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Connecting Church & Home

About this project:

As a mom and teacher, it's important to me to not only educate my children about their Orthodox Christian faith but also live it in our day to day family life.  I wanted to consciously go through this 2014-2015 ecclesiastical year participating in the major feast days, celebrating our family's name days, fasting, praying, giving alms, learning about and discussing various saints, attending services, and just all around living our faith.  

Update: Since I’m having a baby this summer (2015), I’m keeping it simple for our next school year - 2015 to 2016.  I chose to focus the coming year on saints who are known for gardening and cooking because this is something that will be an easy fit for our family as we transition to having one more person in our family.  We will draw connections between these saints and their lives to our everyday lives.  You will find the saints we intend to learn about during our 2015-2016 school year below.  I will publish posts as our family learns about these saints.  You can subscribe to receive these posts, at the right, if you have not already done so to receive them.

I also needed it to easily work with a wide range of ages - since my oldest child is 20 and my youngest is 1 - and also have it work for a range of abilities since some of my children have special needs.

This is a year long project my husband and myself are doing with our kids.  Although I am using this in a home setting, it is set up for ease of use in a classroom as well.  If you are using this project for classroom use, I would highly encourage you to find ways to carry over the lessons and activities to the students' homes as well. Suggestions on how to do this will be provided in some areas.  It is vitally important that the children LIVE their faith and not just learn about it.

Christian education is by its nature total education....It cannot be limited to or defined by the classroom, with the child as the sole learner or the teacher as the sole educator.  - John L. Boojamra, Foundations for Christian Education

This is a major project and while I'd love to be able to unveil the project completed in it's entirety, realistically I need to archive it as I plan it for my own family.  I hope to have each section completed and published ahead of time, but as with anything dealing with kids, there are always unexpected detours.  I will do my best to have it on the website in a timely manner.

I wanted this project to be seasonal in nature because it would easily weave itself within the natural rhythm of our year.  I chose to begin the project on September 1st to coincide with the ecclesiastical new year as well as the beginning of our homeschool year.  You will notice that some of the feast days and saints are listed in autumn when technically they are celebrated at the end of summer (the beginning of September).  I did this for simplicity on my part since most of us see September as the beginning of fall along with the beginning of the school year.

I would love to hear about ways you incorporate living your faith in your home/classroom as well how any aspect of this project worked for your family.  You can send me an email here and remember to check back often for additional information and activities.

For additional information on Orthodox education, please consider reading: The Epic Search for an Orthodox Christian Curriculum

Autumn

Ecclesiastical New Year

What is the ecclesiastical new year?

Steward's of God's Earth

Green Patriarch: Short video or view the same video in it's entirety here

 

Fasting, Almsgiving, and Prayer

Fasting:

Nativity Fast  (Saint Philip's Fast)

Wednesdays and Fridays

The Eve of Theophany (January 5)

Fast-Free:

The week following the Nativity of Christ to the eve of Theophany

Almsgiving:  How can we, as a family, give this fasting season?

Prayer:  How can we, as a family, increase our prayer time together and individually?  How can we prepare ourselves for Christmas?

A Practical Guide to Prayer with Children

Living Our Faith: "It's Too Hard For My Kids"  Ideas on how to increase our children's involvement in fasting, almsgiving, prayer, church services, and holy confession

Name Days

Family & Class Project:  Learning about and celebrating the name days in our immediate family or class


In autumn, our family is commemorating:

Prophet Zacharias

Saint Zenobia

Archangel Gabriel

Saint Nicholas


How to Celebrate Name Days with Our Children

Saints

September 11th: Saint Euphrosynos  (Apples & Helping out in the kitchen)

September 25th:  Saint Sergius of Radonezh  (Baking, Sowing Seeds, and Weeding the Garden)

October 31st:  Saints Spyridon and Nikodim of Kievo-Pechersk  (Prosphora Baking)

November 15th:  Saint Herman of Alaska  (Teaching how to plant a garden)
(He is also commemorated on December 13th due to an error in record keeping.  It is believed this is the day he was buried.)

 

Winter

Fasting, Almsgiving, and Prayer

Name Days

Family & Class Project:  Learning about and celebrating the name days in our immediate family or class


In winter, our family is commemorating:

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus

Saints

January 1st: Saint Basil  (Vasilopita)

January 2nd: Saint Juliana  (Kitchen & Home)

February 12th: Saint Christos the Gardener  (Gardening)

February 13th: Saint Modomnoc of Ossory (Beekeeper & Honey)

 

Spring

Fasting, Almsgiving, and Prayer

Name Days

Family & Class Project:  Learning about and celebrating the name days in our immediate family or class


In spring, our family is commemorating:

Saint Christopher

Saint Justin the Martyr

Saints

Late Spring:  Theotokos  (Plant "Panagia's Tears" seeds)

May 21st:  Saint Helen  (Plant Basil for Feast Day of the Elevation of the Holy Cross)

 

Summer

Fasting, Alsmgiving, and Prayer

Feast Days

Pentecost

The Transfiguration of Christ

The Dormition of the Theotokos

 

Name Days

Family & Class Project:  Learning about and celebrating the name days in our immediate family or class

Saints

Late Summer: Theotokos (Harvesting our "Panagia's Tears" seeds, drying them, and then making a prayer rope with them)

August 27th: Saint Phanourios  (Cake)