Posts for category ‘Holidays and Seasons’

Freebies: The Christmas Rush Edition
Lesson Pathways | December 23, 2010 | 9:07 am

Are the kids going a little crazy while you’re trying to finish up all of those last-minute preparations today?  Yes, us too!

Here’s a little collection of free stuff to keep those hands and minds busy so you can polish off that to-do list today.

Christmas Tree

A Present from S.A.N.T.A. eBook
If your family does not believe in Santa or your children have decided that they do not believe anymore then this book is for you. This short book is written around the acronym S.A.N.T.A. It reminds us that Santa is Someone Anonymous, Nice & True All over the world in one night. This book can be printed on regular paper and has amazing, beautiful images on each page

Christmas Printables
Are you looking for some free Christmas printables? Look no further! The Christian Homeschool Hub has a coloring book, math pages, ABCs, and more.

Fun, Interactive Christmas Games
Visit to play interactive games, send e-cards to your friends, check the weather for Santa’s flight and more! Visit the mailroom to send a last minute letter to Santa!

Free Christmas Music
This site offers free Christmas MP3 downloads from independent artists. Check out the artists, download some new music, and enjoy your holidays!

“Merry Christmas” Language Cards
Have fun learning to say Merry Christmas in 108 lanuguages!
Just cut out the cards and have fun trying to say the different languages, some of the cards also include Happy New Year! A pocket is also included to store your cards in.

Build a (Virtual) Snowman
Too cold to actually go outside? Maybe you don’t want to deal with the mess it tracks in the house. Let your kids build their own virtual snowman online. Bonus: it won’t melt!

A Christmas Carol Audio Book
If you have an MP3 player handy, download this classic Dickens tale!

$2 MP3 Credit from Amazon
Let the kids do a little free shopping at Amazon for Christmas music. They have a large selection of free music and now you can get this $2 credit towards paid music too! (Thanks, Bargain Shopper Mom!)

Christmas Traditions
Lesson Pathways | December 15, 2010 | 9:19 am

ChristmasLast 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).

Secondary-PeppermintPigWe will use a locally made peppermint pig that we will smash to bits for it. :D  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.

Learning About Christmas
Lesson Pathways | December 8, 2010 | 9:00 am

Christmas GirlOver the centuries, people have celebrated Christmas in many different ways.  As Christmas approaches, this is a wonderful time to share with your family the history, crafts and stories of years gone by.

At my house, we have started counting down the days until Christmas.  We are shamelessly singing Christmas songs at the top of our lungs, and we are enjoying our egg nog and gingerbread coffee creamers immensely.   The tree is lit and the halls are decked.  It is really beginning to look, sound and smell a lot like Christmas around here.  We seem to partake in many traditional Christmas traditions, but why?  Where did these traditions originate? This brief history of Christmas will explain why we celebrate Christmas and the many wonderful traditions associated with the holiday.

Activities for Fun and Learning

Hands-on activities make learning more memorable and more fun. Here are some activities to share with your family this Christmas season.

Make an Orange Pomander Pomanders were a traditional Christmas gift in Tudor times – designed to combat all those nasty smells of daily Tudor life!

Meeting Santa Claus Mr. Edwards met Santa on his way to the Ingall’s home for Christmas dinner. Have your child imagine and describe what he thinks it would be like to meet Santa.

Butter Pound Cake Try your hand at this delicious recipe.

Hand Dipped Candles Read and follow the directions on the page to make the candle(s). Be sure to read the tips at the bottom of the page. How do you think night time activities were affected by only having candles for light?

Make a Marshmallow Snowman Ornament If you like to add homemade ornaments to your Christmas tree each year, this marshmallow snowman Christmas ornament is quick and easy for kids or adults to make

Tools for Learning

Incorporate these online games, printables, and activities to teach your child about Christmas.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Students usually have a lot of fun doing this. The teacher can give clues for students who have trouble recalling parts of the song.

Christmas Card Nouns and Adjectives Use Christmas cards to reinforce the concepts of nouns and adjectives.

Christmas Word Puzzles Keep kids busy (and in the Christmas spirit) while you wrap, organize or decorate with these fun Christmas printables.

Online Christmas Games Dress the elves, make music and so much more!

Online Christmas Quiz Think you know everything there is to know about Christmas?  Test yourself with this fun quiz.

Videos Resources

These videos will enhance your study of Christmas — the history, traditions, and much more.

The History of the Holidays – Christmas Learn about the origins of Christmas traditions with this video from the History Channel.

The Life of a Christmas Tree From a tiny tree in the wilderness to a spectacular display in your living room; this video explains how it happens.

