We came back to our fully school schedule this past Monday with all sorts of renewed enthusiasm and the crisp, autumn air to encouraged us! School is such a delightful opportunity to fall into new habits and rituals, and recommit to old ones. We’re greeting the mornings with an early ‘Coffee Time’ period – reading our Bible, history, poetry, nature, and art, as well as working on memorization – and it’s been delightful! With muffins (or something small) to munch and espresso cups in hand the kids are eager and involved, and I have a chance to get us all on track before worrying about animal care, cooking a proper breakfast, or making beds! All that can be handled after our Coffee Time, when we’re a bit more awake and ready to work.
I’ve added some new books and a bit of a new structure to our overall schooling as well! Because last year was such an intense one for catechism, with Yarrow’s Sacramental preparation, we’ve decided to focus primarily on prayers and devotions this year, focusing on building a life a holiness and developing strong relationships with our beloved saints. So our catechism time is spent praying, learning new prayers by heart, and getting to know the saints – especially those whose lives are most attractive to us. We’ll be starting to spend at least two Fridays a week during the fall, visiting our dead by taking our devotions to local cemeteries.
And we’ll be starting Latin! Primarily Yarrow, of course, but since I’m starting her Latin work gently, Ilya can participate as well! Since we attend the TLM primarily, they’ve both already had some exposure to Latin, and we’ll be spending the fall and winter just getting to know some of the phrases and prayers in their Missal a bit better. I read a phrase aloud and translate, explain a bit of the text, and we talk about it while they get to illuminate the text on a coloring page! It’s been so much fun so far, but it’s all new, so we’ll see what needs to be improved upon here.
We’re focusing on Sacred Heart images in our art-work this fall! Both kids have been asking to learn to “paint a Sacred Heart like Daddy does!” So Seth drew one to make into a coloring page that they can paint or color as we read about the Sacred Heart in art and in faith. They’re also working on drawing and painting their own!
Our history work is continuing with TAN publications Story of Civilization and ancient history, but with an increased focus on myth and story in the cultures we study. Right now, we’re reading retellings of the Greek Epics: Black Ships Before Troy (the Iliad) and Odysseus the Hero (the Odyssey); we just finished Gilgamesh the Hero – which was a much better retelling of The Epic of Gilgamesh than Odysseus the Hero is of the Odyssey, both by Geraldine McCaughrean. McCaughrean’s other retellings of Greek myths, Perseus and Theseus were even more disappointing, unfortunately. The kids are loving the epics overall, and we’ll be moving into the Norse myths in October!
Math and Grammar, Nature and Fairy Tales are all evolving a bit as well this year, but maybe that’s a post for another day!
Fellow Homeschoolers how is your new season of schooling going so far?
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What materials are you using for introduction to the saints?
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Lots of story books (like Tomie de Paola!), lots of old folktales, and a smattering of official ‘books about the saints) – but we use those sparingly. Most of the time we pull out an image of the Saint we’re celebrating and just spend time with him or her!
We’re fortunate, I guess, to know so many old folktales about the saints and be able to pass them down verbally..but the Tomie de Paola books are great in that area as well! 🙂