One last post about our Christmas school activities, which are two-plus weeks past at this point. We had a lot of fun with special craft projects, coloring pages, a field trip, and even some special foods. As much as we love Sonlight, it was nice to take a break from our regular lessons and focus solely on Christmas–one of my favorite things about homeschooling is the flexibility and the opportunity to study the things that are really important and personally interesting to us.
The field trip is an annual event in our family (St. Charles, MO, Christmas Traditions), and we would do it even if we weren’t homeschooling, but there are so many different things that could be tied into our lessons that it doubled as not only a tradition, but a school activity. We tried to go the night they did the Las Posadas procession, because that was something we were going to be discussing the day we learned about Christmas in Mexico, but it didn’t work out so well, so we went back the next afternoon. There was still plenty to learn about as far as history and Christmas around the world, so we were definitely not disappointed.
We also got to pick up a cool coloring book of the different characters we saw there, which was fun to use in school, and the perfect place for some (but not all) of the trading cards we collected while there.
Our Christmas Around the World coloring books were also very helpful as we learned about Christmas in other countries (and the Nutcracker, too!).
Turkey and Bunny love craft activities (as do most children their ages), and they had plenty to do over our two week Christmas school unit.
One of my favorite activities was the hand and footprint angel. Admittedly, they bear a striking resemblance to Jimmy and Jerry Gourd (the instructions said to trace both feet, but in the future, I think I’d only use one), but I love any project that captures how small my children were at the time they made it.
For our Christmas in the Philippines day, we made waxed paper stars (they’re supposed to be four-point stars, honest!) to mimic the parols that are so integral to a Philippine Christmas. This didn’t work entirely as planned, because Turkey and Bunny didn’t entirely understand that you can’t just mix colors of crayon shavings without it turning brown or black–their second attempts were much better than first, though. We also had a little “melted wax on the carpet” incident (my fault, not theirs), but most of it cleaned up.
A really fun craft that I added to our lessons at the last minute are these stained glass Christmas trees. After you cut out different shapes from tree, you cover the holes with different colors of tissue paper. They look fantastic in a window with the sun shining through. Very festive!
We also made a foam nativity scene that Ryan got to take to work to brighten up his office a bit. And by we, I mean me, because at it turned out, I really needed the hot glue gun to make everything stick, which Turkey and Bunny can’t help with yet. They did get to punch out the pieces and hand them to me, and they were very helpful in telling me exactly where everything should go, so they didn’t mind my participation, but I still wish they could have done more of it by themselves.
Another project that needed a lot of my help was the gingerbread house. Again, I had to do most of the assembly, but Turkey and Bunny got to do most of the decorating, which is the real fun part anyway, so they had a blast. I think it turned out pretty cute, too!
Turkey and Bunny also made Christmas ornaments–two candy canes and two wreaths each. We kept some, and gave some to the grandparents, which was a big hit, on both the giving and receiving end. Turkey and Bunny were able able to do this one almost completely on their own, and it was good practice in both patterns and counting.
Speaking of counting, we had another fun project (not really a craft) that I devised to work on the children’s counting skills. They each had an index card for each of the 12 days of Christmas, and a bunch of tiny chart stickers. They put down stickers for each gift of each day, and then we counted the number of gifts given per day. It was a simple enough project, but Turkey and Bunny really enjoyed using the stickers, and they love counting, so it was successful.
We also had two special food days incorporated into our Christmas around the world lessons. The first, when we learned about Greece, was Baklava. This was a big hit with everyone in the family–who doesn’t love a special dessert?
The second was Zuppa Toscana, from our Christmas in Italy day. I hear that this is a staple at restaurants like Olive Garden. Having never been there, I’ve never had the chance to try this soup before, but I have to say, it was really delicious. Just the right amount of spicy, and perfect for a cold day.
So, that’s the end of our Christmas school activities. We had such a great time, and I’m already collecting craft ideas and names of storybooks for next year!