This post is part of the 2018 Homeschooling Through the Holidays series.
Christmas is that magic filled time of year. Our soul longs during this season, we want more. More of what though? We get so busy trying to fill it with all the stuff that comes with Christmas. The gifts, the decorations, the parties, the food. It ends up with plenty of rushing but not what our soul is longing for.
One of the most recognizable songs at Christmastime is George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. But even though everyone nods in agreement that they know the song, have you ever heard the whole thing?
And if it wasn’t for the advent book Hallelujah: A Journey Through Advent With Handel’s Messiah, it’s doubtful I ever would.
Hallelujah brings together music, poetry, and Christmas hymns in a way in which we get to immerse ourselves.
Let’s be honest, many of those things we can often push aside in our homeschool day. Things that bring beauty to into our lives, like music and poetry, take a backseat to subjects such as math or science.
But as we near Christmas, art, poetry, and music can be brought to center stage during this season in our homeschool lives.
Especially when it’s easier for us to take off a couple weeks during the holiday season, we can still enrich our families’ lives by infusing it with what we are really celebrating.
Below I will highlight what Hallelujah has to offer for advent this season.
The book is broken down into the five weeks before Christmas. Each week you are given a weekly hymn, a weekly poem and a weekly scripture passage to read and memorize.
All of these things are in the book, so you don’t have to worry about finding and pulling all these sources together.
This is a great opportunity for your children to learn classic hymns that they will probably be singing in church during the Christmas season.
The scripture passages are also verses that they will hear in Handel’s Messiah. Learning these passages will not only hide God’s word in their heart about the prophecy and arrival of the Messiah, but it will also help them to pay attention to the tracks listening for those same passages.
The book gives you verse(s) for the day along with which track(s) you should listen to in Handel’s Messiah.
Most of the daily sessions are 10 minutes or less which means even with some busy days you will be able to complete each day quickly if you don’t have time. (You could also listen to the tracks in the car if you will be doing a lot of driving).
It is also broken down in such a way that if you missed a day or two it would be easy to get caught up.
Ideas and Traditions From Others
There are several contributors to the book which all give you an insight into their Christmas traditions. I love to read about what others have done and are doing in their homes and seeing how things work for them.
If you haven’t started any real traditions yet, this may be a great way to find some new traditions for your families.
The book is filled with little ideas that you can use in your home to make this season special and really understand the waiting that comes with advent.
Christmas is all about the yummy treats, am I right?!! The back of the book gives some great recipes you can try with your family or even to eat during your advent time (giving kids something to eat when they need to listen is a great idea!)
You could even have Handel’s Messiah and other Christmas hymns playing in the background while you and your children are making the treats.
History and tips for using Handel’s Messiah
If you have been lacking in your composer studies (ahem), the book gives information about Handel, his music, and touches on the time when it was written. It also points out things for you to listen to when you play the tracks in the upcoming week.
If you haven’t done any kind of composer study before this would be a great introduction for you and your children as you learn about the composer and then listen to the music.
Christmas book recommendations
Do you struggle with finding books to read aloud during the Christmas season? There is a great list of both picture books and chapter books to read aloud during the weeks leading up to Christmas.
If you are a family that takes a break during the holiday season, read alouds allow you and your kids to have time together and provide opportunity to learn about whatever you are reading.
I know what you are thinking. Doing the daily advent readings, listening to the music, and memorizing scripture on top of all the other tasks that needs to get accomplished seems like too much. Here are some tips to help you stay consistent with advent this year.
Tips for consistent advent time
Getting the family together can seem like it should be easy but life happens and especially the business of the holiday season can make it easy for advent to hit the back burner.
If you have struggled in the past to consistently finish advent books or are just starting an advent tradition, here are some tips to make sure you are able to find joy in having a family advent time.
- Pick a consistent time every day. You will have an easier time finding success by just picking a time that is the same every day for your family to do the advent readings/listening. While it may need to change when things pop up, having everyone know that a certain time is advent time will help the whole family to remember and make the time.
- Give little kids something to do. If you have young kids that are likely to have problems sitting and listening, consider finding a quiet activity they can do or possibly have an easy snack that they can eat while listening.
- Get everyone involved. Have different people read each night. Have someone get the songs ready to go or anything else you need for your advent time. The more that everyone is involved the more likely it is that everyone will be excited and enjoy the time together.
- Let everyone know the expectations. Let everyone know when you start your advent readings what they can expect to happen each night and what you want it to look like. It’s easy to think everyone will just know what we want this time to look like and then get frustrated when things don’t happen according to our plan that we didn’t tell anyone about. It’s also smart to set your expectations low, especially if you have small children or haven’t done any advent activities before.
Advent activities can be a really special time for families as well get ready to celebrate Christmas.
There is so much learning that can be done with with advent. It is also a great time to create rest in your house as you enter the holiday season.
Hallelujah is a great book to use if are looking for an advent book that lays everything out for you and won’t require much effort for you to prepare. It is also a great way to get into scripture everyday as your family prepares for what the Christmas season is all about.
Theresa is a homeschooling mom of 7. She is a book addict and reads whenever she as the chance. She blogs at Our Large Family Life to encourage large family mamas as they homeschool and run a large family.