Category Archives: Christmas

Handicraft – Christmas Nature Wreath

christmas wreath handicraft

This week we started our “Christmas Curriculum“. I was very excited for the kids to make a Christmas wreath using whatever natural material they could find on their nature walks.

I had high hopes, but I am even more thrilled with the results than I expected!!

Frankly, the view out our windows is bleak. It’s winter after all, and we live in an area primarily covered with deciduous trees. The grass dies in the winter here, and everything generally goes dormant. That said, there are still beautiful things to behold this time of year.

For one, without all those leaves blocking our view, we can more easily see the birds that are flitting around. In the last few days, we have seen more varieties of birds than we do throughout the rest of the year.

Let me tell you how the kids made their wreath.

First, they went on a nature walk to gather material.  They found four types of greenery, pine cones, and berries Рall from our own yard, except the berries. To find the berries they had to wander further through our neighborhood.

Next, each of the kids made small bundles including a little bit of everything they had collected. These were secured with zip ties! Isn’t that the coolest idea? No wire to twist until tight, catching little fingers. The ends were snipped off with garden shears.

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We have no dress code on days that we stay home! :)

We have no dress code on days that we stay home! ūüôā

Then, they laid the bundles on a wire wreath frame to decide how they should go together.

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Once they had decided how it should be laid out, they attached the bundles to the frame, again using zip ties.
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Lastly, they used a bow to cover a spot that looked bare.
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There you have it!
No matter where you live you can make this. Each one would turn out different, which is one of the special things about it.

A Christmas Curriculum

This year we started school in July. We were planning to take a month-long trip this fall, which would necessitate starting school early, but in the end, the trip was canceled, and now we are well ahead of schedule.  When the kids were younger there were times that we took the whole month of December off. But right now several of my kids are learning new things, and I think a whole month off could set them back quite a bit.

In addition to this, one of my sisters, who has homeschooled with us for six and a half years, and has lived with us for four and a half years, has recently graduated and moved away. We are all feeling the loss and a kind of awkwardness going forward without her. We’ve had two other family members homeschool with us over the years, but this one lived with us, and it’s a bigger adjustment than we anticipated.

With all of this in mind, I got the idea that we could break away from our regularly scheduled curriculum to do a “Christmas Curriculum” for the first two weeks of December. It would give us a change of scenery, while still keeping us busy learning.

The following list is what I’ve come up with. It is just a small sampling of what you could do, of course, but I am hoping it might spark your imagination.

Bible:¬†BibleStudyTools.com suggests a¬†Christmas Bible Reading Plan¬†including 25 days of scripture reading. In addition to covering Jesus’ birth, life, death and ascension, it also includes the prophecies regarding Jesus from the Old Testament. Open a¬†printable version by clicking here¬†or click the image below for a closer look.

We will use this during school, and then utilize the Avent plan provided by our pastor in the evening.

Literature: The Lost Angel by Elizabeth Goudge. I always trust the favorites of my dear friends at the Living Books Library. They were interviewed by RedeemedReader.com regarding their top 5 living books for Christmas (the link is broken now.)

Poetry: I found a lovely collection of Christmas poetry, which includes the likes of Christina Rossetti, Sara Teasdale, Robert Louis Stevenson, Walter de la Mare, and many, many others.

Copywork: We are going to write and address some Christmas cards together.  Once that is completed, we will use Christmas poetry or Bible verses as our copywork selections.

Memorization: Christmas poem and verses.

Handicraft: We intend to make some gifts and ornaments using a technique known as pyrography. It uses a hot pen type tool to burn your drawing onto wood. I’ll post about how it goes, of course.

Hymn: O Come, O Come Emanuel. AO has a list of Christmas hymn possibilities, and there are a few compilation CDs on Amazon that look good.

Folksong: Babe of Bethlehem by the Seeger Sisters from their album American Folk Songs For Christmas. I found it on iTunes, but you can also find the Music Download here or use the Lyrics and MIDI. Also, YouVersion.com has a Carols Devotional which might be interesting.

Composer:¬†Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. One of my little girls is performing in The Nutcracker this year, and I’ve been thrilled to see her begin to recognize each of the pieces.

Foreign Language: We are going to learn Jingle Bells in Spanish, Hoy es Navidad, and then sing it together with our co-op when we go caroling.

Picture Study: We have been following AO’s picture study rotation, so we will do The Nativity by John Singleton Copley, but there are others: The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds by Giotto, Nativity with Saints Francis and Lawrence by Caravaggio, or Mystic Nativity by Botticelli.

Nature Study: I hope to have us scavenge up some branches, leaves, feathers, pine cones and such to make a Christmas Wreath. **Update: We did it and it turned out wonderful!

Math: Games of Course!

History: We are going to read Christmas in America by Lillie Patterson, which traces the Christmas customs in America from the Pilgrims to present day. We might also browse History.com’s Christmas page which tells about the holiday from ancient times to present. It’s just a 2-page document, so only a quick look.

Geography:¬†We¬†are going to read the section entitled Christmas in Other Lands¬†from Alice Dalgliesh’s book¬†Christmas, and then follow up with Christmas Everywhere by Elizabeth Hough Sechrist. For example, we will read about Christmas in France in the first book, and then follow that up with the information about Christmas in France in the second book. Of course, we will use our big map as a supplement.

Map Work: We’ll use a Bible Atlas to look at Palestine during this time of Jesus’ life.

Economics:¬†The economics of the Christmas season both in the home and nationwide would be rather interesting for older kids. There are a few articles online that I’ll have my big kids read: Commerce Claus: The behavioral economics of Christmas¬†and Ruining Christmas: An Economist’s Guide.

Family Read Aloud: Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes, which is a historical fiction about Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. She has written several historical fiction books about Biblical times, and one of my kids has enjoyed them so much that she read almost all of them.

Let me know if you try something similar, or even just a little part here or there. We are all so excited!