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Make Your Holidays Classic

  • Zan Tyler Editor of the HomeSchool Channel
  • 2006 20 Dec
Make Your Holidays Classic

The Christmas holidays abound with opportunities to expose your children to some unique learning situations and environments.

With already crowded schedules, how do you make time for one more thing? Planning is the key. Also, you may want to re-schedule some of your textbook work for after the holidays. You are not neglecting it—just rearranging your schedule to make the most of the unique opportunities presented by the holidays.

1. Literature

Choose a classic literature selection that is appropriate for the holidays.  Here are just a few ideas from which to choose. The reference librarian in your public library can help you with other suggestions.

  •                  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  •                  The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
  •                  “The Gift of the Magi,” a short-story by O’Henry
  •                  The Book of Isaiah (in the Old Testament)                                                                   

Read one or more of these books aloud, together as a family. With a little creativity and imagination, you can make these very special times and memories for your children. Last year, as a family, we read The Christmas Box in one sitting, gathered around the fireplace. We took turns reading chapters, until the book was completed. Reading aloud together creates a unique, and rather unexpected, bond as you all enjoy a literary work together.

I would recommend that everyone choose the Book of Isaiah, or at least selected portions, to read together as a family. Isaiah was a brilliant author, employing a richness in his use of language that is beautiful and inspiring. You can use these readings of Isaiah during your family devotional time.

For those of you traveling during the holidays, consider listening to one of these books on tape as you drive. Adults and children alike enjoy being read to. Books on tape are a great way to redeem the time as you travel down the road. These books have great benefits, one being that you as the teacher can stop the tape to point out literary devices, explain vocabulary words, make editorial comments, and ask questions to check comprehension and attentiveness.

Our family has listened to countless books on tape as we have traveled. I can remember one Christmas road trip when we listened to O! Pioneers! by Willa Cather. When we arrived home at 1:30 a.m. (we had run into an unexpected snowstorm), we still had half of a tape left. We were exhausted from a long trip and bad driving conditions, but that didn’t stop the children from begging us to listen to the end of the tape once we got in the house. What a great family memory to think back on—five exhausted travelers lying on my son’s bedroom floor by his cassette tape deck, spellbound by good literature at 2:00 in the morning.

Regardless of how you choose to incorporate special literature selections into your family life during the holidays, don’t forget to document this time in the literature portion of your lesson-plan book. Home schooling avails itself to a whole host of learning opportunities—learn to take advantage of them. Your family will be the richer for it.

This article is continued in Part 2, and will contain suggestions for plays, symphonic and choral productions, and other cultural events. 


Zan Tyler is co-author of the book Anyone Can Homeschool and senior education editor for She and her husband have three children and have been home schooling since 1984.