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:
As well as workbooks for varying ages:
- The Story of Martin Luther Activity Book
- Luther, Servant of God
- Martin Luther Mini-curriculum (available for several grade levels)
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!
- 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!
On Saturday, we went to our church’s “Fall Fun Night.” This is one of my favorite social events of the year. There are always tons of fun games, (not always played by conventional rules)–bocce ball, volleyball, and ladderball to name a few. It’s so much fun to watch the children and adults playing these games together, and a great opportunity from the smallest children and the oldest adults, and everyone in between, to interact with each other.
Of course, the children always manage to make their own fun, too–running races, climbing trees, playing kickball, and inventing other games of their own design that I don’t understand.
After everyone had worn themselves out, it was just about time to eat. Hot dogs and brats for roasting over a campfire, plus chili and all the fixin’s, either to be eaten on its own, or in combination as a chili dog. And when everyone had their fill, there were still the ingredients to make s’mores!
Just as it started to get dark, it was time for the hayride. A true hayride, too–not just hard benches in a wagon like we’re used to at the apple orchard and pumpkin farm, but a wagon filled with, (imagine it), hay! The children loved it, especially tossing the hay at each other.
The last event of the night, (which we missed, thanks to my allergies–maybe I should have skipped the hayride!), was a sing-along around the campfire. I wish we could have stayed for that part, because it had become the perfect amount of chilly outside for sitting near the fire, and there was still plenty of hot chocolate to drink!
I have loved this quote from John Adams regarding Independence Day celebrations ever since I read it last year:
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty; it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
Even though he said it over 200 years ago, it describes perfectly our Fourth of July celebrations today!
- Pomp and Parade? Check! Between speeches and patriotic music, I think we’ve got pomp covered. And I do love a good Independence Day parade!
- Shows, Games and Sports? Check! The shows might be a little different from what John Adams had envisioned, but who doesn’t love an opportunity to watch Yankee Doodle Dandy? Or The Patriot? Or 1776? Or Independence Day? And the Fourth of July is a great time for families, friends, and neighbors to get together and play all sorts of games, or to watch a sporting event on TV.
- Guns? Check! Between cannon blasts, and fireworks, (which are really just colorful guns), this is probably the most anticipated event of any given Independence Day.
- Bells? Check! If not church bells ringing, then bells in concerts all across the country. Big or small, bells are ringing all around America for the Fourth of July.
- Bonfires and Illuminations? Check! There are those fireworks, again, and lights in general, as everyone stays up late to celebrate America’s birthday. Even backyard bonfires are not uncommon, as families huddle around them, and talk late into the night.
- From one end of the continent to the other? Check! I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love at least some aspect of the Fourth of July, whether it’s the fireworks or the time with family, the food or the parades. And it doesn’t matter if you live in a big city or small town, (or even on a farm in the middle of nowhere), east coast or west, north or south–Americans all over this country are celebrating today–celebrating our strength and our freedoms, celebrating all of the things that make this country great!
This is my favorite shelf in our game cabinet. It contains all of my very favorite games–the ones from Days of Wonder, (my favorite game company), including all of the different incarnations of Ticket to Ride and also Mystery of the Abbey, (which I love, even though I’m terrible at it!);The Pillars of the Earth, plus its expansion, as well as its sequel, World Without End; the Thurn and Taxis games, Carcassonne, (which Ryan just introduced me to, causing me to start looking at more game expansions), and even a game called Nuns on the Run. What can I say–I really enjoy the religious genre in games!
(Just don’t judge me for considering getting a game called The Name of the Rose, in which you play a monk with a secret identity, and also Habemus Papam, in which you get to, as the title suggests, elect a new pope.)
The only things missing from this shelf are Settlers of Catan, which is in a box so big and awkward, it has to reside on the top of the game cabinet, and Mystery Express, another Days of Wonder train based game that I hope to purchase at some point before it goes out of print!
Today our church had a church picnic. Now, I have to admit, I’m not really one for having church outdoors–not my thing. I do my worshipping best in a church. Also, trying to get four small children to behave for church outside, especially when we would not have had actual chairs to use for containment, is no small task. So I was not too excited about this event.
Thanks to what was apparently still Tropical Depression Ike when it got to us (never before have I experienced wind like that! I know for certain that I never want to experience an actual hurricane, and I’m certainly never going to live by the Gulf Coast!), we did end up having church indoors, which was far more comfortable for me, although I do feel bad for all of the people at our church who were looking forward to the annual outdoor service. The drive to church was certainly interesting, what with some hydroplaning and seeing a car stranded in a ditch submerged in quite a bit of water, and had the winds not calmed some before we left, we might not have braved it, but I’m glad we did!
