Have you been experiencing the back to school, post-Covid sickness? It hit our house about a week and a half ago and has hit almost all of us. My husband thinks it is the result of being locked in our house for the past six months. Now that we are getting out and seeing other people at our Classical Conversations Community Day and our Awana Club, we are experiencing other people’s germs for the first time in a while. And guess what? Our immune systems haven’t seen exercise in six months. Thus, we enter October with sniffles and sneezes and stuffy noses.
But we are not deterred from homeschooling in general. We spent the greater part of last week convalescing instead of reading, writing, or ‘rithmaticking. We got in a few other things, but mostly we just did our usual Gathering each day and rested.
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Notice our Gathering is part of our family lives even when we are sick? The Gathering Placemats are designed to simply engage my family in conversation by nature of being in front of them. I printed out (and laminated) my Gathering for the year and just take them out monthly and lay them on the kitchen counter for my kids to peruse at meal times. We round it out with a few things each month. That’s it. Super simple.
October 2020 Gathering Extras
This month’s Gathering is perhaps the most history-leaning set of Gatheirng Placemats this year. There is something about October that drives me to dig into the history of the Reformation each year.
It all started with Titian. As I was selecting works of art to highlight the Ambleside Online artist for this term, I noticed Titian had more than one painting of Emperor Charles V. I started to compare them and think about who this man was. Many of the boxes in the October 2020 Gathering Placemats lend themselves to the study of this figure of the Protestant Reformation.
You will find a 60-Second Biography of Charles V on page 6 of the Placemats.
If you are interested in discovering more about Charles V, I recommend a newer book: Four Princes: Henry VII, Francis I, Charles V, Suleiman the Magnificent and the Obsessions that Forged Modern Europe (Available on Scribd in audio and ebook). I will be listening to it on audio this month to gain a greater understanding of the context of Charles V’s life.
To read with your children more about the Reformation and sort of the rest of the story, I recommend the chapter on Gustavus Aldolphus in the book Trial and Triumph. There is only passing mention of Charles V in Courage and Conviction (part of a great series on chuch history for kids). Or for your younger learners, exploring the alphabet – with a Reformation twist, Reformation ABCs is fun.
We have had this coloring book for the Reformation for a number of years. I think it is a great resource to have on hand for this time of year.
The Lord’s Prayer
This month the Lord’s Prayer is printed on the fronts of the Gathering Placemats. The catechism section also discusses prayer. We are going to focus on memorizing the Lord’s Prayer this month. I added a vocal version of it to the Gathering Playlist so my kids can learn it quickly.
We are already in the midst of a Bible study, but if we had time, I would add the Discover 4 Yourself Inductive Bible study called Lord, Teach Me to Pray. I absolutely love Precept’s Bible studies and highly recommend them to anyone seeking to dig deep into Scripture. These are a great way to introduce your child to Inductive Study.
Logic and Reasoning
You will find October 2020 Gathering Placemats also have a decidedly logic and reasoning emphasis. There are more math boxes and challenges which invite students to think and reason their way through the placemats. I encourage you to start conversations and give your children time to think about these things. They will enjoy the challenge!
October 2020 Gathering Playlist
Still one of my favorite parts of our Gathering are the Gathering Playlists I create on Spotify each month. I absolutely love digging into and finding favorite versions of hymns, classical pieces, and folk songs. I invite you to add the Gathering Playlist to your morning Gathering.
If you have a smart device that is connected to your Spotify account (you can get one for free), you can simply say, “Hey Google, play October 2020 Gathering Playlist on Spotify.”
The hymn for October 2020 is “Break Thou the Bread of Life” by Mary Lathbury. This is a somewhat unfamiliar hymn for me, but I am enjoying the acapella version I found on Spotify. I was just speaking with my parents about the lost art of acapella singing in churches. There are just so many beautiful hymns which stand on their own merits, sans instruments. I hope you enjoy the version I picked for this month.
As I mentioned above, the October 2020 Gathering playlist also includes a vocal version of The Lord’s Prayer by Page CXVI. I enjoy so many of her recordings. So, if you enjoy this version, check out some of her other work!
We follow the Ambleside Online riches schedule for the year. Although you will rarely find the folk songs on the Gathering Placemats, I always include the folk song of the month on the Gathering Playlist. I really like this folk song for this month – The Golden Vanity. The earliest versions of this song are said to be about Sir Walter Raleigh.
This month brings another work by Richard Wagner (Vahg-ner) which may be one of his most obscure. Unless you read German, the title of the piece will not give hint of its meaning: Das Liebesmahl der Apostel. The translation is alternately “The Love-Meal of the Apostles” or “The Feast of Pentecost.” If you would like to add a simple read-aloud story to this month’s Gathering, I recommend the one by Thomas Tapper in Stories of Great Composers for Children (chapter 9 of audiobook, available on Scribd).
October 2020 Gathering Answers
And now for the answers to the “hard questions” on the placemats this month.
Brain Bender (page 2) – there are no stairs (it is a one story house)
Mental Math (page 3) – the first number is 72
Who Am I? (page 6) – a compass
I hope these Gathering Placemats for October 2020 are a blessing to your family, as they are to mine. If you have any more questions, please let me know!