Babyproof Your Homeschool {Week 1}

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Week 1 – Meals

This course is all about setting the foundation in your home in order for your family, and specifically your homeschool, to have a smooth transition to a new baby joining the ranks. I want to help you lay down sturdy rails for your family life to run on and that require little physical adjustment while you continue to recover. This is my goal and your feedback will aid in that endeavor! Also as an encouragement to others, if you are on Instagram I’d love to follow along with your progress in this course and cheer you on, just use #babyproofyourhomeschool. You can. learn more about this course in our overview post here.

That being said, uncertainty regarding meals has been one of the quickest ways to throw off our school days in the past. That is why this first week will focus on preparations for feeding your family and some of the methods to start in the third trimester that I’ve found to streamline this daily necessity.

Getting “Mise en Place”

In French culinary studies there is a practice called “Mise en Place”, which roughly means “everything in its place.” This practice can be applied to many parts of home life leading up to the addition of a new baby, but especially in its intended locale of the kitchen.

It is not unheard of for families to make freezer meals for the newborn days, but I’ve found that taking a few other steps first helps all the more. You can find several printable worksheets to help you walk through these suggestions below. This is my latest method:

  • Clean out the refrigerator and take inventory of your family’s usual staples. If it’s out of date or your family doesn’t eat it, go ahead and toss it. You can use the space for something useful. As my mom is fond of saying, “When in doubt, throw it out!” It is better to lose a couple dollars than have to deal with multiple ill family members.

  • Clean out the pantry and take inventory of your family’s usual staples. Same protocol as with the refrigerator.

  • Make bulk batches of shelf stable snacks like granola and trail mix.

  • Make an accessible snack foraging station. Individual bags labeled with each child’s name may be a good idea if they need guidance with rationing.

  • Brainstorm ideas for easy and make-ahead/freezer meals that your family enjoys. Include options for all meals of the day and snacks.

  • Save up a little extra grocery money a month or two before baby’s expected arrival and make a giant stock up trip to the store for all the staples and your intended meals. Don’t forget all the disposable products like paper plates, paper towels and toilet paper. 

  • Plan a day to prepare your make-ahead/freezer meals.

  • Mix up baking mixes that contain all the dry ingredients needed in zip-lock bags.  Write all the missing wet ingredients and baking instructions with sharpie on the bag. These are great if you have an available husband or outside help postpartum.

  • Compose a weekly meal plan with the frozen meals and dry staples you prepared.

Some of our go-to freezable foods:

  • Biscuits

  • Bags of fruit, yogurt, and other add-ins for smoothies

  • Pancakes – a variety of flavors

  • Muffins – a variety of flavors

  • Waffles – a variety of flavors

  • Egg Muffins – eggs, cheese, sausage, and shredded potato baked in muffin tins

  • Baked Oatmeal

  • Sandwiches by the loaf – Peanut butter and jelly, meat and cheese

  • Soups

  • Chili

  • Pasta bakes

  • Taco meat

  • Fajita meat

  • Spaghetti sauce

  • Please feel free to share your go-to freeze meals in the comments!

Some ideas for other easy meal ingredients to have at the ready:

  • Ground Beef (cooked and frozen)- in addition to pre-frozen taco meat and spaghetti sauce, basically seasoned cooked ground beef is an simple add in for recipes like crock-pot lasagna, chili, goulash, sloppy joes, etc.

  • Grilled Chicken (frozen) – grilled chicken is incredibly versatile. It can go on salads, be shredded for quesadillas or nachos, chopped for chicken salad, and a huge host of other scrumptious options we can get into more detail on in the course Facebook group (send me an email through the contact page if you would like to join us there).

  • Frozen or Canned Vegetables – This type of convenience food is great for making sure your newborn streamlined meals are still balanced. We’ve had good look with the store brand steamable bags of vegetables. They are very economical as well.

  • Tortillas – down here in the south we could eat tortillas with every meal. Besides the well known Mexican food options, you can use a tortilla and one of the egg muffins mentioned above to make a quick breakfast burrito, use them for a chicken, egg, or tuna salad wrap, ect.

Blessings until next Wednesday,

 

6 Worksheets for Week 1:

(just click on the photos to download)

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How I’m Babyproofing our Homeschool and You Can Too! 

 

It’s that time again. In about 8 weeks, Lord willing, we will be welcoming another precious baby boy into our family. Now is the time I usually start all my pre-birth preparations to ready as many things ahead of baby’s arrival as possible. I want our first months as a family to run as smoothly as possible so we can focus on what really matters – bonding with and loving on that new squishy babe.

