Christmas School 2019

Somehow November seems to have flown by, it is hard to believe that Sunday will be December 1st. I have been taking a little bit of time today to gather my thoughts and plan out our December school schedule and activities. Each December, I like to change things up a bit and do ‘Christmas School’. It is such an exciting and wonderful time of year and we like to incorporate the holidays as much as possible into our school days. This helps us enjoy the holiday even more by allowing us to do more of the fun activities. Also, by not trying to do all of our regular school and the Christmas activities, we can help avoid burnout and overwhelm.

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*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

As my children have gotten older, I do have them continue with some of their regular studies. My Kindergartner will be doing Christmas math from a variety of fun resources but my sixth and eighth graders will continue with their regular math curricula. One of the math activities that my son is very excited about is Christmas pattern blocks from our Crafty Classroom pack. For history, we will continue to study North Carolina history but make a point to focus on holiday traditions of the time period.

Christmas School Pinterest

For reading, we  are going to focus on lots of fun Christmas books. We will be reading aloud some of our favorite picture books, listening to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and reading aloud The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. There are so many good books that we can never get through them all and we always add at least one new (or new to us) book to our collection each year. This year we added Christmas with Anne and Merry Christmas Strega Nona. Cranberry Christmas is a family favorite that we make sure to bring out every year. You can check our more of our favorite books at A Cozy, Book Filled December.

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I am also very excited to be doing two new advent activities. First, I was blessed to receive a copy of Kayla Jarmon’s A Christmas Journey to review. We are looking forward to reading the book together (it has nine chapters and discussion questions for each chapter) as well as completing the activity book. The activity book consists of 24 days of activities, with each one having a short devotional thought, a scripture, a Christmas song suggestion, and a family activity. For example, day six talks about faith and then gives several scriptures including Acts 7 and 1 Corinthians 15. The song for that day is Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and the activity is to take turns leading family members blindfolded around the house. This gives a simple demonstration of faith as they must follow the directions in faith.  As we get started with this program, I plan to write a full review but I wanted to go ahead and share a little bit so that you would have time to check it out and get it before Advent starts!

The second activity we are going to try is called The Traveling Wisemen: A Christmas ADVENTure.  Years ago, when my older two children were younger, we tried the whole “Elf on a Shelf’ thing. The children loved it but I was tired of finding places for him to hide and honestly, I felt like it put way to much emphasis on the wrong part of Christmas. I know it works for some families, but it wasn’t working for us. So we stopped using the elf but this year my daughter really wanted to bring the elf back for the younger kids because she remembered having lots of fun trying to find him each morning.  I did not want to bring back the elf, but I was open to an alternative that allowed them to enjoy the hunt but with a different focus. There are many options available but we are excited to try The Traveling Wisemen: A Christmas ADVENTure. With this program, you purchase the book and use your own wise men to hide each day. The children will know that they aren’t magical but will still have the fun of finding them and seeing what silly antics they have done overnight. My daughter has agreed to take on responsibility for hiding the wise men each night. You can use your own ideas of they have this website with some suggestions. I am hopeful that this allows us to have the fun of the elf but with a focus on Christ (and the best part for me is that I am not responsible for remembering to move them each night.)

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I love using this time of year to get in a bit of extra art time. We will be using a variety of lessons from Nana at Chalk Pastel’s Christmas Video Art Lessons and Nutcracker Lessons. The Christmas lessons also go along very well with our hymn studies. In addition, because we have a clubhouse membership we can enjoy some lessons that coordinate with Handel’s Messiah to add in some music to our studies. We will also be doing various crafts and projects to give as Christmas gifts. My daughter is working on weaving some items for her dad and brother, knitting a hat for our youngest, and sewing some adorable fairy pillows for a few cousins. If time allows she may also make some ornaments using the lesson in Gifts to Make and Give.  In addition, I am using some of the plans from The Activity Room with Hands on As We Grow to set up some fun art projects for my youngest two children.

My daughter has been working on learning how to play Silent Night on her violin so that she can play at the nursing home. The song was one that was recommended by her violin teacher and she has been really enjoying learning how to play. I decided that we should expand that learning with a hymn study. You can join us for this free hymn study: Hymn Study: Silent Night. In addition, we love the song Away in a Manger and I am putting the finishing touches on an Away in a Manger hymn study which  will be published later this week.  Last year we did December Hymn Study: O Holy Night.

