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If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, then you know that we love books around here. We read all the time. A fellow homeschooling friend of Chipette’s told her mom that our house is the only house she’s ever seen that has more books than her own! We are like a small lending library.
So last year when Christmas time rolled around, I decided that we would put school on hold and Holiday Homeschool for the month of December. Holiday Homeschool is where we focus on the Christmas season instead of our usual lineup. The kids are still required to do math, reading, and writing, but the rest of our day is filled with crafting, baking, shopping, and making presents for others. A favorite part of Holiday Homeschool 2012 was our book and a craft time. We would read a Christmas book, then do a craft that went along with the book. This year I wanted to continue that tradition, but take it to the next level. Thanks to Pinterest, I came across an idea to count down the days until Christmas by reading a different picture book every night finishing with The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve.
I diligently set out finding picture books to read besides the handful that we already own. About half of the books were ones we read last year, but I was able to find some new ones as well. I didn’t want to leave Chipette out of the fun, though, so I found some chapter books about Christmas for me to read out loud as well. To add a little bit of fun to the entire process I wrapped the picture books in green paper, wrapped the chapter books in a brown-based paper. and stacked them up in the shape of a Christmas tree. Well if you squint your eye and lean to the left it looks like a Christmas tree, but the kids thought it was cool and that’s all that matters!
Every night Magpie and Monkey take turns unwrapping the next book from the stack and Chipette unwraps a new Christmas chapter book when we finish the one before. I set a timer for 30 minutes, read the picture book, and read as much of the chapter book as I can before the timer goes off. Then the next night we do it again. I also have about five crafts to go with five of the picture books. When you read those picture books, then we make the craft the next day which adds a little bit of fun into the process. Our Books Until Christmas program has been one of the biggest hits of Holiday Homeschool 2013!
Here is the list of books we are reading this year. Please keep in mind that I did not purchase all of these. Most of them I got from the library, but I do purchase some of our favorites each year to add to our personal collection.
Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Paddington Bear and the Christmas Surprise by Michael Bond
The Longest Christmas List Ever by Greg Spiridellis
Mary Engelbreit’s Nutcracker by Mary Engelbreit
The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden (This is a longer picture book so I read this one over two nights instead of in one.)
Night Tree by Eve Bunting
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Home for Christmas by Jan Brett
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Santa’s Snow Cat by Sue Stainton
Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
Christmas in the Time of Billy Lee by Jerdine Nolen
The Berenstain Bears Save Christmas by Jan and Stan Berenstain
The Christmas Giant by Steve Light
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
The Hat by Jan Brett
I Like Winter by Lois Lenski
Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
Santa’s Toy Shop by Al Dempster
Frosty the Snowman by Steve Nelson, Jack Rollins, and Richard Cowdrey
The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (I love the version illustrated by Robert Ingpen!)
The Christmas Reindeer by Thornton W. Burgess
The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
When Santa Fell to Earth by Cornelia Funke
Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald
Good and Perfect Gifts: An Illustrated Retelling of The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and Barry Moser
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (I love the version illustrated by P. J. Lynch!)
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien
Papa’s Angels: A Christmas Story by Collin Wilcox Paxton and Gary Carden
Next week I’ll be sharing our crafts we’re making to go with some of these books this year. If you are behind on my holiday posts, then check out this Skillet Apple Pie recipe and my simplified Christmas list printable.
Stay tuned for the next installment of A Few of My Favorite Things in the tree house,