I’ve been thinking about Christmas since July, and what our school plans will look like this year. It was tempting to cram everything I possibly could into one month. I wanted to plan all the things, but I think we’ll end up with a good balance of celebrating the truth and beauty this season holds without the overwhelm…such a fine line!
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Our Christmas “school” plans for this year will include:
*A short morning time advent and a separate evening advent that my husband can join in on.
*Fine art picture appreciation.
*Christmas hymns, folk songs and classical music.
*Christmas picture books, poetry, and a few family read alouds.
*Intentional handcrafts for gift giving.
*Baking of course!
FILL THEM WITH TRUTH & BEAUTY
ADVENT: (I will be using these two advent guides this year)
1. Advent Reading for the Very Young (FREE) to be read through during morning Basket
2.The Way to the Manger-A Family Advent Devotional for evening time family advent. Eventually, we will switch to something with more substance, but this was a perfect fit for my young family last year and I’m looking forward to using it again. We really enjoyed creating a simple tradition of candle lighting, scripture, prayer, and reflection.
TREASURIES & POETRY:
Selections will be chosen at random. We will simply enjoy a few selected poems each day, and re-read favorites that inspire us. I will not require recitation, however I’m sure they will naturally do so if they find a poem they fall in love with.
Fine art prints from Humble Place.
I love what Rebecca from A Humble Place says about picture appreciation through the holidays, “My vision for adding art into our Advent traditions was not to include more academic opportunities, but rather more possibilities for contemplation and meditation during a season that tends to be overwhelming with busy-ness and distractions. I hope you will find them helpful in adding opportunities for contemplation during your holiday season!”
And that’s exactly what we plan on doing. =)
Music is a big deal around here, especially during the holidays. We almost always have a shuffle of various genres going on in the background. Anything from classical to folk, HYMNS, modern day tunes, and everything else in between (within reason). 😉
Just a few of our classical favorites include:
Edward William Edgar, The Snow
Tchaikovsky, Hymn of the Cherubim OP. 41
Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker
I also like to keep various folk songs on rotation.
Here are a few examples:
The Holly and the Ivy
Baby Born Today
Craig Duncan (holiday) Old English Christmas
An Irish Christmas Celtic Holidays Radio on Pandora
Colonial Christmas Barry Phillips & Friends
Sufjan Stevens (Holiday) Radio
Christmas Choral Classics Radio
Hymns will be played during morning and evening advent, and randomly throughout the day. Here are three places you can find hymn selections. I almost always find different versions that suit my personal taste, but it’s nice to have a list to choose from.
The Hymnal Project (includes sheet music)
Happy Hymnody Christmas Playlist on YouTube
Hymns at Home (includes sheet music)
The kids will still take turns baking with me once a week, and we’ll make sure to make extra to give away. We started baking at the beginning of November and have already frozen several loaves of banana bread. I might squeeze in a few extra baking sessions on my own since I’ve been eating a grain free diet and have been looking for recipes that I’ll be able to enjoy. I love the recipes HERE.
We’ll make some if not all of these for family, friends, and neighbors:
Spekulaas Cookies using THIS cookie cutter.
Orange Cranberry Cake
Banana Bread (grain Free version, and I did add about 1/4 C. coconut sugar).
We like to save the gingerbread house/cookies and snowflake crafts for January. They’re fun activities to look forward to after all the festivities have ended.
The kids have been creating intentional gifts for each other, family and friends since the beginning of September. They have made things like felted acorn tree ornaments, beeswax candles, and little hand sewn sachet pillows.
We will also be making:
An advent spiral from salt dough. HERE’S the recipe we use.
MORE beeswax candles. I purchased our kits from HERE.
A popcorn/cranberry/orange garland.
Nature inspired Christmas tree decorations with salt dough & twigs
We’ll still be working on our journals and phenology wheels.
So there you have it! A full month of beautiful Christmas music, poetry, art, baking, books, handcrafts, and reflection woven into our days. If you’re curious, we will still be doing math, language arts, and history for the first two weeks of December, then we’ll be taking the rest of the month off from school.
I’m looking forward to a (hopefully) relaxed celebration this year.
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