Friday, February 27, 2015

Want to Know the Most Requested CD in Our Minivan Lately? {An In Freedom's Cause Review}

When our family was introduced to Heirloom Audio Productions last year, we discovered a CD that we could not get enough of.  Last month, we were blessed to receive In Freedom's Cause Single Package to review and can honestly say we cannot get enough of this awesome audio theater. 

In Freedom's Cause has played over and over again in our minivan in the past month.  I think the only time it has not been on when we've been out and about has been when we have forgotten to bring it back to our vehicle after taking it inside to listen to during chores and playtime.  We just love it!

Our Experience

Image Credit

For our review, we received:

We also received links to a few extra special bonuses, such as a 30-minute video documentary with the cast, crew and actors of In Freedom's Cause in the studio, which we watched as a family.   

"You know what, Mom?  I wish I could write audio dramas.  I want to make things like In Freedom's Cause.My oldest son commented to me after watching this documentary and listening to the audio CD's.

Yep.  In Freedom's Cause is inspiring!  It comes alive with:

  • adventure
  • excitement
  • faith and values
  • rich vocabulary
  • discussion opportunities
  • characters that you cannot help but to cheer for
  • and, an engaging tale of Scotland's fight for freedom.

The first time we listened to In Freedom's Cause, we were headed out for a Sabbath day family walk.  No sooner did we arrive at the trailhead parking lot then did our children beg us to "...please wait.  Please let us finish one more track..." before exiting our minivan.  

Indeed, before our children had even heard the entire In Freedom's Cause audio theater production, they were already swept up in the engaging story of Wallace and the Bruce.  As a result, once we commenced our hike, our children quickly found sticks and began to enact the swashbuckling saga of Scots fighting for freedom that had captured their imaginations.

All along the trail, our children dramatized the latest G.A. Henty story that Heirloom Audio Productions had brought to life for them.

Then, when we returned to our minivan, the children gladly buckled in to listen to the rest of In Freedom's Cause, which we have all come agree is far more than just an audiobook adaptation of a classic piece of literature.  In fact, it is a dramatic "radio theater" type saga, wherein music, sound effects and the voices of a star-studded cast come together to offer a complete auditory feast that ignites imaginations, immerses listeners in history come to life, and inspires souls with examples of faith!

Image Credit

Bedtime chats, free time play, mealtime conversations and more in our home have all been affected by our introduction to In Freedom's Cause.  Time and time again, I hear my children talking and giggling about the story.  I have also introduced thoughts and ideas from the In Freedom's Cause Study Guide to the children during informal discussions.

For us, there is no need to use the comprehension questions included in the the 49-page, full-color study guide ebook, which comes in printable PDF form.  That is not because the questions are not excellent.  It is simply because my children's impromptu conversations and dramatic play evidence that they understand the story even without the questions.  Truly, my children spontaneously narrate parts of In Freedom's Cause with accuracy just because they love it so.  

However, should I ever want my children to work on the skill of writing answers for comprehension questions, I will surely pull from the "Listening Well" segments of the study guide, since these segments pose well-written, specific questions for each segment of the In Freedom's Cause story.

There are also "Thinking Further" questions in the Study Guide, which encourage listeners to move past the surface of the story, digging deeper into interpretation and take aways.  Some of the material in these questions has played into my family's informal discussions about In Freedom's Cause, and, when my children are a bit older, may become fodder for exercises in how to answer open response questions.

The Study Guide also offers vocabulary lists, which we did not attack formally, but which I found helpful anyway.  You see, when we listen to In freedom's Cause, my children naturally ask, "Mommy, what does ____ mean?" in response to the rich vocabulary used within the audio drama.   The Study Guide vocabulary lists, then, are handy so I can be sure I know which words they might ask me about.

Three Bible studies are also included in the Study Guide.  These compliment and extend the faith ideas that are seamlessly woven into the script of Wallace and the Bruce.

A Word About In Freedom's Cause from Each of Us

Every person in our family has positive things to say about In Freedom's Cause.

Jack (age 4) said:
It was a fun story.  The Scottish win.  I like it.
He has also been known to say, "I'm Ned.  Who are you? Sir John Kerr?" when challenging Daddy to duct tape weapon battles.

