It is almost summer! Yea for summer!
This year we have been experiencing much milder weather heading into summer. Living in the desert, we know it won’t last long. Soon the temperatures will send us indoors for months! Thankfully, we keep up our morning time tradition – Gathering – year round.
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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 here:
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I wanted to create a new set of Gathering Placemats for my kids to get them excited about summer. They started out when I found the Whittier poem “The Barefoot Boy.” This sweet summertime poem, set the tone for the rest of the Gathering. Because “The Barefoot Boy” is so long, I could only include one of the stanzas on the placemats. The rest of the poem is delightful, too. Here’s the full text with something to color for the kids.
I am so excited about this Gathering for summertime! And I hope you love it!
Gathering: Summertime 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 summertime:
- A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck – we read this earlier this year during our evening storytime. It is just fun!
- A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck – the sequel to A Long Way from Chicago. My kids are begging to read this together – this month may be a wonderful time to do it.
- The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. Last year we got an illustrated edition of this classic. I am a HUGE Steinbeck fan and I am excited to share his beautiful prose with my kids.
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin – this has been in our to be read pile for a while. I am looking forward to this one! (also available on Scribd)
I like to pick a book and work through reading it aloud to my kids during our Gathering. All of these would be suitable for my learners (currently 4th-preschool).
Gathering: Summertime Playlist
The Gathering playlists are my favorite element of our Gathering!
You have free access to the Gathering: Summertime 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: Summertime playlist on Spotify, please.”
Hymns & Spiritual Songs
The hymn I chose for Gathering: Summertime is new for me. It is called, “Sun of my Soul, Thou Savior Dear.” I am looking forward to sharing it with my kids. The Gathering: Summertime Playlist includes a vocal version and an instrumental version, as usual.
I also found a spiritual song with a similar title, “Sun of my Soul (Shine)” while I was curating the playlist. I enjoyed it so much, I knew it needed to be included. There were a lot of spiritual songs I wanted to share here! I added two more spiritual songs to the playlist which go with the Bible verse and simple song from the Gathering: Summertime Placemats.
Folk Song & Nursery Rhyme
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: Summertime, 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 “Keep on the Sunny Side” here.
Gathering: Summertime Composer
I created the Gathering: Summertime Placemats with the intention of doing a seasonal series. Since I will be creating the other seasons throughout the year, the natural choice for composer is Antonio Vivaldi. I included all three movements of the Summer portion of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
I would also really like to get my hands on this beautiful picture book. It will be perfect for this and other Gatherings upcoming
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, 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:
- Streams & Brooks
- 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!