Incorporating the practice of Gathering in our days has been one of the most natural processes we have undertaken. In large measure, the ease with which we have done this is due to the addition of our Gathering placemats. As they are always out on the counter for breakfast, ready to be devoured along with the cereal and cinnamon toast of our mornings; they constitute a simple feast.
They drive conversations in the early part of our day. Much to my delight, they are also lovingly shown off to pretty much anyone who comes by our house. And they have become precious to me.
As I have developed a set for each month of the upcoming school year, I have had private celebrations. There is a moment of glory when just the right piece of art lines up perfectly to just the right quote from Shakespeare. A blessed sigh of relief is exhaled when there are just 4 boxes left. Followed by an internal dance party when a full month’s set is complete.
And then I just have to put the party on hold…
Until the first of the month, when the new set of placemats is unveiled to my precious little ones. Then they can be scoured and celebrated afresh! It brings me such joy!
I humbly hope these placemats will come to have a precious place in your home, too!
Here are a few extra notes about our August 2019 placemats:
- They are FREE!! As I prepared these for my family, I started to consider they would be a blessing to other families. I made the entire summer of 2019 available for free to those who subscribe to my blog. Scroll down to make sure you get your copy for August. And scroll down a little more to get answers to some FAQ.
- Michelangelo’s Sistene Chapel is the inspiration for the art work this month. Not only is it a wonderful precursor to a study of Renaissance art; we are having a family field trip at the end of the month to visit the Sistene Chapel!! Well…we aren’t actually leaving the country. We are headed to an exhibit which is a reproduction of the Sistene Chapel. This is so exciting!
- As we just finished up our last term for the year, I am not adding much to our placemats this month (as in previous months). But I do have a book of Michelangelo’s art for my kids to explore. I am also planning to offer a few of the activities in Michelangelo for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activites for Kids. I discovered this series last month and I have been impressed with how wonderful all the books in it are!
- Also, I ordered and received The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth this week. It was immediately considered a treasure in our home. I anticipate my kids exploring it often this month.
In the month ahead, please keep your eyes on your inbox (if you are a subscriber) for the release of the entire 2019-2020 school year’s placemats!! I typed that with such intense mixed feelings (mostly excitement)! I have been diligently working on creating placemats for the upcoming year that are even better than the ones I created for this summer. Each set is so special! Prayerfully, they will be finished and ready for you by the middle of the month!
UPDATE: They are here! I created a shop for you to check out the entire 2019-2020 school year’s placemats. You can get them in individual months, seasons, or the entire year. There is a discount for getting the entire year.
To check out the latest set of FREE Gathering placemats, make sure you subscribe to the blog in this box.
Here are a few questions and answers I answer on a regular basis. You can read a more extensive FAQ here.
How do I print them out?
The idea is for these to be used as placemats, front and back. Print pages 1 and 2, front and back; pages 1 and 3 front and back; pages 1 and 4, front and back; and finally pages 1 and 5, front and back. I laminated them to make sure they last through the month. The front page is the same for all my students and the backs are all different. This way the kids can trade them as the month proceeds.
What do you do with them?
I take on a few items each Gathering time. Sometimes we talk about the art pieces. Sometimes we recite the poem or the Bible verse together. I put in some super simple boxes for my little ones because I have an age range from 7 to 1. The kids are welcome to explore them on their own during our Gathering or throughout the day, but I don’t feel the need to get to everything every single day. We pair these place mats with a Spotify playlist with the hymn (usually a vocal version and an instrumental version), a folk song, and some Classical music. They change each month.
What inspires them?
I have an eclectic approach to our homeschool. We heavily lean on classical principles, but I like the Charlotte Mason approach to many things. I enjoy Ambleside Online’s resources and schedules and find they fit the rhythms of our year nicely. We just finished term 3 for my Year 2 girl and term 2 for my Year 1 girl. We also have little ones who are interested in our school day. I try to include things to delight them, as well. The summer term is a bit more relaxed than the rest of our year. And I will not always do three months of the artist AO recommends. We are a Classical Conversations family, so some of the boxes are inspired by that. Meaning I will intend them to be extensions of the Foundations curriculum, not the specific memory work (other than skip counting).