For the last couple of years, we have spent most of our December studying how other cultures celebrate the holidays. We have learned dances from the Mexican celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the very clean traditions of Japanese Omosako. We've even gone back into history and studied how the Allied and Axis forces celebrated Christmas Eve in the middle of a battlefield during 1914. Exploring other cultures is a great way to combine education and fun in our homeschool. So, why not homeschool through the holidays one country at a time?
Studying "around the world" can help you homeschool through the holidays without losing your mind. The studies can easily combine math, science, history, geography and even some foreign languages. It can be a lot of fun, but it requires quite a bit of research to compile enough resources. Today I'm sharing some of the interesting celebrations we've studied over the last few years. I've organized them by date for your convenience.
Studying "around the world" is a great way to #homeschool through the holidays without losing your mind. #ihsnet
Mexico, December 12:
One of the holidays Mexico celebrates is Our Lady of Guadalupe Feast day on December 12. Some things you can do on that day:
- Watch videos of traditional Aztec dancers.
- Make (or purchase) some of your favorite Mexican foods. We recently learned to make homemade pork carnitas. The girls especially loved making their own tortillas (you can find the recipe on the back of a bag of corn masa flour).
- Get ready for Christmas by learning all the words to Feliz Navidad. This song always makes me dance and, subsequently, my children all hide in embarrassment.
United Kingdom, December 26:
In several countries in Europe, including those associated with those in the United Kingdom, Boxing Day is celebrated on December 26. This tradition started sometime in the middle ages and most believe it was a day set aside to give boxes to the poor. Here are some ways you can learn more about Boxing Day:
Japan, December 31:
Japan celebrates Omisoka on December 31. This is one of my favorite holidays! Why? Well, because everyone CLEANS before the New Year. So, obviously, you can count cleaning as school on this day!
- "Purify" your home for the new year by cleaning it from top to bottom. And, tell your kids it's legit. It's even called osoji in Japanese.
- Make (or purchase) toshikoshi-soba for dinner and have some Amazake for an after-dinner beverage.
- Don't forget to ring a bell at midnight in the Japanese tradition.
Spain and Latin America, January 6:
Three Kings Day or Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th in Spain and several Latin American countries. On this day:
- Bake or purchase a Rosca de Reyes, an oval-shaped bread with one or more little plastic dolls baked inside, symbolizing baby Jesus.
- Make our version of Mexican Hot Chocolate.
- Put old shoes outside your door and wake up to find toys in them (though, honestly, I can't imagine this one considering the smell of shoes in this house!).
- And, of course, listen to We Three Kings.
Ethiopia, January 7:
Ethiopians celebrate Ganna on January 7th. You can learn more about the Ethiopian culture by:
Or if you want an even easier way to study the holidays around the world...
You can use Techie Homeschool Mom's Christmas Around the World Unit Study. We have been using this study this year. I love that I just pull out the laptop and we go through the study. The progress bar lets us know which lessons we've completed and which ones we haven't done yet (because you know I can't follow a simple lesson plan - I have to skip around).
The girls love the activities. Last week we made Pryaniki while studying Russia. We added them to our Mexican hot chocolate and had a multi-cultural holiday poetry teatime! The kids measured the distance from our house to Moscow, watched videos of holiday celebrations and read about the history and culture of several countries. We're looking forward to making ornaments next week in one of the other lessons.