Tuesday, July 26, 2016

holy week 2016

Holy Week is almost as exciting for my kids as Easter.  I love that because I don't remember looking forward to this time as a kid.  We have established a few traditions during this time that they really look forward to.  We did our Resurrection Rolls during homeschool preschool, but another favorite of the kids is making unleavened bread to eat on Holy Thursday.
I hope someday to actually get my whole family to mass on Holy Thursday night, but on a school and work night it is pretty difficult to do with my small children (epecially since it is a really long mass).  We did it once when Jimmy was our only one and even then we decided it was not the best idea with kids.  It is not a Holy day of obligation, but it is a very important day so we have started to celebrate our own Christian Seder to remember the Last Supper.  Aunt Nat, our friend, Courtney, and our godson Jayber all joined us. This year we splurged for a lamb roast (other years I have done other meat) and we eat our unleavened bread along with wine and grape juice.  We have other traditional sides and I usually make asparagus.  We have cards Jimmy asks questions from and Zach reads explanations of each traditional food and how to eat it.  We also put pillows behind our backs because you are supposed to eat the meal reclining.  The version we use ties in the Old Testament Tradition with what Christ did on this day.  The kids just refer to it as "our feast."
After dinner we wash each other's feet, oldest to youngest, to remember that Christ did this for his disciples.
On good Friday we usually go to Mount Claret (a retreat center at the base of Camelback Mountain) to do their outdoor Stations of the Cross.  It is a lovely place and you do the walk on your own time, but it can get a little hot walking through the dessert with the kids and sometimes they get cranky.  Really it is a kind of a good reminder that our suffering doesn't even come close to that of Christ.
Good Friday is also the day we make our Resurrection Garden.  We assembled it in the morning.  We usually try to start the stations around noon and stay quiet until 3:00 to be reverent during the hours Jesus was on the cross.  At 3:00 we wrap our Playmobil Jesus in a white cloth and put him in our tomb.
Then we put a big rock over the tomb.
I think it was one of our prettiest ones yet.  We bought succulents and used our rock and sea shell collection from California to decorate around it.
On Holy Saturday, I finally let the kids put up our Easter decorations and we dye eggs.
There is usually a lot of eating of eggs as well.
We also use this last day before Easter to clean our house and prepare for the next day's celebration.

Friday, July 22, 2016

homeschool preschool: bible lessons-part 2

Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors
We didn't do anything very elaborate for this one.
We read the story and had the kids practiced some writing.
We did a puppet craft...
Then a snack craft...

Valentines Day and Fat Tuesday
We veered away from our Bible Stories again to make Valentines and learn about St. Valentine, the Catholic martyr...
 We all made cards for family members and our word of the day was Love...
It also happened to be Fat Tuesday so we went to one of our favorite spots called The French Grocery to authentically celebrate Mardis Gras...

We got lots of delicious beignets...
These goof balls were pretty excited about them...
There was no food left behind- not even a bit of powdered sugar...

Moses:  Part 1
From the Nile thru the 10 Plagues
The Moses Story is so long that we broke it up into two parts.  Even divided there was so much to do that this was definitely one of our busiest days.  We started off by putting baby Moses in a water-proof basket and setting him in the Nile (the pool).  The kids all watched him float away to make sure he stayed safe, just like Merriam.
Nora got to be the Egyptian princess who found him and pulled him out...
We read about Moses growing up and leaving Egypt and God calling to him through a burning bush.  We made our own luminary burning bushes...
Slightly dangerous for small children, but we avoided any accidents and they did look beautiful...
Next we read about the plagues...
Plague One: The Nile turning to blood:
We let the kids each put red food coloring into a bowl of water....
Plague 2: Frogs:
I happened to have a small collection of jumping plastic frogs that came in handy...
Plague 3: Lice/Gnats
We pretended the kids had bug in their hair and had them pick them out.  Kinda gross, but they thought it was fun.

Plague 4: Flies
We made paper flies and had the kids buzz them around the room.

Plague 5: Disease of Egyptian Livestock:
We used plastic animals to show that the Jewish Livestock all lived while the Egyptians died...
Plague 6: Boils:
We drew red marks on the kids skin that than covered them up with bandaids...
Plague 7: Hail and Fire
I got on the playset and threw ice down on the kids...
Plague 8: Locust
We watched a video of a swarm of locusts...
Plague 9: Darkness
We made the kids hide under a blanket in total darkness.

Plague 10:  Death to the First Born Egyptian Sons.
We put red paper over the door as lamb's blood to protect the Jewish sons from death...
Then we ate "unleavened bread" (aka crackers) and talked about how the Isrealites had to hurry and get ready for the big journey that was ahead of them...
The rest of the story we continued on a new day.
Moses: Part 2
Crossing the Red Sea and the 10 Commandments
The kids dressed up to re-enact the parting of the Red Sea.  The boys took turns being Moses.  Everyone else had to be an Israelite or Pharaoh and his soldiers...
After Moses parted the waves (two blue sheets held up my the moms) the Isrealites had to run through the water while being chased by Pharoah and the Egyptian soldiers.
The Isrealites always made it through but Pharoah and his men would get caught in the waves...
Then we read about the 10 Commandments and practiced counting to 10...
We made our own 10 Commandment Tablets and the bigger boys took turns being Moses and reciting them to his people from the mountain...
Then we did a craft with handprints...
There was a commandment to remember on each finger...
Last our snack came in conveniently timed leftover birthday cupcakes that happened to have blue frosting and fish sprinkles on them.  They made the perfect parting of the Red Sea with a simple swipe of a finger...
To keep things seasonal again, we learned the Easter Story next...

Holy Week
We have started a tradition of making Resurrection Rolls with friends one day during Holy Week so we made it part of preschool this year.
The idea is that each piece of the rolls tells part of the Easter Story.  The marshmallow is Jesus and you dip him in the oils (melted butter) and spices (cinnamon).  
Then you wrap him in linens (a cresent roll).
You pinch it closed and put it in the oven which is like a giant tomb...
Then the kids all pretend to go to sleep for awhile...
We make a rooster noise for them to wake up and they can come check on the rolls, but the moms act as guards and scare them off.  They go back to sleep one more time, but this time when the rooster crows the rolls are done so they get to go see that the tomb is empty and the rolls have made their own little tombs that are also empty inside...
They are also pretty tasty so the kids have no trouble eating them all.
(We saved one for Jimmy this year since he was still in school and was sad to miss it)
A few more lessons to come for our preschool year....