Dad has said:
There's nothing I disliked about In Freedom's Cause.  I found it entertaining... engaging...  I loved the Scottish accents... It gives a lot of history, entertains you, brings historical characters to life... t does not go over the top with battles scenes but makes clear the intensity of the people involved  and their passion for fighting go Scotland.

Dad has also been regularly practicing his Scottish accent, much to the amusement of all of us.  Little is cuter than when he and the kids model after lines from the story trying to sound like Scots!  
Luke (age 9) has commented"
That CD inspired me.  I wish I could write audio dramas... I like how they are narrating and like you are actually there. 
My favorite part is the battle where Bruce defeats his enemy.
I hope they (Heirloom Audio Productions) make one about the American Revolutionary War, too.

And, Nina (age 7) keys into the humor of the audio theater when she has said:
I thought the part where the girl said, "What is a boy doing down on the ground looking up at a girl up in a tree?" was funny.  (Nina always gets excited by the female characters included in Heirloom Audio Production stories!)
 When they use the goat woo, that was so funny.  "That s the most desperate thing I have ever heard in my life...."  (Imagine my little girl breaking into fits of giggles as she puts on a Scottish accent and continues to narrate what she recalls of the goat woo scene.)
 And when they talk about Wallace, it's funny, like when he was shot in the neck with an arrow and just said "That hurt my neck a great deal," or when he was fishing and had to face an enemy.

And me?  I think it's pretty clear, I love In Freedom's Cause for so many reasons.  Among them:

  • It is a "page turner" of an audio drama which keeps us all riveted.  (That means excited listening during minivan trips instead of potential bickering.)
  • It gets the adrenaline going with stories of real-life history. (This, in turn, inspires my children to re-enact the excitement of the story in their imaginative dramatizations and lively conversations thereby integrating academics into enjoyment.)
  • It reinforces strong faith and values like freedom, courage, character.  (I love when my children connect to characters that integrate faith and strong morality into life.)
  • It feeds our family's appetite for history and adventure.  (I would much rather have my children involved with living history than mere twaddle.)
  • It honors my theater-loving side with a strong blend of fast-moving, blood-pumping drama and tension-breaking, giggle-inducing humor (As a former actress and creative dramatics teacher, I love theater.  Without questions, this presentation of G.A. Henty's In Freedom's Cause IS audio theater!)

In Freedom's Cause definitely ranks among our family's favorite CD's and has become the most requested audio in our minivan of late.  I cannot recommend it more enthusiastically to others who enjoy audio dramas as well as to those who may not hitherto have listened to audio theater as a family.  

I will, however, add one caveat: Although In Freedom's Cause is a family-friendly audio drama, those with sensitive children may want to preview the action-packed adventure before listening to it in its entirety as a family.  My whole family (including our 4-year-old) loved the CD and did not find any of it too intense.  However, some children may find parts of the Scottish fight for freedom disturbing.

Learn More

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review

  • Read and watch a video about how Heirloom Audio Productions invested passion in bringing real history alive while researching this active listening audio adventure.

  • Order your own copy of In Freedom's Cause, a high-quality audio production which features acclaimed actors, state-of-the art sound design, and an in exciting music score. 
The 2 CD-set In Freedom's Cause that we reviewed is available for $29.95.  If you order this CD-set, you will get a downloadable study guide, a prayer poster and an MP3 of the audio drama as free bonuses. Heirloom Audio Productions also offers several other packages to suit differing needs and budget.  These range from a $19.97 downloadable MP3 and bonus materials package to a $249.97 Patriot Package that includes multiple bonuses and 25 copies of In Freedom's Cause to give away.

In Freedom's Cause Review
  • Stay abreast of Heirloom Audio Productions next awesome audio adventure, With Lee in Virginia on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.

What audiobooks have your children engaged in learning about history and faith while simply enjoying themselves?
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Get A Free Printable Saint Geography Notebooking Page!

This week has been a super busy one here.

Among our usual activities, we had a homeschool World Culture Fair to prepare for and present at....

Preparing the background of Nina's Cherokee display board...

Our second Duct Tape Battle Club meeting to prepare for....

