Monday, November 28, 2011

FIAR Ornament Exchange: 2011

For the past several years my boys have enjoyed participating in a homeschool ornament swap. It's one based on the curriculum we use to use, which is based on books we still love pulling off the shelf to read.

Some years we make one ornament and some years we make two. It depends on time and if the boys are each up to making their own. Their first year they each made an ornament because when I signed them up they both had different opinions on what to make. In subsequent years they've teamed up a little bit better and agreed.

Last year I half volunteered & was half given the duty of organizing the big swap. So this year while putting the lists together I was one person short for keeping the lists even & decided to let the boys be on separate lists again.

I wasn't sure how this would work out because last year we had an amazing ornament planned. It can be tricky to pick just the right one because we need one that's flat and can go through the mail inside a Christmas card or else we pay a fortune in shipping! But, we also want it to represent a book we love. Last year's amazing ornament fell flat. We just could not get the drill bit I needed to help the kids. I tried substituting and it just didn't work as it should have. We made a very late and last minute change and the boys made wooden soldiers {which were anything but flat!} from the Revolutionary War based on the book Paul Revere's Ride.

At the beginning of the year we decided if we couldn't find the drill bit we'd make a different ornament, we even had a basic idea! The only downer was we couldn't quite figure out exactly how to carry it through. So when I asked the boys about changing their minds and coming up with their own thing there was some slight hesitation. I reminded them of all the wonderful books we'd read and of course Jayden was very keen to do something with Peter Rabbit which must be one of his most very favourite books in all the world.

We made a few prototypes until we found something that made everyone say, "Oh how cute!" and then we went with it. It was pretty simple with just cutting, pasting, and laminating. I like for the boys to do the majority of the work themselves so keeping it simple is a big thing too. Jayden was able to do all the pasting {despite his glue fear} & all the laminating. I helped him with the cutting. He helped punch holes and I tied the knots in the string & he trimmed them. I did the extra flowers because they were horribly fiddly but just made it look nice. We made 12 in the end. One to keep, one for his US grandparents, & 10 for homeschoolers. He's very excited to see what they send him, & he's really hoping that anyone who gets a Peter really loves Peter as much as he does. He's slightly worried because we gave 10 of the peter lettuces yellow middles and then we ran out of that paper! I subbed it for blue and we kept one blue and are passing the other to his grandparents. Funny thing is, in the end we loved the blue better then the yellow.

Morgan's was a wee bit trickier. He really wanted to stick with one of the two original ideas, and I agreed that they were fantastic and perhaps we could finalize them for next year and/or the year after. But for now he really needed to get going because his ornaments were due out on Saturday and he hadn't even begun them. He was thrown because he loves each and every one of the books we've read. I tried encouraging him with books he'd loved more then others. I reread many of them with him and we oohed and ahhed over all of them, but I think it only added to his confusion.

Then I reminded him of a common thread in all the books and how they each took place somewhere in the world and we'd traced their location on the map. He's a big map guy! We decided to go with paper globes. We tried a few prototypes of this ornament too, surely we aren't the only ones? It's actually made from 7 circles that we glued together to make the 3D effect. We put a ribbon down the middle {can you read it? It says, 'Are we there yet?'} and attached a few beads for color. There's another 12 of these too. One for us, one for his US grandparents, and 10 for the other homeschoolers. Such a fun Christmas tradition, we might all be sad when we feel too grown up for it!


Leslie said...

Awesome ornaments!!! Our swap is coming up soon and I need to get busy on mine!

Tracey said...

Hi Kendra! We have received 5 of our ornaments so far. I actually mailed out ours a day late. Ooops! Thanks for organizing this for us.