Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

A Blessed Advent to You

December 1, 2011

In preparation for Advent this year, I started looking through all of the notes that have been collected over the years.  Wow!  Talk about overwhelming!  After 10 years of homeschooling the stuff can really pile up.  What I finally reached for was some gentle plans that my friend Jennifer had given me last year.  She was even kind enough to give me the updated for 2011 version this year.  She has also generously put them up on her blog, Wildflowers and Marbles.  While writing this post I found that Jennifer has a few more advent posts there.  I can’t wait to read them.   My husband printed out Jennifer’s plans in color for me (I only have black and white) and made a sort of scrap-book out of them.  There were some older sketching books lying around just begging to be used!  First the pages with Advent customs were glued in.  After that, all the little boxes for each day were cut out and given two pages.  This allows me to add notes and other things that we might want to add (for example pictures if I can ever remember to take any).  Several saint stickers were added to their corresponding pages.

This year I updated an older St. Nicholas Unit Study and we are using that as well, so the St. Nicholas is titled in red with the readings listed below it.

A tradition we have kept here for several years now is putting out a manger for the Baby Jesus.  It starts out empty and then the children fill it with straw or little pieces of tan-colored yarn whenever they do a good deed (usually secretly.)   We let them include Masses and other prayers to  help build the spiritual crib as well.  On Christmas morning we bring our baby Jesus statue out and put Him in the crib.  (Yes, it has been dropped on the tile floor in the past and has been glued.  But that makes it all the more special.)

One Advent resource that I am so happy to see survived is O Night Divine started by my friend Mary Ellen.  It is a blog that has had wonderful contributors and has a wealth of activities, recipes, and more to follow along with Advent.

One other activity that has been calling me for the past several years is an O Antiphon house.  There was a parade of them a few years ago.  We bought all the materials we need, but have never completed it.  Hopefully this is the year!  Motivation is not lacking this year, not that it has been in years past, either, but this year planning has been done early and I feel ready!  Deo Gratius!  Here is a link to Catholic Culture’s page of instruction for the houses.  I’m hoping some of the artists in our household will do the art work on them.   Here, here, and here are some snapshots from around the internet.

This year we will also pray a novena to St. Andrew with an intention for the parish of Our Lady Help of Christians.  We’ve been in a temporary church for over 3 years now and it would be so nice to be in a permanent place.  Please say a little prayer for that intention if you would.  Thank you.

Hopefully there will be some Advent pictures from our family here in the very near future.  The children have already made paper St. Nicholas’s that stand up and done a few coloring sheets.  We have done many St. Nicholas readings and a few others as well.

The big addition to our Advent this year is the tradition of the Christkindl.  As written in Jennifer’s plans…

‘Christkindl — All the names of the family members are written on small pieces of paper and placed in a hat or a large bowl.  Secretly, each member of the family chooses a name.  The name drawn will be in someone’s special care for the entire season.  This new relationship is called “Christkindl” (Christ Child).  From Around the Year With the Trapp Family:

From this day until Christmas, one has to do as many little favors for him or her as one can.  One has to provide at least one surprise every single day – but without ever being found out.  This creates a wonderful atmosphere of joyful suspense, kindness, and thoughtfulness.  Perhaps you will find that somebody has made your bed or shined your shoes or has informed you, in a disguised handwriting on a holy card, that “a rosary has been said for you today” or a number of sacrifices have been offered up. ~ The person whose name I have drawn and who is under my care becomes for me the helpless little Christ Child in the manger; and as I am performing these many little acts of love and consideration for someone in the family I am really doing them for the Infant of Bethlehem, according to the word, “And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.” ‘

As the family sat around the table one night after dinner, we discussed this tradition and the children were very excited about it.  I don’t even know who has who.  We left it to the older 5 children figuring that the 3-year-old might not get it quite yet.  I’m sure she’ll join in next year.

How are you celebrating Advent this year?

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A Saint Nicholas Unit Study

November 26, 2011

December 6th is the Feast of St. Nicholas. Years ago there was a blog called A Living Education and the author had created a simple unit study. The blog was taken down many years ago, but blessedly I printed this unit out. The reason for this post is not only to share this unit study once more, but to put the links in a convenient place. The original unit lasted 8 days, but I have extended it to last for 9 so as to make a novena out of it. Added to the original unit are a few more books and a novena prayer. Also, the author (God bless her!) originally did this as a Lapbook project.

