Ahhhhh. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas - a scourge to teachers and students alike. Whether public, private, or homeschool, I challenge you to find a learning environment that runs like a machine during this time frame.
Everyone is excited about the impending winter break and holiday merriment! No one, not even the teachers, want to trudge through the daily grind. So what's a teacher to do? Why - make it fun, of course! The kids knew they had to do school, but they didn't mind with these fun activities. Now that we are on break, I can look back and say, they may actually have learned something. Gasp!
Each boy was provided with a Lego catalog, an ordering form, and a pencil. They had to write down item numbers, price, and tax for their entire wishlist.....then tally it up! (Don't tell them it's math...) All I have to say is, these kids better get a job quickly if they want to support their Lego habit! We also accessed several Christmas 'school' ideas, like this spelling unit, on SchoolhouseTeachers.com.
They were required to build a trap to catch these gingerbread men that kept running around the house singing "Run, Run, as fast as you can...you can't catch me...!" FINALLY, we set upon a trap that worked! The gingerbread men were tasty. :)We continued our Random Acts of Christmas Kindness, and made a game out of how many people we could RACK each day! Some days it was people in blue shirts, and other days it was specifically kids that were being toted around while their parents finished Christmas shopping. The gifts shown above went to random adults.
I wish we could find pictures of the last gingerbread house I attempted to make with the kids....since it looked as though it'd been hit by both an earthquake and tornado, we dubbed it the "Oklahoma House," and it's a thing of family legend. Suffice it to say, when our artistic son wanted to make a gingerbread house this year, he asked to do it A.L.O.N.E. (L.O.L.) He created this from scratch, using leftover Halloween candy that we had set aside for crafts. He even made the fondant wreaths and trees, and hand-dropped all of those tiny icicles! If you're a great cake-designer, then this probably looks like child's play to you. However, I am truly impressed --- and design-challenged.
While he created this masterpiece, his brother and I struggled to put together a 100-piece puzzle. We all have our unique skill sets!
We painted picture frames to take to the nursing home and made a wooden lawnmower for Daddy. He wanted a new lawnmower for Christmas, and this was the closest that the boys could fit within their budget! We also found these stained glass characters in Grandma's art closet and made wind chimes from them. We used sticks from the yard and some hemp twine to bind everything together, and made "Spring Garden" and "Snoopy" art!
In the church pageant, one son played Santa Claus. The other played Joseph. I thought the character assignments were a good fit! Santa learned all about the true meaning of Christmas from the Holy Family. My mother used to have a book and statue, called Santa and the Christ Child, which was my favorite holiday decoration....so I loved the ending of this pageant.