Friday, November 30, 2012

A Literature-Rich Advent Alphabet of Faith, Others, then Selves (Free Printable)

Including Ideas for Montessori, Workboxing, Sensory, Motor Skills and Traditional Activities

Last year, I created An Alphabet of Plans for a Literature-Based Family Advent Rich in Sensory Input and Special Activities, which served us well.  As I thought we would, we used the plan as a guide for our learning and fun during Advent, yet did not become slaves to it.  Rather, we went with the flow of life, reading most of the stories listed on the plan, doing some of the activities on it and adding other impromptu ones.  As a result, we enjoyed a relatively relaxed, yet meaningful Advent.

This year, I was going to simply tweak the plan to accommodate the shorter Advent season, but when I started to do so, I found that both my head and heart began to squawk:  Different year.  Different needs. 

Unfortunately, neither my head nor my heart initially clued me in to which of this year’s many desires I should consider when revamping our Advent plans.  Thus, I began a map-less journey through thoughts, books, blogs and computer files.  It was not a productive one, and, only after spending ridiculous amounts of time stumbling along, did I think to pull out the compass of prayer.

Duh!  Advent is about awaiting Jesus and silly me got so caught up in possible Advent to do’s and to read’s that I neglected to just get quiet with our Lord.  Thankfully, the Spirit prompted me to do so, and that is when the words “Faith, Others, then Selves” came to mind, quickly followed by an undeniable desire for more discipline in our home.  (Discipline in the sense of structuring time). 

During the full fall that we had, our daily rhythm at home became rather arrhythmic.  Too often, we weren’t at home at all, and when we were at home, positive habits were ignored and routines began to become more an exception than a rule.  Although learning, living an loving progressed, I feel that they did not do so as fully as they could have with more discipline.

So, as I look towards Advent, not only do I seek to inspire an atmosphere of joyful anticipation in our home, but also one of much needed restoration – re-establishing a steadier rhythm for how we learn, play and work while still keeping our main focus on the meaning of the season.

It was with these thoughts in mind that I proceeded to revamp last year’s Alphabet of Plans for a Literature-Based Family Advent Rich in Sensory Input and Special Activities or this year.  Now,with but a day to go, I have finally finished this year’s Literature-Rich Advent Alphabet of Faith, Others, then Selves.

I share it below as a free printable for anyone who would like to borrow ideas from it.  Included in the plan are:

  • a dated, alphabetical table of Key Advent Words, suggested Read Aloud choices, ideas for Montessori Tray and Workbox preparations and notations of Special Activities, Observances and Traditions
  • an explanation of our Ideal Weekday Rhythm for Advent
  • Daily Rhythm Cards that we will cut and use on a visual schedule to help us maintain discipline
  • A Theme Poster to remind us of our focus.

Of course, as we did last Advent we will use this year's plan as a guide, not a rule.  We won’t read every book or do every activity.  If we did, we’d be so busy doing there would be little time for just being – taking a quiet pause as we await Christmas.  

That said, I will be trying to hold us accountable to re-establishing a better daily rhythm of homekeeping, homeschooling and time to breathe and be.   For it is a new Liturgical Year, and for us, a fresh start to our home-and-school year.  NO need to wait until January 1st for that, as I see it.

Further explanation of what is included in this year's plan and how I expect it to unfold can be found on the plan itself, available here.

Please feel free to borrow ideas from the printable in order to enrich your family's or classroom’s Advent experience.    And, since I love finding new-to-me books and resources, reading about how others celebrate this special time of year and bookmarking ideas for the future, I’d appreciate it if you’d take a moment now to share your favorite traditions, book titles, CD titles, DVD titles, Montessori tray ideas, workbox activity ideas, etc. in a comment. 

May your Advent be blessed!


PS  For fellow Advent lovers, this post is linked to Liturgical Time's, Familia Catolica's and Catholic Blogger Network's link ups.  Click on over to these to glean more great ideas!


Elisa said...


I would love to read both this year's and last year's plans, but I can't seem to download them without logging in to the document service you use. Do you know who I can do that? Sorry, but I don't need another account.

Xhonane Olivas said...

Hello Martianne!
Thank you so much for participating at Familia Católica's Advent Link up! I am amazed at all you did for this Advent Alphabet of Faith!! This is a great resource for Catholics!! Thanks again!

Deb Chitwood said...

I really appreciate that you generously share so many wonderful ideas! I love your balance of literature, Montessori trays, and sensory activities. I didn't get this added right away, but I've added it to my Montessori-Inspired Nativity Activities at


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