St. Nicholas Novena

All-praised and all-honored hierarch,
Great wonderworker,
Saint of Christ.
Father Nicholas,
Man of God and faithful servant,
Man of love,
Chosen vessel,
Strong pillar of the Church,
Most-brilliant lamp,
Star that illumines and enlightens the whole world;
Thou art a righteous man
That did flourish like a palm tree
Planted in the courts of the Lord;
Dwelling in Myra thou hast diffused
The fragrance of myrrh,
And thou pourest out the ever-flowing myrrh
Of the grace of god.
By thy presence most-holy Father,
The sea was sanctified
When your most-miraculous relics
Were carried to the city of Bari,
From the East to the West
To praise the name of the Lord.
O most-superb
And most-marvellous wonderworker,
Speedy helper,
Fervent intercessor,
Good shepherd that saveth
The rational flock from all dangers
We glorify and magnify thee
As the hope of all Christians,
A fountain of miracles,
A defender of the faithful,
A most wise teacher,
A feeder of the hungry,
The gladness of those that mourn,
Clothing of the naked,
Healer of the sick,
Pilot of those that sail the sea,
Liberator of prisoners,
Nourisher and protector of widows and orphans,
Guardian of chastity,
Gentle tutor of children,
Support of the aged,
Guide of fasters,
Rest of those that labor,
Abundant riches of the poor and needy.
Hearken unto us
That pray unto thee
And flee to thy protection,
Show thy mediation on our behalf
With the Most High,
And obtain through thy God-pleasing intercessions
All that is useful
For the salvation of our souls and bodies;
Keep this holy habitation (or this temple),
Every city and town,
And every Christian country,
And the people that dwell therein,
From all oppression through thy help;
For we know
That the prayer of a righteous man
Availeth much for good;
And after the most-blessed Virgin Mary,
We have thee as a righteous mediator
With the All-Merciful God,
And to thy fervent intercession
And protection we humbly hasten.
Do thou, as a watchful and good shepherd,
Keep us from all enemies and pestilence,
Earthquake and hail,
Famine, flood and fire,
The sword and invasions,
And in all our misfortunes and affliction
Do thou give us a helping hand
And open the doors of God’s compassion;
For we are unworthy
To look upon the height of heaven
Because of the multitude of our sins;
We are bound by the bonds of sin
And have not done the will of our Creator
Nor kept His commandments.
Wherefore, we bow the knees
Of our broken and humble heart to our Maker,
And we ask thy fatherly intercession with Him;
Lest we perish with our sins,
Deliver us from all evil,
And from every adverse thing,
Direct our minds and strengthen our hearts
In the Orthodox Faith,
Which, through thy mediation and intercession,
Neither wounds, nor threats, nor plague,
Nor the wrath of our Creator shall lessen;
But vouchsafe that we may live a peaceful life here
And see the good things in the land of the living,
Glorifying the Father,
And the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
One God glorified and worshipped in Trinity,
Now and ever,
And unto the ages of ages.
Amen.

Books

Activities

Lapbook or Notebook Entries

Day 1

Read-Aloud

  • The Real Santa Claus: Legends of St. Nicholas
  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • The Legend of the Three Daughters
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 9-21
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas the Youth

Activity

  • Cut-out figure

Lapbook/Notebook Entry

  • Symbols of St. Nicholas
    • Talk about the different symbols of St. Nicholas and make note of them as you read through the many stories during this unit.
    • Have children draw or cut out symbols and either narrate their significance or create a flap page using them (symbol as the flap with an explanation underneath).

Day 2

Read-Aloud

  • The Miracle of St. Nicholas
  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • The Nicholas Ship
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 23-31
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas the Bishop

Activity

  • Make St. Nicholas clay pot figures

Lapbook/Notebook Entry

  • Read the facts on the country of Turkey. Trace or find a blank map and have the children fill it in
  • Read an explanation of the flag of Turkey and have children dray one or print one out to color
  • Enter any narrations of geography, facts, or flag.