Finally, I plan to include some of the fun videos and lessons from SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Their Christmas corner has lots of great videos, lesson plans, copywork, and poetry for Christmas and Hanukkah and we look forward to fitting in several of those each week. They are having a great sale this week and it is a wonderful time to give this program a try! We use a variety of courses from them each year and enjoy the flexibility.

I hope this gives you a few new ideas for incorporating Christmas activities into your December schedule. I would love to hear more about what activities your family loves! Share your ideas and plans in the comments.

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Evan-Moor: 20% off Holiday Gifts/Activity Books/Flashcards

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

You Are an Artist: 20% off All courses and bundles (except membership) 11/25-12/2

Crystal Paine is offering 50% off all of her courses!Whether you want to Makeover Your Mornings, Save Money on Groceries, or Start a Blog she has you covered with some great courses.

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Gift Ideas For Your Budding…Naturalist

What do you get for that child that loves to be outdoors? The one that watches the birds, listens for the squirrels, and hunts for flowers and leaves as you walk. All of my children love to be outside but my five-year-old is particularly interested in studying the various things he finds when we go on ‘adventures’ into the back yard, hiking in the park, or just walking down our road to the river. I love encouraging him to be observant of the world around him and help him learn about the plants and animals.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

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The ideas here can help a student learn more about the natural world and encourage exploratory play. You could easily create a wonderful gift basic with a few of these ideas to encourage hours of outdoor adventures. I believe that when we encourage these young naturalists to learn more, we are also encouraging them to appreciate and respect all of God’s creations. As a bonus, they think they are playing and exploring and you get to mark science off the list for the day.

 

 

Gift Ideas For Your Budding… Naturalist

 

Preschool

 Elementary Ages

Middle School/High School

I have really enjoyed writing these posts this week and gotten most of my Christmas shopping taken care of! If there are other interests or ideas that you have, please feel free to share them and I will be happy to add another post to the list. You can also check out Educational Christmas Ideas (that don’t feel like school supplies), Clutter Free Christmas Ideas, and Twelve Christmas Adventures for clutter free Christmas ideas. If you have other interests or hobbies that you would like to see included, please share in the comments.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

 

The Old Schoolhouse is running a great special on their magazine! $19 for a year’s subscription and some fun digital curriculum as a bonus.

2019-thankful-year-with-tos-mag-sale-facebook-meme

 

Sally Clarkson just launched her newest book, a devotional for moms! You can purchase it at Amazon now .

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Gift Ideas For Your Budding…Builder

 

Do you have a child that loves to build things? Whether it is a preschooler who stacks blocks or an older child that puts together imaginative creations and complicated kits, there are tons of great ideas for gifts.  Be it blocks, tools, models, electronics or other materials building is a great hobby. It can help with fine motor skills for the younger set and logic, critical thinking, and more for older children.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

When it comes to building there are so many options. There are kits that give step by step instructions, books to help learn skills, giant buckets of Legos to encourage creativity and ingenuity and so much more.  On our personal lists are Legos, tools, and a whittling set. I hope this gives you some ideas to encourage your builder this year.

Gift Ideas For Your Budding… Builder

 

Preschool/ Early Elementary Ages

Older Elementary/Middle School/High School

Be sure to check back for each of the posts this week relating to a different interest. If there are other interests or ideas that you have, please feel free to share them. You can also check out Educational Christmas Ideas (that don’t feel like school supplies), Clutter Free Christmas Ideas, and Twelve Christmas Adventures for clutter free Christmas ideas. If you have other interests or hobbies that you would like to see included, please share in the comments.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Not Consumed has a special early sale on their new Bible studies! Sale ends today!

Evan-Moor is having a 40% off sale on their e-books. use code: VDAY40

The Old Schoolhouse is running a great special on their magazine! $19 for a year’s subscription and some fun digital curriculum as a bonus.

2019-thankful-year-with-tos-mag-sale-facebook-meme

 

Sally Clarkson just launched her newest book, a devotional for moms! You can purchase it at Amazon now .

