Gong Xi Fat Choi!

Lunar New Year is a big deal in our house, ever since we started adding it to our studies two years ago during Katie’s pre-school years. We tell the story of the Nian, and of course we connect the festival to the theme of light that runs through so many of the winter holidays around the world. Lunar New Year has been, for us, a time to connect to greater world geography and culture, and the kiddos love it.

I petered out a bit on my last post—too tired and too engaged in Downton Abbey to delve into the Lunar New Year. This year Lunar New Year began on Sunday the 10th, although last year it was toward later January which didn’t conflict as much with our Valentine’s Day celebrations. It was nice to be able to spread things out! We do tend to place an emphasis on the Chinese traditions involved with Lunar New Year, because China is one of Katie’s favorite countries and she loves much of the children’s lit that originates in Chinese tales.

So here is a bit of a peek at our Lunar New Year celebration this year, Year of the Snake!

Lunar New Year festival:



Making a snake with Amie


Paper snake!



Face painting—Katie chose, from among all the possibilities, a lantern. Of course we connected this back to our St. Lucia Day studies in December of this year.


Pretty Katie with her lantern




We watched a dance of the dragons—Katie knows the significance! So fun to see them this year in person.


So awesome.




Katie made a lantern…



Ribbon dance!



Eric loved this, too!






Eric enjoyed his pork bao, of course!

For dinner on Sunday night we just had Chinese take-out. Last year I made a big Chinese feast by hand, but we needed a shortcut this year! A few weeks ago, the kiddos and I watched a video on one of River Springs’ subscriber websites about traditions involves in Lunar New Year. Next year, we’re going to teach ourselves how to make traditional dumplings as the kiddos in the video did. We’ve got time to practice!

Shifting gears now entirely…

We’ve also started our Valentine’s Day celebrations this week with a visit to Nana. I’ll have to update more about that tomorrow, but I do have one picture ready for preview:



For various reasons it has been a couple weeks since we’ve seen Nana, so we wanted to fit in a visit sooner this week rather than later. Katie brought her valentines cards, and Eric brought her flowers that he picked out at the store. We also had a couple boxes of Girl Scout cookies we bought for her from one of our homeschool friends. You know what I love totally about homeschooling? The chance to arrange our own schedule so that we can have precious time with family.

As I wrap up, here is a bit of a flashback to our projects and studies last year for Lunar New Year. This took place during Katie’s pre-schooling, so we just made up our own unit. So much fun! Eric learned, too.

bamboo arrangement

Katie had lessons in the art of arranging bamboo

almond cookies


We made our own almond cookies




A paper chain dragon

lunar new year

Using stuffed babies (along with the panda) to represent the Chinese zodiac

orange peel chicken

Homemade orange peel chicken in our wok



Reading up on panda bears


Eric and Katie both made panda bears during a geometry/math lesson to tie into the bigger unit



A webquest on Chinese culture, geography, and achievement



And yes, we attempted to make our own paper (an achievement of the Chinese) with a homemade deckle! It turned out thick, but it was fun.

I had more to say about our lessons at the time, and I wrote about them, in part, here and here.

Hope everyone has a great Year of the Snake! I know mine is already so lucky, with these two around!