January 2020 Gathering Extras

simply gather together with your family for "morning time" before the day begins.  ideas and extensions for using the January 2020 Gathering Placemats in your home or homeschool

When I started creating the Gathering placemats, they were intended to be a way to connect with my kids effortlessly. They were a labor of love to be sure. But once they were completed, I printed them out (and laminated them) and put them out for my kids to enjoy. They are a complete resource in themselves, but there are times (as with all homeschool things) where they serve as a jumping off point for more discoveries, more treasures. Thus, I humbly offer those who are Gathering with their family each month, some extras. Here’s the list for the January 2020 Gathering.

Simple Challenges and Extras

The poem I found for this month, “The Extravagance of God” by Ralph W. Seager (page 2) is easy enough to be memorized this month. If you are so inclined, challenge your kids to add their own line (or verse) to it – extolling the expansiveness of God’s goodness in His creation.

Most kids will already know “Row Row Row Your Boat” (page 3). Challenge your kids to learn to do it in a round this month. We played with singing in rounds last month (the Gathering Playlist had lots of opportunities to hear rounds). If you are not sure what a round is, it is simple: one person/group starts singing the first line of the song and continues singing (that’s the easy part), the next person/group picks up at the end of the first sentence and starts singing the first sentence. It is fun and challenging for younger kids who do not have practice in it.

This month’s Gathering Placemats have a small history section about communism (page 6). If you are interested in discovering just a bit more about communism (namely, the fall of communism in the Soviet Union), I found this video very helpful and accessible.

A simple science (page 2) addition this month is a book from our Ambleside Online booklist for Year 3. My current Year 3 is enjoying this book so much – it is beautiful and simple enough for her to work through independently. But it is engaging enough that all ages will be interested and engaged.

January 2020 Gathering Playlist

One of my favorite parts of putting together the placemats for our family’s Gathering is following up with the playlist for our Gatherings each month! Long ago I dreamed of being a DJ (the old fashioned, spinning the tunes kind). And then I dreamed of being a music supervisor for movies and music (putting just the right song at just the right moment of a scene). As neither of these dreams came true…just consider me your Gathering DJ.


The month’s hymn is Come Ye Disconsolate. I have wrestled with which vocal versions to share in this month’s playlist. I feel remiss in not including a Gospel version of this hymn – as it is a very popular Gospel hymn. However, most of the Gospel versions were lengthy and did not include all the verses – they were down tempo in the extreme. I didn’t see my kids enjoying the Gospel versions I found. Nonetheless, if you are so inclined, there are many great versions available on Spotify. I do hope you enjoy the one I picked. It is reminiscent of one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Julie Miller.

Folksongs, Etc.

I am absolutely in love with the folksong for this month – Tenting Tonight on the Old Campground. A Civil War song filled with such richness! I hope it is favorite for your family. By the way, this trumpet instrumental version is not to be missed.

I included a version of Psalm 111 from a worship leader because I was encouraged by it. I hope it is an encouragement to you. It is not word perfect, but it will help keep Scripture in our hearts this month.

Classical works

This month’s playlist includes the fabulous violin pieces of Paganini! Oh, goodness. Even those who are not interested in Classical music will likely see the artistry and intricacy of the two pieces I have included. Paganini is the artist for this Term for Ambleside Online. So whether you are following along with AO or are just following along with the our Gatherings, you will get ample opportunity in the next couple of months to get to know Paganini.

Enough about the details of the playlist! Time to tell you how to get it! 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 I use it daily!). You can also say to your smart speaker, “Play January 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.

January 2020 Gathering Answers

The answers to the unanswered questions on the January 2020 Gathering placemats are here!

On the first page, the Instrument Study looks at the violin. If your students are interested in a more thorough introduction to the violin, watch this video with them.

The Secret Word is: GRACE. I enjoyed showing my kids this video about grace during our Inductive Bible Study time in John.

For the Geography Drill: This is the Scandinavian Peninsula. The three countries in this peninsula are Norway, Sweeden, and Finland. To go to the Mediterranean Sea from the Scandinavian Peninsula, one would travel south.

The “Who Am I?” riddle answer is: milk.

Get the January 2020 Gathering Placemats

If you have not yet picked up your copy of the January 2020 Gathering Placemats, they are available now in our shop. I hope they help your family to gather together for conversations about truth, goodness, and beauty. May the Lord richly bless your time with your kids this year!

simply gather together with your family for "morning time" before the day begins.  ideas and extensions for using the January 2020 Gathering Placemats in your home or homeschool

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Nichole

    Thank you so much for doing these gathering placemats. I really love them. I was wondering though if there is a way to make it editable. I have a few things that we are working on a bit differently than what you have and I would love to switch out a few items to fit in our studies.

    1. Leah Hudson

      Hi Nichole,

      I do have a barebones editable template. I haven’t put it up for sale yet because I need to record a tutorial for it, but that is in the works after some other major projects.

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