2018-19 School Year–Week Fifteen+

Since Thanksgiving week is never a full week of school for us, I combined last week’s wrap-up with our full week this week, starting with our annual hand-and-footprint turkeys and our completed Thankful Tree for the year:

Turkey and Bunny have been doing one of my favorite things in chemistry…balancing equations. Unfortunately, I don’t think they enjoy that activity as much as I do. They have also been completing the square in math. They finally made it to the fourth act of Romeo and Juliet. Their creative writing assignments have focused on poetry. In history, they learned about Gregory the Great, among other things.

Ladybug worked a lot with decimals in math. She continued to practice outlining in writing. In science, she learned about horses’ diets…both what is good for them to eat, and what is bad. Her history lessons have focused on the Crusades. She’s also enjoying reading Justin Morgan had a Horse for the first time!

Chickadee practiced counting different kinds of coins in math. She also learned more beginning blends in reading. There’s been a lot of overlap between the words she’s learning to read and her spelling words, which is nice. We’re getting close to finishing Treasure from Grandma, and she was worried that was the last book in the series…until I told her we have two more books at home, and should be able to get the rest from the library!

We had a Christmas-related field trip this week, and it tied into our medieval-focused history for the year, too! We went to the Boar’s Head Festival for the first time since Chickadee was a baby. It was a lot of fun to experience the production again, and it gave us a good approximation of a medieval celebration.

The Boar’s Head Festival

The boar’s head in hand bear I
bedecked with bays and rosemary.
And I pray you my masters, be merry,
Quot estis in convivio.
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

The boar’s head, as I understand,
Is the bravest dish in all the land.
When thus bedecked with a gay garland,
Let us servere cantico.
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

Our steward has provided this
In honor of the King of Bliss;
Which on this day to be served is,
In Regimensi atrio.
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

The mightiest hunter of them all
We honor in this festal hall
Born of a humble virgin mild,
Heaven’s King became a helpless Child.
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

He hunted down through earth and hell
The swart boar death until it fell.
This mighty deed for us was done.
Therefore sing we in unison:
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

Let not this boar’s head cause alarm,
The huntsman drew his power to harm.
So death, which still appears so grim,
Has yielded all its power to Him!
Caput apri defero,
Reddens laudes Domino.

On Friday night, we had the opportunity to attend a performance of the Boar’s Head Festival, at Peace Lutheran Church in St. Louis. It’s been 12 years since I’ve gotten to go to the festival (at a different church), so I was very excited to refresh my memory about it, and to take the children, and see their reactions. (I wasn’t disappointed!) It also fit in well with our “Christmas in England” theme for Christmas School this year.

All of the children loved it, even Chickadee. There was so much to watch and listen to, and even though we were sitting in the back, because of all of the activity in the aisles of the church, they had plenty to look at. There was dancing and various musical performances (including a bagpiper, trumpets, and madrigals), and entertainment from a court jester (hilarious!), in addition to the presentation of the feast, the yule log, the wassailers, and the nativity story at the end.

If you’ve never been to a Boar’s Head Festival before, here’s a rough outline:

The Courtly Story

  • The Coming of the Yule Sprite
  • The Approach of the Herald Banners
  • Procession of the Beefeaters
  • The Boar’s Head Procession
  • Court Entertainment
  • The Yule Log Procession
  • The Wassailers

The Christmas Story

  • Mary and Joseph Approach the Inn
  • The Apparition
  • The Shepherds
  • The Adoration of the Wise Men
  • The Christ Light

After the festival was over, we got to head over to the gym and enjoy cookies, punch, and wassail. And take pictures of the performers. The lighting wasn’t great, so my pictures aren’t as good as I hoped, but they still give a general idea of what the evening was like.

A wise man and the jester…what an odd pairing!

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A monk:

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The Beefeaters (Turkey loved seeing them!):

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The baker:

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A bagpiper (minus his tall fur hat):

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Lords and ladies aplenty:

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And, of course, good King Wenceslas himself:

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The costumes were detailed and beautiful:

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And the props were excellent, as well:

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Of course, the star of the performance–the Boar’s Head:

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The children decided that their favorite part of the evening was the singing of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” as acted out by the jesters. I have to say, I agree…it was hilarious.

It did run a little long, which was too bad, because the part that became “boring” was the nativity story at the end. But everything before that was enjoyed by everyone (especially when the servers came through with cookies for the audience during the feast!). I’m glad we made time in our busy pre-Christmas schedule to attend!

God bless our fam’lies here at peace
Wherever they may be!
Those who wander, those at home,
In Christ are one with Thee:
Love and joy come to you
And to you your wassail too.
And God bless you and send you a Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.

It was a Good Idea, Anyway

I was all excited, because I found out that a local church puts on a Boar’s Head Christmas Festival (every year, I’m assuming).  I’ve only ever been to a Boar’s Head festival once, probably eight or nine years ago, but it was the coolest thing, and every Christmas, I’ve remembered it, and wanted to go again.  So, you can imagine my excitement upon finding one, and the idea of taking the children to see it!  All the costumes, the singing, the music–I know they would love it…

The excitement was short-lived.  I was basically told that children aren’t welcome, unless they can be “completely silent” for the entire time.  Maybe the five year old would be OK, *if* he could follow this mandate but the rest…now, the older children especially are pretty well-behaved in church, but I don’t think they’ve ever been “completely silent” unless they were sleeping.

I get that people go to see the pageantry and don’t want to be interrupted.  But I would think that given that my children are used to going to church, and know basically how to behave there, that they could overlook some whispered questions about what’s going on.  I guess maybe I’m just being selfish about wanting them to have that experience.  But I can’t be the only person who wants to take small children to see something so cool–can I?  You’d think with seven or so performances, they could designate one “appropriate” for families with children.

It would have been a good history lesson, not to mention getting to see the telling of Jesus’ birth in a way they never have before.  It’s just another example of a place in church where my children are not wanted. There are entirely too many places in *most* churches where children are not welcome, where they are shuttled off away from the adults, to do their own thing.  And that’s supposed to be a good idea why?  I’m pretty sure people of all ages went to see Jesus (actually I’m certain–suffer the little children unto me, anyone?).  I could easily get despondent about this, but instead, I’m going to comfort myself with the fact that at least they are welcome, and wanted, in our home congregation, which is the best church I have ever attended!

Maybe I can get a DVD version of the Boar’s Head Festival to watch at home?  It’s either that, or wait another four years or so, until they’re all “old enough” to go…