Showing off sample weapons and armor they have made to prepare for leading others to do similar projects at Duct Tape Battle Club...

And today's Geography Club to prepare for...

Flashback to Last Month:  The Antarctic Scientists Station at our Antarctica Geography Club Meeting

With so many special projects to help the children with, I just was not up for the potential time and mess involved with the children's creativity as they prepare for their Geography Club "expert reports".  (Each child picks a topic related to a continent to present to the other children about in any way they wish to do so.)  So, I encouraged Nina, who had chosen to do St. Nina and the Republic of Georgia, to keep things simple by using a notebooking page.

Before making my own notebooking page for her, I looked to see if there was something "perfect" online.

At Sanctus Simpliticus I found some wonderful Saint Notebooking Pages.  I liked the rounded saint picture spaces on these and the large boxes at the bottom of some of them, where I thought Nina might write or draw freely about St. Nina or about the Republic of Georgia.  However, since St. Nina is not a common saint, of course, there were no ready-made pages for her.

Then, I found some cute Mini-Saint Information Fill-In Printables at Catholic Icing that I almost went for since they have a map and everything.  However, after Nina put together her world culture fair project, she was a bit tired of writing.  So, I knew she would grown at the lines on the bottom of the Catholic Icing pages.

Thus, I created Nina a new Saint Geography Notebooking Page  that used elements of both the Sanctus Simpliticus and Catholic Icing ones I had found.

  • On the top is a rounded space with a ribbon, where a child can fill in the name of the saint and paste or draw  picture of the saint or write several quick facts. 

  • Next to that is a speech bubble that says, "I am patron of..." where a child can sketch or write what the saint it patron to.

  • Below the speech bubble are three lines.  Children can use these to write something about where the saint is from or write anything else they wish.  They can also just leave them blank or create a colorful design on them.

  • Below that is a world map where children can color information about where the saint was born, died and/or made a difference.

  • Beneath the rounded saint space are the words "Feast Day" so children can note the saint's feast day.

  • At the bottom, is a sizable box, where children can draw, paste or write facts about anything they wish -- the saint, the country the saint is from, their connection to the saint or country, etc.  I thought Nina might paste pictures of Saint Nina's cross and scroll here as she is interested in why St. Nina is often depicted with them.  Instead, she chose to depict her reason for choosing St. Nina as her saint.

You can tell by looking at Nina's page that she was a bit "projected" out by the time she worked on her Geography Club project.  Her work lacks the ultra-neat handwriting and copious color and decor that is sometimes characteristic of her projects.  

She even had me write some things for her, which she dictated, as she was tired of writing.

However, she is still pleased with the results of her notebooking page and additional pages (all pictured except one with maps of Georgia) and more than ready to use them as visuals during her oral "expeert report".  So, I would say the notebooking page I made her was a success!  Perhaps this free printable Saint Geography Notebooking Page will be for something your child is doing, too.

Have you found or created other helpful saint or geography notebooking pages?  I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Should There Be An Exodus from Public Education in America? {A Review of IndoctriNation}

Ever have a tough home education day?

I certainly have!

In fact, it was at the tale end of one such day when I finally decided to take some "me" time to view Great Commission Films' DVD IndoctriNation, a 102 minute documentary that costs $19.95, which I was offered an opportunity to review as a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

Before I tell you more about the film, let me just say that I use the phrase "me time" loosely.  For, in truth, this homeschool mama gets few to no 102-minute stretches of solo time.  Thus, the film was viewed by me alongside my three children, two of which, thankfully, dozed off as I sat, pen and notepaper at hand, watching the film, and one who, surprisingly, not only stayed awake through the entire documentary, but, then, wanted to talk about some of topics tied to the film before going to sleep.

Once you watch the film, you will understand why the conversation I had with my son about the IndoctriNation could have gotten dicey.  For, the documentary starts with a parental advisory which states that parts of the film may not be suitable for children.  As I learned, this warning is not to be taken lightly. 

