Composer Study ~ December 2011 ~ Classical Christmas Music

In keeping with our Christmas theme, we will set aside individual composer study for the month of December, and focus instead on those works created by the masters which highlight the life of Christ; in particular His birth.

Here are some ideas for music to study:

  • Cesar Frank's Panis Angelicus (bread of angels)


Music Theme Study Sheets:  Created by me for you to enjoy.  Please do not alter or sell.  Thanks!

As always, we would LOVE to hear your ideas and or how you used the ones found here!  Please post a comment below.  Also, you can email us pics of your work and we will post them in our gallery.  


Nature Table ~ December 2011 ~ Christmas Symbols

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.
The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn,
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas Day in the morn.

~The Holly and the Ivy | Harrison S. Morris

Many of the symbols commonly associated with Christmas hold special meaning.  For December Nature Table we will study common Christmas symbols from nature.  

We will do all of the regular nature study practices (observation, sketching, fact-finding, etc), AND we will delve into the reason for the symbol.  When did it originate?  What does it stand for?  Is there a special story or myth related to this symbol?  How is it typically used in Christmas decoration or celebration?

Our nature journal entries for December may look something like this....

Traditional Symbols Suitable for Nature Study:


~Evergreen Tree




~Sheep & Shepherds (learning about the sheep themselves and how the shepherd cares for them...bonus if you have access to live sheep!)

~Snow (If you live where it snows, take the time to collect a few flakes on black paper, and using a magnifying lens draw what you see.)

~Dove (Again, you can use books to study the habits of this creature and to sketch from, but live observation will be a bonus!  Check your local pet store or zoo.)

Have fun doing Nature study this month and Merry Christmas!


Evergreen Trees (Checkerboard Science and Nature Library)

A basic guide to evergreen trees, this will introduce you to specimens traditionally thought of as "Christmas trees".

Who Would Like a Christmas Tree?: A Tree for All Seasons

Who Would Like a Christmas Tree?  A Tree for All Seasons | Obed

A fantastic little book.  Shows how different creatures utilize the evergreen tree for food and shelter throughout the year.

Also gives a month-by-month account of how Christmas tree farmers care for their trees.

Charming illustrations.

Product Details
The Legend of the Poinsettia  |  Tomie DePaola

Not a fact book on this native Mexican plant, but a lovely book besides.

Tells the story of a little girl's selfless gift to the Christ child, the legend of how the poinsettia came to be in Mexico.

Product Details
Peterson Field Guides; Eastern Trees

Study the different nuts you might be opening in your festive nutcrackers
The Book of Edible Nuts | Frederick Rosengarten
Product Details

Snowflakes in Photographs (Dover Pictorial Archive)

W. A. Bentley was the first capture the amazing, unique designs of individual snowflakes on film.  His pictures can be seen in this Dover book, Snowflakes in Photographs.
His story is beautifully told  by Jacqueline Briggs Martin in

Snowflake Bentley

Ken Libbrecht's Field Guide to Snowflakes

Microphotographs of real snowflakes.
Guidelines on snowflake hunting, observation, & classification.

Pigeons and Doves (New True Books)

Sheep (Animals That Live on the Farm (Second Edition))

As always, we would LOVE to hear your ideas and or how you used the ones found here!  Please post a comment below.  Also, you can email us pics of your work and we will post them in our gallery.  


Poetry Study ~ December 2011 ~ Christmas Poems

Poetry for December will be all about Christmas!  Enjoy our resources and have a blessed Christmas!

Poetry Study by Subject pages


The first thing I do is locate a dozen or so poems I would like the kids to study and enjoy.  I print these up and put into a three-ring-binder.  For you super crafty folks, you can decorate the outside of your binder to match the theme.  Decorations or not, be sure to label the binder in some way so you know what is in it!  

We have a binder labeled "Holiday Poetry" which currently houses Thanksgiving and now Christmas themed poems.  I plan to add Easter themed in the spring.  You can hold onto this binder and start a new holiday section each year.

How we use the sheets above ~ I assign 1 page per day as part of an already full daily schedule.  My kids choose the poem they would like to study, read it aloud with me (middle & high schoolers read on their own), then they complete their page for the day.  I do not include memorization/recitation in this plan because my focus is more on exposing them to the wide range of styles and ideas used to express the same theme.

Visit the Gallery for samples of my children's Thanksgiving-themed pages.

Poems Online: 

Victorian Greetings to Inspire:

Don't you just love these old Christmas greeting card images?  The faces are so ethereal.  

