We are a full week into Advent, and I am just now sharing what we plan to do for Christmas in our homeschool this year. I've been sharing a bit of our Christmas learning on Instagram, and I mentioned recently that it feels like I'm pouring from an empty cup. This is exactly the reason why these plans, and this time of Advent are so important this year. There is so much sadness in the world, and we need to focus on hope and Truth.
Instead of scrapping our usually scheduled programming, we are going to incorporate most of our Christmas learning into morning time. We'll stretch our time out a bit and linger at the table together, discussing Christmas and singing carols. At least that 's the perfect version of it that's playing in my mind.
Last year, I made a huge round-up of Christmas morning time ideas, and I'll add onto them now with the new resources we're using this year. I probably have used an affiliate link or two in order to share the things we've found and are enjoying. You can read more about affiliate links in my policies.
Our whole family is enjoying Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp right now. This goes through the lineage of Jesus using Jesse Tree ornaments. You can print paper ornaments from online, glue them on 2-inch circles of wood, and then drill a whole at the top to hang the ornament. Or you can make life unnecessarily difficult by making salt dough, cutting it into circles, baking them in the oven, hand-painting them with pictures that align with the Jesse Tree, spraying them with a finishing coat, trying to force a string through the tiny hole you made, and then hang them on your tree. Guess which option I chose? Lol.
This book has been $10 on Amazon all Advent, so if you are at all interested for either now or the future, grab it now!
We are also using Journey to the Manger, which our church gave to us. The devotionals are sweet, but there are games in the back of the book that we'll most likely skip. We pulled out the poster that comes with the book, and the kids gasped out loud! They love it!
I'll save one of the devotionals for the evening to read when my husband gets home (or, somedays, walks down the stairs at 6:00!) He enjoys being a part of our Advent studies, too!
Last month, I released a new study in my shop called Symbols of Christmas. This study uses passages from a classic book, T.G Grippen's Christmas and Christmas Lore, to discuss the history of certain Christmas symbols and traditions. I loved creating this study because I learned so much in my research, and it has been delightful to share this with my daughter. We have finished four of the sixteen lessons so far, and she is enjoying it! We made candles together as a family this week as we read the history of candles as a symbol of Christmas. This is the kit we used- it was simple and all my little ones enjoyed it! The study is intended for children 6+ but little ones are incorporated through songs, handicrafts, and books.
Art Study/Read Aloud
When I taught at Ambleside Schools, one of our Christmas parties included an art enthusiast who shared beautiful works of Christmas art throughout history. This inspired me to start seeking out Christmas art for my own children, and who is better to study than Giotto? The book The Glorious Impossible was written by Madeline L'Engle, and features Giotto's religious works. We're just reading a page or two a day, because it is SO beautiful and rich! This book is out of print, so I don't recommend buying it on Amazon. I ordered it from Amazon last Christmas, and it never came (I was refunded my money, thankfully!) So, I started looking for this book in July and found it successfully on Thriftbooks. 🙂
Acts Of Kindness
Acts of kindness look a little bit different this year, don't they? We are focusing more in the house for acts of kindness, but how wonderful is it to encourage family members to be kinder to each other in their everyday lives? Along with Journey to the Manger, our church also sent us a little wooden kit to make a manger. Nate and the kids built the manger- hammers flying and faces glowing. They are so proud of that cute little thing! Each time someone does something kind for someone else, they get to place a piece of straw in the manger. So sweet!
Cardinal Nature Study
This isn't strictly Christmas, but as the 25th gets closer and our school days get shorter by default, we're going to begin this cardinal nature study that I created. We don't have cardinals in Colorado, so I wanted to introduce my children to them through literary language and hands-on investigations (Cristyn from Delightfully Feasting called them object lessons, and I like that better!)
Gentle + Classical Christmas
This year, I bought this gorgeous Christmas study from Gentle + Classical Press. It think we are going to need to hang onto it until next year, but I am going to use the book suggestions now!
I also bought this study from Green Urban Creative, and I plan on using it once we've finished Symbols of Christmas. We are a little sad that we won't be able to see Nutcracker live this year, but there are so many online viewing options and we're really grateful for that! We'll study The Nutcracker for a few days before watching it all together.
Typing it all out makes it look a lot, doesn't it? I'm not going to stress out if we don't get to all of it. We also have weekends to do these beautiful studies, and no one is going to mind because it's such a special time of year.