Topics such as sex, birth control, drugs, homosexuality and school shootings are clearly discussed in IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America.   So, if you, like me, end up watching the film with children, expect to say, "I will explain that further  when you are a bit older and ready for it" more than once; hope that your kids don't realize the lollipop looking things being handed out at schools by Planned Parenthood are really condoms (if they even know what condoms are; mine do not); be ready to explain that "gay" does not just mean happy; and, in general, be prepared for a wide variety of comments and questions to arise.  For, although IndoctriNation deals with sensitive topics appropriately and well, such topics are, inevitably woven into large portions of the documentary.  If they were not, how else could the filmmaker fully explore the crux of the IndoctriNation: Should there be an exodus among Christians from American public schools?

Just What Is IndoctriNation?

In a nutshell, IndoctriNation is the story of one family's field trip across the United States in order to better understand what the current state of American public schools is,  how it got that way and what Christian families might do about it.  As such, it is also an exploration of a highly charged question among Christians about whether Christian children should be pulled from America's public schools in order to best disciple them or whether they should remain in the schools as "salt and light" for the world.

To answer this question, Scottish filmmaker Colin Gunn, his American wife, and their seven homeschooled children set off  in a big yellow bus to interview teachers, administrators, parents, and more as they trace the history and current state of American public schools.  What they find is edited into the 19 segments of the IndoctriNation documentary , which can be viewed in either English or Spanish with subtitles. 

Testimonies are offered.  The history of how America's schools began and developed is chronicled.  And questions such as the following are explored:

  • Are today's children morally and physically safe in the public school system?
  • Are public schools religiously neutral or are they hostile towards Christians?
  • Is it possible for students, teachers or administrators to be "salt and light" in America's public schools?
  • What figures in history have influenced and changed the American public school system and what is the result?
  • Can the public school system be fixed or is there no hope?

Throughout the film, the bus that the Gunn family in drive as they travel throughout America runs into a number of issues.   It breaks down numerous times and this becomes and analogy for the American school system.  As the documentary ends, the bias of the film is made clear.  The bus is willfully destroyed.  The conclusion that America's public schools are beyond repair is drawn.

IndoctriNation essentially argues that Christian families should not trust American public schools with their children.  

My Thoughts

Without question, IndoctriNation preaches to the choir with me on many points.  I am already a home educator.  I am a former schoolteacher as well -- one that witnessed some of the detriments of America's public school system firsthand and does not want my children involved with bastions of relativism,  godlessness, questionable practices, teaching to the test and so much more. 

I found the documentary powerful, easy-to-follow and packed with facts and opinions that made me go, "hmmm...."  However, even though the film includes testimony from an array of students, teachers, administrators, theologians, politicians, historians and more, who corroborate facts with real-life testimonies, I cannot help but wonder if the film's bias might lessen its impact for some viewers.

IndoctriNation has an ultra-conservative, Christian and Creationism bias.  Thus, although the parts of film which chronicle the history of public education in the United States and those that discuss some of the challenges that today's students face would be worthwhile for any audience to view, it is likely that a non-Christian audience would not tolerate the majority of the film.

Further, since IndoctriNation calls all Christian families to withdraw their children from public schools, I wonder if even some Christians would be turned off by the documentary.  For example, lower-income families might feel exhorted by the film to pull their children from the public school system, but also unable to imagine who to make ends meet if they did so.  How would they pay for private or home education?  Does it make them "bad parents" if they cannot do so, and, therefore, do not release their children from the dangerous grasp of the public school system?  Confusion, guilt, hopelessness and defensiveness may arise for such viewers.

Would I Recommend IndoctriNation?


I already have, in fact.  The day after watching it, a fellow home educator and I were talking about today's schools and her daughter's experience in them as a new teacher.  I ended up mentioning IndoctriNation to her and the idea that it might not be possible to be "salt and light" in some schools.  I suggested she and her daughter watch the movie.

However, I would not recommend the IndoctriNation to everyone.

  • If you are a family that is involved with the public school system, are happy, see no problems with it and would be unwilling to have your views challenged, then this film won't appeal to you.

  • If you are not willing to be open to the idea that public schools might be the wrong place for practicing Christian children, teachers and administrators, then the film might be pointless for you to watch.

  • If you disagree with the idea that today's schools are owned by the government and designed to train servants to the state adept at little but a dependence ideology, then, well, you won't like what the film has to say.

