Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas! This year, I get to spend Christmas with my folks. My parents have always made Christmas a special occasion and it’s been a while since I’ve had the privilege of celebrating with them. My prayer is that during this holiday season each of you will experience the blessing that comes through honoring your family.
It’s been kind of a crazy week for me. My mom is much better, but my uncle had a slight stroke so I’ve been doing double duty getting him all sorted out and settled in rehab. He is doing amazingly well. Praise God for that! Many of the posts for this week, of course, have to do with Christmas. You may want to file those away for next year, but there are several Hanukkah and nonseasonal posts as well.
Can you imagine being forced to sell your 11 or 12 year-old daughter just so the rest of your family can eat? Yesterday, I learned about an organization that I really want to promote. It is FOOD 4 SCHOOL AFGHANISTAN. This is a small organization run entirely by volunteers so 100% of your donations go directly to poor families in Afghanistan. They save young girls from being sold or being forced into marriages at 11 or 12 by offering food to these families in exchange for sending all of their children (boys and girls) to school. While I’m not a big advocate of traditional schools, in this circumstance, I’m all for it! Please consider donating! FOOD 4 SCHOOL AFGHANISTAN
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FAMILY VARIETY ACTIVITIES
The holidays are a perfect opportunity to snuggle up with your family and watch movies! This one looks like a full-length Chronicles of Narnia on Youtube! Are you a Narnia fan?
Hanukkah starts at sundown on Christmas Eve. Why not make it a double holiday in your house? Search the internet for ways to make a homemade chanukiah (the special 9 branched menorah used during Hanukkah) and teach your kids the miracle of Hanukkah.
Research the Magi. Start by reading the story of their visit to Bethlehem in Luke. Then talk about how the Bible differs from popular depictions of them. Then challenge your kids to get online and find out as much as they can about them. There are several different theories about who they were and where they came from. Find out about the gifts they brought, their uses in that time period and the symbolism behind them. Older kids can write a research paper. Be sure they understand how to document their findings!
Cute Names of Jesus Ornaments free printable!
Have your kids write a story about a reindeer other than Rudolf. In case you can’t remember them all, here they are: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen
Read the story of Christ’s birth from the King James or another older Bible. Point out the differences in language such as openeth, thee, thy or hath. Talk about how language changes.Point out some ways language is still changing today. For instance, when I was young, many words like “pee” having to do with bodily functions or parts were considered taboo. What differences have you seen in your lifetime? Share them with your kids.
Middle School – High School
Look up Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. What type(s) of writing did he do? Read some of his work. Why do you think he is considered such an important author?
Don’t read this idea if you are easily grossed out! But then again, you are a homeschooler, you are used to choking it back for your kids!
One of my favorite activities was to buy a beef heart and dissect it. Beef hearts are very similar to a human heart in structure. Find a heart diagram to refer to before starting. Then find the vein that goes into the heart and the artery that comes out. If your kids are really adventurous, see if you can pump some liquid through it by using a syringe or turkey baster to put some liquid in and then squeezing the heart. Then cut the heart down the middle of the side. See if you can find the chambers. What else can you discover about the heart?
Grow an Amaryllis! Plant care counts as science and will bring a little bit of spring into your house this winter!
Since Hanukkah is all about the miracle of the oil, why not plan a science experiment using oil each day? Just google “oil science experiments” for ideas!
This one is from a kindergarten classroom, but you could easily substitute names of your family and extended family!
Middle School and Up
Did you know that square numbers actually make squares? Fascinating post!
Make a simple quilt.
- Decide how big it will be. If you’ve never done one before, keep it small. A big one will be overwhelming.
- Decide how wide you want the border to be.
- Subtract the width of the border x 2 from your desired overall length and width.
- Decide how many quilt blocks you want to go across and down the quilt. Again if you are beginning, go easy on yourself. Limit it to 2 to 4 blocks.
- Divide the width by however many pieces of cloth you want to have going across the quilt and add 1/2 inch to that measurement. (The 1/2″ allows for 1/4″ seams.) Do the same for the length.
- From this, you can figure out the measurements of your squares. You might want, to make a trial quilt by cutting squares from paper and arranging them on a table or on the floor just to see how it will work before cutting your cloth. That way if you have made any mistakes you can correct them.
- Sew the blocks together.
- Add a backing and then a border. Remember, when you cut the border, it needs to be twice the width plus 3/4 inch to accommodate the seams and the thickness of the materials.
LOTS of measuring and basic math in this! Great project for a teen or tween!
Did you know there are homeschoolers in China? How awesome!
Look up “latkes”. Learn about why fried foods are traditionally served during Hanukkah. Experiment with different latke recipes and serve them each night during Hanukkah.
Food Art! Home Ec and Art all in one place! Challenge your kids to play with their food to see who can come up with the most “you hate to eat it because it’s so awesome” dish!
BABIES AND TODDLERS
Little ones learn by exploring with their hands and their mouths. Why not make some letter cards by using a marker to make a large letter on a piece of cardstock, then decorate that letter with different sensory items such as pasta, bits of sand paper, chenille, or other items that have different textures each day. You could even laminate them and use foods that they can then eat once you’ve completed the letter.
Assign one child each week to help prepare meals. make sure they help you plan and shop as well!
Have your kids keep a food diary for a week. Look up calories, carbs and proteins for those foods. Look up the recommended percentages and compare them to what they eat. Discuss what changes (if any) they might want to consider making
ISSUES AND ENCOURAGEMENT
Check out my Facebook page for the latest activities and plenty of encouragement. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you may have about homeschooling!
God Bless You All!