Friday, October 21, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows

I feel a little silly publishing this as this feast day was over a month ago...  but the arrival of this little guy made things like this take a backburner!  I've had these windows open on my computer since I figured this activity out the week before the feast day, and I figured I should either give up, or go ahead and post.  Since I thought it was a neat activity that I'd like to be able to repeat in the future, I figured I would go ahead and put together my notes so I could have some chance of remembering it for future years.

For an activity for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, I printed out coloring pages for each of her seven sorrows as well as seven pictures of happier times in Mary's life.  After defining what sorrow is, I asked the kids which events were sorrowful events in Mary's life and asked them to identify the picture too, if possible.  Then we identified the happy pictures and put the pictures in chronological order.  After this, I let the children choose a picture to color.

I initially had a lot of trouble finding coloring pages I liked because I wanted ones that weren't too cartoon-y and also included depicted Mary in the scene.  She was there, after all!  Once I realized that there was a great deal of overlap between the Stations of the Cross, the Mysteries of the Rosary, and Seven Sorrows, I was far more successful.

The Prophecy of Simeon  (page 10)
Flight into Egypt  (I'd like to find a better one for this, but haven't found anything yet)
The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple
Mary Meets Jesus Carrying His Cross
The Crucifixion
Mary Receiving the Body of Jesus from the Cross
Jesus Placed in the Tomb

For the happy pictures, I used an assortment of pages from the Joyful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries, as well as this picture of Mary with St. Anne.  I'm so glad Jennifer made these lovely coloring books available as PDFs.  I am also very thankful that the Religious Education Department at St. John the Baptist Church has made available such a wonderful assortment of attractive coloring pages.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Celebrating Our Lady of the Snows

Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of the Snows!

Yes, I know the day is generally commemorated as the Feast of the Dedication of St. Mary Major, but ever since I found about Our Lady of the Snows last year, I've preferred this title for the day.  Perhaps it is because today is my birthday and I like having a feast day for Our Lady on my birthday - even if it is an obscure one!

We celebrated the day by going to Mass and Adoration, then coming home and having a little snack and an activity.  I sliced some zucchini bread and set it before the kids, telling them the story of Our Lady of the Snows.  When we got to the part about the snow on Esquiline Hill in Rome, I offered them powdered sugar "snow" or cream cheese "snow" for their zucchini bread "Esquiline Hill".  Perhaps muffins would have been more hill-ish, but I was going with what I had!  They were charmed, and had a great time making it snow on their bread.  After we finished our snack and story, the children made and decorated snowflakes for our Jesse Tree Year Round and hung them.

I'm thinking about making these cookies this afternoon with the kids, but we'll see if I have the energy for it.  I also need to frost my birthday cake and make the kabobs for our BBQ tonight...  and I have to remember that I'm 8 1/2 months pregnant and do not have endless amounts of energy right now!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Term 4 Weekly Schedule Sample

I was recently involved in a discussion online about how to schedule out our children's schoolwork.  I offered to share a sample of what I started doing in our fourth term for my 3rd grade daughter.  I wanted to help her to work more independently and I wanted to force myself to be a little more on top of my weekly plans.

To give credit where credit is due, I was strongly inspired by Jen's post at Wildflowers and Marbles (go to the bottom of her post, where she links to the 5th and 9th grade plans in the second to last bullet point).

To fill this out each week, I edit the previous week's plan to increment the readings and other assignments, and I look at the plan I developed over the previous summer using the Simply Charlotte Mason Planner to make sure I'm on track with what comes next.  I also consult our calendar to make sure there aren't any special appointments or anything that I need to plan around.  I found that it all fell together very nicely and was very easy to put together.  I also have another overall schedule (MOTH type) that helps me know what I and the other two children are supposed to be doing at the various intervals.  It isn't all written in stone, but having expectations for how long things should take helps keep things moving along and makes sure things get done in a reasonably timely manner.  If something doesn't get completed, then the work has to be done during the quiet time in the afternoon.  The rest of our day and evening is fairly unscheduled - I can only maintain that sort of scheduled pace for so long! - but having a portion of our day so heavily scheduled out has been incredibly worthwhile.

And a couple further notes on the file - in math, IP stands for Singapore's Intensive Practice and CWP stands for Singapore's Challenging Word Problems.  We finished Math-U-See Gamma in mid-spring, and rather than start Delta at that awkward point, I decided to switch to these workbooks.  Also, I think I was assigning too much reading in a block for my 3rd grader.  Even though she's a strong reader, it was a little much to read, assimilate, and narrate.  But I was trying to finish up a few things so I decided to do it anyway.

And finally, without further ado, here it is below.  Please click on the link below to download the file, or use the Scribd controls at the bottom of the Scribd window to look at it more closely in the browser.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Our 4th of July Project

In progress...