Day 3

Read-Aloud

  • A Gift from St. Nicholas
  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • St. Nicholas Buys a Young Man His Freedom
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 33-40
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas the Wonderworker

Activity

  • Color, cut and assemble pop-up scene

Lapbook/Notebook Entry

  • Read various hymns
  • Choose one hymn for copywork
  • Illuminated Manuscripts – Since St. Nicholas was a popular subject in illuminated manuscripts, print out the hymn from the Roman Breviary and the Latin hymn and have children decorate and illustrate the pages. (Print on card stock and they can be painted with Modge Podge or vegetable oil to give a luster when finished. Let dry before adding to lap/notebook.)

Note here that a very good book that deals with illuminated manuscripts is Marguerite Makes A Book by Bruce Robertson.

Day 4

Read-Aloud

  • St. Nicholas (Tompert)
  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • The Moneybag of Molsch Talpasch
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 43-51
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas the Traveler

Activity

  • Word Search – Level 1

Lapbook/Notebook Entry

  • Timeline on the life of St. Nicholas
    • Read timeline
    • Look at interactive, online timeline
    • Cut out timeline figures and make a timeline using them and include children’s narrations.
  • Map of the travels of St. Nicholas
    • Read about the travels of St. Nicholas
    • Print out map and trace lines of the saint’s travels.

Day 5

Read-Aloud

  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • The Russian Icon
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 55-66
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas the Dreamer

Activity

  • Crossword puzzle

Lapbook/Notebook Entry

  • Icon of St. Nicholas
    • Study details of St. Nicholas Icon
    • Try to find the symbols learned on Day 1
    • Color St. Nicholas Icon and brush with Modge Podge or vegetable oil when finished. To make a more authentic Icon, mount on wood when finished. (We ModgePodged the icons right to the wood when we did this.)

Note here that a very good book dealing with icons is Brother Joseph The Painter of Icons by Fr. Augustine DeNoble, O.S.B.

Day 6

Read-Aloud

  • Saint Nicholas: The Real Story
  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • St. Nicholas Brings it to Light
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 69-75
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas in Nieuw Amsterdam

Activity

  • Color, cut and assemble roll-up figure of St. Nicholas

Lapbook/Notebook Entry

  • Read the descriptions of the St. Nicholas stories and customs (linked above) from Italy, Turkey, and the Netherlands. Have the children give narrations about these customs and cut out or draw pictures to be placed with the narrations in lap/note books.

Day 7

Read-Aloud

  • The Legend of St. Nicholas
  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • The Legend of the Three Stratilates
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 77-85
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas in Old New York

Activity

  • Word Search – level 2

Lapbook/Notebook Entry

  • Read the descriptions of the stores and customs (linked above) from Russia, Germany, and Poland. Have the children give narrations about these customs and cut out or draw pictures to be placed with the narrations in lap/note books.

Day 8

  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • St. Nicholas Retrieves the Ball
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 87-96
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Nicholas and the Children

Activities

  • Coloring Sheets

Lapbook/Notebook Entries

  • Read the descriptions of the stores and customs (linked above) from Belgian, Argentina, and Portugal. Have the children give narrations about these customs and cut out or draw pictures to be placed with the narrations in lap/note books.

Day 9

Read-Aloud

  • The Baker’s Dozen
  • The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World
    • St. Nicholas Finds the Path
  • St. Nicholas the Wonder Worker
    • Pages 99-110
  • Wonderworker: The True Story of How St. Nicholas Became Santa Claus
    • Afterward

Activity

  • Feast day baking. Spend the day baking St. Nicholas treats. Recipes can be found at the St. Nicholas Center’s recipe section
  • Watch the CCC movie, Nicholas: The Boy Who Became Santa.
  • Make a St. Nicholas spoon saint and add it to the children’s lapbook/notebook in an envelope or pocket.

The author of the original St. Nicholas unit study noted that her family planned to continue reading through the many stories of St. Nicholas from The Real St. Nicholas: Tales of Generosity and Hope from Around the World throughout the remainder of Advent since 8 days is not enough time to finish this book. Also, I would suggest you check out the rest of the St. Nicholas Center website. There are so many more resources to explore there.

Also, one additional book that we love to look through here is St. Nicholas: A Closer Look at Christmas. There are so many wonderful pictures in there. If you have read any others that you loved, please leave me a comment. Also, you can find another novena to St. Nicholas at the St. Nicholas Center. Have a very blessed St. Nicholas Day!