Friday, November 26, 2010

Finding the Fun in December

Let’s be honest. It’s not that hard to find the fun in December. We can hear it, smell it, taste it, touch it, and see it! There’s no hiding from holiday fun! No, more often than not, the problem is not finding the fun; it’s finding TIME for the fun. So right now, while you have a moment to yourself, ask God to help you plan your calendar in a way that will honor Him and benefit your children. Then you can make a list of activities that will enrich your family this month, and mark the four that are the most appealing. (If you have time for more than one activity a week, and activities energize you, then by all means include more on your list!)

There will be a myriad of Christmas activities all month long for you to choose from. Don’t overload your schedule, but choose those that you feel are the most important. Consider making at least one of those activities a community service/blessing others type of activity, whether it’s adopting a child or family for whom to buy gifts, volunteering at the soup kitchen, caroling at a nursing home, ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, or something else.

One meaningful activity is to observe the Advent season. There are Advent calendars to count off each day before Christmas, or there is the table wreath with five candles. The wreath is used on the four Sundays preceding Christmas.  This year the dates are November 28 and December 5, 12, and 19. One candle is lit each Sunday until you have all four lit on the fourth Sunday. The first two Sundays call for purple candles representing hope and peace. The third Sunday is for the pink candle; it represents joy. Then the fourth Sunday calls for the purple candle of love. The fifth candle is the Christ candle and is lit on Christmas Day. I used a white votive in the center of my ring/wreath for my Christ candle. If observing Advent intrigues you, visit this site to learn more: http://www.kencollins.com/question-10.htm

Other holiday activities that you might consider for fun and educational purposes are Christmas parades and tree lighting ceremonies, historical homes or plantations decorated and opened for a peek into Christmases past, beautiful light displays, and live nativities. One of my favorite events is a “Walk through Bethlehem” that a local church presents every year. They create a village filled with a market and costumed people, and we feel like we’ve been transported back to Bethlehem, where we must beware the centurions and find the stable where the promised Savior has been born. If you can locate something like that, you will bring the meaning of Christmas alive for your children!

Your December schooling may include the science of cooking holiday treats and edible gifts; the language arts of writing stories, poems, or articles for the family newsletter; the history of holiday traditions around the world; the math of shopping on a budget; and the memorization of meaningful scripture or Christmas hymns. The life skills of cooking, cleaning, decorating, and entertaining also have a place in December!

While Christmas has the lead role in December, there are other cultural holidays that your homeschool could study. Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday, begins on December 2 and is also know as the Festival of Lights. Kwanzaa, an African-American holiday, begins December 26. Boxing Day, a holiday observed by some other countries, is on December 26 as well. Why not spend some time learning about the history behind and traditions of those holidays?

There are two non-Christmas dates you might observe. December 21 is the first day of winter and the shortest day (and longest night) of the year. December 31, as you know, is New Year’s Eve. Both offer topics of discussion. For example, what would life be like if every day was like December 21? What was the best thing that happened during the year? What do you look forward to the most in the coming year? Why do people make and break New Year’s Resolutions?

Enjoy this beautiful season of lights and love. Spend time with your family. Remember God’s gift to the world. Have a very blessed Christmas and a happy homeschooling New Year.

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