After living it 6 times before, my aim for the postpartum period is to keep as many plates of our usual family life spinning that I can, even if it’s at a significantly slower pace. For our family that agrees with Charlotte Mason that, “education is a life,” this includes continuing our homeschooling in some semblance. On a personal note, doing so helps me to not feel overwhelmed or that things are out of control. I appreciate that extra stability when navigating the unpredictably of the newborn months. I may not know when exactly baby will arrive, or when he will want to eat or sleep, but I can rest in the familiarity of our home and school’s liturgies.

As I thought about the plans for my older children during this time, it dawned on me that other home educators may be in the same situation and that with my experience I could help! This is why I’m daring greatly and sharing this little eCourse with you.

Beginning June 26th and for the next 4 weeks I invite you to walk with me as we work through my method of preparing our homeschools for the addition of a new little soul in the house. Along the way I will share the wisdom I’ve learned, through trial and era, from each recovery, in hopes that it will ease the postpartum transition in your home. If you have already had baby recently don’t be discouraged! All the suggestions can also be successfully applied after the fact.

Every week we will also adding to a workbook of printable pages to help you work through this process for future babies. Additionally, I have set up a private Facebook group to help us trouble-shoot individual’s specific issues. This group may be accessed once you subscribe to the course via email. If you missed the pop-up box, you may use the contact page to email me as well.

If you know of a mother out there who would would be blessed by this eCourse, please share this post with her.

How do you typically prepare your homeschool for a new baby? I am always learning so please share your wisdom with me in the comments below.

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

 

Blessings,

A Pentecost Playlist 

Am I the only one that feels this Easter season has blown by? In conclusion of the Easter Festival and to celebrate the Church’s second greatest feast of the year, I have compiled a five piece Pentecost playlist for your family’s enjoyment this Whitsuntide. Three of the pieces are motets from the Renaissance while the other two are more recently composed works.

Pentecost is a big deal for my boys, most likely because of all the sweet treats and fire. With goodies like crème brûlée, s’mores, birthday cake for the Church, and candles, I can’t say that I blame them for their partiality. While all the little mouths are busy, we will be taking advantage and listening to the following pieces for tonight’s Sunday Family Concert Hour. The next few days the playlist will also be our free listening while my sons play. You can find other ideas for listening times here.

Does your family have any favorite Pentecost traditions? Please share them with me in the comments!

A Pentecost Playlist

1. Loquebantur Variis Linguis – Thomas Tallis

Thomas Tallis was an English composer during the 14th century. Despite being under Henry VIII, he produced works for both the Catholic and protestant churches. This motet draws its inspiration from a Pentecost Matins responsory, based on Acts 2:4. The latin text with english translation can be found here.

2. Dum Complerentur – Tomas Luis De Victoria

Victoria based this two part motet on the Pentecost reading from Acts 2:1-4 and John 20:19.  In 1609, it was published as part of the Florilegium Sacrarum Cantionum, a compilation of sacred music. Below is a translation of the latin text:

Acts 2:1-4

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

John 20:19

Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you.

3. Come Holy Ghost – Orlando Gibbons

This motet from the renaissance is an english translation of the latin prayer, Veni Creator Spiritus. It was published as part of a collection of hymns and songs in 1632. A plenary indulgence is granted when this prayer is recited or sung on the Feast of Pentecost and New Year’s Day (with the usual conditions). The original text can by found here.

4. Symphony No. 8 “Symphony Of A Thousand”, Part 1- Gustav Mahler

Premiering in 1910, Mahler’s 8th Symphony takes the form of 2 parts or movements. The first part of this romantic era work is a setting of Veni Creator Spiritus while the second half uses text from Goethe’s play, Faust. True to the name, the instrumentation consists of a greatly expanded orchestra, eight vocal soloists, two four-part choirs, and a children’s choir.

5. Opus 4: Prelude, Adagio and Chorale Variations on the “Veni Creator” – Maurice Duruflé

Written in the 20th century, Duruflé’s 4th Opus is an organ work suprisingly inspired by the medieval gregorian chant for Veni Creator Spiritus. It is composed of three movements and begins with a succession of triplets all alluding to the Holy Ghost’s position as the third person of the Blessed Trinity.

