Review of Visual Manna's Christmas Holiday Arts and Crafts
Posted Nov 26 2010 12:30am
"I want to make a clothspin angel," Hannah chirped."Wait, let's make the folded stars. They look cool," Mark pleaded with his mom."I'd rather make the snowflakes," Brad said quietly. The whole family remembered last Christmas when the family room was filled with paper snowflakes of different colors, provided by Brad."We are going to make a different project every day for the month of December," Mom began, patiently. The four of them were leafing through their new E-book. Visual Manna's Christmas Holiday Arts and Crafts by Rich and Sharon Jeffus is a treat for homeschooling families. Visual Manna has long been supplying art curriculum for home educators with a wide variety of art and crafts.
I received this book free when I attended the Ultimate Homeschool Fall Expo online conference. What a blessing the entire conference was with its focus on keeping Christ in Christmas and making the holidays stress-free. Speaker after speaker challenged and equipped homeschooling families to keep Christmas Christ-centered.
Speaking of keeping Christmas Christ-centered, this e-book proved to be more than a little "thank you for coming" gift. Though the cover said Christmas in big letters, the book was filled with craft ideas for all the holidays from a Christian perspective.
In the introduction, celebrating Christmas with the arts is addressed. Art appreciation is a wide open field. There are many lovely paintings from different time periods, styles, and artists that display the nativity scene. Baby Jesus, his mother, Mary, and earthly father, Joseph, are depicted over and over in art. There is something so fragile and beautiful about the King of Glory laying aside His Splendor to become a man, a baby boy. Several paintings are mentioned, including The Nativity by Boticelli and The Presentation in the Temple by Rembrandt.
Christmas literature is mentioned next. Of course, we all know of Charles Dickens love of writing good Christmas stories, especially A Christmas Carol. Christmas music is encouraged too. St. Francis of Assisi is discussed as the Father of the Christmas Carol because of his love for singing and his setting up of the first creche at his local church. Charles Wesley's Hark the Heral Angels Sing is saluted along with other carols.
The rest of the book is devoted to crafts with a few classic paintings thrown in the mix on random pages. The paintings chosen are great works of art but can barely be made out. It would be nice if these paintings were in color so that they could be shown to the kids on the computer. Of course, you could look them up online and show them for art appreciation. It would also be nice to have some questions about the paintings to ask the children.
There are old Visual Manna holiday newsletters at the end of the book that contain crafts as well that contain neat holiday crafts and art lessons. Here are the lessons in the book. You will notice a wide variety of projects, but all use materials found around the house.
Angels From the Realms of Glory Mobile
Christmas Tree Painting
Paper Chains for Christmas Tree
Soldiers of the Cross
Jesus in Our House
Name of Jesus
Dove of Peace
Christmas Lamp Post
Gift of Jesus
Hark the Herald Angels Sing
Punch Hole Ornaments
Hole Punch Star
A Shepherd Landscape
Window of Joy
Wise Men Still Seek Him
Welcome, Baby Jesus
Happy Birthday Jesus Card
Toy Store Window
Fruits of the Spirit Cornucopia
A Thankful Collage
Thankful Loop Turkey
Totem Pole Turkey
Visual Manna is a Christian business started by the late Richard Jeffus and his wife, Sharon. Along with the family, Rich and Sharon created materials for homeschoolers to use at home to learn art from a Biblical perspective.
Let me end this review with a quote from Sharon Jeffus in this book. I think this will give you insight into the heart behind Visual Manna. Not only does this family have a heart for art education, they help parents teach creative and gifted children. These children tend to be a little more emotional and senstive, while getting bored easily. Visual Manna has several books to help teach various subjects through art. I have their big art curriculum and have loved the wide variety and the focus on art appreciation and art projects with things found around the house. I highly recommend this business. Be sure to subscribe to their free newsletter.
"In a good art lesson, when a child has seen the master work of art, heard the vocabulary of arts, been shown the techniques, and then comes up with a finished project that is different from the teacher's model, then success has been achieved in encouraging original thinking and problem solving, which is paramont in importance in an art lesson," (Sharon Jeffus, Visual Manna Christmas Holiday Arts and Crafts page 61).