Weekly Wrap-Up # 28: Seven Quick Takes for the Third Week of Advent

This week was filled with some math and spelling review, daily reading time (and, for Abigail, finishing a reading project), a bunch of fun learning activities revolving around a little unit study I decided to put together for the days leading up to Christmas, and a party. It's hard believe that Christmas is only a week away! I don't really know where the month has gone, but here's a summary of this week anyway:

1. Abigail finished reading The Littles Go to School and decided to add on to the project she'd created after she'd read the first book in the series. So she created several more clay character models and a school scene. I didn't have the heart to tell her she'd spelled "school" incorrectly because, though I'm not a fan of so-called invented spelling, she'd worked really hard on this all by herself - even having to make three of the puppets two times each because our cat Sweater decided to maul some of the originals! - so I didn't want to exasperate her.

2. We launched a short unit study I created and call "Our Eight Days of Christmas Around the World." Beginning with Scandinavia on Monday, we took an hour or two a day to read and talk about, do a craft for, sample some food from, and write about one country a day, using simple lessons plans I designed. Though it won't work all the time, it was fun to include all four girls in the same activities.

Not coincidentally, Monday was St. Lucia's Day in Sweden so we spent considerable time talking about her faith and courage. In addition, we read some fun stories about the legend of Norwegian trolls - nissen - who come at Christmas time, and the girls had fun making little nissen paper dolls.

3. On Tuesday, we learned about Christmas in Germany, making gingerbread men and spending a good deal of time reading and talking about Christmas trees, the use of which originated there.

4. We went on to France on Wednesday and learned about the importance of the creche in French Christmas celebrations. The girls made their own clay creche scenes, which I think turned out really well.

5. It was on to Mexico on Thursday, for which we emphasized the tradition of Las Posadas and talked about the legend of the poinsettia. The girls also enjoyed our Mexican feast.

6. On Friday, we ventured a bit south to Brazil. The girls were fascinated that it's actually summer there at Christmas time and enjoyed learning about how "Papa Noël" visits wearing a silk suit because of the heat. And, though it would have been too complicated for the little girls, Rachel and Abigail also made pretty paper flowers to represent how the Brazilians decorate for Christmas with tropical blossoms.

7. We also had our annual Teachers' Tots Christmas party on Friday, when T., my part-timer, could join us. Because we celebrate each child's birthday with cupcakes, we made sure to have cupcakes for Jesus' birthday and sang to him, too. Then the kids - all except Baby H., who'd just awoken from his morning nap and so was understandably more interested in his bottle than anything else - had great fun exchanging gifts and playing together before settling down to bowls of popcorn and a movie, Barbie in The Nutcracker. All in all, a pretty nice way to round out the week.

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