Our Hymn Study for Rogationtide

 

This month the boys and I planted several fruit trees – peach and fig, so we are extremely grateful for all the rain we have received the last few days. However, the weather has pushed back our annual outdoor Rogationtide festivities. On these Grass Days we ask and thank God for the blessings of His providence and earthly creations. As part of this commemoration, our family beats the bounds as we sing a hymn and blesses our few crops for the year using the Rogation Days: Blessing of Fields and Gardens from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers. (It can be found here toward the middle of the page.) After this blessing we have our traditional picnic of rammalation biscuits (cookies, muffins, or scones) and gangling beer (root beer). This year as part of our celebration, I also want to share the related Hymn Study we are using for these holy days. Please join us!

What are your family’s Rogationtide traditions? Old or new, great or small, please share them with me in comments!

 

 

 

This Year’s Rogationtide Hymn Study

This week we will be learning We Plow the Fields, and Scatter, by Matthias Claudius. As a Lutheran pastor from Holstein, Germany, Claudius wrote this hymn in 1782. The hymn’s tune is Wir Pfügen published in 1812 by Johann A. P. Schulz.

We typically begin our Hymn Study time by reviewing an older hymn we have learned, then proceed to the new hymn. Only two of my sons are of reading age, so I introduce a new hymn by having everyone repeat the lines of the first verse after me. Next I sing the first verse once and then have my boys join in the second time through with humming, a neutral syllable, or attempting the words. We sing the current verse we are learning about three times a day during our Morning Liturgy (Morning Time). They pick up a verse in about a week. After our singing we choose a few of the additional activities below to help us dig a little deeper. I have provided some printable sheets for your family’s use, should you be interested in having them participate in any of the following with us.

A few ideas to try for expanding a Hymn Study are:

  • Catechesis: discussing the theological truths painted in the text.
  • Commonplacing – Florilegium entries: choosing to copy down a line that is personally meaningful.
  • Dictation: use a selection from the hymn text (blank writing page below)
  • Ear Training: have your family practice Attentive Listening by drawing what is heard in the text or music(page below)
  • Handwriting: use a selection from the hymn text (both print and cursive pages below)
  • Memorization
  • Narration of Hymn Text: have your family speak and/or write what they remember about the hymn text in their own words (blank writing page below)
  • Singing for Beauty and Enjoyment: add hymn singing to a meal or bedtime ritual
  • Vocabulary Enrichment: discuss unfamiliar words and phrases with your family (blank writing page for new words below)

Additionally, I have shared a printable text page to add to your family hymnal. There are also recordings of the sung hymn and the organ accompaniment only for your family to use, based of your familiarity with the hymn.

 

 

Voice with Organ Accompaniment

Organ Accompaniment Only

(Just click on each picture to download)

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A Hymn for the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima

Back in 2011, a contest for poetry and music was held in honor of the upcoming Centennial of Our Lady of Fatima. The combination of these compositions was the creation of the beautiful Portuguese hymn, “Teacher of the Announcement, Prophecy of Love.” When I discovered this 13 verse hymn existed a few weeks ago, I immediately began searching for an English translation to teach to my sons as part of our family’s Fatima celebration. But, after my googling proved a sore disappointment, I was faced with a short list of possible options. I could scrap the whole idea, find someone who knew Portuguese and was willing to translate for me, or I could take the leap and attempt an English translation myself.  This first option was completely out of the question and the second turned out to be a more difficult feat than I had anticipated.


So… I decided to try my hand at translating the Portuguese of the first verse and am humbly sharing my efforts with you. I did my best to stay as close to the original language as possible and did not alter the Latin chorus.


Should your family like to join us in the study of this hymn, I have provided a low quality downloadable recording of my English version (done early this morning before everyone woke up) and a printable word sheet for your family hymnal. A video of the original hymn and link to the sheet music are also shown.


I’d love to hear your family’s plans for the Fatima Centennial, so please share them with me in the comments!






 

My English Translation

 

She the chosen field of the Spirit

Gave her fiat to the herald she heard

With the angel we say, “Hail full of grace,

The servant and messenger of the Word.”

Welcomed by all generations

Happy among women and ever blessed

Praise be to the fruit of thy womb

Guardian and mother of the Eucharist

 

Chorus:

Ave o clemens, Ave o pia

Salve Regina Rosarii Fatimae!

Ave o clemens, Ave o pia

Ave o dulcis Virgo Maria.

