The Lenten season is upon us, and with that, a change in our Morning Time will take place. Some components of our areas of study will continue from our previous term, and a few Lenten-specific studies will work their way into our week. We will also work to include almsgiving, fasting, and additional prayer into our lives during this holy and penitential season of Lent. At the end of this post, I share our Lenten lapbooks, which help us to keep our plans, thoughts, and ideas organized for the Lenten season. I’m including the low-down on the lapbooks in this post because it is during Morning Time that we utilize them.
Our prayer liturgy takes place while we are gathered around our prayer altar in our living room. During Lent it is adorned in purple, a crown of thorns, and our usual Good Shepherd statue, Holy Bible, prayer cards, sacred art, and holy water.
Saint of the Day: Analise will continue to lead us in calling upon the saint of the day to pray for us and our intentions. If we have a picture book related to the specific saint, we will read it at this time.
Hymn: During Lent, we will learn the Pange Lingua Gloriosi.
We then stand, and one of the kids reads the Entrance Antiphon that is heard at Mass on that particular day.
Gospel reading: I then read the daily Gospel reading from the Magnificat. We sit and the kids take turns narrating what they heard in that particular scripture passage. Some days we discuss it further, other days we just let it sit quietly in our hearts.
At this point, we bow and recite our memorized prayer.
Prayer: Last term, we needed a few weeks to finish memorizing the Salve Regina and once we finished that, we moved on to learning the Student’s Prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas. We will continue to work on this prayer during Lent.
We now sit and proceed with our Liturgy.
Psalm: We are going to return to Psalm 23 which is a Psalm that we memorized in the past, but all the kids agreed that it would be nice to return to it once again this Lenten season. Sometimes it’s good to bring out a favorite to let it continue to be written in our hearts and minds.
Scripture: We are still working on memorizing The Creation Account. This has been a process for sure. Memorizing an entire chapter+ of Genesis is not for the faint of heart and while the kids are on the sixth day, I think I’m still on day 3. Slow and steady.
Petitions: We then take turns, each offering prayers of petition, praise and/or thanksgiving.
It is at this point that we conclude our Prayer Liturgy by snuffing our candle. We remain seated around the prayer table and continue on to the rest of our memory work for the term.
Additional Memory Work:
Poetry: We are continuing our study of William Blake throughout Lent. Each day, Monday through Thursday, I read one of his poems aloud to the kids. On Fridays, the kids take turns picking their favorite poem from that week, and we re-read that particular poem.
We are each working to memorize two – three poems by Blake. The kids have previewed the selection of poems and have selected the ones that they would like to commit to memory. Below are their choices for this term:
Analise: A Dream, The Lamb, and The Divine Image
Jonah: Blossom, Laughing Song, and Spring
James: Instead of memorizing poems by Blake, James is memorizing Mother Goose nursery rhymes and poems by Robert Louis Stevenson. This term, he chose Humpty, Dumpty, Three Blind Mice, A Good Play, and A Good Boy.
Me: Eternity and Nurse’s Song
Folk Songs: You’re A Grand Old Flag
Miscellaneous: We are learning one final passage from As You Like It by Shakespeare.
Review: On Monday through Thursday, we review one piece of memory work learned in previous terms. This helps us to continue to commit these passages to our long term memory. This term we are re-visiting the Prayers of Faith, Hope, and Love, and The Preamble to the Constitution.
Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Loop (aka: one other area of study):
Monday: During Lent, Monday mornings will be all about our Lenten lapbooks (see details below). We will spend time choosing our Maxim to work on during that week, add entries to our saints that we are learning about, and fill out our weekly calendar with our Lenten almsgiving plans.
Tuesday: We will review the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy using the book, The Works of Mercy by Father Lovasik. Each week, we will read about 1 Spiritual and 1 Corporal Work of Mercy. The kids enjoy coloring these booklets while I read to them. After reading the selections, we generate ideas for almsgiving projects for upcoming weeks (again, more details below).
Wednesday: Art will continue to fill this block and this term, we are adding in a few lessons from John Muir Laws related to our weather studies in Science. We will work with water colors and use his tutorial to learn to watercolor weather-related scenes. We will continue to use the Art for Kids resource for drawing instruction, as well as rotate in a few Chalk Art projects from Hodgepodge. The kids have really enjoyed working with chalk pastels last term, so we will keep Wednesdays to being about all things art.
Thursday: We will continue on with our composer study this term and plan to listen to the next half of the selections from Music Study with the Masters from Simply Charlotte Mason. We began using this resource last term and have really enjoyed it! I also read a chapter (or two) from Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends by Opal Wheeler. The book is utterly delightful and includes scores of music, which Annie enjoys playing on the piano for us.
Friday: Our Fridays are basically an extended Morning Time, with almost all of our studies being done together as a family. We will continue with our picture study of Constable during the Lenten season, using the picture study portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, which we love. All of the images from the set hang in our schoolroom and each week, we pick one to study. We will also continue with our Handicrafts, which currently include felting wool into animals (Annie) and needlepoint (for the boys). We also enjoy our Geography Through Literature studies from Beautiful Feet Books. We are currently about half way through Tree In the Trail. The maps that are provided by Beautiful Feet Books are beautiful, and the kids enjoy coloring and labeling these each week. We will end with Stations of the Cross, using the guide by Father Lovaisk.