Two of the finished products!

We had so much fun doing these shirts - thanks so much to Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda for giving us the inspiration and instructions!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Enjoying Shakespeare with Children

I recently read a post on Grace in Loving Chaos about how her family has approached their Shakespeare studies and it inspired me to write about our recent study of As You Like It.

Unlike many homeschoolers, I did not start with an introduction to the Bard as a person or with much information about when or where he wrote.  After all, there are many authors I read or have my children read with little to no personal introduction.  I think Shakespeare's writing - his comedic plays in particular - transcend time and place, and such information, while interesting, is not vital for understanding his works.  I will certainly introduce my children to Shakespeare as a person, the Globe Theatre, and Elizabethan England, but I think I will do that in the context of our historical studies rather than as a precursor to enjoying some of his plays.

We started our study informally by listening to Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare.  We listened to the version from LibriVox several times in the car over the past school year and this has been a great help.  The recording from LibriVox, while perhaps read a little too quickly, is still worthwhile.  While listening, we had a number of casual conversations about the types of plays Shakespeare wrote, themes in his plays, and common narrative arcs.

In May, I decided it was time to study one play in earnest with Emma (9) and Gregory (5).  After a bit of discussion with my daughter, we decided on As You Like It.

Weeks 1 and 2:
During our Wednesday afternoon read-aloud slot, I read the Lamb's version of As You Like It in two parts.  My daughter narrated after each session, and my son, while not required to narrate, added comments.  We also created a map of the characters and their relationships to each other on the white board, which my daughter then copied and embellished.

Week 3:
After we had a solid character map and an overview of the play, we watched the 1978 BBC version of As You Like It, available streaming from Amazon or for rental from Netflix.  I do not recommend the 1936 version with Bergner and Olivier.  Olivier is no where near his best in this one, and Bergner, with her heavy German accent, is almost impossible to understand in many places.  The BBC version is not exactly amazing, but it is a solid presentation of the play with decent actors.

We watched the play over three days, about 45 minutes to a session.  This matched the children's attention spans well and gave us more opportunity for discussion.  We watched during lunch, pausing for questions and occasional narrations.  Emma's character map was quite handy, especially during our first session.

Week 4:
Next we listened to an audio version of the play.  I chose the BBC Radio Shakespeare version, available for download from Amazon (through Audible).  I do not recommend the LibriVox version of the play; the actors are uneven and some are almost impossible to follow.  We listened to this while we knitted, drew, or did other handiwork sorts of things over the course of several days.  At the children's request, we also listened to the play in the car a couple of weeks later.  By this point they had no trouble distinguishing characters or figuring out what was happening.

As the kids get older (or I find another family or two who would like to join us!) I'd love to do an informal group reading at this point.  We're not there yet, but I hope we'll be able to do it someday.

This Summer:
Fortuitously, a semi-local Shakespeare troupe will be performing As You Like It next month, so we've made plans to see it on stage too.  I doubt we'll be fortunate enough to have this happen for each play we study, but I hope to take advantage of this whenever it occurs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Celebrating Pentecost

Happy Pentecost!

We're still relatively new in our celebrations of the Liturgical Year, but we are learning and growing each year.  This year we decorated our "Jesse Tree Year Round" with tongues of flame inscribed with the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit and doves.  I printed everything out on card stock and the kids and I had fun cutting everything out and discussing why we were using these elements for our tree.  I got the idea from the Windsock for Pentecost at Shower of Roses and adapted it to make it work for us.   

As an aside, if you'd like to work more with your kids (and perhaps yourself!) on memorizing things like the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, I highly recommend Kevin Vost's book Memorize the Faith.  The memory techniques presented in this book are fantastic and work well with kids and adults.   

For dessert - because after all, celebrating the liturgical year with food is such a highlight for everyone! - we had pound cake, whipped cream, and strawberries cut length-wise to look like flames.  The kids The kids thought it was great and were quite impressed that strawberries could be made to look like flames.   We also had some raspberry rooibos tea with our dessert because it was as close as I could get to an appropriately colored beverage on short notice.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flare of Light

On Pentecost 2009 I stopped blogging.

On Pentecost 2011 I am beginning again.  

A new beginning and a new name.

A flare of light, like the tongues of flame that appeared and rested upon the Apostles, infusing them with the Holy Spirit.  A flare of light, like the bright glow surrounding all the faithful who seek to show the light of Christ in the world.  A flare of light, like the radiance brought forth by all the wonderful women who take the time to share the creativity which brightens their homes.

I pray that I too may be infused and guided by the Holy Spirit as I seek to live out the spiritual gifts, service, and workings that God has manifested in me.