We have almost made it through 2020! There is a light at the end of the tunnel! I am beyond thankful for the tradition we of Gathering have created in our home. It has held us in good stead with a routine of truth, goodness, and beauty digested on a daily basis. Some of our fondest memories from this year have been around our breakfast table.
I hope you have had the opportunity to start your own Gathering tradition this year with your loved ones. If you still haven’t gotten your Gathering placemats for November 2020, they are available here.
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November 2020 Gathering Extras
Whereas, last month’s Gathering had a decided theme; this month’s Gathering is a bit more eclectic. I often find themes as the month goes on and conversations are directed at the topics on the placemats. This month, I threw in some things I knew my kids would love to revisit and talk about.
On this month’s placemats is a passage from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It is the Shakespeare recommendation by Ambleside Online for this term for Year 4 and up students. This is our first year actually reading through one of Shakespeare’s plays. Previously, we have worked through memorizing a passage one of Shakespeare’s plays and then read through a retelling of it. You can read more about our Shakespeare studies in early elementary here. For our year 4 student we have been following this rough schedule and have been immensely enjoying the weekly Shakespeare session!
I hope you will be inspired to memorize this passage of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with your kids and then to read one of the retellings together. There are more Midsummer Night’s passages available in our Shop. We have delighted in learning and knowing Shakespeare in the past 3 years! And it is surprising just how easily it is to follow the stories!
Math – Skip Counting Help
You will find some sort of skip counting in every Gathering Placemats set. I think it is foundational (and fun!) to develop numeracy for kids (and adults!). It is also part of the Classical Conversations Math memory work for the Foundations years. I have a number of resources which will help your kids to develop their skip counting abilities.
If you are interested in learning my tips and tricks for skip counting, read this article. If you are looking for an art extension for this month, check out this project. And if you are looking for an awesome way to combine art, history and math, check out my latest resource for skip counting and math here.
Having discovered one of Titian’s most interesting paintings, Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence, I knew I would want to add it to the Gathering Placemats to have discussions with my kids about it. There is just so much there for rich conversation. I will be teaching my kids the grammar of the title first, defining “governed” and “prudence” for them. Then we will talk about each of the figures in the painting and their relationships to them.
Although we will not be penning a scholarly dissertation at the end of our conversations about this painting, we will be enriched by the consideration of the intentions and implications of the the piece. Don’t be afraid to start the discussion with your kids about this one. We don’t have to have all the answers in order to make observations.
Speaking or the topic of Allegory, I was thinking this month might be a great time to explore an Allegory together as a read aloud. I have included these on the placemats:
- Pilgrim’s Progress – I am intrigued by this version because it has notes interspersed in the text. But we have our own versions here at the house. An audio version from Scribd might be a good way to introduce it to your family (I like this one – played at 1.2 speed)
- Animal Farm – available on Scribd in ebook format
- The Wizard of Oz – available on Scribd in audio and ebook formats
- The Crucible – a good theatrical audio version is available on Scribd
- Gulliver’s Travels – available on Scribd in audio and ebook formats
Depending on the age of your oldest student, I encourage you to explore one of these allegories.
We are studying United States Geography in our house this year. It is a part of Classical Conversations Cycle 3, but it is also wonderful for giving our kids a greater picture of our country. On the placemats this month you will find a Geography Biography of Pamlico Sound. As you look with your child at maps this month, you may want to have this simple companion book which introduces Geography vocabulary to kids. We have had it for a couple of years and I find it helpful for myself, too!
If you are looking for simple additions to your U.S. Geography studies, I recommend our One Thing More list of resources for this cycle.
November 2020 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 November 2020 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 November 2020 Gathering playlist on Spotify, please.”
Hymns and Spiritual Songs
This month’s hymn is “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.” It is one of my favorite hymns because of the driving force of the lyrics. The theology of this simple hymn is so important for kids to know. God is Creator.
Take time with your kids this month to discuss the beauty and brilliance of God’s creative power. Take some nature walks and march to this song. It is a children’s song, part of Isaac Watts’ Divine and Moral Songs for Children.
Included on the playlist, as always, is a vocal version followed by an instrumental version.
Next on the playlist is the Seeds Family Worship song for Galatians 5: 22 (included on the placemats). Most kids and adults are taught the fruit of the Spirit are different fruits. But an accurate study of this passage brings out the truth that the list included in Galatians 5:22-23 is a list of the attributes of the one fruit of the Spirit. However you choose to share it with your children, the attributes are the result of our connection to the Vine. Encourage your children to demonstrate these qualities, but do not be discouraged if they do not always demonstrate all the qualities.
I try to encourage my children to stay connected to the Vine and to run to Him when it is hard to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
The folk song for this month (selected by Ambleside Online) gave me the opportunity to include one of our family’s favorite traditions in our Gathering. For Down by the Bay, I chose the Super Simple Songs version for the Gathering Playlist.
It will be an absolute treat for my kids! We have had a tradition of putting on Super Simple Songs after bathtime since our oldest was a baby. 9 years of Super Simple Songs! Even though my older kids are “not interested” in Super Simple Songs anymore – “That’s for babies!” – somehow, the moment I turn it on for our younger kids, they too are transfixed and sing along, too!
There are a number of versions of Down By the Bay done by Super Simple Songs. So you can have fun with all of them. Here is a sample:
This term we have been studying German composers. This month is the month for some new favorites and familiar tunes from Offenbach. Now a little word of warning, there is some opera here. If your kids are not used to opera, you may need to warm them up a bit on the basics of opera. I found this book immensely helpful!
The first time you hear “The Song of Olympia” with your kids, you might ask them to imagine what is going on with the singer’s voice in the song. After getting some ideas, you may want to show them this performance:
November 2020 Gathering Answers
Math – Skip Counting 2s (page 5)– the answer to the addition challenge is: 240. Encourage children to start from the end of the string of numbers to make it easier and to find sums of 10 to help propel them along.
Who am I? (Page 5) – a potato
Brain Teasers (page 6) – 1. second place 2. There are two acceptable answers here: a piano and a computer keyboard. 3. Boiling water.