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.
September slipped away so fast! There were some major milestones and lots of learning around here – for all of us! We are settling into the swing of our school year. Our Gathering is the anchor of our days, requested and well-loved around here.
I was talking with a friend about our Gathering the other day. It reminded me of how it all began. And I thought I would share our road to morning time, which we call Gathering.
Because we have two little ones, one officially starting preschool this fall, I have been thinking about ways to incorporate them in our homeschool day. It is a task that plagues me regularly. I can’t seem to find enough activities to fill their days. As a result, they are into everything…all the time.
Now, we have also started a practice our family calls Gathering. It is basically morning time for our whole family. It tends to be directed towards our school age kids with some things that delight all of us. My son (my current 3 year old) is obsessed with Gathering. And just this morning my youngest (N, just turned 2) started hearing the requests for Gathering her brother was making and looked at our Google Home device and said, “Google.”
What is “Gathering?”
I started creating these simple Gathering placemats for our morning time. We call it Gathering simply because my invitation to begin our family’s special time is, “Gather ’round!”
Our Gathering was super simple in the beginning. It included Bible time, singing, and poetry. And honestly, that is all we had time for.
I knew there were so many more riches I wanted to share with my precious little learners.
BUT we never seemed to get around to the beautiful art I wanted to show my kids. Rarely, we got to create our own art together. We never had time to just have simple conversations about little things. And we didn’t spend time delighting in the little bits of our day…until we sat around the kitchen island at meal times and snack times.
Incorporating the practice of Gathering in our days has been one of the most natural processes we have undertaken. In large measure, the ease with which we have done this is due to the addition of our Gathering placemats. As they are always out on the counter for breakfast, ready to be devoured along with the cereal and cinnamon toast of our mornings; they constitute a simple feast.
They drive conversations in the early part of our day. Much to my delight, they are also lovingly shown off to pretty much anyone who comes by our house. And they have become precious to me.
As I have developed a set for each month of the upcoming school year, I have had private celebrations. There is a moment of glory when just the right piece of art lines up perfectly to just the right quote from Shakespeare. A blessed sigh of relief is exhaled when there are just 4 boxes left. Followed by an internal dance party when a full month’s set is complete.
And then I just have to put the party on hold…
This week marks a turning point in the Gospel of John. It is the point where we turn our focus from John (the Baptist) to Jesus (the Light, the Lamb, the Son). It is getting exciting to see just how much our students have learned in the first part of the first chapter of John.
Annnddd….we are finished with chapter 1!! I mean, who would have thought it could take this long to go through ONE chapter? It feels like such an accomplishment to have made it this far. We should be able to pick up the pace a bit for a little while.