Catechism for children

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share with you a little more about the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum and catechism for children. It has been really hard for me to incorporate catechism for my boys as part of my homeschooling, mainly because I feel there is so little time to get everything done. The church is such a part of our lives since we are in seminary, I always feel like I do not need to do much since the boys are living it everyday with their father being a priest. However, recently I was watching a YouTube channel of a homeschooling mom of 8 that is a Christian and got really inspired by her teaching and reading the Bible with her kids everyday and memorizing verses. Reading the Bible has been a big problem for me, simply said I do not do it often even though the Church provides daily reading schedule for us that are not that long. So this week I decided to start reading the Bible with my kids to at least start talking about Christ and who he was.

The Garden of Theotokos curriculum provides a really great way to introduce certain concepts. For example, the kiddos are still going over the days of creation and are on day 3. It seems like the kids are actually getting it and are enjoying the a Waldorf style of learning with this curriculum. I have also been trying to do the Sunday gospel reading lessons with my oldest son getting the lessons from the Antiochian archdiocese website and just doing the lesson with him separately. Since we are in seminary I feel like there is no consistency with Sunday school, we do not have a consistent parish we go to so this is hard, so I felt like it was up to me to have them learn about the gospel readings and this was the easiest way.

I like the little added activities attached to the gospel reading and questions they have according to the level of the child. For example, this weeks reading was about the man that stored up treasure on earth in Luke 15, the activity for kids was to take some toys and explain it as stuff and then do a small game trying to discern between scenarios if it is a treasure in heaven or earth.

Overall, this has been an interesting experiment but I do see more of a discussion in my house about Christ now. I am curious about what others are doing in terms of catechism for their kids? Maybe there is a great curriculum out there I am missing. Let me know in the comments below!

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Book review

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick book review here for all those Christian moms out there following me. I have had this book for a while and recently reopened it again. This is not a book that is a sit down and read type. It has many different prayers for different areas of motherhood. What I love about this book is that at any time you can look in the table of contents and search for the prayers you need. I also like how they are not all formal prayers that we are used to and more on a personal request that I felt like are words given in a time when you don’t have any words.

There are also some stories of many beautiful Orthodox mother saints that I personally love reading because it constantly encourages me to look at someone that is a mother with many kids, that has finished the race. I will say that when I did originally get the book I did not think I would use it a lot but now with such little time left in the day I do find myself running to this book for short prayers very often. The book also has various Psalms after the prayers which I liked as a way to memorize them in relation to what I am dealing with at the moment.

Overall I am thinking about getting this book for a few of my friend for Christmas in hopes to encourage their motherhood journey. A copy of this book can be purchased on Ancient Faith Publishing website if you are interested.

Homeschooling: Start

Come into the garden Children…

Our first week of homeschooling started this week. We are starting the Garden of the Theotokos curriculum from Anaphora press and will be using Waldorf Essentials as our main curriculum later in September.

We started lesson 1 that was supposed to start on September 1st but I felt like this is a good intro to schooling and could be done flexible according to homeschooling schedules. It was all about talking to the child about a special place where we are going to talk to Jesus and learn about the Saints and the great Feasts of the church. Surprisingly Mr.4 responded really well to the lesson and the songs. Above is the picture of our space.

Since we are doing the unit studies with our co-op I do not have to worry about scheduling that in so our next lesson is about Moses and the ark of the covenant. In order to prep for this lesson I have to tell the story of Mosses, which is kind of long if people know it, so I decided to break it up into small lessons throughout the week leading to the feast day of Moses. I am using a variety of children’s bibles for that and just keeping it really simple.

Then it’s Russian… ugh. My struggles with teaching Russian has always been ongoing. How will they ever learn! This year I am just doing a curriculum I found that has drawn out stick figures for the words and I do one page at a time for the words. This way I track the lessons and words and can also repeat the lessons beforehand. We will see how this goes.

My crafts:

Decided my hand at candle making this week and also made an altar for a little church play for quiet time. No, dipping a ballon in wax is not an easy process. So I found that dipping the balloon in wax first then dipping it in water speeded up the process. Also I noticed that I had to stick the shells on way later in the process. Oh well, I learn from mistakes.

And there above is the miniature altar I made for my kiddos to play with. Mr.4 really loved watching these crafts. Work with your hands. I try to show them that.

Hope your week was blessed.

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.

New Year

As 2016 comes closer to its last days I hope with all my heart that people all over will look forward to 2017 as a new beginning. All those planner pages waiting to be filled up and more celebrations waiting to be enjoyed. I am sure there will be great sorrow at times followed by great joy. I always like to look back on New Years last year and compare it with now and just think about how I never would have guessed last year what 2016 would bring me. I could have never predicted events or where I’ll be on New Year’s Eve 2017. 

The only thing that I can predict is the cycle of the church. The services, prayers, fasting and Paschal Feast only to realize that it’s almost Advent again. It is the only thing that is certain, that stays the same, that brings me comfort. Everything else is the weather that passes through. 

Many blessings to all this coming year. 

Uncharted territory 

  
As I sit quietly in front of my icons I say a prayer that is all too familiar to me. Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner. The new live in seminary and the uncertain role I am going to be stepping into sets in.

My husband might become priest one day and be responsible for many people. What would my role be to those people as a priests wife? Life here in seminary seems like a learning ground not just for the seminarians but also the ones that are not fortunate enough to learn about the nous and the natures of Christ. 

As I read different books now about modern women, priests wife’s in the church and their lives I realize that I am entering uncharted territory. People back in California are already treating me different. Gossip seems to travel across the coast. So as I sit here and look at my icons I truly say the Jesus prayer with all my heart. 

Once again another chapter in my life is being written and it’s scary as well as exciting. Life here in seminary is not just for my husband but for me as well. A battlefield I must train in. 

Lord have mercy indeed.

Quiet thought 

  
Often times it is a hard struggle for me to see God in the everyday mundane tasks of life. I often struggle with the thought that I am not really completing anything really that important. I mean really how holy can washing dishes be? 

Today I got reminded of a story of a saint visiting two married women because God showed him that those women have reached a level of holiness that he himself has not reached. He wanted to learn from these women so he went out to find them and their secret was no more than completing normal household tasks. The story is told by St. Macarius the great and the women’s names are unknown to us. 

It made me take a step back and realize that my battle right now does involve bedtimes and dishes and wonderful eczema infant issues, but that is ok. Stay at home moms struggles are often not noticed. I made the mistake in my mind to not appreciate being a mom. 

Thank God for His mercy and quiet moments He gives us in the middle of the chaos to gently remind us of how important our lives really are. 

Baptism 

   
   
This little guys is getting baptized on Saturday! Glory be to God. Yes us Orthodox Christians dunk our infants. 

He seems like a happy camper for now although he does have a tiny cold. I do expect trials before entering a sacrament though. We were up every morning this week so far at 5am and dealing with a stuffy nose. My oldest wakes up 7am on the dot so it has been a rough patch. 

That’s what happens before a sacrament. Always count on trials and tribulations. 

Transfiguration

Blessed Feast of Transfiguration everyone! May this be the icon of our lives. To be transfigured into the likeness of Christ Himself.

You were transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, / revealing Your glory to Your disciples as far as they could bear it. / Let Your everlasting Light also shine upon us sinners, / through the prayers of the Theotokos. / O Giver of Light, glory to You!