Wednesday, December 2, 2015

School in December - Focus on the Birth of Christ

I've decided to change up our routine for the month of December so we can concentrate on celebrating the birth of Christ.  I went to the library yesterday and chose Christmas story books and craft project books.  I made out assignment sheets and check off lists for our four students for the month.  Only the oldest wants to continue with her normal weekly readings, the rest will read stories and books related to Christmas. We'll still continue with math otherwise we'll focus our other subjects on the birth of Christ. We will be listening daily to Christmas stories on Librivox.  The youngest is hoping to download a collection of stories on his new MP3 player.  There are so many it is hard to know where to start. 

Last night I read our first Christmas storybook to the two youngest, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, a beautiful story with lovely paintings! Other titles I got from our local library include, The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado, Room for a Little One: a Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell,  Madeline's Christmas by Ludwig Bemelmans, The Little Boy's Christmas Gift by John Spiers, The Nutcracker retold by Anthea Bell and Christmas Song of the North by Marsha Bonicatto.  I haven't read all of these yet, but they each looked promising. 

 I'm hoping to read some longer books aloud, including The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which is a wonderfully hilarious tale of a church Christmas pageant.  The nativity is seen through the eyes of a poor, unchurched family who comes to participate.  Sometimes we become too used to the Christmas story and forget the wonder of it.  I found a couple of books listed at Living Books Library under their Christmas heading and ordered some from our state inter-library loan including a couple by Alta Halverson Seymour who is a new author to me.  She has written Christmas stories set in different countries.  I'm looking forward to trying them.

Dickens' A Christmas Carol, has become a tradition for us.There are many wonderfully illustrated editions.  I'll choose a couple from our library.

  After reading it we'll watch a video of a musical called "The Gospel According to Scrooge".  My sister and niece perform in this well-done production of this wonderful musical.  We purchased our copies for $10 each through DTV20, 831 Main Street South, SaukCentre, MN 56378 or you can call 320-351-7288.  It was performed a few years ago so I'm not sure if they still have it, but it is well worth the $10 and has become a tradition for us to watch. 

Speaking of films, we plan to watch "It's a Wonderful Life".  Which has been a tradition for my sister's family for years.  

For picture study we will be looking at about a dozen paintings of the Annunciation to the Shepherds.  You can follow along with us on my art, music and poetry blog, All Things Bright and Beautiful.

We're also hoping to each make some sort of artistic expression of the angel's announcement to the shepherds.

I've asked the children to begin planning a book that they will write and illustrate this month.  It can be a poem, the story of Christmas (they will each be writing this narrative sometime during the month for writing anyway) or a story about someone celebrating Christmas.  It will be fun putting the books together and even more fun to read and reread them through the years. 

There are several pieces of classical music including Handel's Messiah I hope to enjoy together as a family.  You can find these on my blog along with the picture study and poems for the season.  

Just found a wonderful resource for an advent devotional using hymns.  It has links to youtube videos of each song.  I downloaded it free this morning and we listened to the first two days to catch up. You can find it here

I found three books of carols, two for piano and one for guitar.  Our students are not very advanced yet, but may find a song or two they want to learn to share with the family on Christmas Eve.   And I just found a site for printing free Christmas Piano Pieces.  It looks like they have some nice easy to play pieces.

Other projects may include modeling a clay manger scene, painting, stitching projects and making wrapping paper, cards and gifts.  I'm really looking forward to this joyous season! 

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