Monday, November 30, 2015

A Charlotte Mason Advent

We had an excellent beginning to our Charlotte Mason homeschooling winter term today. Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, so naturally this season of the liturgical year is a major theme at this time in our studies. We went to Mass Saturday evening and picked up the last two purple candles to be found anywhere on the way home. Luckily we still had a pink and a purple one left from last year, so our Advent wreath was complete! We blessed the wreath with holy water, and we say special prayers and light the appropriate candle or candles at dinner each night. Beezy had brought home an Advent pamphlet from religious education class, so we are using that as our guide. She also brought home a small Advent calendar with a flap to open, revealing a picture and a Bible verse, each day.

We began lesson time this afternoon with Beezy reading the "Prayer During Advent" from Prayers for Young Catholics (Daughters of St. Paul). I then read the selection on the beginning of the Church Year and Advent from The Church Year for Children (Rev. Jude Winkler), and we discussed it. Her American Cardinal Reader (Neumann Press) contains a few Christmas stories, so she began reading one of these.

Beezy practiced her piano. She had a math lesson; a science lesson from One Small Square: Coral Reef (Silver), supplemented with an online article about algae from the Kids Research Express blog; and a read aloud which she narrated from Leif Erikson the Lucky (Kummer). We finished with a Rosary lesson. We are currently praying the Luminous Mysteries (read directly from the New Testament) and using the wonderful 5th grade book from Seton, The Rosary in Art, for picture studies and artist biographies. Beezy did copy work from the story of the Wedding at Cana.

This is to give you a sampling of a particularly Catholic CM day of learning in our home. I have ordered several books from Elizabeth Foss' elementary lists for December, found in her Catholic CM manual, Real Learning: Education in the Heart of the Home. So far I have received The Way to Bethlehem (Biffi); Letters from Father Christmas (Tolkien); and The Huron Carol (Jean de Brebeuf). This last selection is especially timely, because we are reading the biographical novel, Saint Isaac and the Indians (Lomask). St. Isaac Jogues goes to live among the Huron in Canada in this book. The music to the Huron carol can be found at the end of the de Brebeuf picture book, which contains the lyrics and beautiful illustrations, so I'm going to encourage Beezy to play it on her keyboard.

I hope this inspires you, especially if you are having trouble finding ideas and resources for observing Advent. I plan to keep it simple. Go to Mass, light the Advent wreath at dinner, pray Advent prayers to open our lessons each day, and read living books for the season. I also plan to incorporate Tea Time, using Advent hymns found on youtube, and watch good holiday movies together as a family. Since we only have three weeks until our Christmas break begins, it's also a good time to finish up some of the books we have been reading, and then start with new things after the New Year.

I wish you all a blessed and joyful time of preparation for celebrating the coming of our Savior into the world!

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