Monday, January 16, 2017

December Traditions and Ideas

Next year I will likely forget the ideas I tried this year so I'll blog about it just for my own records. :)
I bought gift boxes from the dollar store (the smaller ones were in a multiple set for a dollar!) so that I'd have 24 total boxes that I could fill with books and crafts and such!  Each day the girls got to open one and the first few weeks this was absolutely wonderful, but it did get a little old in the week leading up till christmas.  I might do a 12 days before Christmas or something else to make it shorter.  Maybe just week days and not weekends?  I don't know, it needs more tweaking.  :)

The books that I already had and which I split up in the boxes we would read that day (or later) and set near the tree.  They looked at some on their own, but for the most part we read a book once and then was done.  I got almost all the christmas books from a library sale one year.
Another Dollar store find was this (and I already had it!) so I put a "lego challenge" in it each day.  Again, this was super fun for them for the first few weeks, but then they sort of stopped doing the challenge.
One challenge was to make a wreath and they each did!
I love decorating for Christmas!  The clutter starts to get to me though after a while.
My 8 and 5 year old were listening to a book on CD together!

One new thing that I tried this year was doing the "Love God Greatly" Bible study with my kids.  I bought them the kids books and actually, if I do this again I think I will get the kid version for myself as well because I just liked the simplicity of it and felt less overwhelmed looking at theirs rather than the grown up version.  ;)  It is all the same verses, but the adult version has a bit more info to read or more space to write and such.  Again, this worked well for a few weeks, but our energy for it fizzled.  I think we would enjoy it more if it was to be done less often.
 "God with us" book - and Bible study and such on the blog -

Still love doing our chalk board and making up different designs for the season or what we are learning!  The one above is one of the verses from the "God with Us" Bible study.

The girls chalk board designs above as well.  Of course my middle one drew a bunny!
Rather than doing our usual math I decided it would be nice just to do some math practice for this month because it is too easy to pile too much to do in this season of the year.  I love the math practice books from the Thinking Tree, but didn't like trying to have us all keep up with each other.  Because my girls are different ages it would probably be better to set a time limit or have several math practice books for them to choose between.  That way if one person is being slower it doesn't slow everyone else down!  100 Numbers Math Skills
I like how this book has some creative writing practice in it as well.
We again got an Amaryllis and measured it each day to keep track of it's growth.  Some days I did this and some days the girls took turns depending on who felt like doing it.  This is always a fun activity to do in the winter!
One thing that I added and really liked was choosing a song to learn.  It is great for reading practice to listen to a song and follow along with the words!  Mostly I tried to find songs that fit with our Bible study, but I think we would enjoy more variety next year.  Possibly pick a few songs a week or if they are familiar maybe even one a day.  We usually have lots of music playing this time of year anyway and even after Christmas the songs are still sung by everyone.  :)
My continuing tradition is to take a picture in front of the tree and make a paper frame for and hang up.  Our 13th Christmas!
I also let them pick an ornament for the year and keep track in a simple journal.  It is really basic... just glue the pictures in and ask them a few questions to answer about what they like.  They get to look back and see what their favorite color was several years ago or why they chose that ornament.
Candy canes!
Sarah Janisse Brown created a Christmas traditions book for this year, but I didn't get it in time to use each day leading up to Christmas.  It was a great way to freshen up our school right before Christmas though when the other things were fizzling!
It has some copy work passages and simple ways to practice writing and spelling.  Cute coloring pages and also logic pages (like below)
There are several recipes in this which is a little tricky for us because we have Celiac and so gluten is off the menu, but I was able to translate some of the recipes into gluten free versions pretty easily.

For next year I might have us each have our own book or share, but we'll see what the girls want to do.  I like the counting down thing, but sometimes it's nice to have it more open ended as they like to do more pages or less depending on the day and the other things we are working on.
 The back of the book has several pages like the one above.
Of course my middle daughter who wants a bunny loved all the coloring pages which featured a bunny.
Each girl with their pet, but the middle one is actually holding a stuffed animal!  She wants a bunny so much and was so sad that she was the only one who didn't have a pet to hold, but maybe next year she will be holding a real bunny and it will look like this bunny became real just like the velveteen rabbit.  ;)

No comments: