I’m not sure about other homeschooling families, but in our house, once Halloween has passed and the weather turns colder, our minds turn to Christmas and the holiday season.
Here in Canada, our Thanksgiving celebration is more of a harvest festival and happens in mid-October but the influence of our neighbors to the south is definitely felt at this time of year (we even have Black Friday sales here now.) Our family has celebrated both Thanksgivings for many years because, really, who can ever give thanks (or share a meal of turkey and all the trimmings with family) too often.
As our visions turn toward Christmas, we also find our daily lessons changing. Rather than simply studying geography, we include information about Christmas and other major holidays that happen at this time of year.
|Learning about Christmas in France
I find these unit studies especially handy as we travel to visit family and friends. The craft and activity sections give us lots of ideas to help keep young cousins busy during family visits (fun and educational at the same time!) The littles love enjoying snacks and treats from countries they are studying as well.
We also like to take advantage of the holiday-themed homeschooling days held at local museums. This year, EJ attended a session called “Nellie’s Christmas” at Heritage Park in Calgary. Here the children learned about how World War I and the arrival of the Great Depression affected how families celebrated the holidays. They heard about how the opulence of Victorian Christmases was replaced with the austerity of the 1940’s, including a sampling of what they would have been served at the soup kitchen of the day.
|Children learned about radio plays – and got to be the sound effects!
Nellie McClung herself wrote in an article for the Victoria Daily Times on December 6, 1941,
“There will be no great illuminations this year on the streets, but Christmas does not depend on display. It is an experience of the heart, not something that can be bought at a store. It is more fun to make our own decorations anyway.”
Although we have read about the Depression in the past, learning about it in a more “in person” fashion, really helps the littles grasp how hard these times would have been for their families.
Besides the projects in our online unit studies, our art class takes on a festive note as we make decorations for our home and as gifts. This year we are trying out a pattern for homemade Christmas Crackers. Not sure if they’ll turn out right but, as Nellie wrote, it’s more fun to make our own decorations anyway.
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