 






 

“Teacher of the Announcement, Prophecy of Love” sung in English





 

Printable English Word Sheet

(Just click on the picture to download)

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“Mestra do Anúncio, Profecia do Amor” Sheet Music





 

Original Hymn

At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent {Week 7}

We have made it to Week 7 and the glorious festival of Easter is within sight! Thank you so much for accompanying my family on this journey through Lent with Dvořák and Our Lady. I pray it has been a blessing to you and your family! Please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions or if this devotion has impacted your family positively the last few weeks and you would like to see more seasonal devotions like this one and our Awaiting the Messiah musical Advent calendar in the future.

If you are new here, please join us for our last week by listening to the 10th movement of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater and participate in the music appreciation lesson below. No need to stress out about catching up, the lessons do not build on each other so you can start today! More ideas for employing this Lenten devotion can be found at the Overview post.

For your family’s Good Friday and Black Saturday soundtrack, you can find the whole work here:

Dvořák’s Stabat Mater

 

 

The Story of Dvořák in Music and Words is provided below for your family’s free listening.

Week 7

10. “Quando Corpus Morietur” – Quartet and Chorus

Latin Text:

Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.

English Translation:

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

 

 

For our lessons this Lent, we will be using our family’s easy ABC method for listening with purpose. It is a simple three step process that can be used with the whole family and all ages. Your family will be listening to the piece with purpose at least once with specific actions in mind. The whole lesson typically takes around 15 minutes to complete if you include all three steps. It can be expanded based on length of pieces and the extent of conversation. This method is intentionally adaptable to fit all families in hopes that it will aid in fostering a love of music and meaningful connections in your home. Read through the lesson beforehand, then pull out and use what you know will work with your child(ren). Don’t be afraid to include the youngest of children too! My 1 year old daughter and goddaughter just dances around while listening and that is perfect!

Our Easy ABCs for Music Appreciation

Begin by printing the pages at the bottom of this post and gathering everyone together for your family listening time. Our family reads the text and translation then participates in the lesson. This week our family will be doing the lesson as part of our Black Saturday devotions. You may choose the day that works best for your family.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I want these lessons to be as user friendly as possible!

You can share what you like from the following or use it as an easy script:

Our last music lesson for Lent is the tenth and final movement of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, “Quando Corpus Morietur”. It features a quartet of soloists, four voices, and choir. The text is only half a stanza but Dvořák skilfully stretches the text by alternating the half stanza portions with expanded “Amen” sections. He also incorporates a capella segments throughout for added contrast and drama. This piece has a beginning very similar to the first movement we listened to this Lent with held legato (flowing, smooth) notes by the strings and woodwinds families. Also the motives (musical ideas) of the voices mimic the opening line of the first movement, though with differing text. The lower solo voices (Bass and Alto) introduce the first motive (musical idea) of text, followed by the higher solo voices, then the Choir with the same melody. Dvořák then employs the technique of text repetition at higher and higher pitches (notes) to increase suspense before the first a capella part. The quartet of soloist then sing the half stanza alone before the first “Amen” portion. Here again Dvořák uses the repetition of the text “paradisi gloria” to add tension to the music then take us from the key of b minor to B Major before the climax of the whole Stabat Mater work – the melismatic “Amen” section and last half stanza. “Quando Corpus Morietur” may start with the same somber tone as the first movement, however, like the metamorphasis a caterpilar undergoes to emerge as majestic butterfly, the same musical themes are altered and expanded upon to transform them from a lament of desolation into an anthem of hope and anticipation for Christ’s Resurrection and eternity. The choir leads the “Amen” melismas, where many notes are sung on the same syllable of a word, the “Ah” of Amen. These melismatic runs are reminiscent of Handel’s works composed over 150 years earlier and, with the aid of the tympani drum, build up momentum to the concluding statement of the work, the ultimate prayer of the text simply presented as the second and final a capella section. The gradual ritardando (slowdown) and thinning out of the orchestration toward the brief, dissolving Amen part signal the end of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater.

Now onto the main processes of our Listening ABCs.

A – Attentive Listening

Before you play the piece for the first time, ask your family to close their eyes and listen silently. Ask them to try and get a feeling, picture, or story in their mind of what the music reminds them of. They may remember some of the text translation read earlier. You may read it again now. We really want them to get their imaginations running for this first listening. Ask them to share what they saw in the music. There is no right or wrong answer. This will be continued in Part B.

