academics / christmas

unschooling Christmas studies

Not sure if we’re gearing down because we’re mentally gearing up for Christmas, but it seems to me that keeping everyone’s attention is getting more challenging.

I don’t think it’s the increased sweets factor, the candy canes coming from every direction, the Hershey’s almond kisses, the gingerbread cookies slathered in icing sugar…we tend to be conservative in consumption. Is it the increased darkening days that makes everyone, including me, a little listless?

One week till Christmas break, and we’re grinding out study time. Not quite the same verve as back when we started.

To add a Christmas flavor, I attempt to include Christmas at every turn.

Hip Homeschool Moms has a great blog which fuels me with ideas. A blog on Christmas Journaling: 25 days of Creative Writing for the Christmas season were fantastic prompts to get the juices flowing…

Our favourites:

  1. Oh no! You are late for a friend’s annual Christmas party. What kept you from getting to the party on time? Write three silly reasons for being late to your pal’s party.
  2. The Wise Men followed a star to find the Christ-child. Write about three different adventures they had along the way.
  3. Imagine that the snowman you made in the front yard has come to life. He begins running down your street. Where is he going and what is he planning to do?

Reading

Each year, we have purchased one Christmas story for our collection.

I like to read these while the kids keep their hands busy, as I am often reading to them. I have recently kept their fingers busy learning to cross-stitch, building green and red paper garlands, and marshmallow snowmen. You can call me clever in some things; you cannot call me clever in crafty things. Pin mightily as I do on Pinterest, but I am just no good crafting. If one of my children grows up with a crafting mind, it will have been a Christmas miracle.

Our favourite Christmas stories:

Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Of course you know this story, but there are some illustrated versions that are magical additions to the real story of Christmas: Jesus’ birth.

Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt

In Frank McCourt style, this prose is written for kiddos, and the plot couldn’t be more charming: a little girl who steals baby Jesus from the nativity scene outside her church.

Eloise at Christmastime

Eloise in New York, making up clever rhymes, sort of Dr. Seuss-style, and she’s painting the town red, and green and silver and gold…

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

The classic rendition couldn’t be better expressed than Dr. Seuss himself.

All is Well by Frank Peretti

A little boy scours the neighbourhood selling his ‘treasures’ in hopes to raise money for his mother’s house rent. Since his dad died, they’ve been unable to keep up with their expenses. Heartwrenching, yet, in the end, encouraging that All will be Well…

Baseball Bats for Christmas

Trees are flown in at Christmas to the Far north: northern Canadian boys in the ’50s don’t know what they’re for. The boys refer to them as ‘standing-ups’ and don’t know what to do with them…so they make baseball bats!

The Tale of Three Trees retold by Angela Elwell Hunt

Three insignificant trees question their value in the well-treed forest. What will they become? Do they have a purpose? In the end, they house one of the greatest treasures given to mankind.

It’s a Wonderful Life for kids! By Jimmy Hawkins

You know the story. This one is from the perspective of a boy. This book reminds us how we need to rejig our priorities from vain ambition to those things that last…

Poetry, Literature and Grammar

Christina Rosetti, Charles Dickens, readings from Little Women or Laura Ingalls Wilder–there’s a lot of atmosphere in these stories, and you’re introducing the kids to great literature.

Do you feel like you’re missing out on grammar? (hahaha, am I serious? you ask)

If you do feel underwhelmed, read a few paragraphs of your favourite Christmas stories, then stop and ask questions about that last paragraph. Name three nouns in the last paragraph. How many prepositions do you hear? Did you hear the use of metaphor? What is another metaphor you might use to compare that idea?

Yes, sometimes I make this stuff up as I go along…

Writing

Christmas cards and letters! They need to learn the art of writing a kind thank you card and a personal letter.

What better time of year to learn to write a correct return address than Christmas? Get them to write a Christmas letter if you’re so inclined–good idea! (Next year, I guess. The cards have already left the building…)

ONE WEEK TILL CHRISTMAS!!!

One thought on “unschooling Christmas studies

  1. I’m going to keep my eyes open for some of those Christmas books, as I try to add to our collection each year too. Our favourites are The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. One brings tears to our eyes each year and the other leaves us in stitches.

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