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Little Liturgies

in Culture

Little Liturgies

in Culture

As we enter the season of Advent, those readers familiar with liturgical churches will recognize this season as one filled with ritual, ceremony, and memory. Part of the magic of attending worship during Advent is the addition of special rituals like lighting the candles on an advent wreath or singing hymns not sung at other times in the year. My favorite is the evocative hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” during Wednesday night services.

Often, however, just showing up to service means a frantic herding of children, changing the baby’s outfit that inevitably gets dirtied five minutes before we were going to leave, and the search for shoes. (Why are shoes everywhere when I don’t want them, but nowhere when I need them?) But we keep dragging ourselves to church, even if it means we’re flustered, unkempt, or late. Usually those are the times the sermon’s meant just for us, or the reading is especially poignant.

Now is also when many of us start to get a little stagnant in our homeschools. We’re prepping for Thanksgiving and gearing up for the massive event-filled month of December. One look ahead at the calendar or to-do list can set us in another heap of fluster. With all that’s going on, it’s tricky to stay enthusiastic about our school day.

We can take a hint from the church calendar and think about what little “liturgies” our family practices, then try to emphasize or rejuvenate those.

Is it prayers together before bedtime? Is it pancakes every Saturday morning? Is it poetry teatime? My kids, for example, know when the guitar starts in the morning, it’s Morning Time. They’ll get to bounce around to some camp songs, practice some hymns and memory work from poetry, Scripture, and Shakespeare, and end up snuggled on the couch while I read aloud.

Well, ideally, it will be that joyful and peaceful. But I don’t think even the most generous person would describe my home as idyllic.

I keep trying these little liturgies because I keep hoping to tame the crazy even just for a few minutes.

More often than not, read-aloud times look like three little girls crawling All. Over. Me. while one boy acts out Power Ranger moves. “There can’t possibly be any way anyone is hearing this story,” I think. Forty-seven interruptions later, we finally finish–my voice hoarse and everyone chomping at the bit to disperse.

From Mundane to Magical

Every now and then, though, I get something magical like the other day. We had just finished up math, after a tumultuous morning. (Seriously, if I’m not ready with the oatmeal when my kids’ feet hit the floor in the morning, it’s gonna get rough until everyone has full bellies.) Anyway, we were taking a break when the three oldest proceeded to “play” in that fighting over toys sort of way. The volume was quickly rising in my house. (I always silently judged those moms of kids who scream. Then I become one of them. Good one, God.)

Then the baby and I sat down on the couch with a new book from the library and just started quietly reading aloud.

Tractor beam sucked ’em right in. You can call me the Pied Piper.

Not only did I feel like the most brilliant mom in the world for effortlessly calming the hollering over unsharable toys, but I managed to have my big 8-year-old boy snuggled on one side, and my feisty, but tamed for the moment 3-year-old snuggled under my other arm, I remember thinking that it truly doesn’t get any better than this.

It really doesn’t.

I hope they remember times like that, too. Even if they don’t, I will.

November homeschooling is a time to keep trying those little liturgies because of that off-chance you’ll get something really memorable. If your household is like mine–often loud and crazy–that lovely, soul-nourishing cup of calm is worth the effort.

Other good things:

5 COURAGEOUS THINGS YOU CAN DO ON THE DARKEST DAYS
RAR #35: Reading Aloud with Toddlers (and other littles) underfoot

Rhiannon Kutzer

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Nice to meet you!

I’m Rhiannon.

You can call me Rhi for short (as in “rejoice”). I’m a fiercely independent homeschooling mom of five, a Navy wife of 13 years, and a creator of various things: articles, a semi-regular newsletter, quilts, furniture, and the occasional knitted scarf. This is the site where I write about our homeschool journey and news and happenings in the homeschool world. more about me.

Rhiannon

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  • Morning Time Details! E. (12), S. (almost 8), and L. (6). Our Morning Time morphs as the kids grow and change. It usually includes a combination of memory work and reading aloud. We try to cover a WHOLE LOT of things: Shakespeare, Bible, poetry, catechism, hymns, timeline, art study, composer study, and Ambleside selections for nature study, tales, and church history. This term I’m adding Plutarch.
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The hard part is figuring out where I want to aim, with the 5-year gap between E. and S., and then L. being a newbie to full-on school. Having moved twice in 2019, I nixed MT and just focused on individual work. That came with costs. Shakespeare, Plutarch, art study, and composer study suffered. Memory work barely happened at all. I was BUSY. We missed out on discussing things together. Now that we’re settled, it’s time to restart MT.
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This term I’ve decided to aim Shakespeare and Plutarch at the oldest, while the girls listen in and do handwriting/drawing/fine motor. I won’t ask them for much narration. Our reading schedule for these is AMBITIOUS. Maybe crazy. Then we’ll do all the memory & read aloud stuff that suits everyone. These lessons are SHORT. Then E. will go do his individual work while I read aloud w/ just the girls.
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Also, “Morning Time” is a misnomer, considering we break it up throughout the day. It should really be called Morning/Lunch/Nap Time. I need a new name. Circle Time? Except we don’t sit in a circle. Together school? Except we’re together doing school all day. I don’t think English has the word I’m looking for. Maybe Tertulia or Salon?
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Our actual coursework is: the Scottish Play, Plutarch is Alexander the Great’s life, our artist is Gustave Courbet, composer is Paganini, Bible memory is Psalm 46, Hymn is Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me, read alouds will rotate from Burgess Bird Book, Trial and Triumph, Blue Fairy Book, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Vanderbeekers, & picture books. Timeline is from Classical Conversations. Poems are Charge of the Light Brigade, Winter Night by Teasdale, and The Land of Nod.
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Whew! It’s gonna be a fun term! What do you guys do for Morning Time?
  • #homeschool #family #weekend projects. Oldest got through a CPR course, curtains are hung, first batch ever of hard apple cider is bottled (a big learning experience!), and Morning Time for the next term is planned. 👊🏻 Time to call Dominos so these people can get fed 😂
  • Oh Halloween. That day when I pull costumes out of thin air at T-minus one hour ‘till trick-or-treating. Then one kid melts down in the middle of the fun, and is carried screaming to the car, with me hoping all the while that no one thinks I’m abducting a child. And, my favorite non-PC thought: one kid suggests we should have dressed as hobos, since we’re going around asking people to give us free candy. Phoned it in this year, Kutzers. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ #gladitsover For the record, we had a soccer player, an archer, Spider Girl, a princess, a tiny farmer, a witchy mom (Is that even a costume or just a Thursday?), and Bat Dad.
  • We may not get school started until 8 or 9, but we eat well while we read. “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.” I think the house smelling like bacon counts as atmosphere. 😂🥰
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#homeschool #charlottemasonirl #homecookedmeals #livingbooks
  • A husband out to sea. A solo drive to and from MT. A freak snowstorm in September. Unpacking, appointments, and homeschooling, cooking and cleaning, laundry and loneliness without my better half and my biggest helper. All so that a grandson can learn from and adventure with his grandpa. I call it a RAGING SUCCESS.💛🥰 #family #navywifelife #homeschool #worldschool #bravewriterlifestyle
  • #pcs day 5 = #HOME (hallelujah!) 😊 and delicious homemade chili from the amazing @mythirdacrelife It was a long 3000 miles, but everyone made it here alive, if a little less sane than when we drove out of CT. #navyfamily #navywife #roadschooling #homeschool

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