More Ideas:

Art-Inspired Poetry~
You may want to stretch the Christmas theme even more.  Look online for some Christmas greeting images, or raid your past Christmas card storage.  Find the images portraying some kind of scene then make up a poem to go along with the image.  What fun!  

Make your own Christmas Cards~
See if you can come up with your own festive poetic greetings.  Use images from the internet, or your own artwork and voila!; you have a home-made, heartfelt holiday greeting your family and friends will cherish.

As always, we would LOVE to hear your ideas and or how you used the ones found here!  Please post a comment below.  Also, you can email us pics of your work and we will post them in our gallery.  


Artist Study ~ December 2011 ~ Christmas Art

Art Theme Study ~ December 2011 ~ Nativity

Nativity, Fra Angelico, fresco (1439-1443)

For the month of December we will turn our attention to all things Christmas.  Our music, poetry, and art studies will focus on Christmas themes rather than individuals.

Enjoy our resources.  Feel free to use and copy Weeks Publishing sheets, but please refrain from altering or selling them.  Thanks!


Art Theme Study Sheets

We are focusing on general Nativity scenes.  Some ideas for other Christmas themes are:  
  • Components of the Christmas Story:

~Star of Bethlehem
~Wise Men
~Holy Family
  • Traditional Family Christmas Scenes (around the tree, around the table, etc.)
  • Non-traditional Christmas Scenes (this one, you may want to explore Photography)
  • Christmas Art Around the World (geography and art in one!)

Images of Nativity-themed works:

Nativity, Gerard David,  (1495)

Annunciation to the Shepherds, Taddeo  Gaddi,  fresco (1332~1338)

The Annunciation to the Shepherds, Abraham Hondius, oil on panel (1663)

Nativity (Holy Night), Correggio, oil on wood (1529-1530)

The Nativity, Robert Campin, oil on panel, (1420-1425)

The Nativity, Arthur Hughes, (1858)

The Adoration, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, watercolor on paper,  1858-64

Journey of the Magi, Tissot, painting (1894)

As always, we would LOVE to hear your ideas and or how you used the ones found here!  Please post a comment below.  Also, you can email us pics of your work and we will post them in our gallery.  

Merry Christmas!

Spread the Love, 2 ~ Get Out the Vote

Hi, Friends.

Just wanted to let you know that "Adding to the Beauty" is a nominee in the 7th Annual Homeschool Blog Awards for Best NEW Blog.

Please take a minute, hop on over to The Homeschool Post and cast your vote for "Adding to the Beauty" as Best NEW blog.

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Thanks for helping to spread the love!


p.s.  My dear daughter's lovely blog, Etc. is also a nominee for Best Teen Blog & Best Blog Design.  I know she would appreciate your vote!  Thanks!

Poetry Study ~ November 2011 ~ Thanksgiving

I am submitting this post to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival for November 22nd.  With it, I also qualify for CMBC's fantastic giveaway, a beautiful Metropolitan Museum of Art 2012 calendar.  Hop on over to CMBC's Page to find out more about how you can enter!  Good luck!

Due to the short school month (we are taking off the week of Thanksgiving), I have decided to forego studying a particular poet and focus on a theme instead.

Thanksgiving is the natural choice.

Enjoy our resources, be inspired, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Poetry by Theme Notebook Pages~ please feel to use and share, just kindly do not sell as your own wares

Thanksgiving Poetry Online:

The Holy Bible
  • Check a good concordance for words like; "thanks", "thanksgiving", "thankful", "gratitude"
  • The Book of Psalms is filled with songs of thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Art to Inspire You

Thanksgiving Day--Ways and Means, Winslow Homer

Refugee Thanksgiving, Norman Rockwell, Nov. 27, 1943

Freedom From Want, Norman Rockwell, 1943

Grace, Eric Enstrom, 1918

Add Art Idea:
~Print out the paintings above, or find you own online, and do a Thanksgiving-themed art study
~Create simple notebook pages for each work of art.  Include the name of the piece, artist's name, date of the piece, medium (watercolor, oil, tempera, etc.), as well as any interesting history relating to the piece.
~Do a picture study of each piece.  Show the painting on your computer screen, as large as possible.  Study it for several minutes.  Talk about the details, what is happening in the picture, etc.  Shut off the screen and try to recreate the piece from memory.

Add Language Arts Idea:
~Create stories to go with the various poems and paintings you are studying for Thanksgiving
~There are some really interesting Victorian Thanksgiving greeting cards on line.  It might be fun to look some up and make up a story to go along with these fanciful and unusual images.

As always, we would LOVE to hear your ideas and or how you used the ones found here!  Please post a comment below.  Also, you can email us pics of your work and we will post them in our gallery.