Try Unit Studies During the Holidays By Jessica Hulcy

Do you feel like you have no time to enjoy the holidays? Are you drawn to unit studies, but you do not want to let go of your curriculum? Solution: Turn several holidays into kid-friendly units s rinkled with learning! "earn about the holiday#s history and traditions, the songs of the holiday, the eo le of the holiday, the stories associated with the holiday, the different ways the holiday is celebrated around the world, and also make crafts and cook s ecial holiday dishes$ %ou can have your cake and eat it too! &ow does one lan a holiday unit? 'ick one main activity and then add to it$ %ou will have to make choices$ %ou cannot cook every treat( instead, re are your favorite reci e$ )emember, we are not trying for *+ minutes of art and *+ minutes of history each day$ Some units are more art and some are more ,ible and some are more history$ ,e content with the flow, and always try to combine activities to kill two birds with one stone$ Christmas -hristmas#s rimary activity could be a dramati.ed nativity for the neighborhood throughout the weeks before -hristmas or erformed for the e/tended family on -hristmas 0ve$ The roduction will involve costumes and ro s that are either gathered or made$ 'ick 1easy2 rather than 1elaborate23bathrobes vs. fancy costumes$ -ooking is an essential element of a holiday unit study and can be cou led with singing carols as you make cookies, which leads to sharing4giving what has been made either with the grou after the nativity is dramati.ed or sharing the goodies with shut-in neighbors$ There is always the o tion of making some gifts or a gingerbread house if your kids have the desire to create$ Some evenings could be earmarked for wra ing gifts while someone reads The Littlest Angel or The Night Before Christmas, or everyone watches Scrooge, Miracle on 34th Street, or It’s a Won erf!l Life. 5thers days could be designated as sho ing days or decorating days$ 'lan your weekly events and communicate the schedule to the family$ )emember that hot cocoa or cider makes all tasks festive$ %ou could study -hristmas traditions found in three different countries, dedicating one week of study to each country$ The &ulcys es ecially enjoy the traditions of Sweden, 6ermany, and 7e/ico, so each of those countries gets one day in our family$ Swedish Santa "ucia with a wreath of candles on her head serves buns and coffee for breakfast, and traditional risengr8d, rice orridge, is served for dinner$ 6ermany gives us the Advent wreath, which must be started four Sundays before December 9:$ ;t could be started as early as <ovember 9=, but it is always a challenge for our family to get it started on time$ >ith the Advent wreath come Scri ture readings and a focus on the meaning of the -hristmas season$ 7e/ico brings us the osadas rocession of 7ary, as well as ?ose h being refused lodging and the breaking of a star-sha ed i@ata from >almart, after which we serve caramel flan$ As an alternative to studying -hristmas traditions in a variety of countries, read about Saint <icholas and the origin of Santa -laus$

Easter The center iece used in our home during our 0aster celebration is an 0aster Tree designed by my friend, 'am "ancaster$ ;t is made from a branch secured with rocks in a coffee can and on which is hung seven small symbols with accom anying verses that commemorate the last week of -hrist#s earthly life$ Aor 'alm Sunday, we hang a small alm branch made of construction a er$ 5n 7onday -hrist cleanses the tem le, so on that day we hang a birdcage made of tooth icks on the 0aster Tree$ %our family could read the Scri tures to first identify and then make a ro riate symbols to go on your tree$ 6ood Ariday is the day of -hrist#s death, so you could use cotton balls to make a lamb that re resents the "amb of 6od$ -over the lamb with a black cloth to re resent -hrist in the tomb, but on )esurrection Sunday, remove the black cloth, move the lamb to the to of the tree, and decorate the entire tree with ribbons, flowers, hearts, butterflies, and eggs to celebrate the risen Savior$ Sing 1B Arom the 6rave &e Arose2 and 1&e "ives2! 'erha s you could choose one gos el to read entirely during 0aster week, observe da Cinci#s The Last S!""er ainting and discuss how the artist draws attention to ?esus, celebrate communion with your family on Thursday, and on Ariday make and serve hot cross buns to remind us that it is the day when we remember -hrist#s death on the cross$ Throughout the week, discuss these terms: atonement, "ro"itiation, re em"tion, salvation, and "enal s!#stit!te$ A wonderful allegory to read4watch is The Lion, the Witch, an the War ro#e. Dye 0aster eggs to hide on 0aster morning, and be sure to discuss why eggs are associated with 0aster celebrations$D The rule for holiday unit studies is as follows: Do what you can and what works for your family$ 0njoy! DAll activities are taken from $%N%S, Colume ;;, by -arole Tha/ton and ?essica &ulcy$ &essica '!lc(, co)a!thor of $%N%S C!rric!l!m, the first c!rric!l!m *ritten for homeschool, is an e !cator, a!thor, an formerl( "o"!lar national homeschool s"ea+er "rior to her near)fatal *rec+ in ,--.. A gra !ate of the /niversit( of Te0a s, mom to fo!r gro*n sons, an 12ran ear3 to gran chil ren, &essica lives *ith her h!s#an Wa e on acreage in Te0as. 4ecentl( &essica an Wa e starte the !ltimate online hel" for homeschooling moms calle &omeschool7entor. 5isit ***.homeschoolmentor.com an ***.+onos.com. -o yright 9+E9, used with ermission$ All rights reserved by author$ 5riginally a eared in the December 9+E9 issue of The %l Schoolho!se6 Maga7ine, the family education maga.ine$ )ead the maga.ine free at www$T5S7aga.ine$com or read it on the go and download the free a s at www$T5SA s$com to read the maga.ine on your mobile devices$

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