The following is a post from contributing writer Megan Spires at House of the Rising Sons.
We all know about traditional holidays and find ways to celebrate them. We anticipate them and typically have traditions that we look forward to when celebrating those holidays. But did you know that there are long lists of events, inventions, people and even silly things that we can celebrate every day of the year as well?
Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the LORD has made: let us rejoice and be glad in it”.
We have so many things to be thankful for each and every day, but sometimes we feel stuck or just need something new to celebrate. Part of the beauty of homeschooling is that we can be flexible in our lesson planning while being thankful for all He has made, all He has done, is doing and we can REJOICE!
Have you ever thought about celebrating Albert Einstein’s birthday by doing a fun science experiment? Or what about making something creative and yummy with your kids on National Chocolate Caramel Day or the Pillsbury Doughboy’s birthday, both later this month. The possibilities are endless for delving in to National Agriculture Day or learning about the very first radio signal transmission. You could learn about the first US zoo that opened or try your hand at some magic tricks while celebrating Harry Houdini’s birthday. Did you know that the Eraser-Topped Pencil was patented on March 30, 1858? Boy, do we go through a lot of eraser-topped pencils.
Since my boys love unit studies, I decided to start creating mini units centered around daily “holidays” that we could easily include in our school days. Here is how I plan for and put together our mini units.
There are many websites that list “holidays” and reasons to celebrate for every single day of the year. My favorites are Holidays for Everyday and Holiday Calendar: Celebrate Special Days Every Month. You’ll see that each day of the year has at least two or more holidays listed and many of them link to recipes, craft ideas, printables, games and activities. I go through each month, only choosing the holidays I know my boys will be interested in. Some weeks I’ll plan for a holiday each day of the week, but most of the time I’ll only choose a few to leave room for further study. Then I add the holidays to my school lesson calendar. Just add them to whatever method you use for lesson planning.
Then I reserve several books at the library for each mini unit holiday. I try to get enough books for a whole week’s worth or more if I’m really organized. I also bookmark and reference somewhere in writing any online resources that would support our unit. Specifically, I look for video clips, unit studies already written on the subject, such as over at Homeschool Share, activities, experiments, crafts, worksheets and games.
Add Biblical Truth:
As often as I can I really try to find ways to bring our lessons straight back to God. It’s pretty easy to do. For instance, if we were celebrating the opening of the first US zoo, we could tie in the creation of animals. If we were celebrating a famous inventor or athlete’s birthday, we could talk about their good character traits and God’s will for how we should live. If we were celebrating something a little sillier like National Open An Umbrella Indoors Day, you could have your children huddle under that umbrella while you gently toss stuffed animals at them. This would be a great way to illustrate how God is our Protector like the umbrella protects us from the rain.
The Night Before:
There’s a certain element of surprise and fun that I like to infuse into each of our celebrations. So, once the kids are in bed, I like to display our library books along with any other supplies needed for the day and a special announcement on our big white board where everyone can see it.
My boys really look forward to our mini-unit celebrations. Some days it’s quick and then we move on to other planned school lessons. Other days, the celebration is the whole lesson.
Each new day is a reason in and of itself to rejoice and be glad in it because the LORD has made it. And when we can also look at each day and say, “On this day in history ______ happened. How awesome!” We can honor God and celebrate the amazing people He created, events that have taken place and blessings that we get to benefit from. And we can even enjoy celebrating some of the sillier things as well.
Finding daily reasons to celebrate can really be a great way to bring some fun and out of the ordinary learning opportunities to your school days. What I love the most, however, is that it helps me to remember to be thankful and keeps me accountable to teaching my kids how to have thankful hearts too.
Megan writes about her, sometimes crazy and wild, but always amazing, journey raising and homeschooling four little men at House of the Rising Sons. She is also a Truth seeker and enjoys writing about her faith and love for her family and friends.