As a homeschool mom, finding diversity in education can be a struggle at times. Not to mention finding great diversity surrounding holiday curriculum and resources. However, this year my daughter Marie and I took a fantastic trip around the world. We learned so much about the different ways countries celebrate the winter season! We truly had so much fun connecting with other cultures, reading, and crafting fun projects together! Here are some snapshots of our journey together using Holidays Around The World.
Preparing For Our Holidays Trip
One of the exciting parts of our journey around the world was packing! We prepared our suitcase with the essentials; our passport, boarding pass, a journal for note taking, and of course our map so we wouldn’t get lost! It was neat teaching her why we needed a passport and collecting the stamps from different countries. We pointed out the countries we would be visiting on the map. There are 16 to choose from! We ended up deciding on Mexico, Russia, and Italy.
Mexico Here We Come!
Feliz Navidad! in Spanish means Merry Christmas! We learned the story of Mary and Joseph, and how they celebrate with a fun pinata! Marie asked if we could get a pinata for our Christmas celebration, which made me smile. Why not? Who doesn’t like a good pinata party? We also learned that the wise men brought presents, just like Santa Claus brings presents for the children. One of my favorite holiday flowers, the poinsettia, is popular in Mexico as well! We had to go to our local gardening store and pick one out, Marie thought it smelled pretty and insisted I keep smelling it.
Food was our other favorite topic, since our family revolves around the kitchen. Tamales are served as well as Merienda de Reyes or King’s Cake. It is a cake in the shape of a ring, and a figure of a baby is placed inside, like an edible manger scene. When we were finished reading our little book on Mexico, we reflected on what we learned through journaling and comprehension questions. Marie concluded that we need a pinata, and that cake was in order! We then collected our Mexico passport stamp and prepared for our journey to Russia!
To Russian Celebrations, We go!
Russia was a lot different than what we were used to. In Russia, we learned that Babushka is very important, she is the one who met the wise men on their way to see baby Jesus. Our favorite part about our trip to Russia was learning about Matryoshka dolls, which are a set of wooden dolls that get smaller inside, and can fit into one another like a puzzle. Matryoshka actually means “little maiden” in Russian! We had so much fun cutting out our own dolls and coloring them in. I even laminated them so they would last longer since Marie liked playing with them just like regular dollies.
Christmas or ‘Natale’ in Italian is very religious! Many celebrate by attending church with family and friends. In Italy we learned that a wonderful old lady named Befana has been looking for Jesus to give him gifts, so instead, she hands out gifts to all the good children, and the naughty ones who don’t listen to their parents and teachers get coal! Marie didn’t like this idea, and said she didn’t want coal, she preferred toys.
One of my favorite things is the Yule Log! I grew up spending Christmas Eve laying in front of the fireplace, surrounded by family. Watching the logs burn, and being grateful for the gifts we are given. Now I know where it originated! We, unfortunately, have an electric fireplace, but my kids still love sitting with all their blankets and pillows on the floor. Something about watching the low glow of a fire is so calming.
Something I thought was interesting was that they hang up their stockings on January 1st! What they call Epiphany, the day they believe the three kings came to Bethlehem.
So Many Adventures Still To Be Had!
With so many countries, this truly is a gift that keeps on giving. If you don’t have time to visit them all this year, pick a few you are excited about, then visit some more next year! I am excited to incorporate this into our yearly Holiday curriculum for homeschooling. It opens their eyes to different cultures, they enjoy going on a virtual tour of the country with google earth, and not to mention the fun crafts! My daughter will take any excuse to break out the crafting supplies 😂! Not to mention it inspired us to start new holiday traditions based on what we learned.
So, if you’re a teacher or a homeschool mom like myself, and you want an educational spin to the holidays. Then Holidays Around the World would be a perfect gift to give to your children and students! Don’t forget to share your adventures with us, and tag us in your photos!
Holidays Around the World Now in Digital Format
We have taken our famous Holidays Around the World resource bundle and converted it to digital format, so that even if you are teaching virtually, you and your students can enjoy the adventure and wonder this resource brings. They get to fill out their plane ticket for each country visited. Students read about each of the 16 countries through mini-books on slides with comprehension questions, and then journal about their favorite parts. Once reading about that country, they can “virtually visit” through Google Earth.
Written by: Brittany Coleman
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