The “picnic” (if you can still call it that when it was inside) afterwards was so much fun! I’m so glad we stayed for it. We really shouldn’t have–because we weren’t sure if we were going to go at all and/or stay after the service, I had no side dish to pass. I’m still feeling bad about that, especially since our family of six can eat a lot (and especially since Ladybug’s teeth have finally arrived, and she has discovered the joy of eating real food!). But, here’s the thing–also thanks to Tropical Depression Ike, we had no power when we left for church, and as best as we can figure, it didn’t come back on until after lunch time, so we really didn’t have a way to eat at home. So, we threw guilt aside, and stayed for lunch.
The children got to play fun games, and won entirely too many prizes. Seriously, it’s like Christmas around here with all the stuff they got. Even Moose got to participate in the sucker pull, and between that and some trading with Turkey and Bunny, he got a small soccer ball, and echo microphone and some M&Ms, all of which he is ecstatic about, and does not want to part with (except for the M&Ms, which he of course promptly ate!). Turkey and Bunny have no end to new stuff–both a football and a soccer ball, beach balls, pens, bubbles, puzzles, candy, other stuff I’m sure I’m missing. And Turkey won a prize at the cake walk (actually, Bunny won once, too, but it was one treat per family, and she won second), and much to my delight, picked a beautiful tray of cupcakes, which I’m not too proud to admit I was hoping he’d choose (yum!).
Oh, and did I mention the food? There’s nothing like a bunch of Lutheran ladies for providing you with a great meal! Not to mention their faithful husbands, manning the grills, even in questionable weather. We discovered that Turkey likes brats, which he had never been interested in before, Bunny likes grilled chicken, deviled eggs are enough like egg salad that children find them delicious, and, of course, desserts are awesome. It was such a fun afternoon (I only wish we could have stayed for the Bible bingo, but the younger two were very tired and really ready to go), and I can’t think of any group of people I’d rather spend time with than our church family. Every one of us, from my Mister, right on down to little Ladybug, has people to talk to and spend time with–does it get any better than that?
Thought I’d take a departure from my usual lists of things to write about what I like best about my house.
Upstairs Laundry Room–First of all, after living in three different apartments, I’m still just grateful to have my own washer and dryer! And, ever since my vicarage-induced fear of basements, the idea of having to go down into one almost daily has terrified me. I love that the machines are upstairs, where most of the stuff I wash is located. I also love that it’s right next to the playroom, so I don’t have to wonder what my children are up to when I’m doing one of the at least ten loads of laundry that need to be washed every week.
Upstairs Playroom–I suppose if we had a finished playroom in the basement, that could be on the list as well (basement phobia aside). The point is, I like having a place for our toys that’s not in the main living area of the house. It helps at least contain the clutter when the bulk of the toys are upstairs.
Open Kitchen/Living Room–It’s so nice to be able to be a part of what’s going on in the main area of the house when I’m cooking, cleaning, or doing something at the table like clipping coupons.
Kitchen Faucet–Silly thing to like, I know, but it pulls out from the fixture to become the dish sprayer. Genius!
Pantry–Big enough to hold everything I want it to, and also keep the trash can and the craft bin out of the way. I applaud the person who decided that kitchens deserved closets, too!
Kitchen Island–(Can you tell I love my kitchen?!?) I love the extra work space and cabinet space. But what I really love about the island is that it allows me to work at the counter without turning my back on the rest of the kitchen/my children/the TV/the door (I’m weird about having my back to the door). I can see what’s going on, and still prepare my meals–the best of both worlds!
Blankets–We have a stack of blankets in the corner (when the children haven’t draped them all over) of our living room. They don’t match each other or anything else–we have fleece and chenille, character blankets and quilts, animal and sports themed blankets. But I love knowing that if someone is chilly when watching a movie, or just wants to snuggle in a blanky because it’s soft, they can just grab a blanket off the pile.
Game Cabinet–I love this for two reasons. One, I love the armoire itself. It’s pretty, I like the color of the wood, and it matches the rest of the furniture. Two, I love that it’s filled with all kinds of games. Games for kids and games for adults, family games, group games, and, of course, my favorite, our collection of Ticket to Ride games. The place to go if you’re looking for some fun!
