It’s December and that means Christmas school in the homeschool world! Some people drop their entire regular curriculum and supplement with all Christmas themed special unit studies; I have done this in the past, but Wyatt is in second grade now, and I am not feeling like that is the best choice for him at this time. So, I am adapting our regular curriculum around the holidays. I wasn’t going to include Social Studies this month, but I decided to take one state and just run with it for the whole month. That state – Alaska! I guess the biggest state in our country deserves an entire month, don’t you think? And, it so easy to adapt it to our needs. We still have our The Good and The Beautiful math and language arts everyday, but for everything else we are sliding into Christmas school.
Where to start… let’s start with science as this was where I really focused the bulk of our Christmas themed studies. In our regular curriculum of Blossom and Root we are actually on conifers and evergreens, so I didn’t have to do much there. But then we are putting the rest of the weeks on pause until January to study a few more wintry botanicals.
This week we looked at studied cranberries in addition to learning about conifers. (I honestly had no idea that not all evergreens are conifers!) I tied it into Alaska with the help of The Museum of the North’s website. I find so much cool stuff on museum websites! I have a few different lessons that I printed from The Museum of the North, but the first one we did was the Berries and Animals lesson and collage. We talked about how important berries are to the animals that eat them, and tried to think of alternatives for what they would eat if they couldn’t find the berries. Then Wyatt used the template of animals and berries to make a collage.
This month I also wanted to add a baking component to our school – I have some different kitchen projects planned, but for our first one I had Wyatt make his very own sourdough starter. We read The Sourdough Man, which is an Alaskan folktale based on the gingerbread man. Sourdough Annie is doing well so far, and in a few days we will turn it into our little Sourdough man cookie (biscuits?). We also talked about how sourdough has a long history in Alaska, and how some strains have been around for 200 years!
We also read the book Berry Song, which is one of my very favorite picture books that I have read all year. We read it in August, and I liked it so much that I added it to our curriculum. Here is the book description:
On an island at the edge of a wide, wild sea, a girl and her grandmother gather gifts from the earth. Salmon from the stream, herring eggs from the ocean, and in the forest, a world of berries.
Salmonberry, Cloudberry, Blueberry, Nagoonberry.
Huckleberry, Snowberry, Strawberry, Crowberry.
Through the seasons, they sing to the land as the land sings to them. Brimming with joy and gratitude, in every step of their journey, they forge a deeper kinship with both the earth and the generations that came before, joining in the song that connects us all. Michaela Goade’s luminous rendering of water and forest, berries and jams glows with her love of the land and offers an invitation to readers to deepen their own relationship with the earth.
We also started a berry book, which I found on the Museum of the North website as well. We are going to continue working on it this week. And art – we are a bit behind! I plan on doing two art projects this week and since this is a bit more relaxed month with everything kind of flowing over and through the weeks that will be ok.
What We Used:
This section contains Amazon Affiliate links. In addition to the curriculum I am creating for him, we also use curriculum from The Good and the Beautiful, The Waldock Way, and Blossom and Root for phonics, reading, science, and social studies.
If you are interested in The Sourdough Man but can’t find it, I did find a YouTube video of someone reading it.