But, if you are debating whether to begin or to continue to home educate; if want to know more about how American public schools got to the place they are today; or if you are looking for facts and testimonies to support your decision to be "salt and light" outside of the school system instead of within it where there simply may be no room for saltiness, then watch IndoctriNation.

A Final Thought

My nine year old said after watching IndoctriNation, "Mom, I liked it...  I sometimes wonder why you and Daddy don't put us in school.  Now, I know why."  This after a tough day where, yes, we might have mentioned the option of putting our son on the big yellow bus "if..." (even we would not really do so.)

This after a chat where my boy and I decided that I could never go back to teaching in public schools even if I wanted to because I cannot take my faith out of my life or my conversation.

This after I explained to my son that everything he was seeing and hearing in IndoctriNation was from one point of view and that there are other points of view, only to have him comment that even if he watched the other points of view later, when he is older and when he is ready, he still thinks we are making a good choice.

I could not agree more.
Should there be an exodus from today's public schools? 
IndoctriNation says yes.  I say, it is up to each family, led by the Spirit to decide.  I also attest that, agree with its bias or not, IndoctriNation is worth viewing when making -- or remaining steadfast -- in such a decision.  It is a well-put together, controversial and powerful film that is sure to garner reaction.

Want More Information?

IndoctriNation DVD Review


IndoctriNation DVD Review

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

How the Spirit Can Speak Through Snow

Look at the trees and see how gently they are wrapped in the snow. 

Think of how God wraps you gently in his unconditional love. 

Notice how each flake drifts downward. Think about how slowly we must proceed to remain safe if we have to go out. 

Consider these things a reminder to slow ourselves down internally, too. 

Witness how the snow piles up and how, as you scale atop it, you can climb to places you couldn't before. 

Enjoy the new perspective you get from those places. 

Perhaps the snow is like life's challenges. They build up sometimes, layer upon layer, but eventually, as we accept that they are there instead of bemoaning it, and look at them with a different angle, they can help us move higher

Also, ponder: When we try to go at our own paces and do our own things, keeping up with our plans in spite of the snow, things can get frazzled... and even dangerous. 

However, if we slow down, accept and adjust, a calm can come. Beauty can be noticed. Like the way the an icicle catches the morning sun. 

I, for one, am not good at slowing down nor letting go.  I am most comfortable when I am on the go or when I "take control".  Snow encourages me to stop.  It reminds me I am not in control. 

Like many, I need to let go and accept what is. To do what I am called to do in a single moment to help my family, my home, my circle of influence... 

Even if it is simply feeding the feathered friends that sing to me as I shovel. 

Indeed, I am called to pause. To breathe. To be. In the moment. Outside in the snow - again - shoveling. Grateful. Blessed. Quietly listening to the way the Spirit stirs me. 

What are you called to in this moment?'

Wherever you are. Whatever the weather or the circumstance, may you find a blessing in it and listen for how the Spirit might be speaking to your soul.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Of Snow and a Free Printable 2015 Daily Planner for Lent

I had every intention of celebrating Mass this morning and then planning our family's Lent, but I woke to this:

Yes.  More snow.  Much more snow.

Snow and the news that our priest had been given permission to release our parish from the obligation of Sunday Mass because travel conditions were so unsafe.  (In my almost 45 years of life I cannot recall that ever happening before, which just evidences how bad the roads were.)

I also quickly realized that my husband was not feeling well.

Thus, my day's plans changed.

After breakfast, we all gathered together to watch Mass online and to pray an act of spiritual communion.  Then, I spent the greater part of the day taking 20 bursts in the invigorating wind chill, working away to clear the snow.

It took two of these turns - yes, 40 minutes - just to get from our stoop to the driveway and then a number more 20 minute turns outside to clear away the heavier snow that the plows left at the end of our driveway.

It was good, old-fashioned exercise which, to be honest, I relished.  A crisp day... Bird song.... It was peaceful in a way.  Outside, that is.  Coming in brought this:

It seems that while I was outside shoveling my monkeys had learned to literally climb the walls - or door frames as the case may have been.

Oh my!

Luckily, the children practiced their new feat without cracking any heads, which I am especially grateful for since, when I found them climbing the walls, I had not yet gotten the driveway to a point where we could drive out of it!

