A Connected Christmas was designed with the whole family in mind. If you have a wide range of ages in your family, this blog post will give you my recommendations for using A Connected Christmas with children as young as three years old up all the way up to middle school-aged. A Connected Christmas uses festive carols, poetry, picture study, read-alouds, and hands-on connections such as baking and handcrafts to draw families closer to one another and to Jesus. I will go through each element of the curriculum and share my thoughts and tips for multiple ages.
Hymns and carols
Each week of A Connected Christmas offers a new hymn or carol each week. Each song is directly linked to a Spotify playlist where you can listen, sing, and worship along.
- For younger children: Just introducing them to the song and playing it throughout the day is enough. You could offer them some toy instruments or worship flags to use as they listen.
- For older children: Dive deeper into a hymn study, research the history of the song and the original artist, or learn to play the hymn on an instrument.
Each day in the lesson plans you will find a specific way to interact with the weekly poem such as learning any unknown words, copying the poem, studying the poet, reciting the poem, and illustrating the poem.
- For younger children: If you have really young ones who are not writing yet, I recommend skipping the copywork element and possibly selecting one portion of the poem to read each day and memorize, rather than the entire poem if it is a longer one.
- For older children: Dive much deeper into a poet study using the internet and books. They could also practice typing or cursive instead of completing the print copywork. You could incorporate grammar lessons using the poetry, such as labeling parts of speech.
Each week you will study a new piece of artwork. Each day in the lesson grid you will find a specific way to interact with the artwork such as prompting conversation through starter questions, researching the artist, and replicating the artwork.
- For younger children: Young ones will love looking at the new artwork each week. I specifically included discussion questions for you to ask that will appeal to younger learners and reinforce early learning concepts such as shapes, colors, and emotions.
- For older children: Dive much deeper into an artist study using the internet and books.
There is a Christmas picture book assigned to each day to read aloud.
- For younger children: There may be a few titles that are too lengthy for your very young ones. I recommend looking through the books and if you think it will be too long, either summarizing it or finding a book to swap out for that day.
- For older children: If they books are too young for your older children, you could also exchange those books for others or assign them to read the books aloud to the younger children.
Each day offers a hands-on way for your children to connect with a theme from the read-aloud. These are fun and festive recipes and projects that any age can enjoy. Younger learners may need more assistance with some of the projects but they can be enjoyed by all ages.
Bible and Narration Notebook
The foundation of your lesson time will include reading a passage of scripture to your children. These passages will be studied in chronological order to complete the biblical nativity story by the end of the curriculum. Children will orally narrate the passage and complete a written narration in their "Christmas Story Narration Notebook." They will then illustrate the day's passage, completing a 15-page keepsake by the end of the season. Here are some tips for multiple levels.
- Level 1 (preschool-kinder): Read the passage to your child or summarize it for very young learners. As your child orally shares their narration, help them form them into complete sentences and write them down on their page for them. Guide your child in creating illustrations that express the sentences.
- Level 2 (early elementary): Read the passage to your child and ask your child to orally narrate what they remember, with a focus on the sequence and accurate details. You may require a certain number of sentences for the child to complete. As they speak, write the sentences on lined paper. Have the child copy the sentences on their notebook page, expecting excellence in handwriting as they copy. Guide your child in creating illustrations that express the sentences.
- Level 3 (upper elementary): Read the passage to your child and ask your child to orally narrate what they remember, with a focus on the sequence and accurate details. You may require a certain number of sentences for the child to complete. Ask them to write the sentences on the lines on their notebook page, expecting excellence in spelling, handwriting, and grammar. Another option is to have them write on a separate notebook paper with smaller lines and complete their illustration on a blank sheet of paper.
- Level 4 (middle school): Read the passage to your child or require them to read it independently. Ask your child to orally narrate, with a focus on the sequence and accurate details. You may require multiple paragraphs and use a separate paper for their written narrations. Expect excellence in spelling, handwriting, and grammar. Encourage them to complete their illustration on a blank sheet of paper.
I hope you found this blog post helpful for adjusting A Connected Christmas to all of the children in your home. What ideas did I miss? How else is your family planning in using A Connected Christmas this year? Share your suggestions in the comments below.
And if you haven't had a chance to order your copy of A Connected Christmas yet, we offer both digital downloads and hard copies as well as printed and bound Narration Notebooks for each child in your family. The links to shop are below.
If you enjoyed A Connected Christmas, I hope you will consider our newest Christmas advent, A Connected Christmas: Around the World. A Connected Christmas: Around the World revisits the nativity story with all of the beauty subjects, hymns, baking, and handcrafts alongside a study of how the holiday season is celebrated in countries across the globe.