Tag Archives: Lent

Wrapping Up Week 30 (2015-16)

Weekly Wrap Up 2015-16
 We made it to spring break!  We’ve all got a bout of spring fever around here, so we’re looking forward to a lighter week coming up (just a few reviews we’re working on that we’ll be keeping up with or getting started).  Here are a few highlights from this past week.

Day With the Grandparents

The kids started off enjoying the flexibility of homeschooling by spending Sunday night at my parents’ house.  They had so much fun working with Grandma in the kitchen to make special treats.  Elijah and Arianna explored outside, and Ian got to shoot a BB gun for the first time.  He and Grandpa had a wonderful time making targets and shooting out on the property.  I love that they have opportunities like this, and it was better than any lessons we could have gotten in that morning.

Target practice

Approaching Holy Week

We’ve really enjoyed our daily reading in A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent: Prayers and Activities for Each Day by Angela M. Burrin all through this Lenten season.  This week we read the story of the Triumphal Entry (a little early, but it got the kids excited for Sunday).  Elijah and Arianna had colored paper palm leaves, coats, a donkey, and Jesus at church, and everyone had fun acting out the story as I read.  It’s such a simple thing to do, and yet it really made the story come alive for the kids.  Every week they’ve been getting something that helps them tell the story like this, and I absolutely love it.  The Bible is working its way deep into their hearts as they relive the stories over and over.

Palm Sunday
We followed up by reading The Donkey Who Carried a King by R.C. Sproul.  (Did you check out my list of Christ-Centered Books for Easter?  We actually read several of them through this week.)

Easter books

Thinking Ahead… Veritas Press Self-Paced Courses on Sale!

Veritas Middle AgesIan has absolutely loved going through the Veritas Press Self-Paced History Course on the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation this year.  All the self-paced courses on sale until tomorrow, ($100 off!), so now’s a great time to buy!  You don’t have to start right away (we bought at this time last year and deferred the start date for our new school year in July), so if you think this would be a good option for your family for next year I’d encourage you to look into it.  This course was one of the best decisions I made for this school year.

Elijah has been asking all year,”When do I get to do history?”  I’m really excited about studying the Explorers and beginning American history next year though, so I decided to teach history myself rather than using a Veritas Press course.  Instead, I decided to sign Elijah up for one of their Bible courses (on sale for $79 right now).  He was pretty young when we started going through the Old Testament with Ian, so I think he’ll really benefit from an in depth study of Genesis through Joshua.  I know he’s going to love it, and I’m excited that he’s going to build such a solid foundation for a lifetime of Bible learning.  I’ll have Ian follow along as well, but this will be Elijah’s course officially.

Veritas Press has multiple course options for both history and Bible, so check them out before the sale ends tomorrow night!

Upcoming Reviews

We’re enjoying several products right now, so watch for these reviews in the next few weeks:


Starting This Year’s Lenten Journey

Although we were on a break from school this past week, we took some time to talk about the tradition of Lent.  Our church doesn’t celebrate it (though many of our friends do so privately), and while we’ve done a few things as a family in years past, I wasn’t sure any of children would remember.  I wanted to keep things uncomplicated this year, so we’re just doing two simple things each day.

Family JourneyFirst, we read from A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent: Prayers and Activities for Each Day by Angela M. Burrin.  There is a a story each day, told from the perspective of a child witnessing different experiences in Jesus’ life.  Then there is a section called “Jesus, Speak to Me,” which consists of a devotional thought told as though Jesus himself is addressing the reader.  Each day also features a memory verse and a short prayer.  The book is specifically written for Catholic families, and there have been a few minor changes I’ve made as I read aloud, but overall I have found it to be a wonderful fit for our family.  The stories are told in an engaging manner, and my boys are learning about the geography of the area as they look up the different towns from which the children telling the stories come.

Lent 2After we read, we turn down the lights (our dining room has no window), sit around our table and one child moves the candle and Christ figure on our “Cradle-to-Cross” wreath from JoyWares.  That child then lights the candle and prays for our day, focusing on the prompt from the reading.  Finally, they blow it out and we start our day.  I love how all the children are drawn to the solemnity of this morning ceremony.  They all get so quiet as we watch the candle and pray, and I think all of us enjoy having that sacred moment before diving into the rest of the day’s business.

