids.org has a December calendar of special days, such as December 3rds "handwashing day" and December 5ths "International Volunteer Day" as well as some "more stress free" days that homeschooling moms can use as an excuse to relax or get organized. (Does getting organized relax you?)
For homeschooled children who have already learned the months of the year, homeschool December lesson plans can include studying historical December events and December holidays and traditions around the world. Homeschoolers can also create December lessons plans on weather in December locally or internationally or historically, and of course these can lead to lessons plans on water, snow and ice - or global warming. You get the idea.
Finding December events to instigate a lesson plan can go way beyond looking at a calendar for the major federal and religious December holidays. BrainyHistory has a free online December Calendar that allows you to click a date and see a list of events for that December date going back to years that are pre-1000's. You will find national and international December events, sports and political December events as well as historical moments in space and memorable weather records.
I chose to look at December 9th, and wondered why Pearl Harbor Day wasn't mentioned. DUH. Today is December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day. So, let's look at December 9th. Looking at Brainy History we see that this is the day that in 1688 King James II's wife and son flee England for France (lesson plan: explore why - better food maybe?); in 1753 Noah Webster established the American Minerva, New York's first daily newspaper (I never new that! Compare Ben Franklin and Noah Webster.); On December 9th, 1805 a comet approached Earth by "0.0366 AUs" (lesson plan on comets and learning what AUs are - don't ask me, I'm clueless); On December 9, 1851 the first YMCA was established in North America; In December 1931 Spain became a republic (geography, social studies); and there are too many December war dates to mention, on December 9th, 1941 Hitler ordered US ships to be attacked, and on the same December date in 1953 GE orders all communist employees to be fired. (Wow, hard to imagine that these days! Where were all the lawyers? I'll have to look that one up.) On December 9, 1963 Frank Sinatra was kidnapped, and on the same day two years later Charlie Brown Christmas went on the air on December 9, 1965. (Music lessons.) I could go on and on, and I didn't even delve into sports, theater and weather statistics. (Arizona got 3 inches of snow in 1985.) ENDLESS opportunities for December homeschooling lesson plans!
If you need a heads up on history yourself before you give your lessons, always remember the History Channel and BBC History for text and video educational resources. My 9 year old has loved watching documentaries for a couple years now, and it's amazing how much information she retains.
Personally, I like to make lessons more fun. I think I'm going to go with the lesson plan on the History of Toys and Games at Education World. They even have a special section devoted to Holiday lesson plans, and an archived holiday page for you to choose holiday lesson plans by month and theme. Then we'll read the history of candy canes and make some candy cane recipes.
Here's some websites that have a list of December, Holiday or Winter lesson plans that can be used for holiday homeschooling:
Teachnology is worth a visit. Here you'll find an amazing amount of free worksheets, free lesson plans, free printables, some educational games and downloads. Teachnology has December listed as "read a book month" and "graph" month. They also have a page dedicated to December Lesson Plans.
AtoZ Teacher Stuff has a page dedicated to Christmas Lesson Plans. These include free worksheets, Christmas and Winter lesson plans, songs, poems and stories.
HotChalk Lessons Plan Page (always a great source for ideas) has a list of Christmas and Winter lesson plans for elementary students covering many subjects - English, Social Studies, Math, Art and Music are all covered with an assortment of ideas.
You'll find some simple elementary free printable worksheets for homeschooling that are "winter themed" (translate: picture of winter clipart on standard worksheet) at the Kidzone Winter Math webpage. I like the fairly large print they use for their numbers.
St. Mary's school has a list of Christmas, Winter and Holiday links to explore that include December lesson plans, activities, stories and other goodies for elementary students.
Homefires, a homeschool online journal, has a list of holiday activities and links for December lesson plans, and very interesting tidbits on the physics of Santa Clause.
Easy Fun School has a long list of December activities and homeschooling ideas.
I love to fill December up with a fun Christmas reading list from new and classic Amazon Christmas books. We were excited to find Magic Tree House Christmas in Camelot at the library and can't wait to read it.
Homeschooling parents know that children should be learning about all Holiday traditions around the world. You can look at the History Channel for Hanukkah, and find Hanukkah and holiday lesson plans at Cloudnet, and find Kwanzaa resources at those websites as well.
Hotchalk has a couple lesson plans on Kwanzaa, and a lesson plan on holidays around the world. You'll find Kwanzaa activity ideas at Apples4theteacher, and daily Kwanzaa traditions at Mr. Donn's website.
A lesson plan and list of international December holidays can be found at Suite101, here you'll find brief Hindu, Muslim and Mexican holiday information and a holidays around the world lesson plan. DLTK has a good page for elementary students with free worksheets and activities on December Muslim/Islam holidays.
Christmas movies become December traditions, and of course homeschool music lessons and sheet music are free on the internet. A day (or night) can be filled with Christmas caroling using free Christmas Carol ebooks and free Christmas music mp3 downloads.
Homeschooling December language lesson plans can include Christmas Poetry and Winter poems from Canteach's free elementary lesson plans. There are endless opportunities for wintry December crafts and handmade gift-giving opportunities that cover art class requirements.
Here's some Christmas and Holiday gift-giving craft idea websites. A lot of these are "tried and true" and I've seen my other five kids bring many of these home for the holidays from their public school elementary classes (long ago and far away...). But there's some cute stuff I haven't heard of, like homemade lip gloss. (Wonder if my homeschooled youngest's teenage sisters will wear it? Think we'll try that.)
DLTK is a craft site for kids with holiday crafts as well as free printables, and has a link for very simple kids crafts for younger children.
Activity Village has a good list of crafts kids can make for holiday gift-giving.
Creative Kids at Home has some cute ideas for kids crafts that the family will adore.
Crafty crafters will no doubt find some great ideas at All Free Crafts.
At Amazing Moms you'll find the traditional crafts that kids make in public school, as well as some unique ideas.
I take back what I said about Homeschooling on the Holidays about the Holidays having more links than this post. It now appears that you'll find more December lesson plan links from this post than my previous Holiday Homeschooling post. But there's some funny bizarre holiday links at the old post that you should take a look at if you need a smile.
The best December lesson plan for homeschoolers is the lesson of giving. Give to the Salvation Army and make some real-life math problems out of it. Learn about world-wide poverty around the world and sponsor a child. Study history, geography, science and war, and send Christmas cards to the soldiers. Learn about the community and domestic shelters, food pantries, clothing pantries and religious organizations. "Adopt" a child or family from the community for Christmas, and subtract the sacrifice of spending from the joy of giving. Make every day in December a giving day. Give your time, knowledge, strength, words, smile, hug, music, crafts, services or even money to a family, neighbor or charity every day.
Giving is the best December lesson plan of all. Ask Santa. He knows.
The adorable (copyrighted) picture in this post was created by T-Koni using colored pencils. Her colorful, adorable artwork can be found on her Flickr profile.
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