Christmas Light Technology Ever wonder how Christmas lights work?  Watch the video to find out!

Do you have a favorite resource for learning about Christmas?  Tell us in the comments section below!

This post was written by Dana A., a Team Member and homeschool mom.  She lives in Florida, with her husband and two children.

Learning About Hanukkah
Lesson Pathways | November 30, 2010 | 9:00 am

This post was written by Christina S., team member and veteran homeschool mom.  When not helping out around here at or other work-related project, she’s busy homeschooling or tweeting as @MrsStrick on Twitter.

In her quest to find great resources for educating her own children, she has found some she’d like to share with you.  Read on and enjoy!

MeorahHanukkah, also known as “The Festival of Lights” (and sometimes spelled “Chanukah”) is an eight-day Jewish holiday starting on the 25th day of Kislev, which may occur at any time from late November to late December (source: wikipedia).

This year, Hanukkah begins on December 1.

While my family is not Jewish, I wanted my children (and myself!) to learn more about Jewish culture and traditions.  It’s important to me that we learn as much as we can, out of respect for our friends that are Jewish and because Jewish culture is deeply intertwined with our own Christian history.

All of the resources here were found on the internet and are completely free!  They are listed here for you, in the friendly “” Pathway format we’ve all grown to know and love.  I hope your family finds them useful in your homeschool (or classroom) studies too!

As I mentioned, I am still learning about Jewish culture and traditions.  If I’ve made an error, please let me know.  If you’ve got a great resource I missed, please share it in the comments section below!


Lessons IconLinks to Online Lessons

The Story of Hanukkah
Read this very short passage as an introduction to the story of Hanukkah.

History of Hanukkah
Read this account of the Birth of Hanukkah and its celebration, including symbolic foods.

Hanukkah Traditions
Learn more about Hanukkah traditions, including the Miracle of the Oil.

History of the Dreidel
Learn about the history of the Dreidel, how to play and the meaning of the Hebrew letters on each one.

Significance of the Menorah
Learn all about the Menorah and why it signifies the Feast of Lights.

The Star of David
Learn about the meaning of the Star of David


Activities IconHands-On Projects and Activities

Make a Dreidel
Follow the directions to make your own dreidel, then try your hand at a game with a friend or family member.

Craft a Hanukkah Menorah
Use wooden spools, paint and yellow eraser pencil toppers to make this craft. (does not actually light up)

Create a Menorah
Want something that really lights up? Use baby food jars and candles to create this Menorah

Hanukkah Wreath
Recommended for ages 6+, create this wreath using a wire coat hanger, TP rolls and paint.

Star of David Window Ornament
Add a little sparkle to your windows by making these pretty ornaments

Cooking for Hanukkah
Try making Hanukkah coins or Latkes. How do you like them?


Learning Tools IconWorksheets, Printables & Online Activities

Coloring Pages
Beautiful pictures to print and color.

Online Jigsaw Puzzle
See if you can put this holiday picture back together.

Reading Comprehension Worksheet
Print this worksheet, read the short passage and try to answer the questions.

Word Puzzle
(For the older kids) Print and solve this word puzzle about Hanukkah blessings.

Crossword Puzzle
A high quality printable word puzzle (with answer key!).

Lined Journaling Pages
Print your choice of journaling pages to keep track of what you’ve learned.


Video IconFree Online Videos

Learn about Hanukkah with Elmo!


History Channel’s History of Hanukkah

Watch this video from the History Channel to learn more about the history of Hanukkah.


Audio IconFree Online Audio

The Story of Hanukkah
Listen to the story of the Maccabees


References IconAdditional Resources
A large collection of games and other learning goodies for learning about Hanukkah for kids.

Scholastic Lesson Plans
Lesson plans & printables for teaching about the dreidel.

Literature Hanukkah
A list of literature for children about Hanukkah.

Hanukkah Clip Art
Free clip art to use.

If you enjoyed these resources, be sure to visit our site,, for more great unit studies and FREE learning materials!

Happy Thanksgiving
Lesson Pathways | November 23, 2010 | 11:30 am

We know that many members of our family will be traveling over the next few days.  We’d like to take a moment today to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.

We’re very grateful for each one of you and for welcoming us into your lives.  We hope you have a joyful Thanksgiving holiday.

We’ll be taking a short Thanksgiving break here on the blog too.  We hope you join us on Monday, when we will be sharing a special “Cyber Monday” edition of the Deals and Steals feature (who doesn’t love great deals, without having to battle the crowds on Black Friday?!?!).

In the meantime, you may enjoy these Thanksgiving-related posts and resources, from our archives.

