Curriculum 2017

So let’s talk curriculum 2017…

I have debated this for a really long time about which curriculum to use this year with so many options as many know. Finally got to the point of just getting the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum and planning on mixing this with Waldorf Essentials.

The Garden curriculum I like so far because it has Waldorf base, it is really hard to find a Waldorf anything with Orthodoxy and this is the best I have found. I also plan on using this:

I have finished my first peg project and this book I highly recommend for anyone that is interested in seasonal beginner projects.

We are going to be doing a 3 day plan with Waldorf Essentials and one day with the Garden with our co-op. Will keep up pictures of the adventures.

Homeschooling: Holy Week 

Here is a Holy Week activity for everyone to try. This is a good way to teach kids about the concept of past, present and future using the events from the Holy Week services.

You will need to print out all the icons for the Holy Week services and laminate them. Using a board, divide it into three sections: on the left is the future, middle is the present and the right is the past. In the beginning of the week put all the icons on the left, as each day comes put the icon of the day in the middle with your child and read the scripture that goes with the Holy Week service. 

Talk about the icon with your child, what do they see? What do they think the readings mean? Then the next day as you put a new icon in the middle simple move the old icon to the right on the past side. 

Go to as many Holy Week services with your kids as possible for them to make the connection with the readings and the icons to the church. They will recognize the shift in the regular rhythm. Also, teach them the Behold the Bridegroom hymn or the Alleluia hymns that are sung in the church for the first 4 days.

Hope your Holy Week is gearing you up for Pascha!

Homeschool: CGS

Today during our co op we are getting ready for Pascha!

Using the Catechism of the Good Shepherd program we did our Liturgy of Light presentation. Since here in seminary we really do not have the space for an actual atrium I have to modify my lessons and include a craft for the kids whenever it is my turn.

We gathered in the class today and all the kids were excited to be back since we have had sort of a hiatus for a while. The energy level was high and I knew it was going to be a sort of strict teacher day. We had the altar set up with the purple cloth first and remembered our church colors song and purple for preparing and white for celebration.

After the song I switched the altar cloth to white and put the big Pascha candle on it with flowers and the Good Shepherd icon. We talked about how Jesus walked on this earth and he said many things but one thing He said was that “I am the light of the world” as I said this I lit the big Pascha candle. 

I then called out each child by name and gave them their own blank candle and we learned the Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen greeting for Pascha. Then we processed with our candles 3 times singing the Christ is Risen troparion. Afterward the children sat down and I called each one by name to light their own candle from the big Pascha candle. They stood there for a little bit as we turned off the lights and saw their candles light up the room. 

For our craft we decorated the Pascha candles with puff paint and put ribbons on them so the children can use it for the Pascha service and the procession. It was a joy to see their faces light up.

What you can do at home: 

  • Make your own Easter vigil candles 
  • Get puff paint from Joanns or Michael’s 
  • Dye Easter eggs together 
  • Make a Easter basket for the priest to bless after the service
  • Buy fresh flowers for the house

Hope this is helpful in your Easter preparation.

Homeschooling: Lent

Here are some things that I try to do different for my family during Lent. We do have books we read throughout Lent some are pictured above. 

In the Candles Glow– Great story about a girl that says prayers in front of candles. Great illustrations. You can get it through Ancient Faith Publishing.

Saint Herman of Alaska- He is one of our favorite saints and this book is a favorite for kids showing them his life and devotion to prayer. This one is from SVS press

Monk who grew in prayer- Wonderful book about the hours of the church as prayed by a monk.

Joseph and his brothers- we found this one at the monastery I believe they are on Ancient Faith Publishing also.

Orthodox kindergarten- This book is great for 2yr olds, it is a lot of simple things that the child can identity in the church and different icons also. This one is from Ancient Faith also.

We are getting Pascha Passports this year here is the link:

https://lenten-embassy.myshopify.com/collections/lenten-journey-for-the-family

It is affordable, a great teaching tool and beautiful!

Most of my teaching will come from the Good Shepherd program. Our first presentation will be on the altar and then I am mostly going to focus on Jesus’s life throughout Lent. Using the geography presentations, the Good Shepherd presentation, Annunciation, then Holy Week. More on those later. 

I just wanted to mention a thought on simplicity. With kids, less is more, some parents feel like they have to do all these things for the child to “get it” or understand the importance of Lent. I get it, because it’s important to us as well. However, sometimes choosing less activities and simpler ones can make a world of a difference in how kids progress things. In a book Religious Potential of a Child, the author has many examples of kids having that want of a connection to their Creator, with many examples of kids with no knowledge of God having that yearning. In terms of simplicity and teaching I try to think about that and think of opportunities for living discussions not only activities. 

How are you doing Lent with your kids?