Is it just me or is it hard to get back into the swing of schooling after the winter holidays? Between the various sniffles and sneezes, we have been struggling to get through our weeks. Thankfully, one of the anchors of our homeschool day is our Gathering.
I can’t point to a lot in the past month that has been successful, but I do know my kids have some songs in their hearts that point them to Jesus. They have some funny jokes they enjoy retelling. And they have some beautiful artwork in their mind’s eye to reflect upon as they lay down to fitfully sleep at night.
And I am thankful to have completed the entire year of Gathering placemats before school started. If nothing else goes right in each day, we can start with some amazing riches. I can’t wait to get to the February Gathering placemats out to share with my loved ones.
Febraury 2020 Gathering Extras
Each month, the Gathering placemats are effortless resources to present riches to your kids. But I have found they are often a jumping off place for one thing more. Kids may start to ask questions about a specific box on the mats and off you go into a new avenue of learning. As such, I try to provide a few Extras for you to explore more with your kids.
Here’s the list for February 2020:
The front of the placemats has a little blurb on Notre Dame Cathedral. Of course, we will remember that it was in the news last year for the fire that devastated it. If your kids are interested in knowing a bit more about the cathedral, I enjoyed this video of a Sunday Morning segment from several years ago. The video got me thinking about the challenges of building the cathedral and the ingenious solutions (flying buttresses and gargoyles). If you have kids who like to build and are looking for a challenge, check out these 5 Construction Challenges and give one a try this month.
There are many passages in this month’s placemat set to enjoy or to work on memorization with your family. Bible passages, Shakespeare, poetry, and a famous opening line. The beauty of the language in these passages are worth the challenge of memorization. The Shakespeare passage this month is from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We do a cursory study of it in our second year of Ambleside Online. This was one of our favorite passages to memorize. For more information about how we do Shakespeare in the early elementary years, read this article. You can also get a “cheat sheet” (of sorts) for this and many of our Shakespeare passages in our Shop.
I have included in most of the Gathering Placemats sets some simple Latin root work. For those of you wondering, “Why?” I am kind of a word-freak. I love etymology. But the Latin root work is a nod to the Classical roots of our education philosophy. We are still not doing formal Latin training around here, but we are slowly dipping a toe into the very basics of Latin. If you are interested in finding out more about adding Latin to your homeschool, I have written about it here.
Lastly, this month also features a Timeline of Art History. I have been creating a series of Artist Mats, similar to the Gathering placemats, to explore the art of specific artists in more depth than is possible on the Gathering placemats. If you are looking to add more art to your homeschool, these are an effortless way to pack in art study, art history, and art appreciation. You can read more about them here.
February 2020 Gathering Playlist
One of my absolute favorite things to do each month is to create a playlist inspired by the Gathering Placemats. It is such fun! And I love that we have the same song in our hearts throughout the month.
You can access it through Spotify here (you do not need to have a Spotify paid account in order to use Spotify – though we have one and use it daily!). You can also say to your smart speaker, “Play February 2020 Gathering Playlist on Spotify, please.” We do this every morning when it is “time” for Gathering. We are also able to play it in our car through Android Auto.
The hymn for this month is “When We All Get to Heaven.” This is just such a wonderful favorite hymn. I still remember the music leader at my first church leading our church family in this hymn with such enthusiasm and joy. I was also touched to find it was one of the hymns included on Alan Jackson’s hymns album. He was a favorite of my husband’s Mamaw who passed away a couple of years ago. It was just a sweet moment to hear him sing it and think of her in heaven rejoicing.
I did not, however include the Alan Jackson version – I can only handle so much twang. I did find a wonderful version by Jimmy Stevens. It is a stripped down version that reminds me of the way hymns used to be sung. The modern versions are sometimes good, but I want my kids to know the old ways, too.
The instrumental version is similarly simple – just beautiful piano. I hope you and your family have this song in your hearts all month long!
The folksong for this month is another favorite. I struggled with not sharing the original version with you. It was written by a domestic named Elizabeth Cotten, who wrote songs and played the guitar. She, a self-taught player, became very influential in folk circles in the 60s and 70s. And her version is great. BUT, I found this cover of “Shake Sugaree” and I just couldn’t not include it on the playlist for this month. I hope you enjoy it.
I also included a Scripture memory song from Seeds Family Worship. And some fun from The Sound of Music, too.
February continues our introduction into the works of Paganini. I included a number of his works because they were part of a collection. Thus the Gathering playlist runs a bit longer this month than usual. I hope you don’t mind, as Paganini is so enjoyable. My kids are already humming along with his works!
February 2020 Gathering Answers
There are a number of unanswered questions this month! Here are the answers:
Page 3: Instrument Study: this is the French horn, a member of the brass family. For a demonstration of the French horn, I highly recommend this video.
Page 3: Brain Teasers: 1) Cupid and 2) a circle
Page 4: Word Fun: 1) nap and pan; 2) bread and beard 3) horse and shore
Page 6: Geography Drill: 1) north, south, east, and west 2) the Alps