Every year that we’ve been homeschooling, we’ve had some sort of special lesson on Reformation Day. It usually involved reading a book about Martin Luther and doing a craft (often some kind of Luther’s Seal). I realized this year, though, that while the children know a lot about Martin Luther’s corner of the Reformation (of course), they don’t know much about the rest of what was going on in the Church. So, I’ve decided that this year, throughout the month of October, we’re going to replace our regular religion lessons with a special unit on the Reformation, as well as some general Lutheran history!
I started by replacing our Olympics “Special Event Wall” with one on the Reformation. The central focus of the wall is a “Reformation Era Timeline” I picked up at CPH. While the focus of this timeline is the Lutheran Reformation (naturally), other world and Reformation events are included on it, and I really like having a visual representation of just how much was going on in Europe at that time, from exploring the New World to the creation of famous works of art and literature. I added the “Solas” to the wall, as well as a list of key reformers, a map of Europe with key Reformation countries highlighted, a copy of Luther’s seal, and the LCMS seal. We’ll also be adding some things to the wall as the month goes on.
There are 23 school days in October this year, including five Wednesdays, which culminate on Reformation Day itself. I’ve planned something special for each of those Wednesdays, having each Wednesday be a special craft day:
- Personal Coat of Arms
- Stained “Glass”
- Illuminated Letters/Scribe for a Day
- Reformation Day Banner (to be used in the schoolroom for occasions such as future Reformation Days and Pentecost)
- Tissue Paper Luther’s Seal
There are a few books I’ll be reading aloud, either in part or whole:
- The Adventures of Martin Luther
- Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World
- Inside the Reformation
- Heinrich Melchior Muhlenberg (since his commemoration day falls during October)
- Luther’s Small Catechism
And book basket selections from the “Hero of Faith” series for the children to choose from:
- Martin Luther
- Katharina von Bora
- Johann S. Bach
- C.F.W. Walther
- Rosa Young
- Dr. Bessie Rehwinkel
- Dorothea Craemer
Plus a few other book basket choices:
The bulk of our lessons will come in the form of a lapbook (actually several lapbooks)…our first ever! We’ll be learning the “who, what, where, when, and why” of the Reformation while we make these books. We’ll focus on seven reformers (John Wycliffe, John Huss, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, John Calvin, and John Knox), who will each have a mini-unit and lapbook dedicated to him.
We’ll also learn about seven rulers (Charles V, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary Tudor, Philip II, Elizabeth I, and Mary Queen of Scots) who were either supporters or opponents of the Reformation. Instead of a lapbook, the rulers will each have a dedicated notebooking sheet.
Over the course of the month, we’ll make a lapbook that provides an overview of the Reformation, including where each of the rulers fits, and their relationships to the reformers, where applicable.
Since Ladybug is too young for a lot of the lapbook activities, I got her The Story of Martin Luther Activity Book to color in while Turkey and Bunny complete their books. It’s technically a preschool book, but I thought she’d have fun doing the sticker activities, and it will give her something of her own to work on, so she doesn’t feel left out…very important for a little girl who has two older siblings who “get to have all the fun!”
And field trips are a must. We’ll be visiting the Saxon Lutheran Memorial and attending a Bach at the Sem concert, where “Ein Feste Burg” will be performed. I don’t think we’re going to visit the International Center to see the Concordia Historical Institute Museum, but it has been a few years since we’ve been there, so we’ll see. We’re also going to be having a special Reformation Family Night at church, which, while not technically a field trip, should help reinforce some of the things we’ve been learning at home, and maybe even teach us some new things!
Music is a huge part of the Lutheran church (just ask the “fifth evangelist, J.S. Bach!), so we’ll be listening to some special selections throughout the month. We have both the Martin Luther: Hymns, Ballads, Chants, Truth and the Heirs of the Reformation collections from CPH. We’ll also be listening to various works by Bach…I’ll let Ryan pick which ones. To reinforce what we’ve learned in Luther’s Small Catechism, we’ll also be playing our copy of Sing the Faith.
Our children are a little too young for these kind of strategy games, but I do have some good ideas for games that have a Reformation-era or theological feel. I’m looking forward to future game nights in keeping with this theme!
- Mystery of the Abbey–Like Clue, but set in a French abbey.
- Pillars of the Earth–Cathedral building in England.
- Thurn and Taxis–Helpful for learning German geography.
- Thurn and Taxis: All Roads Lead to Rome
- 1655–Habemus Papam–Choosing a new Pope.
- Nuns on the Run
- The Name of the Rose
I’m very excited to get started on this, and really dive into church, and Lutheran, history. It should be a fun month!