Take time this December to slow down and enjoy a morning basket full of truth, goodness, and beauty with your children.
Are you glancing at the calendar while you grab a paper bag to blow into because it cannot already be the final month of the year?
Do you tell yourself every year that you will plan ahead and do fun learning activities with your kids in December? That you will take a break from your regular lessons to fit in baking and a Christmas Around the World unit?
But then you end up doing none of those things because you just can’t fit it in or you don’t know what to do to make the month special.
Fear not! You can find time to share that which is true, good and beautiful with your children through your December Morning Basket.
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Using a Morning Basket in your homeschool is an effective way to cultivate a love of learning and nurture sibling relationships.
Throughout our school year, we mostly enjoy the same resources for our morning basket, like artist and composer studies and poetry. Do you already have a morning basket to cover enrichment learning and read alouds each day as well? If so, then you can easily switch out items to have time to cover wonderful Advent or Christmas resources. Or perhaps you’d like to learn more about the winter solstice or new year.
What to Include in Your December Morning Basket
The morning basket I use with my little guy is a bit different than the one used with my older boys. He is a newly turned 3-year-old, so I am not doing any formal work with him yet. However, I do set up activities to occupy him while I teach my others.
I change out my youngster’s book basket seasonally or when we switch themes, like his recent color books. These Christmas books pictured below are always a big hit.
Because he is not formally taught, I leave out plenty of open play activities for my little one. His stacking tree will make a great December addition to his shelves. He has chosen to use stampers lately, so Christmas-themed ones will be a hit. I love nativities, so we have a couple we’ll get out that he can play with. I have a homemade nativity made with painted wooden peg dolls. He will also be able to play with the Little People Nativity that we have.
These will round out the December-themed activities for my young one. He really loves his sensory bins. I keep 4 of them filled at a time, changing out the themes from time to time. For December’s sensory bin, I plan to add green, red, and white items such as pompoms, pipe cleaners, buttons, etc. to a bin, along with cups and scoopers.
This is another well-loved sensory item. At a recent Dollar Tree visit, I found a package with 6 cookie cutters. I’m going to give him those along with some playdough to pretend to make cookies. Additionally, I have some brown playdough left from November turkeys that he can use to pretend to make gingerbread men instead. I’ll probably also make some red and green playdough for further play.
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So many fabulous resources exist that make great additions to your December morning basket for your elementary age children. Below I’ve listed some of my favorites for you in hopes that your family may find some new favorites as well.
December Read Alouds
The following books are some we’ve enjoyed during December morning times.
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson is a wonderful book set in Paris, France. It’s the story of a homeless family who is helped by an older homeless man. We really enjoyed this book.
The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is a wonderful classic that is also a very short read.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is another great classic to read aloud in December.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser is also a wonderful book to read at Christmastime as that is when the book is set. We just finished reading this in November, but I wanted to mention it here because it’d be a perfect December read aloud.
December Picture Books
Along with our chapter book read alouds, I try to read picture books to my boys often. They’ll also grab these to read during free time. The ones below are just a few of my favorites to read in December. I love them for the illustrations as well as the stories.
December Nature Study
Earlier this school year, I purchased the Exploring Nature with Children curriculum. It has enriched our nature studies so much more than I could have done on my own. The curriculum has weekly topics you can follow, along with ideas for additional activities and books. In December, we’ll be studying Christmas plants, birds, winter solstice, and twelve days of Christmas. There are so many fun winter nature study ideas to choose from!
I also plan to create a deer nature study for this month. We always get lots of deer on our land in the winter, so I think the boys will really enjoy learning more about this peaceful animal. An evergreen nature study is also fun to add to December lessons.
Another fantastic resource for nature study ideas and guides is Our Journey Westward. Not only will you find amazing guides for topics like evergreens and birds, but you could let Cindy do the nature study teaching for you. Her Nature Study Live classes are so engaging and informative that your kids will learn so much through them twice a month.
I share much of our nature study activities in my Instagram feed. You can follow me through the links below.
Combine Nature Study with Literature
December is a great month to add wonderful literature to other subjects. One way to do that is by combining seasonal picture books with nature study. A fun way to do that is through Literary Adventures for Kids. We loved learning about trees and forest animals in Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree Online Nature Book Club. It’s inexpensive and kids learn so much!
December Enrichment Lessons
As I mentioned in my post on celebrating Advent, we have been reading through the books by Arnold Ytreeide for the past few years during Advent. We began with the first book, Jotham’s Journey, and will finish with Ishtar’s Odyssey this year. These books are an exciting read through the season. They include a chapter of the story for each day of Advent, along with a devotion after the chapter. I enjoy the stories as much as my children! I will note, though, that the books can be violent, especially for young or sensitive children. However, I’ve been reading these with kids as young as 6 with no problems.
The Nutcracker Unit Study offered through SQUILT will go along nicely with the art history study mentioned below. You can find it, along with a Christmas Carol bundle, in the SQUILT Christmas shop.
This month, we are excited to participate in the FREE Nutcracker Workshop from Art History Kids from November 30-December 4, 2020. This workshop will fit in perfectly with the music studies above.
Chalk Pastel Art
Chalk pastel lessons are a highlight of our morning basket time. I love that You Are an Artist has such a huge variety of lessons that I can find something related to our current topics of study. All of my kids, from preschool on up, can participate and absolutely love Nana’s lessons. I also try to sit with them and do the lessons myself as much as I can. The Christmas and Nutcracker lessons are definitely December favorites.
Saint of the Day: Focus on Advent Saints
In my post on how I created our morning basket, I mentioned that we learn about a saint of the day through these flashcards. During Advent, we do continue those cards. However, we also use the feast days that fall during Advent to do extra activities or read books about the saint.
Your morning time should be a time to slow down and enjoy learning with your children. It’s a time to cultivate the special relationships that develop while homeschooling. When you fill your December morning basket with the truth, goodness, and beauty of the season, you and your children will look forward to each December school day.
If you’d like to learn more about morning baskets and how to adapt them to fit your homeschool needs, check out the other posts I have on this topic.