As a young homeschool mom back in the early 1990s, I read a book on how to create your own unit studies by Valerie Bendt. I was so excited, but I was too nervous to use unit studies for the whole year.
Light-bulb moment! What about starting with Christmas unit studies? I liked that idea and for several years we did "normal school" all year except December.
What fun we had in December. We celebrated Christmas in Colonial America one year reading lovely stories, making berry ink, writing with feather pens, trying out recipes from Mount Vernon, George Washington's home, playing "Made for Trade," and writing little stories set in the American colonies. Since hospitality was important in Colonials Days, we studied hospitality for our devotions.
We also learned to decorate and set the table Colonial style: symmetrical with pewter, silver, pineapples, greenery, and formality. We ended our studies with a colonial tea where the girls had all their colonial crafts on display. Their friends loved the tussie-musssie, wooden fans, and dolls. Of course, we had to dress up. We gave little booklets to family members for Christmas that year with their stories, poems, and colonial drawings.
That year led to more years. One year was cookies with picture books about cookies and Christmas. Of course, we made several kinds of cookies to freeze and later give away. We also made cookie mixes in jars to give as gifts. We had so much fun baking together and our studies included making gift tags, wrapping up plates of cookies festively, and delivering gifts to family and friends.
More Christmas Unit Studies
Another special year was our Anne of Green Gables unit study where we read Anne of Green Gables aloud a chapter or two a day, recited poetry we found in the book, crafted, sewed, dressed up, acted out scenes from the book, and tried out all kinds of recipes. Again, we ended with a tea, inviting friends over and watched the old Anne of Green Gables movie.
These Christmas unit studies were our only adventure into unit study land for many years, but we had so much fun, we eventually added hands-on learning to the rest of the year. Our adventure into unit studies was slow, but steady. If we had never ventured beyond our Christmas unit studies, December would have been a special time to enjoy learning unit study style.
What makes Christmas unit studies so fun is that you get to include all the Christmas busyness like addressing cards for handwriting, wrapping gifts, making presents, baking cookies, making special Christmas foods, throwing parties, and enjoying devotions as a family.
Years later, we all look back at our Christmas unit studies with fondness and cherish the memories in our hearts.
God bless you in your homeschooling adventure.