About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

November slump/burnout for homeschoolers: unit studies part 1

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Traditionally, you hear about homeschool burnout in January and February.  But after 19 years of homeschooling, I began noticing that burnout also occurred around November for a lot of homeschool moms as well.
My November burnout was never as intense as February, but it was there. The newness of the school year had worn off, and the holidays are just around the corner. I usually pushed us through November with our regular schedule and academics, adding in some fun Thanksgiving and fall crafts and read alouds. By December, I felt the crunch of the upcoming holidays and no one seemed to be able to concentrate on school work. So, December we took off from most of our formal school work other than math and reading daily. We used the rest of our time to study things about Advent and Christmas. This included lots of good stories, movies, baking, and crafts.
I thought I might share of few of these ideas I created or found that I used year after year. They hold great memories for our whole family. Now that my children are in school, we won’t have the time to do all of these things, but we will be doing the reading in the evenings and the baking and crafts on the weekend.
If you have not read this trilogy, I urge you to find them and read it.  They are wonderful. My teens even love to hear these every year.

Mini unit study for Jotham’s Journey.  Check out these other books in the trilogy, Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family Story for Advent and
Tabitha’s Travels: A Family Story for Advent.
I came up with some ideas to go along with Jotham’s Journey. It is really more of a loose rabbit trail that you can add to and/or change based on time or interest. After each idea, I have in parenthesis the week and day on which the idea comes from.
Week 1
Study Jackals. Jotham dreams and worries about these throughout the story and many people are not familiar with them so I thought they might be fun to research. (1-1 and 1-2)
Taste pomegranates and beef jerky, and grind wheat which were some of the foods that Jotham ate and maybe children haven’t tasted. (1-3)
The first week discusses family trees. Have your children research your family tree and make a poster, lapbook or notebook with pictures, birth dates, marriages, baptisms, interviews/stories etc. as far back as you want. Have children interview an older relative (great grandparent, if possible) about some past Christmas’ they remember, maybe traditions they remember as children. Also, this week is good to reference the Jesse Tree if you are doing one, since it is a family tree of sorts. (1-4)
Week 2
Write on parchment paper with walnut ink and quill pen (AKA a feather). Copy some passages suitable for Christmas or from here. Discuss how difficult this is and how hard and long this would have taken to copy all of the scriptures down. (2-1)
Make homemade Jewish bread. Have the kids knead it themselves and they can make it into shapes for a feast day such as Our Lady of Guadalupe or St. Lucy’s day. (2-5)
Locate several places that are referenced (Jericho, Hebron, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth) on an ancient Israel map. This interactive map tells many interesting details about these places.
(anytime this week or after)
Week 3
Research and make kites. Jotham first encounters these when coming into one of the big cities. He is fascinated by them. It might be nice to add a religious Christmas theme on the kite and use Christmas colors. (3-3)
Research stars and how people used things such as the sun and stars to travel as the wise men did. (3-4)
Make Baklava. This is a traditional Greek pastry that Jotham comes into contact with during his travels. Give as a Christmas gift! (3-6)
I have purposely not included any activities for week 4 because of how close it is to Christmas. Instead, use this time to read this thrilling story and use the discussion questions to spark conversations.

Later in the week, I will share a few other unit studies with you.

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