Books to Read in December

Books to Read in December

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For most of us, December is either time off from school or the time to wind down to the Christmas break.  It can also be a great time to spend cozied up around the fire (or the fan if you’re like me here in Florida…it’s a high of 84 tomorrow – ugh!) with the kids and a really great book.  Below are some ideas for books to read in December either as a part of school or just for fun!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

You can find many different versions of this Christmas classic depending on the age of your readers.  Consider having middle schoolers and above try the Dickens version.

Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelley

This is not a fictional work, but takes you on a trip around the world to see how others celebrate Christmas.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

One of my favorite books of all time, it’s not a Christmas story but there are several scenes in the book that are set in winter and Christmastime.

The Faber Book of Christmas Stories by Sara and Stephen Corrin

This is a collection of Christmas short stories for all to enjoy.

The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

Everyone knows the story, but it’s always fun to read this one!

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen

The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers

This is a great way to introduce the beloved ballet story to younger children.  It’s also a great read before you go to see it live.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Another classic that we all know, but love to hear over and over.

 

What books do you like to read in December?

 

Throwback Thursday: Homeschool Art With Literature

Homeschool-art-supplies

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One of my best friends (also a homeschool mom) and I were sitting in her living room the other night organizing our old homeschool books for the big sale our local homeschool organization holds each year.  As we sorted textbooks and readers we started reminiscing on curriculum and projects we had done over the years that we really enjoyed, which led me to start this series of Throwback Thursday posts to discuss them.

The very first thing that came to my mind was when we used Teaching Art with Books Kids Love for our homeschool art.  I was able to find this book at our local library, and I just kept renewing it as needed.

At almost 200 pages, this book is divided into lessons that teach the elements of art, styles, and principles of design.  Each chapter gives a brief but thorough lesson on each topic, and lists a few examples of fine art that exhibit the topic discussed.  It also lists 2-3 picture books that are illustrated in the same manner.  Finally, there are art projects to do that reinforce what is taught.

I felt like the information provided in each lesson was in-depth enough for us, so it was the only source I used.  I would read to them the lesson and then we would look up online the fine art examples listed.  In the next art lesson that week we would read the picture books suggested (picked up at the library) and I would have the kids point out to me where they see the art topic shown in the illustrations.  The final day of art that week we would do our project.

This required very little planning and prep on my part.  I thumbed through the book at the beginning of the year to make a list of supplies, which I bought up front.  Then each week or two I would write down the picture books and pick them up on our next trip to the library.  That’s it.  After that all I had to do was open up and read!

Most of the projects are done on white drawing paper with pencils or on construction paper with pastels.  I found everything we needed at Michael’s in their Artist Loft brand for about $15 for the whole year’s supplies.  We put their creations in a notebook, and by the end of the year they had quite a little gallery of art they were proud of!

On a side note, even though I did this art program when my kids were long past easy readers and picture books, it really opened my eyes to how much fun they are to read – even as an adult.  I always love introducing material to my kids by way of connecting it to things they are familiar with, and I think having the picture books as our ‘text’ really made the art concepts easy to understand and remember.  The picture books we studied ranged from illustrations of realistic watercolors to graphic arts and everything in between.  By looking at a book of silly alphabet letters rather than a cubist painting, the kids felt much less intimidated by creating art of their own.  They were free to be as creative as they wanted with no expectations on trying to make ‘fine art’ themselves.  The result was true masterpieces, and lots of learning!