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Gift Ideas For Your Budding…Reader

“If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” JK Rowling

Over the years I have dabbled at a variety of hobbies but the one I love most is reading! I believe that all children can learn to love reading if they have the right help, encouragement, and books! This starts when they are young and we pull them into our laps to share a fun picture book or have them sit on the floor with milk and cookies while we read aloud. As they get older, we teach them to read the books for themselves. Then we begin helping them find books that they can enjoy on their own.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

I have included a list of a few of our favorites for each age range as well as a list of non-book ideas for your budding reader. This list is by no means exhaustive but hopefully you can find something your reader would enjoy. In some ways this list was quite easy and in some ways, it is the hardest list I’ve written. There are so many wonderful books that it made it hard to share just a few good ones for each age level. If you want even more recommendations make sure to check out Blogging Through The Alphabet with Books!!, our book reviews, 5 Days of For the Love of Reading and 2019 Book List.

 

Gift Ideas For Your Budding… Reader

 

Baby/Preschool

  • “That’s Not My” Series (These books are great for the various textures and repetitive words. My children love them from infants up through early elementary grades.)
  • Shine-a-Light Books (These books are excellent for preschoolers. You use a flashlight to see hidden items on the pages and learn more.)
  • Only You Can Be You (this new book about celebrating our differences is Sally Clarkson’s first children’s book. )
  • Otis Books (This lovable tractor is a family favorite.)

Early Elementary Ages

Older Elementary

Middle School

 High School/ Adult

Non Book Gift Ideas

Be sure to check back for each of the posts this week relating to a different interest. If there are other interests or ideas that you have, please feel free to share them. You can also check out Educational Christmas Ideas (that don’t feel like school supplies), Clutter Free Christmas Ideas, and Twelve Christmas Adventures for clutter free Christmas ideas. If you have other interests or hobbies that you would like to see included, please share in the comments.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Not Consumed has a special early sale on their new Bible studies! Sale ends today!

Evan-Moor is having a 40% off sale on their e-books. use code: VDAY40

The Old Schoolhouse is running a great special on their magazine! $19 for a year’s subscription and some fun digital curriculum as a bonus.

2019-thankful-year-with-tos-mag-sale-facebook-meme

 

Sally Clarkson just launched her newest book, a devotional for moms! You can purchase it at Amazon now .

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Gift Ideas For Your Budding…Musician

This is our second list in the gift ideas series and the one that I most needed this year. I never thought that I would be purchasing lots of musical gifts but three of my four children have ideas from this list on their wish lists. My daughter began playing violin just over a year ago, and has really enjoyed it. She wants to add keyboard lessons in January. My two oldest sons have more recently began violin lessons and the oldest wants a new violin for Christmas. My youngest is not quite two but really enjoys the Musik at Home lessons, so I added that along with a toy violin to his list. He is always trying to get the older children’s violins and play them so I am hoping he will enjoy playing with this own violin.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

This list is mostly broken up by instrument, although I did include a category for preschool age children with a variety of musical ideas. Since music is such a broad range an each instrument has different accessories I thought it would be easier to find what you were looking for based on the various instruments.

 

Gift Ideas For Your Budding… Musician

 

Preschool/ Early Elementary Ages

Violin

Guitar

Keyboard

Any Instrument

Be sure to check back for each of the posts this week relating to a different interest. If there are other interests or ideas that you have, please feel free to share them. You can also check out Educational Christmas Ideas (that don’t feel like school supplies), Clutter Free Christmas Ideas, and Twelve Christmas Adventures for clutter free Christmas ideas. If you have other interests or hobbies that you would like to see included, please share in the comments.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Not Consumed has a special early sale on their new Bible studies! Sale ends today!

Evan-Moor is having a 40% off sale on their e-books. use code: VDAY40

The Old Schoolhouse is running a great special on their magazine! $19 for a year’s subscription and some fun digital curriculum as a bonus.

2019-thankful-year-with-tos-mag-sale-facebook-meme

Crystal Paine is launching her newest e-book, Slashing Your Grocery Bill for a special launch price of just $7!! She always has great tips on saving money over at her blog, Money Saving Mom.

Sally Clarkson just launched her newest book, a devotional for moms! You can purchase it at Amazon now .

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Gift Ideas For Your Budding…Artist

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Welcome to the first of our lists of Christmas ideas based around a child’s interest of hobby.  I am excited to share some of our favorite art resources for all ages today. Art can be anything from crayon drawings or fun crafts to formal art lessons. There are so many great art supplies that make for fun Christmas gifts, will be helpful to your budding artist, and since they are being used won’t feel like clutter. A win-win for everyone!

