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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Christmas Month!

Yes you read it right this is Christmas month in our school. Lots of fun lesson ideas and Christmas themed learning. The kids are having a blast with more crafts, baking and fun then they normally have. It also helped that we were dumped on a couple of weeks ago with two feet of the white stuff.
So many projects that encourage and make learning fun have been embarked on. We made Christmas stockings up for our swap partners. So far DS got his swap and was happily surprised by all the goodies inside. DD still is waiting for hers. The reason I joined the swap site was to encourage them to realize one that there are more home school kids and two to have geography snuck in to learning. It also has proven to be a great lesson in sewing, design and budgeting.
We also did a Christmas card exchange list. Well two of them really one for each child. Although they were tired of writing in cards after the last one was complete they are now starting to get theirs in return. Which is teaching them rewards for their effort. Again I use this to teach geography and social studies. One card even had a postcard included which will add to our geography postcard scrapbook DS started last year.
DD Sparks troop is having their Christmas party this Wednesday and she is doing a secret Santa so she had fun finding a small item for the exchange. I smiled when the leader told me they had a five dollar limit because that was the limit it was when I was in Brownies many moons ago. But she did find a really sweet stuffed penguin to give the other girl and we will likely add candy and Christmas cracker for fun.
Also of note we went to the tree farm and hunted for the tree Mom had spotted when there in the fall for a hayride. Well things look different in the snow...so we picked a tree that was fitting for our living room. Every year I make a table full of food and we snack as we decorate the tree with Christmas music in the background. Its a tradition that I got from my own parents growing up. Well this year was the same only DS helped with the food! It was so nice to have capable kitchen help and he loves to learn cooking. DD ran in on occasion to offer her 'help' which translates to helping herself. But it was all in fun. The kids were so enthusiastic this year the tree was up and decorated inside of one hour! I was impressed, but not as impressed as I will be if they help to un-decorate it later.
We are one week away from their final swimming lesson. I told them today that they were being tested which I am not sure was entirely a good idea as DS gets so excited that it manifests itself in rambunctious behaviour, poor fellow. So there he was in the pool trying his best to impress the instructor by repeatedly going under the water. And as wonderful as that was it wreaks havoc on his eyes. By the end of class they were really red from the water and burning. At least no one can say he isn't opening his eyes underwater.
DD also was thrilled she was going to be 'contested' so she actually blew the bubbles that the instructor asked her too. It was the first time I had seen her do this. Mind you being in the viewing area is hard to focus with the temperature being so high that we moms joke it's our weekly sauna. Thank goodness class is only one hour.
I am looking forward to seeing if each child did well enough to progress to the next level next term.
In 'school' we are continuing with DD's reading and DS's practice of intonation when characters speak. DS has a Christmas file folder game for multiplication and DD has one for addition/subtraction. I also made up a file folder game for them both using compound words.
The kids are learning about Christmas around the world. I read about the other countries traditions and then they each are given a flag for the country and are asked to locate it on their maps I printed. I had a really hard time finding a nice map with the countries listed. After they locate the country they glue the maps into the folder and copy down the name of the country, the language predominantly spoken, and the phrase that is said in the native tongues for Christmas. It has been fun. More countries to do still.
We also learned again about snow formation. Because DS learned about snow and Christmas last year I try to have him fill in the blanks of the lesson to review. Thus he is showing the knowledge he has retained as well as informing his sister.
We spent a day talking about and crafting snowmen and snowflakes.
Tomorrow aside from Christmas around the world and reading we will look at the tradition of gingerbread and then they will make gingerbread cookies. By that I mean DS reads and measures following the recipe and DD gets to mix as much as possible. Then I take over the mixing. We will also cut the cookies out together. And no one needs their arm twisted to be taste testers.
So this month is a lot of fun and life learning is also thrown in. How to wrap gifts is even being used as a lesson in folding and estimating. As well as learning simple skills like not needing one hundred feet of tape on one package. I am really looking forward to the holidays and all the happiness that they bring. I just wish we had more family around to visit. But God has blessed our little family with so much already I am very thankful.



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