We love learning by doing. This year we had the idea to put together a Christmas Play, together with some other Homeschoolers. It was a good way to learn about religion, history and to work together as a group. It was also a good way to get to know some other Homeschoolers better.
Esrum Monastery is a great place to visit and learn about the reformation in many different hands on ways. There is a game room, where you can play a game where you can choose to represent or support the church or the king. Then you play against each others teams and learn about the different influences and powers which ruled then.
It is also situated in very beautiful surroundings. There is a large playground and a medicinal garden.
We got the chance to take part in a visit to the Jewish Synagogue today, together with other homeschoolers. We always like to be a fly on the wall, in areas of the world, that we usually don’t have any experience with. It is not easy to get acces there. There has been high security ever since the attack on Sundag the 15th of February 2015 where a man was killed and several wounded. Since that, there has been armed soldiers outside the synagogue, patrolling the area. This is a very sad turn in Denmarks history, as we for so many years have praised our country for being safe, tolerant and inclusive.
First we had to go through the security, where we were led into a barred section, where the doors locked and then another door opened in the other end, and let us out into the synagogues area. There were more police patrolling and let us into the building. There we met a lovely lady, who were to be our lecturer. She told us about being a jew.
After the lesson in Jewish traditions, we were taken into the synagogue. There we were shown the Torah and allowed to ask questions.
All the men and boys had to wear a skullcap. Our son was not happy about being treated differently from his sisters.
We love traditions and keep on inventing new ones all the time. Particularly Christmas is a star of tradition and celebration. We celebrate Christmas all during December. Today, on the 1st of December, we started out with putting up our homemade Christmas Calender – 4 Santas holding bags with space for surprises. This year our youngest child had already written a letter to Santa 4 months ago, so he put that in the bag to get to Santa.
Our oldest daughter has been writing on a Christmas Story for the past month. A story with a chapter for each day until Christmas. So she had put that into her Santa bag.
The Santa dolls in the bags are for them to play with. They got them when they were really small and have made clothes and things for them during the years.
In the evening I prepare songbooks and today, a list to complete with the children tomorrow, listing and arranging the things they wish to do in December.
All the kids take turns on lighting the candle.
The kids open their presents one after each other. Afterwoods all children choose a song and we all join in.
Our oldest daughter has this year written a Christmas Calender, where she reads a chapter aloud for all of us every day up to Christmas.
Every evening my job is to reply to letters to Santa. It can be returned with corrections in spelling and new questions they then will reply to and practise their spelling and vocabulary.
This year I had also bought school tickets to the Royal Ballet, where we saw “Alice in Wonderland” together with a lot of other Home School friends in the afternoon.
We also choose 2 Christmas Calender series each year, and watch them before or after breakfast.
We are doing a series of Religious visits and experiences at the moment. Most religions are very friendly, and invites us into their community, to tell about their beliefs. Today we were invited to visit the Ba Hai community in Hellerup, Denmark.
Ba Hai is a new religion and springs from the Muslim belief, but instead of believing that Mohammed is the prophet, they believe that there has been a new prophet 200 years ago called Bahá’u’lláh.
They believe that all the religions of the world actually is one religion and have one common god.
During our visit we were allowed to take part in a ceremony. Then we had a guided tour, where we talked about their beliefs and values. Then we had lunch together. In the end the children was given different texts, which they read together and then talked about.
Ba Hai has a large community in India and in Africa (Congo particularly). They have 4 large religious monuments in the world.
Once a year you can go meet the Sikhs in Denmark on the main public square. They call it Turban Day. You can get free food, try getting tied a turban on your head, listen to music and ask in general about the religion.
We find that it is a great way to get hands on experience of the different religions practiced around the world. To go out and meet the people who live by the rules of different religions and are willing to tell about it.
To be a parent, means to be a role model for your children. Being the one to dare try new things, like going forward and trying on a turban, can be one of those things. But also being able to accept that the children find it quite enough just looking at you doing new silly things, is a parent job.
After life is always interesting to talk with the children about.
