Easter Monday

After the busyness of Holy Week and Easter, Easter Monday can be a bit of a letdown. But we did finish our Jesus Tree today, and that’s quite an accomplishment considering that last year, we only made it about a week before we gave up (I blame COVID-19).

Since we had some leftover Easter lamb, I shredded it to go on lamb “nachos,” which is always a popular dinner.

I kind of missed having a church service to go to today, after four straight days of services, but it was still a nice day, and we kept of the spirit of Easter going!

Approaching Lent

It’s hard to believe, but Lent begins on Wednesday. If you’re looking for some family Lenten ideas, I have a few suggestions.

Our Lenten traditions actually begin the day before Lent officially begins. On Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday), we say goodbye to the Alleluias. This may require some reverse engineering if you don’t already have an Alleluia Banner. It can be simple…an alleluia drawn on construction paper, and then put away until Easter. Or, it can be more complicated–a banner with the word alleluia, or, like ours, with the word alleluia in every liturgical color. How fancy your alleluias are isn’t the point…making a point to say goodbye, and put them away until Lent is over is what you’re trying to share with your children. When you make a big deal out of putting them away, bringing them back after the Great Vigil of Easter is an even bigger celebration!

For the last few years, we’ve put up a “Jesus Tree” throughout the season of Lent. Similar to the Jesse Tree, its Advent counterpart, the Jesus Tree focuses on stories from Jesus’ life, culminating with the events of Holy Week. We all really enjoy adding this to our morning routine…the Bible readings (many days, we’ll read the story from both the Bible and a children’s Bible storybook), are very helpful in refreshing our memories, and the visual component of the tree itself helps us to remember all we’ve learned.

Last year, I added a Lent calendar to our schoolroom. Because Lent is such a long season, to young children especially, it seems like it may never end. While the Jesus Tree is good because there is a reading for every day in Lent, when you’re counting up like that, you can’t see the end. A calendar helps children see what day it currently is, and where you are in the season of Lent. I also added markers for special commemoration days like St. Patrick’s Day and the Annunciation. This year, I’m considering putting a black cross on every square in Lent, except for the current day, which will remain purple. This way, the children can take down one cross at the end of the day, to emphasize how many days there are in the season.

Possibly my favorite Lenten tradition is the making and blessing of the yearly Paschal candle. This is something we do on Holy Saturday every year, so it’s ready when we get home from the Great Vigil of Easter. It doesn’t take much time, and the kit we use makes it a simple activity. I think it’s a special way to end Lent, and it’s a nice way to tie church and home together.

These are just a few ideas for how you can celebrate Lent in your home. What else does your family do to observe this penitential season?

Third Grade: Week Twenty Wrap-Up

Another busy week in third grade! We’ve continued to work on fractions and division, (with remainders!), learned about the Louisiana Purchase, the War of 1812, and “The Star Spangled Banner” in U.S. History, and wrapped up our study of subjects and predicates in grammar. We also continued our Latin review from last week, which was an eye-opening exercise. I always figured that foreign languages would be Bunny’s “thing,” because she’s always had such a good grasp of language in general. And she does fine at it, although, she hasn’t yet memorized all the declensions we’ve worked on. Turkey, on the other hand, I assumed would struggle a bit with learning another language, because he’s more of a math/engineering guy. What I didn’t take into account, however, is that Latin is a very logical language, which really appeals to his brain, and so he’s been able to memorize everything, from vocabulary to conjugations to declensions, with amazing speed. It’s really quite impressive to listen to him rattle off a declension!

We started a new religion program for Lent this week as well. I’m using this in the same way as I did our Jesse Tree during Advent–instead of our regular Scripture readings, and readings from our Bible Handbook, we’re using the Scripture readings from the Jesus Tree, but this time, we’re doing it twice a day, once from the ESV, and once from a children’s Bible. We are continuing our regular study of the catechism, and making sure we do a lot of review, especially as we prepare for Confirmation on Palm Sunday. We’re also reading through Amon’s Adventure this Lent, which isn’t directly related to our religion lessons, but is complementary.

We also managed to find time for a really cool field trip this week. While the mastodons and mammoths didn’t really have anything to do with what we’re currently learning about, (I just really wanted to see the exhibit while it was in town!), the History Museum itself has a lot to do with the Louisiana Purchase, especially the 1904 World’s Fair exhibit, and that tied in nicely with our history lessons, even though I hadn’t planned that timing in the least. We had another circumstance of unintentional good timing this week, too, as we learned about the state of Louisiana in general, and Mardi Gras in particular–quite timely. I love when things like that work out with no effort at all on my part!

We’ve only got about three more weeks of school left, before we take a break due to Chickadee’s arrival. Hopefully, in that time, we’ll be able to plow through a lot more of our material, so we don’t have to keep working all summer long!