Before I go into the specifics of our lapbooks, I want to make one thing super clear: I am not a lapbook mom—no way, no how. I don’t do artsy projects with my kids. I’m much more of a snuggle-on-the-couch-and-read-to-my-kids kind of homeschooling mom. I know many homeschooling moms use them for unit studies, but that is just not how we roll. But, when another non-lapbooking friend mentioned to me last year that she made lapbooks for her kids for Lent, I was intrigued because of her explanation as to why.
I’m pretty sure I am not the only one who at the on-set of Lent makes lavish plans about ways I want to grow during this holy season. I even come up with action plans and specific details about what my days and weeks are going to look like, only to find that by 3 or 4 weeks in, a lot of my ideals have gone out the window. Turns out, my husband and kids are no different. So, in my pre-Lent planning last year, I had been chewing on different ways to help all of us persevere in our Lenten plans for an increase in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Turns out, these Lenten lapbooks have proven to be the key ingredient for the kids to be able to do just that. And in many ways, they have helped me to be more accountable in my own plans for Lent, too.
So here we go:
Here is a picture of the outside of my daughter’s lapbook.
I simply took a white folder (because that is what I had on hand) and glued on some purple paper. On top of that I velcroed a crucifix (you can find similar images here), which she will color throughout Lent. The velcro allows for easy removal and replacement of a fresh one each year.
The back of the lapbook, again, has some purple cardstock glued on, and a Lenten calendar that can be colored in each day of Lent.
Again, small squares of velcro in each corner allow for ease in changing each year.
On the inside, you will see various pockets, which are basically an assortment of envelopes that I had on hand. These envelopes correspond to the areas of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
In the middle, you will see the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy booklets that I mentioned above in our Morning Time plans. These are the booklets that the kids color each week as we read about a particular Work of Mercy. You will also notice pre-cut sheets of white paper. It is here that the kids write down their individual plans for that week regarding the service projects that we choose to take on for Lent: Wednesday, write a letter to distant relatives to seek donations; Friday clean out the garage to earn money, etc. In having this plan decided on Monday morning, the kids have action steps that they can complete each week which helps them to keep on track for their goals for Lent.
Last year, we focused on one main Work of Mercy: clothe the naked. The kids did extra chores, collected cans from family, friends, and neighbors, wrote letters to distant relatives to seek donations, and did extra chores at my parent’s house all in an effort to raise money for our local crisis pregnancy center. For each amount earned, Jason and I matched it. In the end, the kids raised a few hundred dollars and we were able to purchase clothes, diapers, wipes, and various other toiletries for Shared Pregnancy in Lansing. The kids dropped the items off on Holy Thursday – the perfect conclusion to weeks spent earning and giving of their time.
The top folder on the left, “Fasting,” is a private envelope that no one is allowed to open except the person in possession of the lapbook. It is here that each kiddo writes down (or draws a little picture) of the behavior that they are trying to fast from during Lent. I know many families where the kids give up candy and video games, and while our kids do choose some of those things, too, our focus is on behaviors that need improvement (having more patience, using a kinder tone of voice, obeying the first time asked, etc.) Each morning, the kids pull out their “fasting” sheet and remind themselves of the behavior that they are trying to fast from.
Below the “Fasting” envelope is a “Maxims” envelope. In the atrium, the kids learn the Maxims of Jesus (Love your enemies, Pray for those who persecute you, Let your “yes” mean “yes” and your “no” mean “no”, etc.). Each week, the kids read through these Maxims and pull out one of the Maxims that will help them to grow to overcome the bad behavior that they are trying to give up during Lent. In essence, we are working to model our words, actions, and deeds after Christ’s. They pin the Maxim on the envelope and each day return to it as a reminder. The kids have expressed that this approach has really helped them to replace behaviors that they are struggling through with new ones that are much more pleasing for all of us.
On the top right is a “Prayer” envelope. In Lent, each kid chooses a saint (or a few saints) that s/he wants to walk with during Lent. Annie usually reads a saint chapter book, whereas Jonah and James read shorter texts about a number of different saints. On Mondays, we take time to reflect on the lives of the saints that we are reading about, which Maxims they seem to live out, and any ways that we can look to them to grow in virtue. The kids write down their ideas on pre-cut squares and store them in this envelope throughout Lent. In this way, the lives of these saints can be written on our hearts and help us to grow to be saints, as well. We pray with the saints in Heaven and ask their intercessions.
Below that envelope is the “Stations” envelope. In here are the words recited during the Stations of the Cross. As noted above, we will pray the Stations each Friday.
Along the bottom is the Good Friday envelope. In this envelope, there is an image of the Divine Mercy, along with this pop-out with the Divine Mercy prayers. We begin the Divine Mercy novena as a family on Good Friday and we gaze upon the image while praying.
The last envelope is for Easter Morning and in it are a few celebratory items, as the season of preparation is now over and Easter celebrations are in order! Last year I placed a Good Shepherd bookmark in each one, some prayer cards, and a sucker.
These lapbooks have become a treasure to us. They are simple (you could totally go all out and make them way more elaborate and artsy than I have). While they do not include every last thing we do as a family or individually during Lent, they do help all of us to stay focused on our highest priorities of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.