B – Bodily Movement

Now we’re going to add a bodily movement to help our brains connect our memory and the music. Below is a printable page that your students can use to make a music college of what they head in the music. The piece may be played for a second time at this point. The texture (the way the vocal and instrumental parts all fit together) of this piece has many layers, from the overlapping solo voices throughout to the soaring soprano descant (a higher melody sung above the main melody) over the choir in the first Amen portion. We want to pay special attention to these textures as we now listen. While listening, students may write or draw the instruments they hear, overlapping lines of color for the changing textures of different segments of the music or even an over all impression of the piece connected to the text. The picture may be whatever the children imagines, however detailed or abstract.

C – Conversation

This concluding segment is where we talk about the elements we hear in the music. Each time your family listens with purpose using these ABCs, they will hear and be able to verbalize more and more. Any observation is welcome and should be praised. In this section you may choose to have your family listen to the piece one last time while pointing out the elements of the music they recognize. Your family may also go straight on to the discussion. This is a splendid piece to discuss mood given the contrasting minor key (more sad sounding) and major key (happier sounding) portions as well as the alternation half stanzas of text and “Amen” parts. How did the music make your family feel during certain parts of the piece? Do they feel the music was more effective at eliciting an emotional response during the accompanied or a capella segments? Please share your own thoughts with your family too.

(Just click on the picture to download)

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A Holy Week Playlist 

 

It is easy for this solemn week leading up to Easter to get jam packed with preparations and worthy devotions, so I thought I would share a short sampling of some of our family’s Holy Week musical favorites to hopefully help bring the stress levels down with a Beauty Break. Brief is not an understatement here. 😉 As difficult as it was, I have narrowed my recommendations down to only one classical piece relating to each specify day through Black Saturday. You can play each day’s selection while y’all work on the remaining details of your family’s Easter Feaster, while your children play, or perhaps during supper or before bed. More ideas for incorporating music into your day can be found here.

What are your Holy Week favorites? Please share them in the comments below.

Fig Monday: Repentir – Charles Gounod

Our Gospel today recounts Mary Magdalene’s bathing of Jesus’ feet with costly lavender perfume and her own hair. As such, I chose Charles Gounod’s penitential sacred song Repentir (Repentance, O Divine Redeemer). He composed the text and music within six months of his death and it was published posthumously in celebration of the thousandth performance of his opera, Faust. Its subtitle is translated, “Scene in the form of a prayer” and I think you will agree it is a petition that we all share.

 

Holy Tuesday: Miserere mei, Deus – Gorgio Allegri

This is a common day for Tenebrae services to be held. Based on Psalm 51, Gorgio Allegri’s Miserere mei, Deus was composed specifically for this service as one of the twelve secret settings used at the Sistine Chapel. It is legend, confirmed by family letters, that Mozart wrote down the work after hearing it once during the Tenebrae service he attended in Rome.

 

Spy Wednesday: Improperia – Tomas Luis de Victoria

Today the Gospel goes into the specifics of Judas’ betrayal then goes on to have Jesus tell the disciples what will happen. The final exchange where Judas lies to Jesus’ face about being the guilt party gives me goose flesh! The Reproaches (Improperia) are typically sung on Good Friday, but I though these antiphons could apply to the situation mentioned in the Gospel as well. They recount the many gifts God gave to His people, the Israelites, and the response is a plea for mercy. How often have we too followed the example of those who wandered in the wilderness and turned a blind eye to the blessings of the Lord? Sorry, my goose flesh is back…

 

Maundy Thursday: Ave Verum Corpus – William Byrd

Though the Gospel reading only focuses on Jesus’ washing of the disciples feet, the wider context of Maundy Thursday is the whole event of the Last Supper. Not only did was Passover celebrated, but also the first Eucharistic Feast. To highlight that aspect, Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus (Hail True Body) is our listening selection for today. The Latin text goes back to the Middle Ages and Pope Innocent VI. A translation of the text is found here.

 

Good Friday: “Vidit Suum Dulcem Natum” – Giovanni Pergolesi

This 5th movement of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater is the Good Friday piece that routinely comes to my mind first. The way Pergolesi paints the scene of Christ’s death through the dynamic setting of the text is haunting. An English translation of the 13th century poem is as follows:

For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

 

Black Saturday: “Quando Corpus Morietur” – Antonín Dvořák

Today Jesus harrowed hell, visiting those faithful who died before His sacrifice and offering them eternal life. This piece by Dvořák is the final movement of his Stabat Mater and also the conclusion of At The Foot Of The Cross: A Musical Journey Through Lent. It has been one of my favorites since singing it in college and is a moving illustration of the hope we can have for eternity as Christians. It never ceases to bring tears to my eyes. The text translation is below:

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.