Family traditions, part 2.
One thing I didn't mention in my last post but we also do every November, along with our Thanksgiving traditions - we participate in NaNoWriMo's YOUNG WRITERS PROGRAM. If you are familiar with the original NANOWRIMO - National Novel Writing Month, then you know every November thousands of people try to write a novel, or at least 50,000 words, in one month. The young writers program is a little different, in that you can set a word goal ahead of time, not necessarily 50,000. (In fact, we follow the rule of thumb for 1,000 per age year. For instance, a 9-year-old would write 9,000 words, except both my children work together on the same book.) Once the official writing frenzy is over, we take the work we've done, clean it up and "publish" it by printing it, designing a cover, and comb-binding it. Several years ago the children made up an imaginary kingdom with a name that's made out of parts of their first names combined and each story they write is set there. I consider these books family heirlooms now.
BTW - If you're interested in participating in the Young Writers Program, they do allow homeschoolers to join. In fact, there's a special homeschoolers section on the forum.
It wasn't until I got married that I learned people actually eat certain things for "good luck" on New Year's Day. Since I really don't put any stock in luck, I told my husband he was welcome to keep eating black-eyed peas and cornbread on January 1st, but I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it. (Especially because we eat black-eyed peas and cornbread several times a year!) We also don't write out resolutions. What we *do* do is on December 31st get out our New Year's Notebook and write down our most exciting or favorite memory/event/activity from the past year, and why we chose it. It's fun to look back over the years and see what we all chose in the past. There's a definite trend in events always seeming to be something that happened in the latter part of the year - which doesn't say much for our memory skills! :)
Our Valentine's celebrations always consist of a "everyone makes his/her own cake" afternoon. What that really means is I bake a few small round cakes and a few small square cakes and we cut them up and use them to make heart shapes, which the kids and I then frost and decorate with a choice of toppings. We also all make homemade Valentine's hearts (from construction paper) for each other and then they are displayed by hanging them by thread from the ceiling over the dining table. Each heart has a message written to the recipient that starts with "I love you because...". After Valentine's Day, these are put away in a shoe box like our Thanksgiving tree leaves, so that we can take them out and look at them while we're making our new hearts each year.
A few years ago, we started a new Easter tradition, aside from the food and goodies we serve. Good Friday and Easter Sunday are devoted to church and family time, but the Thursday before Easter my kids have a "school-work hunt", because we don't have Easter egg hunts. (They're a little old for that now.) All right, I know what you're thinking - who'd want to look for school work? If you've looked at my lesson plans, you know we rely heavily on the internet. The week before Easter, I pick certain websites with activities and games that pertain to what we are currently studying. I build a web page with some sort of outdoor/forest image as the "setting" and I hide the links to the websites on the page. The children have to mouse around the page and find these links. For instance, a bird in the sky might be a link, or a certain flower, or a rock on the ground. Once they find a link, they click on it, play the game or do the activity, then go back to the webpage to find another link, until they've found them all. Once they've completed the tasks, they click on a link that says, "I'm done!" and that takes them to the beginning of a story I've written about the scene/setting they've just explored. It's really just some sort of long-ish writing prompt. They take my story starter, and it's their job to finish it. They LOVE doing this. So much so, in fact, that they keep asking if I'll make a school-work hunt for them in the fall, too.
We end our school year with a Make-Your-Own Pizza and Banana Split party. This is basically a family celebration where the kids get to build their own pizzas using dough I've made and a variety of toppings and then make their own desserts. Afterwards, we watch a movie (checked out from the library) together. We also present the kids with promotion certificates I've printed from a free site.
So, these are our family traditions. Feel free to post more of yours and share ideas. I love to read about what other families do. :)
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