I am almost done with what I am calling my summer sets of Gathering Placemats. The summer sets are different from the school year sets because they are evergreen – meaning they can be used any time of the year. They also tend to focus a bit more on nature study.
The latest set – Gathering: Brooks & Streams is decidedly nature study focused. I am so excited about this long-simmering set of placemats – I have been working on them for months! And now they are ready for you. Read on for details.
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A Quick Gathering Introduction
If you are new to the idea of Gathering and Gathering Placemats, let me introduce you. Gathering is what we call our morning time in our homeschool. Simply stated, it is a simple feast of goodness, truth, and beauty. I curate the things I want to share with my kids into two places – the Gathering Placemats and the Gathering Playlists. These two go hand-in-hand for our morning Gathering tradition.
Throughout the year, I share a new set of placemats each month with my kids. Since I have four kids, the Gathering Placemats come in sets of four. Trading and sharing is, of course, encouraged! We discovered the best time for our Gathering is breakfast time. Since we are eating and Gathering, I print out our placemats and laminate them for easy cleaning.
If you are interested in learning more about our Gathering, please read our Gathering FAQ.
The Gathering Placemats are absolutely essential to a rich morning time experience. You can grab them in our shop.
Gathering: Brooks & Streams
Initially, I wanted to create a new set of Gathering Placemats for my kids to go along with the Classical Conversations Cycle 3 memory work about aquatic biomes. So I created Gathering: Oceans & Seas last year. It took me quite a while to get back to the others. And I still have ponds and wetlands to do! No matter, these Gatherings are appropriate for any time of the year – and they turned out beautifully!
The entire set kicked off when I discovered Willard Metcalf’s works, which captured the same stream in various seasons. I was captivated by the subtle changes he was able to depict in his various paintings. They truly are special works! I hope you and your family enjoy them, too.
One of my favorite boxes on this set is the Simply Silly – the box my kids are always looking for! I made up two of the jokes and reworked the others to fit my purposes. My husband
laughed rolled his eyes at my jokes, so I guess they are pretty good! Ha!
Gathering: Brooks & Streams Books
Over the past five years of homeschooling, we have discovered some wonderful books to read aloud. Here are the books I am pulling off the shelves for this Gathering:
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (also available on Scribd) – This is one of my all-time favorites. The prose is so delightful! Grahame’s sentence structure mimics the rolling river – never ending! I can’t wait to read it with my next student. We won’t be reading it along with the Brooks & Streams Gathering, but I simply had to recommend it to you – in case you haven’t yet read it with your kids.
- Paddle to the Sea or Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling – although both of these books follow much larger rivers and bodies of water, they are absolutely delightful! My kids love these books and look forward to reading them!
- Mr. Gumpy’s Outing by John Burningham – a delightful picture book for the younger kids!
- Where the River Begins by Thomas Locker – this one reminds me of a dear-departed friend of mine, always up for an adventure.
- Water is Water: A Book About the Water Cycle by Miranda Paul – since there is a little bit about the water cycle in Gathering: Brooks & Streams, I thought this book would be appropriate.
I like to pick a book and work through reading it aloud to my kids during our Gathering. Most of these would be suitable for my learners (currently 4th-preschool).
Gathering: Brooks & Streams Playlist
The Gathering playlists are my favorite element of our Gathering!
You have free access to the Gathering: Brooks & Streams playlist simply by opening Spotify (you do not have to have a paid Spotify account to hear the playlist – although I am not sure if it will have ads). We use our Google Home Device to play the playlist by saying, “Hey Google, play Gathering: Brooks & Streams playlist on Spotify, please.”
Hymns & Spiritual Songs
The hymn I chose for Gathering: Brooks & Streams is new for me. It is called, “‘Give,’ Said the Little Stream.” Fanny Crosby is one of my favorite hymn writers so I am looking forward to sharing it with my kids. The Gathering: Brooks & Streams Playlist includes a vocal version and an instrumental version, as usual.
I also found some spiritual songs I thought were appropriate for this Gathering. The first is Psalm 23 – this is on my favorites list on Spotify! I selected another favorite, “Peace Like a River” – this version is my absolute favorite! It gets in my head and delights my soul.
Folk Song & Favorites
Since we have been using Ambleside Online‘s reading lists and riches schedules for a number of years, it has become natural for me to select a folk song for each Gathering playlist. This past year I got into the habit of printing out some coloring sheets with the lyrics to our folk songs for my kids. So, when I selected the folk song for our Gathering: Brooks & Streams, I thought I would add another. My kids can now create a coloring book of folk songs! You can get your printable coloring sheet for “The Water is Wide” here.
Added after “The Water is Wide” are two versions of a favorite featured on the placemats – “Merrily We Roll Along.” These are little treats in the middle of this Gathering: Brooks & Streams Playlist!
Gathering: Brooks & Streams Classical Music
I created the Gathering: Brooks & Streams Playlist with music which appeals to me. Usually there is a thread which unites the Classical pieces – a composer, a theme. This time, the Classical selections are “water” related but are also pieces which simply delight me. They are the pieces I wanted to share with my kids. I do hope you and your kids enjoy them too.
Gathering: Brooks & Streams Answers
There is only one box on this Gathering which requires an answer. I feel quite certain parents will know the answer, but just in case:
- Brain Bender, page 6 – the answer is 7 animals.
I have been working on some fresh Gatherings for this summer. The Gathering Placemats for the 2020-2021 school year are almost exhausted. We are currently working through the last half of the May Gathering.
So, it is time for me to get back to work! I just released Gathering: Americana and Gathering: Summertime, which you can check out here. Look for more Gathering Placemats for the summer in the next couple of weeks. I am currently working on:
- Rivers of the World
- Microscopic Things
And I am hoping to be able to create some more topical Gathering Placemat sets before releasing the 2021-2022 school year in August.
Whew! Lots of delights to behold!
If you want to learn more about the Gathering Placemats I create for my family, you can read this Gathering FAQ. Or leave a question or comment. I love hearing from other homeschool mamas!