Guest Author - Alissa Moy
The Chinese New Year will begin this year on January 31, 2014. This is the year of the Horse. The new year changes each year, as it is always marked by the Chinese calendar and the Lunar cycle. Each cycle is made up of 12 years; after the 12th year, the cycle is repeated. The Chinese associate each year of a 12 year cycle with an animal, hence, the Chinese Zodiac. The 12 animals and the years associated with them are often represented on a circular chart, and they are also each thought to have it's own personality characteristics. Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday celebrated among many Chinese people. It is often referred to as the spring festival because it precedes the beginning of spring. It is a time when families and friends get together to say goodbye to the old and welcome the new. The celebration usually lasts for one to two weeks.
Below you will find ideas for teaching your child about the Chinese Zodiac. The Chinese Zodiac always garnishes great interest among children. Maybe it is the idea that they have an animal representation. Perhaps it is the appeal of legends and fable that surround many of these creatures of the zodiac. Use the following chart below as a reference for your homeschooler's zodiac sign.
1.The Rat years are:
People born in the Year of the Rat, the first of the Chinese Zodiac signs are
meticulous, hardworking, industrious,charming, and shrewd.
2.The Ox years are:
Those folks born as an "Ox" are dependable, calm, methodical, patient, and
3.The Tiger years are:
Tigers are said to be unpredictable, powerful, daring, and often very humanitarian and genorous.
4. The Rabbit years are:
Rabbit's are gracious, kind, sensitive, soft-spoken, amiable, and artistic.
5.The Dragon years are:
The dragon people are said to be strong, stately, self-assured, proud, noble, and direct.
6.The Snake years are:
Snakes are thought of as wise and deep thinkers. They are also
graceful, soft-spoken, and creative.
7.The Horse years are:
Horses are said to be cheerful, popular, intelligent, flexible, and open- minded.
8.The Ram/Sheep years are:
The Ram or Sheep folks tend to be sincere, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, and gentle.
9.The Monkey years are:
Monkeys are inventors, motivators, problem solvers, improvisers and self- assured.
10.The Rooster years are:
The Rooster people are thought to be neat, organized, scientific, conservative, practical and responsible.
11.The Dog years are:
Dog folks are honest, intelligent, loyal, fair and amicable.
12.The Pig/Boar years are:
The Pig or Boar is known to be honest, gallant, sturdy, thoughtful, and intelligent.
After discerning your homeschoolers "sign", complete one or all of the following activities-
1. Write a report on the animal for the year you were born. How are you like or not like this animal or creature?
2. Write an Acrostic poem about your animal or creature.
3. List all the adjectives you can think of to describe your animal's sign. Learn to use a Thesaurus to find synonyms, too.
4. Read Tales from the Chinese Zodiac by Oliver Clyde Chin. There is a book for each year, including this year, The Year of the Dragon. Discuss the similarities and differences with each animal or creature.
5. Research family members and find out what symbol they are. Create a graph or chart to display your results. Analyze your results, too. Do they fit the people in that category? Why or why not?
Learning about this fanciful zodiac can be a great way to incorporate lessons on adjectives, synonyms, using a Thesaurus, calendars, lunar activity, animal studies, creature or mythological studies, symbols, fables and much more. Enjoy the creativity in it!