TV–Just in case the fun we’re looking for is a little more passive than games, I’m happy that we have a nice TV (and a nice collections of DVDs to go with it!) where we can veg out together, watch movies, the news, the Olympics (can you tell I can’t wait?)–whatever strikes our fancy.
Living Room Picture–We bought this picture of Jesus as a toddler helping Joseph in his carpentry shop as a wedding gift to each other. It is one of the few things that has been with us on all our moves, and displayed proudly in all our homes. My favorite thing about it is the shadow cast behind toddler Jesus, not in the shape of a child, but the shape of a cross. Very cool.
Mission Theme–I didn’t even realize at first that our house had a theme, decor-wise. Then, one day it hit me–we have a lot of mission furniture, and the other decorations, especially in the living room, also kind of fit the theme. Maybe I have decorating talent I wasn’t even aware of!
Master Bathroom–Maybe it’s because my parent’s house didn’t have a master bedroom/bathroom, but it’s still a novelty to me that we have a bathroom connected our bedroom. I also love the garden style tub and separate shower–it’s as close to a spa as I’ll ever get.
Walk-in Closets–The three bedrooms we use as such all have walk-in closets. It’s so nice to have the extra space for all our stuff–we’ve even put our dressers for two of the bedrooms in the closets! It’s almost decadent!
Bookshelves–I love our bookshelves, not for themselves, because they’re the cheap, put-it-together-yourself from Target kind, but for the massive number of books we have on them. I still use the library a lot, but I love knowing that I can find a book from pretty much any genre right here in my own home if I so desire.
Bedding–I love the bedding we have. I’m specifically referring to our fall/winter bedding, because we just have a light blanket for the summer. But our heavy comforter is the prettiest shade of indigo, and has matching shams and Euro shams, which I am a total sucker for–just love them. Makes it seem like a hotel. And the high thread count sheets–I’ll never go back to cheap-o sheets again. For that matter, I also love the bedding in our guest room–also has high thread count sheets, and I think the plaid comforter is very nice.
Back Door–I like having an actual door in kitchen. Not a sliding door, but a regular old six panel door. I am grateful not to have to worry about having blinds or curtains across a sliding door.
Photo Groupings–I spent a lot of time figuring out how I wanted to arrange the special photos I had framed. I moved them around a bit, but for now, I think I have them way I want them. Two black and white and three color groupings in the den (including one of our wedding photos, and one of the children’s first birthday portraits), as well as a Christmas-themed grouping in the living room. I love having pictures of family and happy times to look at!
Christmas Decorations–They’re only out for four to six weeks of the year, but I love the decorations we’ve put together–our house definitely looks prettiest in December!
Americana Wall–My theme wall in the kitchen. If we ever finish painting (it’s looking doubtful), all the kitchen walls will be red, and the valance and one curtain we have are navy blue. Right next to the window with the blue curtain is my wall grouping of Americana “stuff.” Rustic looking flags, stars, Uncle Sam, a “liberty” sign–you get the idea. I’ve been collecting the stuff in that grouping (and it’s not that huge–less than ten things) since before we got married. I really like what I’ve accumulated and the way I’ve arranged it, although I am looking for one last piece to balance it out. I’ll know it if I ever see it–I’m waiting for something of a very specific size and shape!
Den Table–My in-laws gave us this neat table for our first Christmas in this house. It’s a skinny table (What do you call that? A cocktail table maybe? A console table?) in our mission style. What makes it special, though, is that they mod-podged pictures of our house at the various stages of the building process (and a cool picture of the first snow after we moved in!) on to the top. Such a thoughtful gift, and such special memories.
Rocking Chair–Also a gift from my in-laws, this is something of a family heirloom. They wrote on the underside of the chair who it belonged to and when they gave it to us. I enjoyed rocking Ladybug in this chair when she was tiny, and now it’s going to be the “teacher chair” in our schoolroom.
Schoolroom–I have to brag on myself a bit, here. I love the way our schoolroom (also known as the guest room) has come together. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on it, but I really think it looks quite school-y, and is quickly becoming a favorite room in the house for everyone!
My Family–I would be remiss if I left out my family, since they are in the house most of the time. It wouldn’t be my home without my family in it, and they are the best thing I’ve got going!
Ryan shared some very exciting news with me this morning! Days of Wonder is going to be releasing Ticket to Ride: Christmas Edition (more commonly known as Ticket to Ride: Nordic Countries) on a limited basis worldwide this September. If you were following my blog last week, you know that I was lamenting the fact that I did not own a copy of this game (the only Ticket to Ride board game we don’t have, in fact), and was scheming as to how I might import a copy without giving away an arm and a leg or one of children to get it here. This news has obviously made my day!
