I won’t be doing my usual weekly updates until after the first of the year, because we’re not using our regular curriculum this month. Instead, we’re doing “Christmas School,” compiled by yours truly.
This year’s approach to Christmas School is a bit different. Ever since we started homeschooling, we’ve done “Christmas Around the World,” and learned about traditions and legends in other countries, sampled some foods from around the world, made some very unique crafts, and attempted to learn to say “Merry Christmas” in other languages. We’ve learned about some new countries every year, and learned about some countries every year, (like Germany, both because of our cultural heritage, and because so many Christmas traditions are German in origin).
This year, because we’re studying American history, we’re learning about Christmas throughout America’s history, starting with the Puritans in the 1600s, (which was not very exciting to learn about!), and going to the present day. We’ll have a special emphasis on Christmas in colonial times, pioneer days, the turn of the century, the Great Depression, and World War II.
I did manage to find plenty of books, both for reading aloud, and for putting in our book basket, (which has actually turned into a bookshelf for this unit, because all of the books wouldn’t fit in the basket!), but coming up with craft projects and recipes has been more difficult. Some of the crafts I decided upon are paper chains, button ornaments, and tissue paper wreaths. We’ll also be learning about some American Christmas carols/hymns, (although there aren’t many), and maybe trying a few new recipes. Movies will be an important part of this year’s Christmas unit, as well, from the American Girl movies,(which depict Christmas at different times through history), to some American Christmas standards, that everyone should see at least once, (the jury is still out on It’s a Wonderful Life, as I’m one of the few Americans who hates that movie!). And, while we always visit St. Charles for the Christmas Traditions festival every year, this year it will be especially helpful to us in looking back at what Christmases past looked like!
This is always a special time of year for our family and for our school. It’s fun to do things differently for a few weeks…as much as I love homeschooling, it can become monotonous, just like anything else can. And the children don’t even realize they’re learning half the time when we’re having Christmas school–they just think it’s fun!