Happy New Year! May your new year be filled with fresh joy and renewed hope! Since 2020 was such a rough year, I pray you are refreshed by the reminder of God’s new mercies each day (and each year).
We have had such a wonderful time with our Gatherings over the past couple of years. And I have been so thankful to add many new friends to our Gathering along the way. If this is your first month creating the new tradition of Gathering, welcome!
I created the Gathering Placemats as a sort of, no-nonsense way to introduce truth goodness and beauty to my family. They are so simple to use – all you need to do is print them out (lamination recommended) and place them in front of your kids. Hopefully something will catch their eye or capture their attention. But I also write a little bit extra each month – some simple things to extend your Gathering tradition with your family.
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January 2021 Artist – Leonardo da Vinci
The Gathering Placemats tend to follow both the term and riches schedules for Ambleside Online. The artist chosen for this term (2) by Ambleside is Leonardo da Vinci.
To be honest, I do not enjoy da Vinci’s work as I do many other Renaissance artists. Yes, I do enjoy The Last Supper and see its importance in the art world, but I find some of the other Italian Renaissance artists to be more spectacular.
However, we will start reading Emily Hahn’s book Leonardo da Vinci with my newly minted third-grader this month. Perhaps learning more about him may change my mind a bit. This month, I selected four of his female portraits for the placemats. I do hope we will enjoy studying them.
January 2021 Favorite
My favorite box on the January 2021 Gathering Placemats has to be the Word Fun (page 5). We love to play with words around our home and when I heard about this game, I just knew we would need to play it as a family.
Other favorite word games around here involve lots of silliness. So, I love that the quest to find the right clever phrase is something we can laugh together over. Don’t be afraid to have some of the turns fall flat, that is half the fun!
Last month, we absolutely loved reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Yes, I cried! It was one of the only times my kids have asked each day for the story during our breakfast Gathering time. It was that good.
This month I am considering reading:
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan – we recently got a beautiful illustrated edition (available on Scribd)
Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson (available in e-book and audiobook formats on Scribd)
We are currently finishing up By the Great Horn Spoon (available in audiobook format on Scribd) which we have enjoyed very much in the evenings.
I love having a number of special read-alouds with my kids. We spend much of our days reading with one another, which makes our homeschool routine a joy, not a drudgery.
January 2021 Gathering Playlist
I am so excited about this month’s Gathering Playlist! It is always such a joy to put together songs I know my children will delight to sing throughout the month. And when they get excited about the classical music it just thrills my heart!
You have free access to the January 2021 Gathering 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 December 2020 Gathering playlist on Spotify, please.”
Hymns and Spiritual Songs
This month’s hymn is “Revive Us Again.” Ambleside Online, whose hymn schedule I follow, recommends it for January. I absolutely love this hymn’s refrain. It was oddly difficult to find a good version vocal version of this favorite. I have mentioned before in discussing the hymns that no one sings them like I remember them in my early days with Jesus. Often I wish I had the talent to recreate those special musical moments that reside only in my heart. Included on the playlist, as always, is a vocal version followed by an instrumental version.
I also found a spiritual song which follows some of the themes addressed in this month’s Bible verses, Psalm 119:33-40. This beautiful psalm is such a wonderful passage for family Bible study. I prefer to lead my kids through the Scriptures using the Inductive Method. If you are looking to extend your Gathering time into Bible study time, I have a starter guide for teaching Inductive Study to kids.
I almost didn’t include the Ambleside recommended folk song for this month. It is a serious bummer of a song. But murder ballads are a real large part of folk songs. “The Cruel War” is not quite a murder ballad, but it will do. There are a number of great versions of it, but I really liked the version I included.
I may change it up mid-month, if I need a bit of a lift. Also included on the placemats this month is one of my new favorite folk songs, “Jane-Jane.” There is a modern version of it done by the recently formed (and recently Grammy-nominated) Bonny Light Horsemen. I could listen to their modern takes on folk songs for days, Here’s a link to their “Jane-Jane.”
The Classical selections this term are from the Mighty Russian Five listed on page 4 of the placemats. Again the choice is from Ambleside Online’s riches schedule, so the fact that it does not correlate with the artist (da Vinci) is odd to me; but I am going with it. The study of Russian composers will be extended into the May Placemats because I chose a Russian artist to finish off the school year. I think the brightness of the art will definitely match the brightness of the music in May.
All that said, I do enjoy the Russian composers and am happy to introduce Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin to my kids this month.
January 2021 Gathering Answers
Scroll no more, the answers are here!
Brain Benders Page 3: 1. 12; 2. the moon
Who Am I? page 4: a star
Geography Drill page 4: 1. famous archipelagos are found in Alaska, California, Florida, and Maine; 2. Hawaii; 3. the Florida Keys
Coin Counting, page 5: Pennies – 15 cents; nickels – 75 cents; dimes – $1.50; Quarters – $3.75
I pray God’s richest blessings on you and your family as you enjoy the January 2021 Gathering!