We really like to stress the true meaning of Christmas in our home, but I also feel it’s important to learn about other December holidays and traditions. This year in addition to our usual Christmas traditions, we have taken some time to learn about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa this year.
With the help of Little Passports (we have been stock piling our monthly shipments). We spent a little bit of time learning about Kenya and South Africa. Then we read a book about Kwanzaa, printed some worksheets from EnchantedLearning.com, and made paper woven mats.
In Ancient History we are learning about the Israelites, so it tied in well to use our Little Passports Israel package and read about Hanukkah.
And of course we are learning about Christmas as well! As I mentioned we really try to focus on Christ in Christmas, but this year we are also using the Discover Christmas curriculum from Discover the Scriptures. This curriculum, while focusing on Christ, also teaches about the many Christmas traditions that have come to be part of the holiday season over the years.
In an attempt to cut back on sweets, we have added some of our own activities to the lessons each day. (They have a lot of yummy treat making activities in the book). Most of the days we have made ornaments to go with the themes, or performed activities related to the lessons. We are only part way through, but here is a list of things we have done so far -
Day 1 – Placed scripture cards into advent calendar
Day 2 – Tradition of Christmas Trees – make tree shaped ornament
Day 3 – Lights on Christmas Trees – make light shaped ornament
Day 4 – Tradition of ornaments – make ornament
Day 5 – Christmas Trees in America – make tree shaped ornament
Day 6 – Tradition of Christmas Cards – make cards
Day 7 – Tradition of caroling – attended live nativity with caroling
Day 8 – Symbolism in a candy cane – made candy cane ornament
Day 9 – Tradition of outside lights – went walking around neighborhood to look at lights
Day 10 – Symbolism in poinsettias – make a poinsettia ornament
The remaining days consist of making ornaments to go with the theme, or other activities as well. We are placing all these ornaments on a small tree in our school room. The kids are really enjoying making the ornaments, and displaying them on their very own tree!
(I purchased my kits from Oriental Trading and have several sets available if you are interested, please contact me via my blog. I am really excited to be working on my own curriculum for next Christmas which will also include craft kits!)
Some other traditions we are continuing from years past are: daily scripture verse with candy from advent calendar, opening a Christmas book each night, giving a neighbor/friend 12 days of Christmas, adopting a family in need, delivering cookies to friends/neighbors and giving only 3 gifts per child.
This is one of my children’s favorite books that they have unwrapped so far this month.
The book just has the lyrics to the song (which is also one of my mother’s favorites), so instead of reading the book, I sing it. The boys ask me to sing them the book every chance they get. My oldest has even been caught singing the book himself.
It is my hope that while we keep our own holiday traditions each December, that we might learn about and embrace the holidays and traditions of other cultures too!
I hope everyone has a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and A HAPPY NEW YEAR! (HAPPY HANUKKAH and JOYOUS KWANZAA as well!)