I have divided this list up into several age categories, because I find that typically younger children enjoy the opportunity to just be creative and explore various materials, color patterns, and textures. Older children that have a stronger interest in art may be looking for more formal art instruction and higher grade materials. Gifts can be a great time to splurge on the higher quality materials that we might not normally buy, but that can really make a difference for some art techniques. For example, I did not realize until recently how much difference in quality there was between various brands of color pencils. We still use the trusty Crayola pencils for regular coloring but have invested in nice color pencils for my Bible journaling and some of the children’s other art work.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

Gift Ideas For Your Budding… Artist

 

Preschool/ Early Elementary Ages

Older Elementary/Middle School

High School/ Adult

All Ages

Be sure to check back for each of the posts this week relating to a different interest. If there are other interests or ideas that you have, please feel free to share them. You can also check out Educational Christmas Ideas (that don’t feel like school supplies), Clutter Free Christmas Ideas, and Twelve Christmas Adventures for clutter free Christmas ideas. If you have other interests or hobbies that you would like to see included, please share in the comments.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies

Not Consumed has a special early sale on their new Bible studies! Sale ends today!

Evan-Moor is having a 40% off sale on their e-books. use code: VDAY40

The Old Schoolhouse is running a great special on their magazine! $19 for a year’s subscription and some fun digital curriculum as a bonus.

2019-thankful-year-with-tos-mag-sale-facebook-meme

Crystal Paine is launching her newest e-book, Slashing Your Grocery Bill for a special launch price of just $7!! She always has great tips on saving money over at her blog, Money Saving Mom.

Sally Clarkson just launched her newest book, a devotional for moms! You can purchase it at Amazon now .

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Christmas Traditions: Breakfast (and a Recipe)

For the first 33 years of my life I went to my grandfather’s house each Christmas morning for breakfast with my family. My parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins all gathered together to enjoy breakfast, fellowship, and gifts. I have so many fond memories of those Christmas mornings. My grandfather passed away a few years ago and that first Christmas morning was bittersweet. I missed my grandfather dearly and it seemed so strange not to be there for Christmas morning. However, we started our own Christmas tradition as a family.

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*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

I honestly do not remember what exactly we ate for breakfast when I was a young child, but for all of the Christmas mornings that I could remember we had sausage, eggs, bacon, and most importantly ‘cat head’ cheese biscuits. For those of you that are not from Eastern North Carolina, I want to clarify that a cat head cheese biscuit got its name from the size of the biscuit not the contents. These are large round biscuits filled with gooey melted cheese, like the ones on our plates in the picture at the top of this post.

While I still miss my grandfather, we have settled into a new family tradition that incorporates some of the old tradition and makes it our own.  When I was younger my grandparents house was only a few minutes from my home, but by the time I had my own children we were living almost 45 minutes away which made for a rushed morning to get there in time for breakfast. Now we have a slow relaxed morning before heading off to visit with family for lunch.

We get up Christmas morning and myself or my husband put an egg casserole and some homemade frozen cheese biscuits into the oven. The children can enjoy looking at their gifts, we can read the Christmas story from Luke, and then enjoy breakfast together around our kitchen table. The time together and the slower pace is nice. By choosing foods that can be prepped ahead of time we are able to have a nice yummy breakfast with minimal effort on Christmas morning. This helps me to be able to focus on my family and not spend my morning cooking and cleaning.  I have included my breakfast casserole recipe below in case you are looking for a simple breakfast idea for Christmas morning.

I hope that my children grow up with as many fond memories of Christmas as I have from my childhood. While it is sometimes fun to change things up and there should be no pressure to keep doing things that aren’t working for our family, traditions can be a great way to build family unity and memories. I would love to hear about your favorite family traditions or how you have incorporated old traditions into new ones as family dynamics have changed over the years.

Christmas Morning Egg Casserole

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Packwith reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Crafting with Noodles!

We had some fun with noodles this past week and I wanted to share in case you were looking for a fun easy activity to do with your children. I did this activity with my four year old in mind but my ten year old joined in and had lots of fun as well.

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*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

I chose this activity in part because we had all of the supplies on hand and it would be easy for the four year old to do with minimal help. He loves anything that involves paint and had been wanting to make some decorations to go on the small Christmas tree in his room.

First we chose our paint colors. Since we were looking for a Christmas theme we did red, green, and white. We split the noodles into three bags and put a squirt of paint into each bag (one red, one green, one white). Then, close the bags up and gently move the noodles around in the paint until they are fully covered. Next, spread the noodles on a cookie sheet to dry. We chose to cover the cookie sheet in parchment paper for easy clean up, but old newspaper would work as well.