Amon's AdventureIn the evenings, we’re also going through Amon’s Adventure: A Family Story for Easter by Arnold Ytreeide.  It doesn’t have a chapter for each day, so we’re just reading it with Daddy a few evenings a week.  We’ve enjoyed two of Ytreeide’s Advent books, so I knew this would be a special treat for everyone to help us draw our hearts to Jesus during this season.

The Resurrection: Letting Go of Expectations

It seems like the main lesson I learned through this Lenten season was that things are not always going to happen the way I expect.  Lent TreeOur Lenten Tree limped to life in spurts.  Because it wasn’t connected to either our evening family Bible Time devotions nor our morning Bible reading with school, we just didn’t add to it as regularly as I hoped.  Instead we kept adding leaves in clusters.

There were two ways we brought our tree to “life.”  The leaves were made using the printable “ornaments” from Gina at Seamless Days.  She has drawn up simple pictures to represent the stories mentioned in No Ordinary Home: The Uncommon Art of Christ-Centered Homemaking by Carol Brazo.  They tell the story of God’s redemption from Creation to the Resurrection.  We also added flowers to represent some of the ideas I got from Bring Lent to Life: Activities & Reflections For Your Family by Kathleen M. Basi (e.g. people we’re praying for, things we’re thankful for).  I still like the idea of the tree, but the next time we try it I think we’ll make sure to connect it with the devotions during our family Bible Time.

Even though we didn’t add to the tree daily or as often as I would have liked, at least it did happen (sort of) and provided the visual lesson I intended.  I had other plans for Lent that never happened at all, so I went to church this morning with anticipation in my heart, hoping for a great glorious celebration tapping into two thousand years of tradition of celebrating the miraculous morning of the Resurrection, something that would wipe away the dissatisfaction of my frustration expectations.

Then my children had one of the most difficult times in church I can remember since we started keeping them in the main service with us a few years ago.  (Actually, it was probably just one child in particular having trouble, but multiple issues on that front made me hyper-sensitive and then every little thing out of the others seemed a lot worse than it was.)  I ended the service in tears.  The morning had not been the glorious experience of my dreams.

I imagine the disciples felt the same way at the beginning of that Sunday morning so long ago.  Here they were, at the culmination of three years of ministry following Jesus, expecting him to triumph over their oppressors and establish his kingdom, only to find themselves left with a body in a tomb.  They adjusted to his death and tried to figure out where to go from there.  Then the women came back from the tomb proclaiming Christ’s resurrection.  In spite of the fact that Jesus had told them he would be raised on the third day, they still had a hard time believing it until they saw him for themselves.  It wasn’t until they let go of their expectations that they were able to fully experience the awesome power of Christ’s victory over death.  What started as a gloomy morning turned into a joyous celebration.

My own morning did get better.  Our merciful God brought several good friends around me who offered comfort and encouragement, and by the time we left the church building my spirit was renewed and refreshed.  Even though the rest of our day has just been an ordinary Sunday at home, there is something different inside me.  I have spent the day reading through the story of Easter morning in all four gospels and reflecting on the beauty of the Resurrection.  While my day wasn’t quite so dramatic as that first Resurrection Sunday, it still ended up being a time of joy and marveling at the glory of God.  As I let go of my expectations I was able to embrace His mercy, His grace, and His infinite love.  And that is a wonderful way to celebrate the day God triumphed over death and gave us the incredible gift of new Life.


Lent: Looking forward to New Life

Lent1Our family so enjoyed the sacredness of celebrating Advent that I decided I wanted to do something for Lent this year to make this season a holy celebration as well.  Usually when I think of Lent, I think “fasting,” but really the season is about so much more than that.  I’m not sure how much our children would understand the concept at their ages and whether they could really choose to give something up on their own.  I don’t want the season to be remembered for how much they resented me taking away their sweets or screen time. So instead, I’m choosing to use a “Lenten Tree” to represent God bringing us new life.

Throughout the season we will add leaves, flowers, and ornaments to transform our barren “tree” into a lush symbol of Christ’s triumph over death.  I’ll share a little more about how those things will get added as we move toward the celebration of the Resurrection.

To see how our tree came to life, check out The Resurrection: Letting Go of Expectations.