Pilgrim GirlA Family Thanksgiving: Don’t miss the opportunity to make special memories with your children.

Settlers & Native Americans: If you’re short on time, try using the resources in this fun unit study for a quick Thanksgiving lesson.

A New Land: Learn all about the pilgrims and their voyage on the Mayflower.

Friday Featured Pathway: November 12
Lesson Pathways | November 12, 2010 | 9:08 am

With our American Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s fitting we feature this beloved Pathway on Settlers & Native Americans.

In addition to lessons, worksheets and a video, there are also SIX hands-on activities – all  sure to spice up your homeschool or classroom lesson plans. Learn about life in the Plymouth Village, try your hand a making stewed pompion and craft a Native American Story stick!

squanto portraitIn this unit, your child will learn what life was like for the settlers in the new world. The unit will cover the Mayflower journey and what life was like while traveling across the ocean. Your child will discover what the pilgrim’s life was like in Plymouth Village and their interactions with the Native Americans as well as the first Thanksgiving. This unit also includes worksheets, hands-on activities, recipes, games, and coloring pages. This unit is designed to last for one week, depending on how often you teach history.

Have you completed this Pathway with your students?  We’d love to hear from you.  Drop us a note in the comments section below!

Today’s Featured Pathway is sponsored by

ClickN KIDS Beginning Reading & Spelling Programs

Teaching About Veteran’s Day
admin | November 2, 2010 | 9:41 am

American FlagsIn 1918, at the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, fighting ceased in World War I. Veterans Day (November 11) is a day to honor veterans living and dead who have sacrificed so much to protect our country and our freedom. This year, with our armed forces fighting enemies overseas and at home, honoring Veterans Day is even more significant.

Veterans Day Lessons

Patriotism is a value that must be taught and modeled for our children. Devoting time to give special consideration to our national holidays will give these days a deeper sentiment to your children, a greater appreciation for our freedom, in addition to developing proud citizens of our country. Sharing a brief history of Veterans Day with your child will help them understand this is more than just a day off work or school for most.

It’s important to teach our children about the cost of our freedom. Our national war memorials are a tangible way for our children to visualize the cost of lives lost. The Veteran’s Memorial Stepping Stone will explore the Veterans Memorial Museum of the wars of the 20th century. Share the video and read the text with your child.

Activities for Fun and Learning

Hands-on activities make learning more memorable and more fun. Here are some activities to share with your child:

The Star Spangled Banner
Our Flag
Patriotic Stained Glass
Lets Say Thanks

Tools for Learning

Use these worksheets, online games and other tools to teach your child about our country and patriotism.

Veterans Day Statistics and Timelines
About the Flag
Online Veterans Day Quiz
Online Games & Activities – Requires Flash
Veterans Day Word Search

Video Resources

These videos will further explain Veterans Days and how your family can get involved to support our Veterans.

Veterans Day 2010
Gratitude Campaign

Every day and particularly on Veteran’s Day, we should remember and honor the sacrifices of our military men and women. For more information about Veterans visit The American Legion website.

Did we miss an awesome resource?  Let us know your favorite in the comments section below!

Holiday Crafting
Lesson Pathways | October 20, 2010 | 9:27 am

Yikes, the Holiday Season is rapidly approaching! With barely two months until the Holidays begin, now is the time to start crafting handmade gifts for all of those family and friends! I find planning a gift or two a week to work on fits in nicely with our budget and homeschooling.

SewingRight now we are planning to make pillowcases for each of the nieces and nephews. My daughter is 9 and is very excited to learn to sew, so this is an easy little project for her and counts as homeschooling hours :D

We will then visit some book sales and wrap a book or two in the pillowcases for each child. She also will be embroidering some very basic designs on linen to turn into ornaments (using a mini hoop for display!) that will also serve as present toppers.

Of course, as we get closer to the holidays we will have tons of baking going on and will study the world traditions that go with the recipes.

I would love to hear of any crafts/recipes/or projects that you are planning on doing with your homeschoolers for the upcoming holidays!


This post was written by Colette D., a new-to-homeschooling Mom and a LessonPathways 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.

Happy Thanksgiving
Lesson Pathways | October 11, 2010 | 1:43 pm

HarvestA Harvest Poem - Author Unknown

The year has turned its circle,
The seasons come and go.
The harvest is all gathered in
And chilly north winds blow.
Orchards have shared their treasures,
The fields, their yellow grain.
So open wide the doorway-
Thanksgiving comes again!

We’d like to take a moment to wish our northern neighbors a very Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’d like to learn more about Thanksgiving in Canada, check out this post, written by Canadian Native and Team Member, Jennifer B.