We had already decided that we’re going to have a low key Christmas this year, gift-wise, what with gas prices and the unexpected property tax bill, and the equally unexpected decision to homeschool. Ryan mentioned this a.m. that perhaps we will pick this up as our gift to each other this year. That doesn’t entirely seem fair, as, even though he beats me almost every time, I like the game way more than he does. On the other hand, who am I to turn down a gift? All I know is, it is going to be mighty hard to buy it in September (which I know we will–I’m not willing to push the envelope on just how “limited” this release is!) and then wait until Christmas to play. It will be very seasonal, though, which will make it even more fun. Maybe we should even make a rule that we only play this one in the winter-time, to preserve it’s specialness!
The funny thing is, I just told Ryan this weekend that I was thinking of e-mailing Days of Wonder and begging them to either release the game here, or smuggle me a copy. I didn’t follow through with it because *someone* told me there was no point–now I wish I had! I could have had a very happy e-mail from them announcing the game, and a little fodder for an “I told you so!”
Ticket to Ride–Any and all varieties of this game rock! This family of games is my all time favorite of anything I’ve ever played. The board games, (Europe, Switzerland, Märklin, USA 1910) the card game–I’m even assuming the Xbox version is good. Each game has unique characteristics, so while the basis of the game remains the same, there are differences from version to version that make them all fun. Whether it’s the addition of stations, passengers, or ferries and tunnels, there’s a lot going on in this series. And the new card game has a whole other type of play that is confusing, intriguing and fun. It’s weird, because I don’t win too often, but I can’t help but love it. Now if I could just import a copy of the Nordic Countries board…it’s like Ticket to Ride, Christmas edition!
Mystery of the Abbey–Like Clue, but harder, and much more liturgical. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not very good at this one, but the game itself is so enjoyable, I don’t even mind losing! You even get to ring the bell when it’s time for Mass.
Yahtzee–Poker with dice. How can you go wrong?
Trivial Pursuit–I admit that my husband is the one in the family who is really good at this game, but as a child, I looked forward to the day when I would be allowed to participate (the adults always paired up men vs. women when the family got together), so it still feels special to me to get to play.
Uno–I grew up on this one, and it will always be my favorite card game.
Phase 10–It can take a long time to play, but it’s a fun family game, good for having a conversation over.
Rage–I haven’t played this one too many times yet, but it’s easy to understand, moves quickly, and is quite fun, and that’s high praise from me as far as card games go!
Adventure–Remember the old text adventure game? My dad introduced me to it when I was quite young, and his work had finally given him a computer to use at home. I inevitably ended up in a “maze of twisty little passages, all different,” or, for kicks, a “maze of twisty little passages, all alike.” Good times, good times.
Tetris–I don’t care if it’s played on an old computer, a Gameboy or a more advanced game system. It can have extra features (cubes, anyone?) or be the plain old game. No matter what format it comes in, I love it, and it will make me crazy!
Solitaire—Freecell, Spider, 40 Thieves–I love ’em all.
Age of Empires–Given my love of history, this was always an intriguing game to play. I especially liked building cathedrals.
Zoo Tycoon–If you ever wondered what it would be like to manage a zoo, this game fulfills the fantasy. Be careful–if you don’t have proper upkeep on your exhibits, the animals will escape!
Roller Coaster Tycoon–I haven’t really played since college, but man, was that a fun game!
Bejeweled–You can play this game in so many formats–on your phone, the Xbox, the computer. I can’t believe I couldn’t get any achievements on the Xbox version!
Zuma–For a while last year, my children referred to the Xbox as the “Zuma machine” because that’s all I played on it.
Mario Kart–I have loved every incarnation of this game I have played, but my favorite is still the Nintendo 64 version (but the Wii version is a close second!). I love driving around with Yoshi.
Zelda: Ocarina of Time–I think this is the best Zelda ever, and maybe the best video game I’ve ever played. The story was good, the setting was pretty, I liked the characters. Of course, Ryan had to beat a lot of the bosses for me, but I still had a good time!
Mario 64–True to form, (the first version of any game I play tends to be my favorite–see Mario Kart and Zelda above), this is my favorite of the Mario games. I was introduced to video games late in life (thank you Ryan!), so while I had some peripheral experiences with Mario at friends’ houses, I never really played until college. I still love sitting down with this game, if only to run around the castle. At this point, I could do most levels in my sleep, but it’s entertaining and cute.