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Nov 4, 2016

Christmas Comes to America, Homeschool Legacy Unit ~ A Homeschool Crew Review

What *is* a Once-A-Week unit study from Homeschool Legacy?
Once-a-week unit studies are basically just what the name implies.  One day each week is spent doing the bulk of the study.  Reading is done every day.  Preparing for the studies simply involves gathering the recommended media from the library and collecting supplies for the weekly activities.  Approximately half a dozen activities are assigned each week.  These include recipes, geography, research, and more.  The studies are Biblically grounded.  They're designed for grades 2-12, but the whole family can be easily included, especially in the read-aloud, movies, music, and games.

We're using the Christmas Comes to America Once-a-Week Unit Study which is a historical look at the traditions of Christmas as brought from other countries to our melting pot.  This fun, light study is perfect for a busy December.  Don't stress yourself out by adding to your heaping holiday plate.  Take it easy and commit to one day a week to focus on this special holiday.

While using the Christmas Comes to America study, your young man can earn his Boy Scouts' Music badge and American Heritage Girls will earn the bulk of their Music Appreciation badge requirements.

This study is certain to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Each week, we studied a different country and the Christmas traditions that were brought to America through those who emigrated here.  I'm French, Dutch, and German, so it was fun to read about some of my (great) grandparents' childhood traditions.
  • Week 1 - The Dutch
  • Week 2 - The English
  • Week 3 - The German
  • Week 4 - An American Christmas (sort of how it all adds up to what we now view as a Classic American Christmas.)
Daily activities are *just* for reading.  The children can read on their own or be read to and then a family read-aloud is read each day.  In this unit, you will read about one Christmas tradition each day all month long as well.  The unit activities are only completed on the one day you decide to set aside for the unit work.
Going to the library - Books, Music, and DVDs
The ample book selections ensure that you are certain to find at least some of the books in your local library system.  I decided to stick only with books at the libraries I frequent, rather than order books through inter-library loan.  That plan worked out pretty well for the main unit book list, but I did have a harder time finding things for each weekly section.

Books are listed by age ranges, non-readers first.  They also include the Dewey decimal classification for ease of locating books with similar topics.  There are books for every age and ability, including a read-aloud selection for the family to enjoy together.  You'll find a wide range of books and movies: fiction and non-fiction, historical, classics, and more modern.

The DVDs are great choices for a family movie night.  Each film on the suggested list has been carefully screened for suitability for the whole family.  Everything from The Nativity Story (a beautiful film) to How the Grinch Stole Christmas are on the list.

Musical options were of a diverse nature with orchestras, jazz bands, country music, and choirs.

Gathering Supplies
A supply list is included at the beginning of each week.  It includes things like a globe, ingredients for recipes, poster board, blank note cards and so on.  Just pull together the items you'll need beforehand.  Some things you'll use each week, other items you'll only need once.

Don't forget your Bibles.  These devotionals are for the whole family.  You'll look at Old Testament prophecies and how they were fulfilled by Jesus. 

Other assignments will include research questions so students learn to look up information on the internet or in encyclopedias, geography, music study, history, science language arts, movie nights, making Christmas cards, etc.

How We Used the Unit
Xavier told me he "felt like Christmas" until he looked out of the window.  It definitely had us all feeling Christmas-y one our unit study days.

The cooking activities were favorites here.  Merrick and Xavier love to be in the kitchen "helping."  We made a birthday cake for Jesus and took turns blowing out the candle for Him.  We hadn't done that in many years.  I'm not even sure if I have made one since Merrick was born.  The guys *really* liked the idea.  And the dessert.

We listened to the audio of How the Grinch Stole Christmas as well as hours of Christmas songs of various types.  We mostly took advantage of Pandora to listen to Christmas tunes for hours at a time.  Malachi normally likes silence during school work, but one day as I went to turn off the music for desk work, he was pretty insistent that I should leave it on.

It's still a bit early for caroling, so we decided to plan a caroling party for next month since we couldn't really justify doing it in October!  We're definitely looking forward to hosting everyone after the caroling and serving a couple of lovely, hot beverages we learned to make from this unit study.

Dad apparently told the boys we might have a real tree this year (another thing we rarely do), so now they're gathering pine cones for an after-Christmas tree for the birds.

We wrapped up the unit playing a Christmas trivia game using the questions and answers from the study.  Games are such a great way to review and really cement the information the kids are learning.

Unit studies are a fun way to learn and great for shaking up the text book days my boys find so "boring."  I get so wrapped up in making sure the kids are learning "what they're supposed to be learning," I always forget that school can be educational and enjoyable.

Not ready to feel the Christmas cheer?  Now would be a great time to purchase the Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims six week micro-unit from Homeschool Legacy..

Click the graphic below to read some of the Crew's reviews of other units.

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