Monthly Archives: December 2014

I found this article online - hope it provides you with some ideas. Happy Holidays everyone!

The year always seems to fly by and once the Christmas decorations hit the stores (and classrooms), comes the excitement for the pending break. 5 weeks of no school - Yep... sleep ins, no lunches, no uniforms, no boredom…oh wait.

I’m sure you have often marvelled at just how much your child has learned in just one year. Reading, writing, maths.. with growing demands to learn new curriculum, it’s important to balance a healthy break from school with just enough mental stimulation to prepare them for 2015.

So here are 15 tips to help get you through the holidays and keep little minds active from now until the end of January:

  1. The WRITE stuff: Write letters and Christmas cards. This is the perfect time of year to brush up on handwriting skills. Keep a journal of holidays events or write your own brochure for the place you are staying at on your vacation. Of course a letter to Santa is always good too!
  2. Use the web: Online programs such as Reading Eggs or Study ladder are great Literacy tools to continue practising basic skills such as rhyme, letters and sounds. And don't forget to use the links on this blog to access some great learning sites too!
  3. Apptastic! – Search the education section in itunes or marketplace for some great suggestions of apps on letter tracing, letter/sound matching, rhyme and sight words.
  4. Cooking: Get children to read the recipe to you and help follow the instructions. Basic recipes are a real hit and you're covering mathematical concepts too! You can then package up the goodies and write gift cards or labels, attach them and give as gifts to others.
  5. Visit the local library – the library often has great holiday workshops, plus their website is pretty good too!
  6. Sight word games! Children are likely to forget a number of sight words if not revised periodically. Make it fun by playing games such as snap, bingo, concentration or speed read. You can even put them into alphabetical order.
  7. Shopping! Together write a grocery list. This might take some time and a few sheets of paper! Once you're shopping, see if you can estimate the total cost of the groceries. Maybe see if you can work out the change you'll receive too.
  8. Finish text books that may have come home from school with several pages unfinished. Even read through the work completed in the text books and recall and extend the learning.
  9. Money revision! Christmas time is the perfect time to have a few lessons on coins and notes as children will likely be looking for a bit of money to go shopping! Try cutting up the junk mail and ask your child to sort groceries into ‘more than $10’ and ‘less than $10’.  Maybe play a game of ‘shopping’ and ask questions like: “What can I buy for $5?” Children can find things in the shopping that match that price. Alternately, you could create a wish list based on ‘more than $20’ or ‘less than $100’ etc. Don't forget to round up or down!
  10. Help with the washing! Sort clothes pegs into colours, or make a pattern - or try counting in 2’s whilst hanging clothes on the line!  How many groups of 2 can you make? This also works well for those amazing travelling pairs of socks!
  11. Number stuff:  Work on those reversals – practise makes perfect! Any teacher will agree with this one!
  12. Number games: In the car, waiting in line etc. Games such as “What number am I?” are good time fillers. Give three clues eg “I am between 15 and 17, I am an even number, I am a teen number…etc”
  13. Treasure hunt: Together make a map of your backyard or house and then try hiding ‘treasure’ for your kiddie to find on the map! (The popular Elf on the shelf) can be a partner to use for this too.
  14. Days of the week – make a weekly timetable of what you have planned for the holidays. Talk about what you are going to do each day. What day is it today? What are we going to do tomorrow?
  15. Keep a journal – especially if you are going away on holidays. Children often forget what an amazing holiday they’ve had.
  16. BUT MOST OF ALL – READ, READ, READ, AND READ together !

Don't forget your class teacher provides you with a short list of areas that your son/daughter could work on. Your child’s report card is also a good indication of areas that you might like to continue working on over the holidays!

So when that bell rings on the last day and you and your child throw back packs and lunchboxes in the air…enjoy the break, you’ve certainly earned it! Have a few weeks off just enjoying time together, then gradually once or twice a day sneak some of the above suggestions into your day.

By keeping little minds working, you’ll both be ready to take on new challenges in 2015!

 

When we think of New Year's celebrations, we usually think of party time. It's time to let the old year go. We anticipate the new year by making resolutions, promising changes in behaviour.

As Christians, we celebrate the arrival of a new liturgical year differently. The new year that begins on the first Sunday of Advent is a quiet one. In the readings for the four Sundays of Advent, we remember the time when people waited in anticipation for the coming of the Messiah.

There are a number of ways families can celebrate the season of Advent:

Make an #ADVENT WREATH and place it in the middle of the dining room table. Light a candle on each Sunday evening of Advent. The light of the candles represents the light coming into the world as we prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth.

#ADVENT CALENDARS are available at many gift stores or you can make your own. Open a door each night after dinner and discuss the picture that is revealed. How is the picture linked to the Season of Advent?

#NATIVITY SETS remind us about the scriptural passages linked to the infancy narratives in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  As you create the nativity scene, say this prayer of blessing over it.

#nativity blessing         

God of every nation and people, from the very beginning of creation you have shown your love: when our need for a Saviour was great, you sent your Son to be born of Mary. To our lives he brings joy and peace, justice, mercy and love. 

Lord, bless all who look upon this manger; may it remind us of the humble birth of Jesus and raise up our thoughts and prayers to him, who is God-with-us and Saviour of all, and who lives and reigns forever and ever.

Amen

 

As it is about that time that we are all beginning to put up our Christmas Trees, here's a prayer you can say together as a family to bless your tree.

#CHRISTMAS TREE BLESSING

                                          

Holy Creator of Trees,

bless with your abundant grace

this our Christmas tree as a symbol of joy.

May its evergreen branches be a sign

of your never-fading promises.

May its colourful lights and ornaments call us

to decorate with love our home and our world.

May the gifts that surround this tree

be symbols of the gifts we have received

from the Tree of Christ's Cross.

Holy Christmas tree within our home,

may Joy and Peace come and nest

in your branches and in our hearts.

Amen