Someone recently asked about what we do for history around Christmas time. Well, anything we do related to the Bible I consider a History lesson, so the Advent activities and things related to the Birth of Jesus I count as History.
The Advent books by Arnold Ytreeide contain a lot of historical content. Jotham’s Journey, Bartholomew’s Passage and Tabitha’s Travels are all Advent stories. They are cumulative, so it’s good to read them in order. The latest in the set is called Ishtar’s Journey. We read it last year, and my kids enjoyed it. They all have edge-of-your seat action and cliffhanger chapter endings that keep the kids wanting to hear more.
For Easter time, he has another book called Amon’s Adventure. This one is about the son of a character in one of the previous books.
We usually do a lot of Advent activities that cover different aspects of preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And I consider those History, too. We have used the free Jesse Tree Devotional by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. She has beautiful devotions and nice paper ornaments you can print out and put on a Jesse Tree. Scroll down to the bottom of her home page and click where it says Free Family Advent Christmas Devotional with Jesse Tree Ornaments to find out how to get it. She has written a book called “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift” that is a work of art. The pictures are beautiful, and the devotional stories that go with the Jesse Tree symbols are full of Ann’s poetic writing that makes you pause and think about the full meaning of each symbol and the full prophetic fulfillment and the profound impact of Jesus’ birth.
We did a nice Advent activity with the book Jesus, The Promised One by Christian Perspective. It comes with little books. You can get one for each child. Then each day of Advent you read a short devotional to them and they put a sticker or color something in their little book that goes with the story. They each get a gold pen, too, that they really like to write and color with.
Our Advent activities usually become our History lessons before Christmas. I bought the book, One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham (Billy Graham’s wife). I checked it out of the library one Christmas and started reading it but didn’t get it finished before Christmas. I took it back unfinished! I hardly ever do that. But I couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to finish it after the season was over. This book is worth reading, but you should start it long before Christmas day. It has an interesting modern day story line about a boy who is injured in a snowstorm and has to wait out the storm in a cabin where a lady tells him the WHOLE Christmas story. She takes us through the whole story of Christmas, starting with Creation and ending with the Resurrection!
The Advent Book by Jack and Kathy Stockman at Celebrations and Traditions. is really good, too. You can use it like an Advent calendar. The pictures in the book are all different doors. The child opens a beautifully illustrated, elaborate door, and a part of the Christmas story is found written there.
I just got the book On That Night by Elizabeth Yates, too. It might be a little bit over the heads of younger children. It describes several different people who were affected by reflecting on the Nativity scene at a Christmas Eve service and how each found something that night that they had lost. I really enjoyed the story and found it very inspirational. There was an element of suspense as the story took you on a journey to discover the connections between the characters and what they had lost.
Another little book I enjoy at Christmas is by Elizabeth Goudge, one of my favorite authors. It is called “I Saw Three Ships”. An Amazon review says this about it:
“A moving, lyrical, and endearing chapter book, celebrating the magic as well as the mystery of Christmas.”
Another story with a slight air of suspense, like most good stories carry, this one has a few surprises and twists that will make you wonder and ponder.
I love to read lots of Christmas stories to my kids before Christmas, trying to find good Classics and living books during the Christmas season. That’s my way of doing Christmas in a Charlotte Mason way. I kind of sneak narration in lots of times by asking one of the kids to sum up what we read the last time before we start the day’s reading. Sometimes I will have them write notes, make cards, write something that has to do with Christmas or some kind of notebook page about Christmas, and we have made a couple of lapbooks over the years about Christmas symbols.
I like this lapbook by Carisa at 1+1+1=1.
And here’s a nice Tot Pack for Toddlers and Preschoolers for Christmas, also by Carisa.
Our main History right now is learning some Texas history. I want to get back into Diana Waring’s Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries when we get settled in here.
Those are some of the main things we do to incorporate history into our Christmas season. I try to keep the Bible first in all of our homeschooling, especially our study of History.
I hope you are able to glean some helpful ideas from this list.