Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is celebrated to welcome in the Chinese spring. Legend has it that a monster slept throughout the year, but arose on the new year day to consume large amounts of food. The people discovered that the monster was afraid of bright lights, loud noises, and the color red. Thus, the Chinese New Year traditions of lighting lanterns, setting off firecrackers, and wearing the color red were begun.

The Chinese calendar is lunar, based on the phases of the moon. Every year is symbolized by one of twelve animals. This New Year is the Year of the Goat. Chinese New Year in 2015 begins at the new moon on February 19th and ends with the full moon on March 6th.

As Christians, we should be cautious of propagating unscriptural practices, such as astrology, focus on monetary wealth, gambling with mah-jong, pleasing “gods”, and other superstitious practices. Here are some fun ideas that are not unscriptural.

Spring Cleaning

Ok, maybe this one isn’t so fun, and unless you are actually in China, it isn’t quite spring yet. Spring cleaning is symbolic of fresh starts and new beginnings. Why not focus on an internal cleaning, referring to this verse:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Family Reunion Dinner

During the Chinese New Year, families visit together and exchange gifts such as oranges. A reunion dinner is prepared, fish being a must on the menu. Chinese tradition has it that some fish must be left on the plate. Does this remind your child of another meal of fish?

“He answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat? He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go and see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and brake the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.” Mark 6:37-44

Becoming New

As in America, a New Year is a time to reflect on ways to improve ourselves, and set our minds and hearts to making these changes. Encourage your children to “become new”.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Refrain from Fighting

It is a Chinese tradition to start out the New Year without any arguments or bickering. Refraining from fighting for the 15 day New Years celebration will establish a good habit for the rest of the year. Inspire your children:

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (HCSB)

Lanterns

Remember the monster that was afraid of light? You can make and decorate your house with Paper Lanterns, reminding your children that everything dark and evil is exposed by light.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16

Wear Red

While the Chinese wear red to scare off the mythical monster, red symbolizes something very real to Christians:

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14

Learn About China

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Download and complete a FREE China Lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Learn About Goats

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Download and complete a FREE Goat Lapbook from Homeschool Share.

Share

Pick a picture book or two about Chinese culture to share with your young children.

9780439318327

Round is a Mooncake Free Unit Study

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The Empty Pot Free Unit Study and Lapbook

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Love as Strong as Ginger Free Unit Study

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Daisy Comes Home Free Unit Study

Pray

As you learn about Chinese New Year, why not pray for our oppressed brothers and sisters in Christ, living in China. You can read about Christians in China HERE.

Enjoy your Chinese New Year,

Homeschool Share style!

Substitute Groundhog

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Maybe Groundhog Day isn’t up there with Christmas and Easter and the Fourth of July, but when February rolls around and it seems like winter will never end, I think celebrating any holiday is a great idea!  Pat Miller’s Substitute Groundhog is a terrific book to read on Groundhog Day or it could even be a great launch for some animal studies!

It’s the day before Groundhog Day, and Groundhog is sick!  He decides the best plan is to find a substitute, but not just any volunteer will do.  The substitute groundhog must meet certain requirements in order to get the job.  Animal after animal auditions, but none of them can do the job right.  Finally, Armadillo saves the day–and takes Groundhog on a vacation!  The bright, cheery illustrations add fun to the book as you look each applicant over and try to decide if they look like they could fill Groundhog’s shoes.  With some of the animals, it’s clear just by looking at them that they aren’t suited for the position!

Substitute Groundhog would make a good read aloud for the day, but if you want to take it even further, there are FREE lapbooks at Homeschool Share for almost all of the animals in the book:

And at the end of the book, Armadillo takes Groundhog off to Texas, so this would be a great lead in to a unit study with Armadillo Rodeo!

Happy Groundhog Day–and may your winter be short this year!

This One Book.

Want to use Homeschool Share, but you don’t know where to start?

If you have preschool, kindergarten, or 1st grade students, you can simply get going with The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud**Some of the books are best suited for preschool

We have free unit studies and lapbooks for eighteen of the stories found in this one book! Each unit study provides 1-2 weeks of learning, depending on how many of the lessons you want to incorporate into your plans.

The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury + Homeschool Share

So, when you buy The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury: Picture Books and Stories to Read Aloud, you potentially have enough material to last one semester or even an entire year! The book is a fantastic deal at just  $22.60, and the unit studies & lapbooks are FREE!

Here is an index so you can easily find the titles on site.

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.**

A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown**

The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats**

Freight Train by Donald Crews — See our Trains Lapbook Study which includes this book

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey

Curious George by H.A. Rey

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann**

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton

Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Petunia by Roger Duvoisin

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss

The Story of Little Babaji by Helen Bannerman

10 Unit Studies Featuring Famous People

Ten Free Unit Studies Featuring Famous People
We have so many unit studies and lapbooks at Homeschool Share that sometimes even I forget how much is offered. Did you know that we have TEN unit studies featuring famous people? You could include these as part of your regular history and science lessons or they could be part of a giant study– Famous People! Either way, don’t forget to check out these wonderful biographical studies!

Abraham Lincoln

Annie Oakley

Benjamin Franklin

Christopher Columbus

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman)

Leonardo da Vinci

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Maria Mitchell

Pochahontas