Bookishness, Mamaishness


Owing to some rough behavior around these parts, I’ve decided to put some intentional structure in our days in December. Our little homeschool co-op takes December off, so our weekly activity won’t be happening, and we probably need something to occur on a regular basis just so we can keep our balance. We’ll keep going to the library, and probably take the time to visit a few local spots for the holidays, but our time at home needs a little love, too.

In part, I’m recording this so that next year I’ll know what I managed to pull together this year. I’m also posting it in hopes that it might help someone else out there! We procrastinators have to stick together, right?

children's advent activities

This post really inspired me to create a sort of schedule for the month. With Advent beginning on December 1st, it was sort of handy to use it as a backbone. Our “main” activity for the month will be this Advent study – Truth in the Tinsel. I like the way it walks through the Christmas story in both the Old & New Testaments, and the fact that the daily activities are pretty simple. The girls like the idea of making new ornaments for the tree. There are a few ornaments I will definitely be changing, and I won’t stress if we don’t do every single ornament.

It’s VERY nice to have this laid out for me, since I am not good at planning an entire month of anything in advance. We did our first activity last night after dinner, but I imagine we’ll do these most often at some point during the day. My main goal is to actually assemble the supplies a day or two ahead of time, so that I’ll know if we need to run to the store. There is a day by day list of supplies included in the e-book, but since I’m switching some of the craft activities, I can’t rely on it entirely.

christmas book for children

We have had this book for two years now, and Bethany (at almost four) still loves it. [amazon text=The Baby Bible Christmas Storybook&asin=0781403685] breaks several of my rules: the illustrations are cartoony, it tells adults what to say, and it’s written to appeal to adults instead of children. Despite all those things, it still works. (This just goes to show that my rules are more arbitrary than I would like to admit.) You can read through it slowly, or read the entire book in one sitting. Some pages have little motions to do that go along with the action in the story, and some have questions to ask your child. This year, the girls are doing a page a day with Daddy, so that they can stop and talk as they read.

Next up, Advent/Christmas hymns. We got a piano this fall (yahoo!), and I’m getting better at playing songs that involve sharps and flats. I’d like to work with the girls to learn a few songs and help them see the similarity between what they’re singing and what can be played on the piano. Here’s our list:

*Week One: Come, O Come, Emmanuel

*Week Two: Joy to the World

*Week Three: Away in a Manger

*Week Four: Good King Wenceslas

Since the fourth week of Advent is short this year, we’ll work on remembering a song that Bethany learned very early, thanks to these two picture book versions of the song. Both are worth checking out if you’re into the Wenceslas story like I am.

children's christmas book

Jamichael Henterly’s [amazon text=version&asin=0525444203] has beautifully painted scenes depicting the lyrics of the song. It’s very easy to follow the story through the pictures, which is handy with little ones, since the song’s lyrics can be a little confusing if “hither” isn’t exactly part of your daily vocabulary.

Good King Wenceslas - Christopher Manson

My personal preference is [amazon text=this one&asin=0735812004], with illustrations by Christopher Manson. Although the song was written in 19th century England, the illustrations here are very reminiscent of the medieval setting (and history) of the song’s subject. The lyrics are included in an almost-illuminated Gothic style, making it a challenge for early readers, but a neat thing to show little ones as you help to set the mood of the story.

Finally, I’m hoping to introduce the girls to two longer vintage stories, spreading out the reading over the weeks leading up to Christmas. I’ll address each of these in more depth, this Wednesday and next: [amazon text=Turkey for Christmas&asin=B0007DJZYC], by Marguerite de Angeli, and [amazon text=The Birds’ Christmas Carol&asin=1617205125], by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin. Both are sadly out of print, but worth seeking out at your library to preview and see if they’re a good fit for your family.

I love to hear what other families are doing, so feel free to share your ideas!

{The books linked above are shared through compensated affiliate links. Thanks for supporting, Read It, Make It!}