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It took a couple hours for them to be fully dry. If you have little ones that take a nap or rest in the afternoon you can paint the noodles in the morning and let them know they can finish their project after rest time as an incentive.

Once the noodles are dry you can get creative with them. We were stringing them to make a garland for my son’s Christmas tree. He wanted to do a simple green, red, white pattern. I tied the first one onto the end of the string to keep the others from falling off and then let him go to work. He enjoyed stringing them on but did get a little bored towards the end, so I agreed to help him string them as long as he was giving me the colors in the pattern.  When he was done, I tied the last noodle to the other end of the string and we had a garland for his tree. He wrapped it around his tree and was quite pleased with this work.

While we did Christmas tree garland, you could also use these to decorate a mantle or window, small sections of yarn to make necklaces or bracelets, or have them removable to practice a variety of patterns or color recognition. If you have extra painted noodles left over just stick them in a Ziploc bag until you are ready to do another activity.

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What fun and simple crafts have you been doing with your children?

 

Supplies:

A variety of  washable paints

Ziploc Bags (1 for each color of paint)

Noodles (can be different kinds but need to have a hole in the middle)

Yarn or String

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

All About Learning has released the best deal of the day: A FREE Snowman Packwith reading and spelling activities for a variety of ages.

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Smartick (check out our full review here) is offering a 25% off discount if you use this referral link! Elizabeth is still loving this program.

 

 

Christmas Traditions: Cousins and Cookies

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Christmas elicits so many emotions, both positive and negative.  Our goal as family during this season is to create many fun memories without going overboard and adding to the stress and overwhelm; all the while keeping our eyes on Jesus. Our family culture values time spent together and with those we love and we especially tend to gravitate towards that during the holiday season.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

Two years ago we decided that we wanted to do something fun with my children and my cousins’ children. We didn’t set out to start a tradition, just give the kids a chance to play and us a chance to visit and enjoy each other’s company. However, we did it again this year and decided that it was so much fun it needs to be an annual tradition.

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Most of our family lives with-in about a 45 minute radius of each other but we also have a cousin and her precious son that are many hours away. We try to schedule the cookie party when everyone can come but that is not always an option. If all of our little ones can make it we have eight children four and under. This can make for an exciting but messy event.

We always get together at Thanksgiving and Christmas for dinner and visiting but we really wanted an event that focused on the children and let them play and have a good time together. I originally thought about having them bake cookies together but quickly decided that might be a bit too much. If you have older children or fewer children, baking cookies might be a lot of fun. I let my four year old and ten year old help me bake the cookies the day before and my ten year old make the homemade icing.

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On the day of the cookie party everyone gathered at my mom’s house, (hers is closer to most of the family). First we let the children play outside and burn off a little energy. Then we brought them inside and let each of them choose one of our cream cheese cut out cookies to decorate. We had paper plates to put them on, plastic knives to spread the icing, and a variety of sprinkles and colored sugar to finish them off. My son is allergic to food dye so we made most of our own using India Tree natural colors.

Once they decorated their cookies they either ate their cookies or decorated other cookies for the adults in the room. It was really messy, there was probably some double dipping, but they had so much fun. There were smiles and giggles and lots of proud faces showing off their creations.

 

 

We did a quick craft using foam shapes and stickers, thanks to an inexpensive kit from Hobby Lobby.  Then we finished up the party with pizza and fruit. It was several hours well spent making memories. Aside from making the cookies the day before (and you could buy them in you wanted) there was very little preparation time and the only costs were the food and the $5 I spent on the craft kit. Sometimes it can feel like you spend so much time and energy on something and it is over in no time and not really worth this hassle, this event felt very low stress and my son is still talking about it over a week later.

You might not have a gaggle of young cousins that need to get together but this party could easily be adapted for different groups. You could invite friends, neighbors, or even a Sunday School class to attend your party. If you have older children, the children could actually bake the cookies and maybe even donate some of them to a local nursing home or fire department. When the children are a little older (i.e. have a bit longer attention spans), I want to add reading the book The Gift of the Christmas Cookie to the tradition. I already read it at home but thought it would be a little too much for the youngest ones to sit through.

I hope I have inspired you to add a cookie party to your list of fun Christmas traditions. If you have tried something similar or have other fun traditions that you would like to share with us please let us know in the comments. Stay tuned next week for more on another Christmas tradition, my daughter’s Christmas tea.

