On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Preparing Young Hearts for Christmas, Part II

Each morning, Caedmon awoke with anticipation of taking another ring off our advent activity chain. The "curriculum" I used provided a Bible verse, a recommended book (and/or Bible reading) and a craft/activity for each day of December. I had gathered the books and art supplies prior to December 1st, and I tried to stay on top of prepping the night before - unfortunately, that didn't always happen.

I will admit that my enthusiasm waned in the last week and the activities were somewhat sparse. It didn't help that several of the books were out of print and cost too much to make it worthwhile to buy. (I know, I should have checked the library. That is something I have yet to do well...but perhaps a goal for the coming year.) Caedmon didn't notice too much since that last week included a visitor - Aunt Heather - and all of the holiday hoopla (i.e., a visit from Santa and lots of gifts). And, despite my less than enthusiastic ending, we probably did more crafty things in the first 3 weeks than we have in Caedmon's first 3 1/2 years of life (not including art group).

I tried to use The Message to read the Bible passages that corresponded with each day. That was probably the most challenging part of the month. Caedmon was super excited about the picture books and the crafts, but it was really hard to keep his attention at Bible time. Granted, we already read to him from 3 different children's Bibles throughout the day (during morning wake-up, before nap and before bed). Still, I tried to be persistent in reading and asking some comprehension questions...and I reminded myself that he is ONLY 3. I'm sure he got something from it, right?

The picture book time was a definite highlight. We tried to include Libby as much as possible but some of the books were too long to keep her attention. Her favorite was Ezra Jack Keats' version of The Little Drummer Boy . She still asks for it to be read at least once a day. She calls it "Little Drum" and pats her legs on that "rum pa pum pum" parts. Caedmon's two favorites were Mary's First Christmas by Walter Wangerin Jr. and The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walberg. Mary's First Christmas could probably be considered Caedmon's first read aloud chapter book. It was 4 chapters that was read over 5 days of lessons. It is a sweet retelling of Jesus' birth from the perspective of Mary, who is telling a young Jesus about it. I think it will be a Christmas favorite of ours for years to come. We're building quite a Christmas library, and I look forward to pulling these books off the shelves each Advent and adding to our collection.

Some of Caedmon's crafts are displayed above his bed in his room (they are pictured at the top of the post). He and I also made Christmas cookies, both sugar and gingerbread, which he enjoyed decorating! They were supposed to be delivered to friends but we ate most of them. We did send a plate home with one family and several to "daddy's work friends."

He also really enjoyed making a "gingerbread" nativity with Pappy. The lesson plans offered a print out of a nativity to build or a crafty construction paper picture of the nativity but I opted to try to find something else. I had been contemplating gingerbread house decorating this season so when I found these graham cracker mangers on Mom's Toolbox, it was the perfect compromise...made even better by a creative grandfather who helped with design. Note: Baby Jesus is a green peanut M&M. I figured Jesus would understand that as a little love from C, since his favorite color is green.

Another fun activity was our card making. We used strips of paper to make a Christmas tree and then decorated it with a pencil eraser dipped in paint. The painting is what made it a highlight for Big C. He also worked hard to write his name on each card and dictated the message to be written in each. They were really precious, and I hope the recipients enjoyed them as much as he enjoyed making them.

Although it wasn't directly related to our Advent homeschool, one other Advent activity we did this month is What God Wants For Christmas. We did it over the course of 7 days with the 7th day being Christmas. Each day there is a box to open and a poem to read and it tells the Christmas story. There is also a nativity scene which is filled up over the course of the 7 days, using the gifts in each box. I think Caedmon will "get it" more in the years to come but it was another good way to direct our focus on Jesus.

Overall, Caedmon and I really enjoyed our month of Advent homeschool. We will definitely do some version of it next year. I'm not sure if I'll do use the same lessons or look for something new. I enjoyed glancing at The Crafty Crow and their Christmas Picture Book Advent and I may use that next year, at least to grab a few new books and a craft idea or two. It will be fun to see how much more involved Libby will be next year.

1 comment:

  1. You did a great job, Lynette! I love the ideas you shared - I'm so looking forward to doing crafty activities in the future with my little ones!


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