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    DecemberTerm

    November 22, 2008 by Brandy Vencel

    Recently, one of the Yahoo groups I subscribe to asked the question of how the holidays change our morning time together. My first thought was that they didn’t. Then I thought that perhaps they should. Then, after an endless stream of obsessive thoughts with which I will not burden you I decided to take us on a six-week break. Basically this is one-week off for Thanksgiving. Three weeks off of Ambleside, during which we will have extended Circle Time in the mornings instead. I want to focus on holiday learning, fun winter activities, and basically all the stuff I have always wished were incorporated into our lives but never have been. And then there is a week off for Christmas and New Year’s, during which time we will also throw a party and celebrate Q.’s second birthday.

    I call it DecemberTerm, and I’m hoping it’ll become a tradition through which we build better, warmer holidays. Below are my plans for this year. Please note that all cookie recipes can be found in this wonderful little cookie cookbook. Also, if you have traditional books you or your family read during the holidays, leave the titles in the comments! I want to build a list from which I can draw new titles each year.

    What are you planning to make this year extra special for your family?

    Circle Time Weekly Schedule {DecemberTerm}

    Week 1
    Monday

    • Holiday Manner: Don’t compare gifts.
      • Note: We should all be content with what we have and not do anything that could cause disharmony in the family. Each gift might not be the same, but it was picked out with exactly you in mind.
      • Verse: Hebrews 13:5: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
    • Review Awana verses
    • Poem: G. K. Chesterton’s A Christmas Carol
    • Read Aloud: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

    Tuesday

    • Review manner & verse
    • Christmas Hymns: Good Christian Men, Rejoice; Good King Wenceslas
    • Review Awana verses
    • Read Christmas story from Luke 2
    • Poem: Reread Chesterton’s A Christmas Carol
    • Read Aloud: The Little Match Girl

    Wednesday

    • Review manner & verse
    • Art study: Petrus Christus, The Nativity
    • Review Awana verses
    • Poem: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, A Christmas Carol
    • Read Aloud: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

    Thursday

    • Baking Day! Bake Rasberry Brownies. Drink herbal hot tea. Listen to Christmas music. Enjoy each other. Make plates of cookies to give to the neighbors.

    Friday

    • Review manner & verse
    • Composer Study: Handel’s Messiah
    • Review Awana verses
    • Poem: Reread Coleridge’s A Christmas Carol
    • Read Aloud: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

    Week 2
    Monday

    • Holiday Manner: Show gratitude for the food.
      • Verses: Luke 22:17-19 “And when [Jesus] had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the Kingdom of God comes.” And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” (emphasis on repetition of Jesus’ example of giving thanks)
    • Review Awana verses
    • Poem: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Three Kings
    • Read Aloud: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

    Tuesday

    • Review manner & verses
    • Christmas Hymns: Good Christian Men, Rejoice; Good King Wenceslas
    • Review Awana verses
    • Read Christmas Story from Luke 2
    • Poem: Reread Longfellow’s The Three Kings
    • Read: Gingerbread Baby…take note of the house at the end as we’ll be making one with Daddy soon.

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    • Baking Day! Bake chocolate-pistachio sandwich cookies. Drink herbal hot tea. Listen to Christmas music. Enjoy each other. Make little plates to take cookies to the neighbors.

    Friday

    • Review manner & verse
    • Composer Study: Handel’s Messiah
    • Review Awana verses
    • Poem: Reread Rice’s The Story of the Christmas Guest
    • Read Aloud: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

    Week 3
    Monday

    • Holiday Manner: Say “thank you” for your gifts.
      • Note: Don’t forget that someone cared enough about you to give these things to you. They spent time and/or money buying or making you this present. Please make sure you thank them and tell them how much to appreciate what they have done for you.
      • Verse: Colossians 2:6-7: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, …overflowing with gratitude.”
    • Review Awana verses
    • Poem: L. M. Montgomery’s The Christmas Night
    • Read Aloud: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

    Tuesday

    • Review manner & verse
      • Additional verse: Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…”
    • Christmas Hymns: Good Christian Men, Rejoice; Good King Wenceslas
    • Review Awana verses
    • Read Christmas story from Luke 2
    • Poem: Reread Montgomery’s The Christmas Night

    Wednesday

    Thursday

    • Baking Day! Bake Christmas cookies. Drink hot cocoa. Listen to Christmas music. Enjoy each other…

    Friday

    • Review manner & verses
    • Composer Study: Handel’s Messiah
    • Poem: Reread Bronte’s Music on Christmas Morning
    • Read Aloud: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol

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    7 Comments

  • Reply Brandy November 27, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Rebecca,

    You’re cramping my style here. 🙂

    I might be willing to give you the brownie recipe. All bribes will be considered…

  • Reply rebecca November 26, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Your tuition is a little out of my price range. Would you take a small bribe in exchange for the raspberry brownie recipe?

  • Reply Kansas Mom November 26, 2008 at 4:18 am

    I’m back. I was going to comment with one or two Christmas books, but it was too hard to leave others off, so I posted a whole bunch on my own blog: http://ourhomeontherange.blogspot.com/2008/11/some-christmas-books.html

    A bunch of them are obviously Catholic and they are all Christmas. I might have to think of some “winter” books and make a whole separate post! (Have you read In November by Cynthia Rylant? It’s one of my favorite autumn books.)

    I like the idea of schoolwork while little ones nap. We plan our reading lessons for the time First Daughter is napping.

  • Reply Brandy November 24, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Rebecca,

    Sure! Tuition is $1000 per week and you must bring an almost-two-year-old with you. 🙂

  • Reply rebecca November 24, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    December Term sounds like fun. do you have room in your home school for a 30 year old woman?

    Happy Thanksgiving, Vencels!

  • Reply Brandy November 23, 2008 at 3:19 am

    KM, I’ve noticed from your blog that you are good at baking and playing with your children. I admire that! I tried very hard to build baking habits when I only had one child, and then when I had two children. But then with the allergy thing I quit doing it because the GFCF cooking was overwhelming me. I couldn’t do it with them because, half the time, I had no clue what I was doing myself. Last year, I didn’t even try to do any Christmas baking at all. I am very much looking forward to getting back into those good habits and rebuilding our family traditions.

    Handwriting: I think we started at age five, but it was very, very easy. I worked with him on maybe two letters each day. The emphasis was on learning to form the letters correctly and writing them using the correct sequence. I walked him through it first, and I always had a dot marking where the pencil should begin. For instance, with capital A I would show him while saying aloud, “One line down. Two lines down. One line across.” It worked well, but he is sort of a perfectionist about things, so my other children might be different. 🙂

    Some handwriting aversion at first might be due to muscle soreness, but there is also a chance he just isn’t ready. I think handwriting in Britain traditionally started at age six.

    Let me know if you have any Christmas or winter reads you and your children like. I really am trying to build a list…

    Oh! And by the way, our DecemberTerm is still counting as school, which means he is still doing math each day, copywork each day, etcetera. He does this during his quiet hour while the other children are napping.

  • Reply Kansas Mom November 23, 2008 at 1:48 am

    I love DecemberTerm! I may steal this idea from you for next year. Right now it seems we spend every day baking together and enjoying each other. We’re going to have to get in the habit of some learning. (Though the reading lessons are moving along remarkably well!)

    On another note: when did you start handwriting lessons with E? First Son is writing some letters, though not correctly. I’ve tried a few times to introduce the concept of handwriting and he seems very adverse to it. I don’t want to rush him, especially as I’m not entirely convinced he has the physical control just yet, but I also don’t want thim to get in the habit of writing letters incorrectly.

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