Religion often can be tied to different languages too. So language can also have a great influence on religions, which can be interesting to talk with the children about.
Where is the religion practiced geographically? Another area of learning, when you are dealing with religion.
Educational lecture on the Jews in Denmark, during the Second World War. This was our first visit to the Jewish Museum in Denmark. It was a pleasant experience with dedicated staff. They opened the museum just for us. The building was made to simulate the travels of the Jews and the persecution of the Jews through time. The floors was uneven to make you feel seasick, as most of the Jews in Denmark escaped the concentration camps, by being shipped to Sweden by little fisherman boats.
The Jews in Denmark was never made to wear the famous star, but it still was quite a sickening feeling to hold a real one in your hand.
99% of the Danish Jews managed to escape to Sweden or hide in Denmark. But the ones that got caught, was sent to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. It was a propaganda Concentration Camp where a part of it was a studio made to record how great life was in the Concentration Camps.
In the Concentration Camps they were paid monopoly money for their work. They had no real value.
The famous frontpage from when Denmark was freed from the Nazis 5th of May 1945.
For 9 years we went to a playgroup in a Church. It was only intended to be for 2-6 year olds, but the group was managed by a very nice lady called Jane. When we started in the group our children fitted very well into that category, with a 5, 2 and 1 year old. Then they grew older. But Jane still made us feel welcome in the play group. She did not care much about age groups or rules generally. What mattered to her was the overall feeling in the group and if the children knew how to behave well towards each other. You would always get a loving hug and a truly personal concern and interest into your life from Jane. She was open and loving. Jane had not had an easy life before she came to the church. Many people had not treated her with the respect everybody deserves. But she had found her love and meaning in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. She gave that love on to us all.
As our youngest child turned 5 this year, we decided to stop in the play ground this year. As Jane was become more like a grandmother to our children than just a friend, we made plans with her to meet up with her and also for her to become a part of our home school network and arrangements.
But sadly, she died quite suddenly from cancer, during the summer break from the playground. We managed to meet her once at the hospice and we also attended her funeral. At the funeral they said that one of her sayings was:”Always stay honest in your heart”. I will never forget that. She was a person who gave so much. You felt understood and energized from her company. We will never forget her.
In the play ground there was a meeting once a week where we would start out sitting in a circle. Then all the children would get to choose a song from song books she had put together through the years, with songs the families had brought. She had a lot of toys that fitted the different songs. Then she would often bless us all. We also had a dice the children could throw, with blessings on. Then there would be an activity. It could be that she would tell a bible story that fitted that season of the year, or there could be a creative activity.
At the start of every year we had a paper we could write an activity on, that we would like to do during that year. Usually “look at a fish” would be put on it, as a popular activity. Every year Jane managed to find a new interesting sea creature to dissect, fry and then we would eat it.
Every year we would have a ceremony in the church at christmas, where Jane would make a christmas play with children from the local kindergarden. We would then every year receive some kind of angel figure, to remember Gods love for us.
Every year we would celebrate “Fastelavn” in the play group. Jane would put sweets in a brown paperbag the children had painted. Then the children got to hit the bag, one by one, until it broke. One year Jane had put oranges in the bag. They all were completely smashed up, so she didn’t repeat that treat 🙂
Easter. Usually spend with a bible story. Then Easter Egg hunt in the church.
We did a lot of creative activities in the play group. Often we would paint, sculpt, build things. On this picture we could paint on caps, shoppingbags or T-shirts.
Jane. We miss you and will never forget you.
When we have Religion on the weekly schedule, we mainly look at christianity, as the main Religion in Denmark has been Christianity since around year 1000. Christianity is also mentioned in the constitution, and is a part of the state, as long as more than 50 % of the population decide to be members. At the moment around 77% are members. It is also the basis of my familys culture and history. So I read aloud the bible for the children and they draw something that relates to the piece we are reading. The book we use also looks at the Historical and Geographical aspect of the bible. Then at the end of the text, we discuss the meaning of that piece. We also do many field trips to visit other religious arrangement when available to us.