What We’re Reading–Reformation 500

I’ve mentioned books we’ve read during October to learn about the Reformation, as well as books we’ve read to learn about our Lutheran heritage from time to time, but I’ve never put a list together in one place. In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation this month, here’s our list…books about Martin and Katie Luther, (and some of their contemporaries) and the Reformation itself, as well as books about and/or by other notable Lutherans, and books about Lutheran theology, for pretty much all ages:

The Basics:

Children’s Books:

Advanced Readers/Adult Titles:

School Resources:

No “What We’re Reading” list would be complete without a few non-book items, such as CDs and DVDs!

Blessed Reformation Day!

Blessed Reformation Day!

img_8628

Our Reformation Day festivities started yesterday at church, where we celebrated Luther’s German Mass, and sang many of my favorite Lutheran hymns:

Today, we had our traditional Reformation Day celebration. We read Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World this morning, and watched the “Reformation Polka.” We also had a celebratory dinner…beef stroganoff and buttered egg noodles with roasted carrots, and butterscotch haystacks (instead of Luther’s “Diet of Worms”) for dessert:

I’ve been holding on to this picture of the Fab Five in front of the Luther statue at Concordia University: Chicago since we visited last May…the same statue where I took a picture of Ryan on his graduation day in 2001!

I hope your Reformation Day was as pleasant as ours!

Adventures with Little Luther

I was so excited earlier this summer when I learned that the Playmobil Martin Luther figure was going to be released in the U.S. I must have been one of the first to pre-order it from Concordia Publishing House, and when I found out that they were encouraging people to share Martin Luther’s adventures over the summer with the hashtag #LittleLuther, I knew that was right up my alley.

My first photo was our Luther collection at home…what can I say? We’re very Lutheran!

IMG_3828

Little Luther was spotted at our Fourth of July celebration:

IMG_4038

Bunny was the first of our children to go away to camp, so Little Luther came with us to Camp Wartburg in Waterloo when we dropped her off:

IMG_4409

I had Little Luther with us on our vacation to Bowling Green, KY, Atlanta, GA, and Charleston, SC, but I only ever remembered to take his picture at the Corsair Distillery in Bowling Green. Have no fear, though…he visited places like Turner Field, Forts Sumter and Moultrie, and the beach at the Isle of Palms!

IMG_4483

He also accompanied us on our travels around Illinois, including Vandalia, home of the second state capital, and Springfield, where we visited the old and new Capitol buildings and the Lincoln Home, while we were learning about state history.

And he went on a few trips with us a bit closer to home…he was spotted at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Ted Drewes, Anheuser-Busch, and the Missouri History Museum.

He was even seen visiting our Lego Main Street!

IMG_6162

Chickadee is a big fan of Little Luther!

IMG_6255

She’s also a fan of Big Little Luther!

IMG_3480

This was a fun little promotion to add to our regularly scheduled summer activities!

October 31–Reformation Day

From the Treasury of Daily Prayer:

On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian monk posted ninety-five statements for discussion on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. Dr. Martin Luther hoped that posting his theses would bring about an academic debate regarding repentance, the sale of indulgences, and other matters of concern within the Roman Catholic Church. However, Rome eventually excommunicated Luther, judging him to be a heretic. Luther’s reforms, centered on the teaching that a believer is justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, sparked religious reforms not only in the German states but also in many European countries. In 1667, Elector John George II of Saxony standardized the custom of observing Luther’s October 31 posting of the Ninety-five Theses.

Learning About the Reformation

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:

And book basket selections from the “Hero of Faith” series for the children to choose from:

Plus a few other book basket choices:

As well as workbooks for varying ages:

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 previously mentioned 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!

I’m very excited to get started on this, and really dive into church, and Lutheran, history. It should be a fun month!