Reformation Wrap-Up

Today marks the end of our month-long study of the Reformation. Here’s a review of all the things we learned and the fun we had!

We read lots of books, some out loud, and others as book basket selections. One of our favorites every year is the Luther biography by Paul Maier.

We made eight lapbooks, one as an overview of the people and events of the Reformation, and the other seven focusing on different Reformers.

We also learned about seven rulers (plus Pope Leo X), and completed a notebooking sheet for each.

Of course, everyone’s favorite part of our studies were the crafts. We designed our own coat-of-arms:

Made stained “glass” windows:

Illuminated letters and practiced being scribes:

Made a banner to hang in our school room:

And, of course, made Luther’s Seal:

We also listened to a lot of music, some by Luther, some by Bach, and some by other Lutheran hymn writers.

We were supposed to go on two field trips this month. The first one was a visit to the Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival in Frohna, MO, I had to cancel that on account of fog, which was disappointing because it’s one of our favorite events every year. Our other field trip, that actually worked out, was going to the Seminary in St. Louis to hear Ryan sing “Ein Feste Burg” with the American Kantorei as part of the Bach at the Sem series. That same day, we also got to attend a fun Reformation Celebration at our church.

We even enjoyed a German meal at home on Reformation Day! Jägerschnitzel with buttered noodles and sauerkraut for dinner (with Leinie’s Oktoberfest beer for those of drinking age!), and homemade apple strudel for dessert…delicious!

This was a fun way to spend the month of October, and I’m glad I finally came up with an in-depth unit for us to learn all about the Reformation!

Fall Festival at the Saxon Lutheran Memorial

OK, so I’m several weeks late sharing this, but better late than never, right?

We drove down to Frohna, MO, again this year for the Fall Festival at the Saxon Lutheran Memorial. It was a beautiful day to be there–not quite as hot as last year, but still warm and sunny, with a nice breeze. Like last year, we really enjoyed seeing all of the demonstrations, and even getting to try out a few things ourselves.

One of the children’s favorite demonstrations every year is fiber-making. First, they had to pull wool apart to separate it, then twist it to make a, (very short), piece of yarn. The lady doing the demonstration was very nice, and also very quick at her work. It took us a little while to catch on to the technique, but once we got the hang of it, I think we were able to do a pretty good job!

I really enjoyed watching another lady making lace. I don’t remember seeing that done last year, and it was fascinating to see all of the work that goes into it. I can understand all of the jokes about women going blind making lace, now–it’s very exacting, finely detailed work!

Although we resisted buying a sample to try, we did get to see donuts being made. They looked delicious, especially after their bath in the glaze!

We also watched apple butter being cooked in a huge kettle over a fire. I’m glad I didn’t have that job–it was really hot over there!

Another one of the children’s favorite demonstrations was the laundry area. They thought it was great fun to wring out the wet rags–I wonder how they would feel about it if they had to do that job on a regular basis? I know that after watching all of the scrubbing and rinsing and wringing, I’m very grateful for my washing machine, (not to mention the dryer!).

Everyone also got a chance at sawing logs. Turkey really took this job very seriously, and he was quite proud of himself when he was done!

We visited the wood-carver, and once again, I was astonished by how many different tools were needed in that profession. The workshop there is quite impressive, and the wood-carver is very nice.

Of course, the day wouldn’t have been complete without singing/seeing “The Schnitzelbank.” That’s definitely my favorite part of the trip, and I wasn’t disappointed. We also enjoyed having a nice lunch of brats while waiting for the singing to start.

There were many other demonstrations that we saw while we were there–a cider press, a blacksmith, sorghum-making, quilting, weaving, and candle-making to name a few. (There were also a few that we somehow missed, including butter-churning and rope-making.) The children also got to swing on a rope swing in the barn, and even climbed the ladder up to the barn loft, (guess who was nominated to go up there with them?). We didn’t stay for the showing of the new Walther movie, but that was to be done outside at dusk, complete with a hot dog and marshmallow roast.

It’s an amazingly fun, (and educational!), experience, and well worth the drive. It really gave me an idea of what our Saxon-Lutheran ancestors were like, and what kind of lives they lived!

Saxon Lutheran Memorial Fall Festival

We had the chance to attend a really cool festival at the Saxon Lutheran Memorial in Frohna, MO. To be honest, I was almost certain we had gotten lost on the way there–I knew it was over 90 minutes from our home, but I wasn’t prepared for the twisty country roads we would be driving on, and I really thought we had missed a turn somewhere. What else are you supposed to think when you’ve been over the river *and* through the woods, and still no sign of civilization (or Grandmother’s house!)? But just as I was really starting to panic, we found it–and the tons of people that were already there (which was weird, because for most of our journey on Missouri state highways, we never saw another car, only farm vehicles!).

I was not prepared for how huge of an event this would be, or how fun and interesting it was. There were demonstrations of old-time trades, buildings to tour, a costume contest, lots of food tents, German bands, vendors selling hand-made wares, and, of course, the Schnitzelbank.

We had the opportunity to see many different people at work, doing many different things, including:

  • wheel-making
  • butter churning
  • wood working
  • broom making (fascinating to watch!)
  • quilting
  • log splitting
  • sausage making (we missed out on seeing the brains, thankfully!)
  • cider pressing
  • weaving
  • flour grinding (so much work!)
  • blacksmithing
  • wool combing

It was amazing to see all of these craftspeople at work, doing things we normally think of only in the past-tense. It was also an amazing reminder of how much easier our physical tasks are now. I couldn’t believe the amount of work that went into grinding flour, and how little flour resulted from that work. Turkey found out first hand just how much work sawing a log is, but he enjoyed the chance to help out. Moose also really loved watching him–he sat down of his own accord and just enjoyed watching the saw go.

The old buildings were also very cool. One building we toured was called the “Confirmation Room,” and we learned that it was part of an early church and school. It’s purpose was only for eighth grade confirmation classes–the eighth grade students were pulled from the two school buildings during a part of the school day for their religious instruction. I have never heard of anything like that before, so I was quite intrigued, to say the least. I also loved that the two people giving the tour of that building *both* showed Turkey and Bunny the inkwells in the desks, and explained how little boys used to dip the ends of little girls’ pigtails in the ink. I’m not sure my children really believed them, but it was a great story for them to hear.

We also got to see a decent number of farm animals, including a baby llama that was one of the cutest creatures I’ve ever seen. There were also goats, a donkey, and a fair number of sheep in that pen. We saw a horse in a stall near the broom-making (I think he would have been happier running free!), a pair of alpacas, and a bunch of chickens in the chicken coop. The animals were, not surprisingly, Ladybug’s favorite part.

We got to sample homemade bread with fresh churned butter *and* homemade apple butter–a big hit with the children. The slices were amazingly thick, and the toppings generous. The ladies working the churn were right next to our table, and we enjoyed watching them work. We also saw them making the apple butter in a huge pot over a fire–that, too, looked like a lot of work. The day wouldn’t have been complete without buying some to take home–we ended up with a whole quart!

Of course, the highlight of the day was the singing of the Schnitzelbank. Not only was there an accordion player (my favorite), and the traditional posters from Mader’s restaurant to help lead the singing, but they put on a whole skit with a person dressed up as or holding each item in the song. It was great to hear the whole crowd singing along–it was even more fun to hear Ladybug shout “we haven’t sung the Schnitzelbank yet!” a few minutes before it started.