Here is a treasure box of information, ideas, and activities related to the holy days you've read about in the Bible, organized according to the calendar and neatly bound up in one volume.
Before we dive into the details, let's take a flying look at the authors' approach to learning. If you go to the Heart of Wisdom website (www.heartofwisdom.com) you'll find that the approach followed in their materials includes putting the Bible first, seeing study as a form of worship, developing a love of learning by reading real books as opposed to textbooks and narration (also known as the Charlotte Mason method), the Four Learning styles of Dr. Bernice McCarthy, integrated unit study, the Lifestyle of Learning as explained by Marilyn Howshall, delight-directed learning advocated by a number of homeschool writers, and "writing to learn"-internalizing information as the student "thinks on paper." If you are an experienced home educator, you will likely recognize most of the terms I've mentioned. If you're just getting started, or if you've been home educating for a while but some of the above terms are unfamiliar, you might want to do more reading about these ideas, and the Heart of Wisdom website is a good place to start.
A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays may be used as a study guide leading up to an observance of any of the Biblical holidays, or as a thematic unit study for an entire year. (The theme, of course, is the holy days as set forth in the Old and New Testaments--both as celebrated by the Hebrews and as fulfilled in the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.)
The book is carefully organized for ease of use by parents and teachers, with samples, background information, activities, crafts, recipes and puzzles. There is extensive use of "subject symbols" to organize the information into categories by subject.
The holidays covered include: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Weeks, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, Purim, and the Sabbath. For each holiday there is a study of the holiday's purpose, celebration in Bible times, modern-day celebration by Jews, the Messianic significance (or seeing Christ in the symbols and practices), and suggestions for a Christian celebration of the holiday. The activities for each holiday include a centerpiece for each, along with other crafts, crossword puzzles, banners, stories, word searches, recipes, coloring pages, etc.
In addition to the specific information for each holiday, the book contains introductory material with an overview of the Biblical holidays, an explanation of the Hebrew calendar, and an "apologetic" of how understanding of the Biblical holidays can enrich Christian faith and comprehension. This is followed by a chapter of "preliminary activities and crafts" that serve to lead your students in an overview of Biblical holidays. There are discussion questions, suggestions for creating your own family's holiday, reproducible lesson planner pages, and instructions and graphics for creating a centerpiece, banners, flags, wall hanging, recipe keeper, and a game.
A section on "Biblical Holidays across the Curriculum" is included especially for home educators, in order to expand the study of Biblical holidays into other learning areas such as science, math, history, language arts, and so on. Studies are suitable for multi-level teaching, with suggestions for co-oping, specific ideas for integrating the thematic units into your curriculum, planning suggestions, sample schedules, resource lists, and a reproducible lesson planning sheet.
Doctrinal matters are for the most part discussed in the Appendices. This could be good food for thought, stimulating discussion with your mature student on topics such as legalism and freedom.
Answer keys, glossary of Jewish terminology, bibliography, end notes, and a game board round out the book.
Many black-and-white illustrations are included for use as graphics or to show how a craft might look. Color suggestions are provided where appropriate. Instructions are given for both paper and fabric banners. The drawings are simple, but probably better than this particular mom could draw from scratch.
This might well be material I could have pulled together myself, from a variety of sources, but it would have involved an awful lot of time and effort on my part. As a matter of fact, I have long wanted to embark on a study of the Biblical holidays with our children, having covered some of this material in Bible study, but it's one of those projects that has sat on the "back burner" waiting for me to have time to get around to it. I was glad to find that someone else had already done much of the preparation. There is so much material here, from planning a Passover Seder to building a booth for Succoth to living every week of the year in God's rhythm, where His day is the high point of the week.
A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays is a good, all-around guide with lots of ideas, a logical structure, and simple, doable activities. It's a good place to start.
A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays is also available as an e-book from www.heartofwisdom.com for $29.95