Saturday, December 8, 2012

Simple Hanukkah Party- Homeschool Co-op

When I say simple... I mean preparations for decor, games and snacks. By no means are the lessons to be found in this celebration simple. I can testify that the lessons cause personal deep reflection which leads to personal re-dedication and a preparation of my heart. I may share some of these personal thoughts soon.

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Balloons and a table runner were pretty much the only decorations for this year.
It's what we had time for. :)
The colors for Hanukkah are blue, white and silver.

We began by going over a brief history about The Feast of Dedication (aka Hanukkah or The Festival of Lights). You, know it is really a challenge for me to narrow it down but here is the gist of what we covered:

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I pulled information about the Menorah in the Holy Temple from this book.

A. The Menorah in the Holy Temple -> what it was made out of -> symbolism of the buds, blossoms and mature almonds on it -> symbolism of the shaft and branches -> today's Menorahs used for the Feast of Dedication -> how Christ is the true and perfect light of the world and how the church is a *living menorah * to go out into the world and be a light unto the world (I did forget to mention about our bodies being temples and how we can rededicate them to the Lord).

B. Alexander the Great -> *Kind* to the Jews -> Died and his kingdom was divided among his generals...

C. Antiochus -> Stole from the Holy Temple -> Forbade the Jews from worshiping God -> worshiped Zeus and defiled the Holy Temple with false god idols and sacrifices of pigs on the altar...

D. Judah Maccabee and his brothers made a band to fight Antiochus and his army -> God gave them power to drive out the Syrians from the land.

E. The Maccabeans (the people who followed the Maccabees into the battle) didn't keep symbols and customs and call them by other names and give them different meanings... rather they got rid of all of those things and cleansed the Temple -> this is because they knew, understood and believed that God is a King and wants to be approached and worshiped in His way.

F. The history about the game Driedal. The Jews talked about and taught Scripture during the game. When playing, they spoke in Hebrew (which the Syrians didn't understand). Thus, the Syrians just assumed the Jews were gambling. The money won was given to charity.



Today, people play for gelt (chocolate *coins*) with Hebrew letters on the wrappers. I wasn't sure where to find any so the kids played for chocolate kisses. The winners were able to share (charity) their winnings with the other players in their group. :) 

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My husband handmade the dreidels for co-op and I did the lettering and coloring.
A mini tutorial is coming soon. :)

Rededicate the Temple

My husband made a *Rededicate the Temple* game for the kids to play for P.E. (It's a spin off of Capture the Flag).

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The *Temple*
What we used:
A chair (it served as the *Temple*)
Seven (7) LED candles (from the Dollar Store)
Flags (or maybe it was bean bags instead because that's what we may have had on hand...)

How it was played:
  • The kids were divided into two teams: A) The Syrians, B) The Maccabeans. 
  • The rules were the same for Capture the Flag, however, whenever the Maccabeans captured  a flag they were able to light a candle in the *Temple*. 
  • Whenever the Syrians won, they were able to put out a candle.
  • Historically, the Maccabeans won the battle! In order to help this play out in the game, a team member would be pulled over from the Syrians and was added to the Maccabeans (to show how the Maccabeans gained support). 
  • The game continued until the Maccabeans lit all of the candles.

This game went on for quite a while! Which is nice because maybe it helped them think about how long the real battle might have taken and how worn out the Maccabeans must have felt.

The ultimate goal was to help reinforce the history that was shared and to hopefully help the kids remember about it.


And of course, this was our most favorite time. We are so blessed to have these families as friends. I cannot express how thankful I am for each person in our group and how wonderful it is to come together with a focus on God and His ways.


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