Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quick Thoughts for St. Pats

There was a time when living the liturgical year was the primary theme for my home school lesson plans. We had a magical year, our first year of homeschooling, when I was happy and flexible and it was all just one great preschool jumble of crafts, living books and time outdoors. Those days have passed, and I find that these days my desire to keep the older ones "on track" and the littlest ones from "eating glitter," we have not given as much attention to the minor feasts and holidays.

Book baskets help a lot, at least that one area of the curriculum is ready made, and I do still believe firmly that read aloud time counts as "real school" for anyone, at any age, but cooking and crafting and playing are important, too, and feasts can be a good excuse to fit these in. Plus, my mom often let me CUT SCHOOL to go to the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York, so I am sure that she would approve of our laying aside lessons to celebrate.

I have given the children a dispensation from their lenten sacrifice of sweets because back on Valentines Day, Peter suggested that if we used yellow m&ms, our dots would make great "pots of gold". We will be baking those, along with soda bread, which we will eat with Irish butter, which is sweet and amazing and makes you wonder what Americans are doing wrong when making butter.

I have printed out these simple shamrocks to color as we talk about the Holy Trinity, and we may even label the petals for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We will review the sign of the cross, why we pray it and what makes it so powerful.

I have also looked at this simple rainbow craft which may appeal to my older children. With the little ones, we will color rainbows and talk about the colors, and work on staying in the lines, which is always a struggle for 5 year old boys in our house. I may also present the option of watercolor rainbows just to mix things up.

Lastly, for copywork and memorization, we will be using this verse from the prayer known as St. Patrick's Breastplate

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I may explain the title of the prayer by showing the picture above, which fits in nicely with our current Medieval studies. Just think of the power of these words as your armor!

And of course, I can't leave out the titles in our book basket this week: Jamie O'Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie de Paola and St. Patrick's Day by Gail Gibbons, and Brigid's Cloak.

We do not own the CCC video St. Patrick, Brave Shepherd of the Emerald Isle, but JM does, and my kids have seen it and declare that it is their favorite of the series, so I wish I had thought to order it sooner.

One more thing to convince myself that this is really school good for our family, we are studying Europe (working through CHC 2nd grade continent studies and using this as our writing prompt) and so we will find Ireland on the map and add it to the list of countries that we have "visited," reading a bit about Ireland and then writing a three point paragraph.

Gosh, isn't it amazing that I started out thinking that we would be skipping school and it turns out to be quite easy to include many of our subjects while working around this theme? I think that the baking can even count as math! Or, I could easily make some number cards and have the little kids put the correct number of shamrock stickers on to the cards, and then the big kids could use those cards, plus and operations card, to practice math facts! Oh, and I just found this Coloring Grid!

Plus, when we talk about "pots of gold" we will refer to Matthew 6:20, "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;" and maybe even get into the transition from folk tales/myths/legends to Christianity in early Europe.

I love homeschooling! Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Jmaddox said...

I am curious if you or anyone has a suggestion for a good homeschooling curriculum. I would like to start looking and possibly using something next year with my preschooler
God Bless

Mary Alice said...

With a preschooler, Five in a Row is a great start, and we use lots of materials from Catholic Heritage Curriculum.

Kate E. said...

Wow. I'm impressed. Really impressed.
I'm pretty sure in college we cut class to get our skirts the right length to go listen to Irish rock bands at Triumph, so you know, I approve.

We are planning our trip to Ireland tonight as a celebration since the kids have been too under the weather to do much else. I love the "This Is Ireland" book (we got "This is London" last year for a trip) retro and great facts.

And when recently asked why I was dragging my 5 month old and 4 year old all the way across the atlantic to Ireland this spring I told the Nosy Nelly...why for the bread and butter of course!

Happy St. Pat's to all the builders.

Right Said Red said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We did a shamrock craft today, ate corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes for dinner, and broke our lenton fast with dessert--Irish potatoes from our local bakery. The food store was out of green cabbage, so I just bought red cabbage. I figured it wouldn't taste that different. Well, I had to laugh when I looked in the pot and realized that the red cabbage had turned our entire meal purple! Hardly the color I was aiming for, but it reminded me of Lent!

Mary Alice said...

So, I am proud to say that we actually accomplished about 90% of these activities! The graph drawings were a big hit and I will keep those in mind for future theme days. I made oatmeal with green sprinkles for breakfast and shepherds pie for dinner, too! What fun. Back to reality tomorrow, but a St. Joseph's pizza party is planned for Friday!

Right Said Red said...

As an FYI, since Friday is a Solemnity, you are allowed to have meat (although I realize MA you gave up meat for Lent). JM and I had to verify this as we are getting together for a St. Joseph's party with Fr. Mike, and I didn't want to serve meat to a priest if it wasn't allowed!

Mary Alice said...

We are planning to have meat on our Pizza -- we have meat on Sundays, and I am treating the solemnity the same way. I also encouraged the kids to have sweets today, knowing that we would get a dispensation for corned beef if it were a friday, I thought that I could give a maternal dispensation for shamrock cookies and pots of gold candies!