Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent Calendar Update

So after posting such a beautiful post here about our advent calendar tradition and what we do.... I went ahead and changed it. After a few days of reading the verse, I realized that the kids were just not that into it and they weren't exactly getting the real meaning of Christmas through what we were doing.
So.... after a little research I switched it  to doing symbols of Christmas and what there original meanings were. This was actually a unit I was planning for school but when I put the two together it just seemed to go better.

Now, our advent calendar has 11 symbols of Christmas that we are going through (one at a time) we are discussing what the symbol is (Christmas tree, star, ornament, wreath, gifts, etc.) and what they mean to us as Christians. We're not going too deeply into the origin (except on a couple biblical ones... like the star and gifts) because Treyton isn't interested at this point but in future years that's certainly a possibility.

Obviously we have more than 11 days left on the calendar. I filled in the remaining days with simple family traditions that we do every year (make Jesus a birthday cake, pick 3 Christmas cards we've received and pray for the family that sent it to us, walk to the trail of lights at the botanical garden, etc.)

So far it is going.... AWESOME! We do our calendar right after dinner, this is something that dad, mom and the kids are all involved in. Our kids love crafts so I have a small craft for every symbol and have gotten some books from the library to read. We discuss the symbol, read the book and do our craft. (Even dad & mom). It was been so fun to have this special family time - a time that is organized enough to learn something and entertain but flexible enough to have fun with still!!

We are compiling a family lapbook as we go through our symbols that we will be able to pull out in future years to use and add to.

 As of right now, with the kids being so young, I pretty much put the lapbook together and I write in what each symbol means as we come to it, and the family together has decorated with Christmas coloring pages.

This is what the lapbook looks like on the inside - I have one folder for the mini-books and flaps and the other folder I set up as a "folder" for our coloring pages and projects that we do - that way they will stay all together.

We've only done two symbols so far, the star and Christmas tree. Here are our crafts for both.

I got do-a-dots recently and held them until we did the Christmas Tree just for this craft. Dad got bored while waiting for the green, so he did a house instead. Lexie was much more enthused about a black pen, so most of her paper is scribbles :)

Lapbook Printables 

I got most of the printouts from Carissa over at 1+1+1=1
The Candy Counting Layer Book I got from homeschool share
The Christmas Symbol Booklet I found here
The Legend of the Candy Cane I found here

Books we are using (so far): 
* Jesus, Me and My Christmas Tree
* The Legend of the Christmas Tree
* Our Together Time Bible
* The First Christmas
* The Stable that Bob Built
* The Jesus Storybook Bible


Amy said...

I love that you are willing to change what wasn't working and go forward with something different. I am also amazed that you are planning unit studies so diligently during the Christmas season-awesome!

A great book we have been enjoying is Advent Storybook by Antonie Schneider. There is a short reading for each day with a symbol that reflects part of God's character. It is a little deep for the little ones, but they still are enjoying the story of little bear's journey to Baby Jesus.

DramaMama said...

Thanks for sharing! I tried to print out some of the lonks you recommended but, after ALL that printing, the pages were empty! Maybe we are out of ink. (I noticed things looked light when I printed out coupons the other day.) Or maybe it was because I was trying black ink. I'm going to try again and see what happens. I think the kids would really enjoy this as part of our Advent activities.
Thanks again! You are awesome!

Virginia Lee said...

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