I decided to start with a different song each month (combining August with September and June with May). My goal is not to teach the children all the lyrics, though they very well may learn them and that would be good. My goals are to celebrate the day and to help the children grow familiar with some of the hymns Kansas Dad and I love and that we sing at church. A song also seemed like a good way to call the children to attention: Now begins our "school time."
After listening to every CD of hymns we owned, I hit the library and went through a great pile of CDs. I was debating not only which songs to include (choosing them all now so I could burn a CD for the year), but which versions. Singing well is not one of my talents, so I needed a strong vocal line to follow (and even then, well...if the kids want to sing properly, Kansas Dad will have to teach them).
I ended up purchasing a set of CDs and then realized I had missed my absolute favorite hymn which we must sing during the Easter season (Christ the Lord is Risen Today), so I hit iTunes to find a version I liked. Believe you me, there are some abominable versions available.
With the hymns picked, I searched online for the lyrics and then carefully listened to each one to ensure the version and the lyrics aligned. You might be surprised at the variations for each hymn. Then I printed out the lyrics for our binder. First Son and I can read along as necessary and we have a nice record of our year (as long as I don't change my mind on the songs).
For those interested, I'm bribing the kids a little on the first song. I picked Morning Has Broken, which they already know and which has a book with a Kansas illustrator we can peruse while singing.
How could our homeschool begin without prayer? We'll say a morning prayer:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the holy sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in thanksgiving for your favors, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen
Then a prayer attributed to St. Augustine:
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest Your weary ones. Bless Your dying ones. Soothe Your suffering ones. Pity Your afflicted ones, and all for Your love's sake. Amen.
Then we'll pray for our family and friends. I've printed pictures (grandparents, aunts & uncles & cousins, godparents, our CFCA friend, friends from our homeschool playgroup, etc.), one page for each family or friend. I've also included one page that has picture from each baptism so we can pray for all the priests and religious. (I intend to add a picture of our current pastor even though, as of yet, he has not baptized any of our children.) I can add pages as we develop relationships with other families in our parish or homeschool group. Each day we'll turn the page and pray for the next family.
I don't have a specific prayer in mind. I intend to let the kids pray as they like and imagine the intentions will be...interesting. That is part of the appeal.
I hope to leave the binder open and available so the children and I can pray for our loved ones briefly as our glance falls on the page throughout the day. A prayer, after all, can be just a momentary thought sent heavenward.
Finally, we'll review our Scripture for the week. I'm not sure how this will work on a daily basis, but I'll be basing our discussions on the Good News planner. Each day they have a regular activity for the coming week's readings (Monday vocabulary, Tuesday journal, Wednesday prayer, Thursday discussion question, Friday action challenge). I'm excited by the idea, but I think we'll need a few modifications for the kindergarten and preschool crowd.
And so our day will begin.