Ahhh, February; the month of presidential birthdays, Groundhogs Day, and Valentine’s Day. As I considered all of these options and all of their wonderful morning time possibilities it was incredibly easy to get overwhelmed with all of the choices. I sorted through all of them and had a lot of great ideas, but ultimately, I went a different direction.
This month, instead of focusing on Valentine’s Day in terms of sweethearts, flowers, chocolates, and fancy boxes we are going to focus on the love of a shepherd.
A shepherd takes care of his sheep: he watches over them, tends to their needs, and leads them away from danger. The sheep know his voice and they follow his lead. Ultimately, if need be, a shepherd will put himself in danger for the care and protection of his flock. This is a wonderful picture of love and an incredible picture of our Savior’s love for us. It is worth dedicating our time to.
I hope you catch the vision for this months plan. There is a lot of learning and fun weaved into it, as well as opportunities for incredibly rich conversations with our children. I encourage you to allow yourself and your children time to linger over each of these categories; to soak them in.
Download the February 2019 plan by clicking here. (Available FREE for download 2/01/19 to 2/08/19)Music
Johann Sebastian Bach was a master at invoking and maintaining different emotions. He was an expert storyteller as well, often using melody to suggest actions or events. This month we will be listening to this beautiful composition titled The Sheep May Safely Graze. I think we learn a lot about an artist wishes for certain pieces by observing the names they give them. Bach chose the name for this piece, to him it was a representation of a place a shepherd would lead his sheep to safety.
I have no musical background other than a music appreciation class I took in college. In many ways I feel unfit to teach music to my children. If you feel the same please don’t let that fear stop you from enjoying this portion of the morning time plan for the month. Don’t skip over it. The goal for music study in these plans is simply to develop an appreciation of all different types of musical styles. Hopefully, as we listen, we will also learn to distinguish different types of instruments used in each piece of music we study.
This month we will be memorizing this tender poem by William Blake.
How sweet is the shepherd’s sweet lot!
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.
For he hears the lambs’ innocent call,
And he hears the ewes’ tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their shepherd is nigh.
This months piece is titled “The Pet Lamb” by William Lippincott.
Some suggestions for your art study:
- Place the picture in front of your child and have them study it for a few moments. After they have studied it take it away and have them tell you everything they recall from the picture.
- Ask questions: what did you see? What did you like about the painting? What did you not like? What colors did you see? What was the main focus on the drawning? How did the artist draw our attention to the main subject?
- Read a short story or biography of the artists life. Select 3-4 other pieces of art from this artist to study.
“few sympathetic words about his trees or his skies, his river-paths or his figures, the pictures are studied one at a time; that is, children learn, not merely to see a picture but to look at it taking in every detail. Then the picture is turned over and the children tell what they have seen (i.e. narrate)” -Charlotte Mason
Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd. This month we will talk about how His life was a true reflection of this type of caring relationship toward us. Take time to talk about this with your children. Ask them what this means to them. If time allows look up other scriptures where Jesus is described as a shepherd. Here are a few to get you started: Psalm 95:7, Psalm 100:3, Psalm 23, Isaiah 40:11, Isaiah 53:6
Again, this month we will be using The Handbook of Nature Study and Farm Anatomy to help guide our study. The Handbook of Nature Study has some wonderful questions to consider for observation and we will be using Farm Anatomy (pages 154-159) to learn about the parts of a sheep, breeds, and how to shear a sheep. We also like to use Farm Anatomy to help guide our nature journaling.
Our handicraft this month is using nature to dye fabrics. We had an incredible time working together to do this project. It was very cold outside the day we did it and the steam from our dye baths fogged up all of the windows in our home which also resulted in an impromptu science lesson in condensation. This was a perfect indoor winter project.
- Produce/Natural objects to use as dye
- Yarn or Material for dyeing. We used 6 cotton strips of fabric cut to 36″x6″.
To begin: Choose the produce/ natural objects you want to use for your dyes. We used carrot, avocado pits, purple cabbage, spinach, blueberries, and red onions. Farm Anatomy (page 210-211) has suggestions for other natural sources.
Next: Cut and chop all of your materials into small workable pieces.
Then: Create dye bath by adding your material to water. Make sure you use enough water to cover everything. We used 3 cups of water for each one. The mixture is brought to a boil and them simmered. The fabric should simmer in the dye bath for 30 minutes to an hour depending on the dye and the intensity of color desired. We simmered each strip for 30 minutes.
It was really that simple and so much fun!
To complete the craft cut your fabrics into smaller strips 1″ wide and then weave them using a handmade cardboard loom.
Visit a Sheep to Shawl event in your area
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