By dusk, though, I did.  With birds cheering me on through their songs, I managed to clear the driveway enough that we could get into our vehicles and get drive them out if need be.

Then, the temps dropped and the wind picked up, so I called it a day.  The mailbox and the rest of the car cleaning will have to wait for tomorrow.

What could not wait was getting dinner on and the kids attended to.

Lenten planning, on the other had, could wait.  And so it has.

I did, however, manage to revamp the Lenten Planner I created last year to better suit my needs for this year.  In case anyone else might be able to use it, I am sharing my Lent 2015 Daily Planning Sheet here today.

It's pretty self-explanatory:

  • Write the date in at the top can circle what day of the week it is.
  • When praying and doing daily readings, note any special thoughts, quotes, etc. that come to mind under "Spirit Speak".
  • List three or more "intentional tasks" that MUST get done each day under "Do I.T.s"
  • Write any special prayer intentions under "Special Intentions".
  • Track fluid intake by checking off the glasses.
  • Track hours slept over the sleep icon.
  • Check off time to breathe and pause over the pause icon.
  • Check off 1:1 connection time over the "connect" icon.
  • Check off daily reading, journaling and reflecting over the "reflect icon.
  • Plan meals - or keep a food diary - in the "Meals & Snacks" block.
  • Jot down ideas for - or actual things done - in the "Pray", "Fast: and "Give" blocks.
  • Jot down special activities to help learn about our faith and live Lent under "Learn and Live"
  • Write down scheduled activities and daily tasks under "The Gift of Time"(where there are 16 lines for the 16 waking hours of the day).
  •  Use the "Morning", "Midday", "Afternoon" and "Evening" blocks as desired to help balance the day between the different roles and commitments of life, for example, home education, work, outside activities, chill time, service time, etc.

I have printed enough pages of this planner out to get me through Easter and am hoping it helps me to stay focused and balanced, living Lent with intention.  Perhaps it can help you do the same.

May you be safe, snug and looking forward to a special Lenten season this year!

Sharing at Day by Day in Our World's 40 Days of Seeking Him

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Celebrate Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Valentine This Week

'Tis the season for snow and saints days, I'd say.

Last week, we celebrated both St. Brigid Day...

... and Candlemas as a family...

... between shoveling and playing in the the feet and feet of snow we have had piling up.  

This week, if weather cooperates, we'll be hosting a small Our Lady of Lourdes celebration with one other family at our home, and, then, heading to a friend's home to honor St. Valentine with a group of folks from our local Catholic home education network.

However, because we're in the midst of a prolonged set of winter snowstorms and just about everything is thrown off by the need to shovel...

... and the desire to go out to play in the snow....

... I am keeping plans for this week's celebrations simple: 

An Easy Prep Our Lady of Lourdes Lunch "Tea"

It looks like our Our Lady of Lourdes liturgical tea menu will include:

  • hot coconut-maple milk with cinnamon, which is fairly white, to remind us of Our Lady's purity (and will keep us warm if we've been out in the cold!)
  • water, to remind us of the spring
  • GFCF pretzel stick firewood to remind us of the firewood St. Bernadette was collecting when the apparition of Our Lady appeared to her
  • blueberries to remind us of Our Lady, since one of her traditional colors is blue (and we like plenty of appealing produce power in our spreads!)
  • sliced apple-pear, apple or pears, which are also white, reminding us of Our Lady's Purity (and keeping that produce power up!)
  • cashews, which are whitish - again the purity theme - and are a much-loved protein for my kids
  • blueish juice wigglers, for Our Lady's blue (and my children's delight, because they LOVE juice wigglers!)
  • crepes, for France, where Our Lady of Lourdes appeared
  • chocolate and/or cheese fondue with various fruits, vegetables and bread to dip in it, again for France (and because the other Mom is fabulous and suggested she could bring this fun dish!)

(Note:  Some of the links which follow are affiliate ones.  Should you click on any and make a purchase, we may receive small compensation at no extra cost to you.)

Activities may include:

  • prayers to Our Lady.

Celebrating St. Valentine Twice

At the end of the week, we'll celebrate St. Valentine on our own with a family breakfast or luncheon tea, much likes those we have had in the past.

