My lesson plans are starting to come together for December. We have about 20 children's books for Christmas, but I will only be concentrating on a few of them formally. For the little ones, I will be doing four literature-based unit studies based on the theory of FIAR but only taking two or three days for each book. We will be doing The legend of the Poinsettia by Tomi dePaola, Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto, The Legend of the Candy Cane, by Lori Walburg, and The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg. I was able to find unit studies already prepared on the Internet for all of these books. They are here and here.
I also plan on concentrating on Sandra Claus by Douglas Clark Hollman. Although we do not do Santa Claus in our family, this book does a nice job dealing with adoption issues and questions that my little ones might have. I like to throw in an adoption book here and there into our regular reading to give them lots of opportunities to talk about their feelings openly.
Another book that I love is The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado. This book is wonderful, because it is about a little crippled lamb that can not keep up with the flock and must stay in the stable for the night. He is very sad that he is left out and an old cow says, "Don't worry, Joshua, God has a special place for you." Indeed, He does. The crippled lamb lies next to the baby Jesus to keep him warm. I love this book and then talking to my children about how they, as we all do, have a special place with God. God does not make mistakes and my children's disabilities, as seen by us here on Earth, are just part of God's plan.
We will also concentrate on The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciehowski, which does a lovely job of explaining the miracle of doing for others. As we do service for others, our own burdens are lifted. Through Jonathan Toomey's work on making a nativity, his world is slowly opened and his burdens lifted. We will read this several times during the month, including the night that we put up our nativity. I find that this book helps decrease "the wanties" that commercialized America has bestowed upon our children.
In addition, we will be doing a mini one-day unit study on hot chocolate and making little one-serving jars for our elderly neighbors. This is a great way for the kids to give to others and be able to deliver their gifts in person.
We will also do lots of fun science and art projects about Christmas and winter in general.
The big teen will take part in some of our science and art projects and be reading and writing a creative essay or book reviews on The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, The Shoemaker's Gift: A Russian Tale, and Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti. Hopefully I can find the CD of Amahl and the Night Visitors that is missing somewhere in my house. He is also busy rehearsing for the church Christmas play. He is the angel Gabriel this year.
Well, that is the general plan. I am sure things will be added and subtracted as we go along.