Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Holidays. Show all posts

April 16, 2012

Celebrating Each Day Of The Year With Mini Unit Studies

I've shared before that we are a family that loves unit studies. To us, they just make sense and work well for this crew of four very active boys. Today, I'm very excited to share my first published post with you over at The Homeschool Classroom. 

If your homeschooling style includes unit studies or you're looking for something new and fun to do with your kids, come check out how we celebrate each day of the year with mini unit studies.There are so many well known holidays celebrated throughout the year, but even more that are less known and can make for great opportunities to teach your kids how to be thankful for every single day of the year.

"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm  118:24

I feel honored and blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of the amazing writing team over at The Homeschool Classroom. If you have a moment, take some time to check out the many posts written by some very talented moms. These are moms like you and me....loving and teaching their children every day.

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The Better Mom

March 17, 2012

Celebrating The Truths of Easter and Christmas All Year Long

Every year I tell myself that this will be the year we focus more on Jesus' birth and less on presents, more on His Resurrection and less on Easter baskets...more on the Truth and less on "I want, I want, I want..." I get it. I really do. I love everything about Christmas, except that at the end of each year, I always feel let down. I also love coloring Easter eggs and putting together little baskets for each of our boys at Easter time. But then the day passes and I realized I've hardly done anything to point our boys to Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us.

I feel let down that we didn't spend more time reading the real Christmas Story. Let down that we didn't do more for others. Let down that we didn't spend more time in the days leading up to the birth of our Lord, talking about the miracle of Jesus, our Savior.

And then once that feeling wears off, Easter arrives and again, I'm reminded of how little I've done to teach them the true meaning behind Easter and that old feeling of disappointment and regret returns. And sometimes, these spiritual lessons just carry with them a bigger weight that leaves me feeling inadequate to teach..

Do you ever feel this way?

Yes, I do let it get to me and I always vow to do more the following year. But this year is where I'm at...this is the season I'm in'll be a different season next year. Our God is a God of Love. He literally is Love. And He is I'm choosing to let go of the "let down" and press on.

In all honesty, I can say that I still wish we had done more, but we did manage to go a little deeper this year than last. And for that, I am thankful. These boys of ours are still so young. And I need to remember that it's not just about what we do or don't do surrounding Christmas and's what we do all year long that matters! Right?! Every year they're a little older and can understand a little more.

So, if you're like me and get down on yourself because you feel like you  aren't "doing enough" to impress your kids with God's Truth about Jesus' entrance into this world or his departure ....stop! Receive His grace and know that He sees where you're at. He knows your days are full and that you might even possibly be weary. I am. We need to RECEIVE God's grace right where we're at.

The guilt can be overwhelming, even consuming. That is from the enemy....who wants you to feel like you're not enough. You are, I am...with Jesus. And our kids are learning about God when we love them every day of the year. We moms can tend to place a lot of expectations on ourselves, don't we?

Using wax paper and crayon shavings, we ironed this together.
Just because the tree is taken down, the ornaments are put away and the kids are happily playing with all of their presents (that we sometimes feel was too much and not necessary) doesn't mean the reason we celebrate Christmas has to end. We can celebrate the birth of Jesus and the many miracles surrounding his arrival to this earth in the flesh all year long. 

And long after the Easter egg hunts are over, the candy is eaten and the Sunday meal is enjoyed...we can still celebrate what Jesus did on the cross and His resurrection. 

That being said, this year was a little easier and I did manage to pull some ideas together (not my own) to create some activities that helped us to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Here is what we did:

Focus on the Family puts out an awesome magazine called Thriving Family. Last year, in their December issue, they included an AMAZING Countdown to Christmas Advent Activity Calendar. If you don't get their magazine, get it. It's free and full of great articles and inspiring stories for your family.  Their website is also a great resource. You can also get their free app and read their magazines (and the advent calendar) that way.

We didn't get to every single activity listed, but thoroughly enjoyed the ones we did get to. Many of the activities were object lesson based, which I love. Some of them used media to tell a story. And some involved a craft or action on our part to understand the story being told. What I also loved was that the countdown to Christmas began at the beginning of His Story....Creation! We will definitely do this again next year.

And for Easter this year, we've been blessed to be able to review the Resurrection Study from Grapevine Studies. (You can read our review here). We are loving this one so much that I know we'll keep going with other bible studies they have for kids.

And just to keep it real...please know that many of our lessons take FOREVER to complete because of all the distractions from a certain adorable toddler running around here and a group of boys that just need lots of breaks and variety. The old me would be frustrated at the thought of not finishing our studies by the time Easter had passed. I know...CRAZY! But, I'm embracing this, too, as part of God's plan to extend His teachings well past the Easter holiday and not feel chained to a predetermined time-frame for how long we "should" be learning about the Resurrection.

I surrender.

Jesus isn't a twice-a-year holiday! Of course we can focus on Him intently during those times...we need to, as we are able, in whatever season we're in. This will probably look different from year to year depending on the ages of your kids. But we also need to accept His grace and plan for what He has to teach us according to His timing, not ours.

So, if you're thinking about Easter and your mind is already swirling with how you want to creatively teach your children about the resurrection of Jesus....remember that, Easter, like Christmas can be our reminder to make Him famous all year long in a million different ways. And sometimes, the greatest lessons, aren't planned at all. They're the simple acts of love from one to another and the sweet conversations with your kids that leave you feeling thankful for the "lessons" that God had planned all along.

When it comes to our Heavenly Father, our calendar should not dictate the beginning or the ending of when we teach biblical Truths. 

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