 

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Deals and Freebies!

Amazon is doing it again! $5 off $20 Book Purchase. Use Code GIFTBOOK18. If you aren’t sure what book to buy you might want to check out this new book by Sally Clarkson that is on pre-order right now: Girls’ Club.

Exciting news from All About Learning Press this week! They are coming out with a full color edition of levels 1-4 All About Reading and to celebrate they are hosting a $1,000 giveaway! We use All About Spelling and are hoping to use All About Reading next year with my son who will be in Kindergarten.

My Snowman Paul is Free on Kindle and many others in the sries are less than $1.

Our Christmas School Plans

Last week I shared about all of the books I wanted to read during December. As much as I want to focus on reading lots of good Christmas books, we will also be doing some other fun and simple activities.

First, as I thought about independent reading I decided that each of my older children would read a different Christmas or Hanukkah book each school day during December.  We have a multitude of great picture books that will be easy for them to read in one day but still provide great reading practice. Over the course of each week they will choose two that they really enjoy and write a paragraph reviewing the book and telling why they enjoyed it. They will also come up with one or two extra activities that could be used to supplement the books they are writing about (a recipe, a model, a research project, etc). My goal is to publish these on the blog.

*Some of the links in my posts may be affiliate links see below for more information. *

For musical studies we will be doing a hymn study of O Holy Night (coming soon to the blog) as well as enjoying a few fun activities to go along with other Christmas Carols from At Home: Where Life Happens. I love that her ideas are fun but simple to implement.  I know my children will love the marshmallow creations to go along with a couple of her song choices.

For art studies we are going to choose one lesson from our ChalkPastel.com lessons each week. I’m really excited about Away in a Manger. We will also be making a few Christmas crafts and pictures to send to grandparents,aunts, and uncles that live far away. This time of year seems to lend itself to lots of creative activities.

I have noticed that my children have been a bit lazy about their handwriting lately and I wanted to get back to doing copywork to help address it. I found this great set of Christmas poem copywork at Schoolhouse Teachers. I am going to have them complete one poem each school day.  They also have lots of other resources, lessons and videos in their Christmas Corner. If we have extra time we may enjoy some of the videos or other activities that are included in that section.

Christmas Schoolhouse2
A few of the activities and lessons included in the Schoolhouse Teachers Christmas Corner.

Bible study will be an important part of our December studies. We have really enjoyed using the Unwrapping the Greatest Gift advent study in the past. I also really like the free advent printables from Kim at Not Consumed. I am still praying about which study would be most beneficial to us as a family this season. I want to keep our focus on the Bible and not get into a system that becomes overwhelming.

This year we will continue with our normal math programs for my older two children (Math For A Living Education and A+ Math) in order to help make up some of the time we missed due to Hurricane Florence. However, my four year old will enjoy using pattern blocks and some fun free Christmas math printables.

My goal is to be able to continue making academic progress while focusing our attention on Christmas. There are so many things that keep us busy this time of year and want to minimize the stress of trying to ‘get it all done’ while still incorporating many fun holiday activities. My prayer is that this plan allows us to enjoy the holiday season, keep our focus on Jesus, and have time for rest and family fun.  Speaking of rest and family fun, I will be sharing later this week about a December challenge that I have given to myself and I would love to have you join the challenge. I plan to spend time each day focused on being still and being present. I will share my simple (and free) plan for spending time each day with God and my family.

What are you planning to do for school in December? Is it business as usual or do you change it up for Christmas. I’d love to hear what resources you love to use.

Resource Library and Affiliate Disclosure

When you sign up for the Schoolin’ Swag free resource library you will get a link and password to the library, we are adding to the library each month with new items. You will also get a bi-weekly newsletter email to keep you up to date on what we have going on.

Resource Library 

This post may contain affiliate or referral links, including Amazon affiliate links. As always I will never recommend a product that I don’t believe in and you will never be charged more for purchasing through our links. It does help pay for the costs associated with the blog.

Evan-Moor: 20% off Holiday Gifts/Activity Books/Flashcards

Apologia has a new FREE Christmas/Advent E-book!

Sally Clarkson just launched her newest book, a devotional for moms! You can purchase it at Amazon now .

Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.

Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)

Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)

Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!

Amazon Prime 30 day FREE trial. If you do not yet have Amazon Prime this is a great time to try it for free for 30 days! Get your Christmas shopping done with free shipping, enjoy Christmas music and more.