Last year we did a “child led” unit on Hanukkah, which included sharing an evening in celebration with some of our Jewish family friends and then attending their synagogue with them for a beautiful hanukia celebration. My daughter (and my Husband and I too!) thoroughly enjoyed learning about the traditions and history of their celebration. This year my daughter asked to learn more about the history and traditions of Christmas around the world.
Christmas is a holiday that we celebrate, but as we are discovering, we really know very little about the traditions and history behind our own beloved celebration. This year’s “child led” Christmas lessons are broken up into the three following categories: Christmas Traditions Around the World, Christmas Symbols, and Holiday Baking. (All three of the categories also cover language arts, geography, and history lessons, as well as hitting upon art, science, and math.)
Christmas is a holiday that we celebrate, but as we are discovering, we really know very little about the traditions and history behind our own beloved celebration.
Each day my daughter selects about five countries and we read aloud their Christmas traditions from Christmas Around the World.
When selecting the countries, she chooses them by region and compares and contrasts the neighboring countries (and then compares and contrasts the different regions). While reading about the Christmas Traditions of France, my daughter got very excited about the “Yule Log Cake” and wanted to make one for our Christmas feast. We found this delicious photo (warning…you will be drooling!) and Yule Log Cake Recipe.
We will be making this on Christmas Eve morning together (one of several Holiday Baking projects). We will also be baking various Christmas cookies from around the world, as well as a gingerbread house.
For Christmas Symbols (including many science rich opportunities in studying the various plants), we are using History of Christmas, one read aloud daily.
It was on reading about the Christmas tree that my daughter discovered Czechoslovakian painted eggs. We researched images of these and will make some painted eggs of our own to place on our tree.
I’ve always wanted to make Peppermint Bark so I think we are going to whip up a batch of these next week (Peppermint Bark Recipe).
We will use a locally made peppermint pig that we will smash to bits for it. We are lucky enough to have Saratoga Sweets within a reasonable driving distance, so we will visit their sweet shop first and learn more about the process of making them and the traditions associated with it (this info is also on their Web site).
We are having such a jolly good time researching all about Christmas! Do you have a favorite tradition or holiday recipe you would like to share? We’d love to learn more about your traditions too!
This post was written by Colette D., a new-to-homeschooling Mom and a Lesson Pathways Blog contributing writer. She and her Husband raise their daughter together in the rural countryside of Upstate New York where they like to spend as much time as possible being creative and enjoying nature. She blogs about her adventures in sewing, crafting, and baking (among other things) at yearofhandmade.