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History of Holidays Review by Jennifer Harrison

By Amy Pak
Homeschool in the Woods
3997 Roosevelt Highway
Holley, NY 14470

Each year I try to make some attempt to incorporate holiday themes into our lesson plans, but I rarely do anything that leaves any real, lasting impression. Very little of these mini-units could even qualify as teaching. And so I was excited to find Amy Pak's unit entitled History of Holidays. This set allows you to make an actual lesson for holidays instead of the typical coloring page or crossword puzzle, and the lessons are more fun than any word puzzle ever thought of being. Each holiday lesson shares history and actual hands-on activities that can be enjoyed by all ages. Best of all, it is created by Amy Pak, who is well known for her high-quality art and educational helps. The activity creations aren't the kind that get stuck to the refrigerator and then discarded a month later; these are treasures for notebooking and for keepsakes.

The holidays studied include:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • Valentine's Day
  • President's Day
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Passover
  • Easter
  • Memorial Day
  • Flag Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
  • And other common and not-so-common holidays!

The lessons are given in three separate files: one for lesson text, a second file for project plans, and a third file for master printouts/templates. I appreciated that these were separated rather than combined into one file for printing. This way, I can print out the text and projects on regular paper and the templates on card-stock. Also, I can choose between printing everything out for the year or printing out lessons for each month as the holidays approach.

Most lessons include one or two pages of text, providing background information and history for the holiday to be studied. The Christmas unit includes four pages of text, and these include a chart comparing Old Testament verses of prophecy with New Testament verses that fulfill those prophecies. Each holiday is beautifully shared, and though the study is geared toward elementary-level students, I had students ranging from kindergarten through 8th grade that thoroughly enjoyed the lessons.

The project plans share between one and five activities per lesson as well as recipes relating to each holiday. Instructions are clear and easy to read, with photo illustrations of steps to follow.

History of Holidays is available as a file download or as a CD, both under $20.00, which is incredibly reasonable when you consider that many companies sell individual holiday unit studies for over $5.00 apiece.

I cannot emphasize the quality enough. This is not cheesy clip-art; this is exceptional illustration. Amy Pak has been delighting families for years with beautiful homeschooling helps. If you are unfamiliar with her work, you are missing out!

Product review by Jennifer Harrison, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2011