As a family, we'll revisit some of our favorite Valentine read alouds:
We'll also enjoy a group gathering at a friend's home with read aloud, refreshments and crafts.

How will you be celebrating saints (and snow, if you're buried, too!) this week?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Celebrate St. Brigid with Simple Stories and Notebooking

Happy St. Brigid's Feast Day!

Several years ago we began to celebrate the feast day of this Patron Saint of Ireland, and, each year, we have done so a little differently.


This year, we celebrated over a simple oatmeal-and-topping breakfast.

We decorated the table with an image of St. Brigid and two candles, as well as a globe (so we could find Ireland on it.) 

Then we began breakfast with three prayers:

  • St. Brigid's Blessing, also from the Brigidine Sisters' site

Reflecting on the words of the prayers, we talked about how we might be strong, valiant, firm, true and faithful today; how we might bless others with our hears, hands and feet; and how we might bring light, hope and peace to the world today.

We also talked about how, through the years, there has been conflict in Ireland with Christians fighting Christians.  The kids thought that was silly: all Christians should be at peace and love one another and others.  I agree.  Thus, we found Ireland on the globe and Nina led us in a prayer for peace among all people in Ireland.

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Since a friend still had the copy St. Brigid's Cloak that I had planned to read, I found two wonderful FREE stories about St. Brigid online to read.

A Fantastic Free Story: St Bridget and the King's Wolf

The children said they wanted to hear St. Bridget and the King's Wolf first.  What a fantastic read aloud it was!  I had so much doing a dramatic reading of it and the children loved the story.  Likewise, I appreciate the opportunities that the story offered for:

  • participation ("Find your right ear.  Touch it.  that is where the wolf was marked."  "Can you pant like a wolf?"  Let's see who can be perfectly still like the wolf for a full ten seconds.")
  • making predictions ("What do you think will happen to the wolf?"  "How will Bridget help the man?"  Etc.)
  • and chatting about virtues and vices (What virtues and vices did the hunter, the king and Bridget show?)

Indeed, the story was chock full of entertainment as well as opportunities to move, to sprinkle in literary/ELA skills (suspense, prediction, etc.) and to chat about virtues.

The kids did find part of the ending of the story a bit "wrong" at first, though.  In it, Bridget calls the huntsman "Sirra Stupid" and "gives him a stern lecture...advising him not to be so hasty and so wasty next time."  A bit later, she ;eaves "the silly man to think over what she has said (about not being able to afford to lose our friendly beasts), and to feel much ashamed".

"Stupid" is a word that we don't use much in our home, so hearing the character of Saint Bridget use the term definitely caused the kids' eyebrows to raise.  Then, to hear that she purposefully left a man to feel ashamed...  The kids were surprised!

We chatted about it, though, and decided that sometimes people have to be left to think about their bad choices, so they can, eventually, seek forgiveness and make amends.  The conversation ended up moving into one about Reconciliation.  (I just love when things naturally flow towards talk of the Sacraments!)

Another Fabulous Story about St. Brigid

We then read The Blessed Virgin Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, a free pdf offered by St. Michael's Orthodox School.  This story was a more historical account of St. Brigid's life (and some of the legends that have arisen about the saint).  While not as interesting as our first read aloud from a dramatic storytelling sense, this story was still illuminating, providing a fuller picture of who St. Brigid was, what miracles are said to have happened in her life and how she impacted those around her through her charity, practical evangelization and love.  We found ourselves pausing the story often to chat about the virtues St. Brigid embodied and the ways she models how to live for us. 

Simple Notebooking Pages

Finally, after eating, at the tale end of storytime, we began making a page for our Faith and Character Notebooks, which had been dismantled at one point when we needed binders for something else and did not have any on hand, but are now being put back together. 

Our pages were simple and included:

  • some simple sentences the kids wrote about St. Brigid.

  • a small prayer book with 3x5 print outs of the prayers we prayed at the beginning of our meal. 


This simple celebration provided a wonderful start to a day filled by Mass, sledding and more.

We pray you've had a wonderful day today, too, and that hearing the details of how we weave saint celebrations into our days inspires you to enjoy focusing on some heroes of faith and virtue, too. 

How do you weave saint and virtue studies into your days?


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