One favorite is this woodcut illustration of Over the River and Through the Woods. My children love to hear this poem and look through this book over and over, and I love the reunion with grandma at the end. We have a board book version.
I failed to mention in our seasonal baskets that we were also following the liturgical season by studying the Rosary in October. We ended the month with a visit to a beautiful grotto to our Lady on October 31 for a family rosary. John face lit up when he saw the statue of a girl kneeling below the Blessed Mother. "Mom" he said "it's Bernadette!" Don't think he's too much of a saint, he did spend most of the Rosary time playing with an umbrella, but I was still touched to know that he has taken in this story. This is an example of how good media can really help a parent, my kids learn about the saints through the CCC cartoon videos and Glory Story recordings, both of which are available from Catholic Company. In the car this month, we have tried to mix praying the rosary into our usual lineup of Laurie Berkner and Sandra Boynton, though I don't have a recording that I really love. For more Rosary resources, you can visit the terrific new website, ROSARY.COM. I did not do a Rosary craft this year, and I wish that I had, perhaps I will wait until May, or perhaps I will sneak it in this month. We will continue to pray the Rosary together on Wednesdays as part of our school day.
For November, we will be focusing on stories of the Saints, and I will read from the Saint book basket on Wednesdays at lunch, after our Rosary. We will also feature the Glory Stories in the car. It will take me some time to pull together my saints book basket; these books are spread around the house because they are used at other times of the year for spiritual reading, feast day celebrations, etc, so they can't just stay in the November file in the basement for 11 months. I will start a list on amazon, but it will probably be under construction over the course of this week.
The kids really respond well to theme, reinforced in various areas of the curriculum. This is especially important for the earliest learners. I think we will keep this as part of our art lessons. They loved the pumpkin paper mosaics, and now that they are learning the technique, they can practice it on the next monthly theme -- stained glass saints, or mosaic turkeys? We also wound up doing a lot of Jack O Lantern coloring pages while they were all
whining taking turns while carving our pumpkin. From now on, I am going to prepare a file of busy work dittos like word searches and coloring, writing prompts, drawing prompts, etc, tied to the monthly them. This will also help me to reduce interruptions when I am working with another student, they will have something simple to grab and do in a few minutes until I can come and check the spelling page, etc.
Lastly, on the seasonal school work front, we had some cute fall Montessori works -- three part cards on the life cycle of a pumpkin and apple as well as a leaf matching memory game. I liked the way these works, our craft projects, our books and our frequent visits to the orchard fit together. I would like to do the same with the catechesis part of our seasonal work. In the Atrium in New York, we had a card work for the mysteries of the Rosary which was appropriate for children who could read, and we also had scenes (like nativity figures) for all of the joyful mysteries, where the child set the scene and the catechist read the bible verses. Working with the nativity is so popular in our house, I am sure that these works would also be wonderful additions, though they are more involved than adding paper works! Perhaps I will think of adding one each May, the same way that I have built the secular seasonal baskets.
How about a "work" for the Saints -- I could easily make memory cards, and I am going to keep working on some other ideas, stay tuned...
Looking forward, in December we will feature Nativity books and works as well as some traditional Christmas tales. In January and February, we usually read lots of folk and fairy tales (so cozy), and the catechism basket and works will feature the Sacrament of Reconciliation. From there, we will move on to study the Mass as Holly prepares for First Holy Communion.
Wow, I think I just re-planned the rest of my semester, if you have made it this far into my rambling, thanks for listening, you have spared my husband, because I do most of my thinking out loud!