I came up with the idea of the Feast Day while I was doing homework for Julie Bogart’s Homeschool Alliance program. It was July and I thought the Alliance would help me add the finishing touches to my mostly-planned year.
Instead, they turned my planner upside down, tore out several pages and asked me hard questions.
Initially, I was devastated. But in time, I found the very information I needed. Information I was desperately searching for.
(Ok, so the page tearing was theoretical. But the hard questions were for real!)
This is my son, Ethan. He loves to celebrate! He craves it. Looks for it. Begs for it, on occasion. And he calls all big lunches, feasts! He is the inspiration behind this new day.
What we were missing from our homeschool was the right amount of celebration. All of the insight I was craving, was revealed. And it was simply, to feast.
You might be asking why that is important. I get it.
It is easy to laugh off.
But here I am, writing a post for Fall Favorites week. My idea, of course. But a made-up celebration nonetheless.
We celebrate the beginning and sometimes the end (!) of seasons. The beginning of college football. Yay! This Saturday!
Or the end of it.
We make seasonal bucket lists for our 4 year olds. I think most, if not all of us, crave and create celebration.
A Feast Day is an opportunity for me as a Mom to create a special day for my child. It revolves around one subject and that is my focus for that one day.
Oh, and I can’t forget the bottom line is: celebration!!
I can go crazy with that one subject! I can throw a huge party. We can take off to New York. Or literally run for the hills with our art supplies to appreciate nature. It can be just us or we can invite everyone we know.
Here we are getting ready to extract DNA from strawberries.
Ethan preparing the strawberries for the solution.
See that face? That is what we are going for!
Charlotte Mason encouraged teachers to think of education as laying a feast of ideas each day for students to pick from and feast on. Not every item on the feast table would appeal equally to each child. But a feast would be laid.
I admit that in my homeschool, I lay a snack bar.
Most days it is what I can do.
By incorporating this special day once a month, I am planning time to inspire. This will not happen without effort. So I am intentionally putting this day into my monthly schedule and working it in. At the end of the year, I want to point to 10 memorable days. Those are the days I want in the yearbook.
This is a new concept for me, but here are a few ideas I have come up with for different subjects.
For a Math Feast, I might:
- Make a challenge course set up on a table or around the house. Each station or room has one type of problem and will earn a ticket. One station could be measuring fractions with candy. Estimating beads or legos in a jar. Calculating circumference of a circle using a hot pizza (for lunch). Turn in tickets for special privileges or a prize pack.
- Measure a room in the house to find area or square footage. Calculate the cost to replace carpet in that room.
- Watch a show where math saves the day. I particularly liked the movie, Hidden Figures.
For a History Feast, I might:
- Take my kids to a Medieval tournament or a Civil War reenactment
- Fully participate in a unit study where the kids become a nobleman or a serf including dressing the part, riding a horse, planting a garden, preparing food, dipping candles, etc.
- Go to a living history farm
For a Science Feast, I might:
- Set up experiments that my kids have been dying to do. Maybe dying is a bad choice of words here. My son is always asking about liquid nitrogen. I think that is the one that instantly freezes tomatoes and tennis balls so they shatter when thrown? This is a scary substance, so if this is what your kids want, look into a science day at your nearest science center.
- If they just want foam, make a mentos volcano. That is always fun – and somewhat more predictable.
- Look at unusual items through a microscope. Instead of bacteria or leaves, check out a slice from an eraser. Glitter. Instant potatoes. Mark what they look like. What item stood out as a favorite?
- Fingerprint each other. Take your mug shots. Watch crime solving shows. Try to be the first to solve the crime. Read a mystery. Try to break out of one of those new rooms where you search for clues and try to get out.
Don’t let this just be about math, history or science! Any subject is fair game.
- For reading, you could do a scavenger hunt that leads to new books. You could match quotes from books to the books themselves. You could dress up as authors. You could do party school for a particular book.
- For writing, you could make a family book or a newspaper. You could design a yearbook towards the end of the year. You could write about a trip and let each contribute their favorite parts. Each could write for the novel contest in the fall (Nanowrimo).
- For arts, you could travel to New York to see the ballet or Broadway or go to the Met. Hey, a girl can dream! Go somewhere local you have never been. You know the place I’m talking about, right? No need to go far away unless you can. Then go!!
- You could take a long weekend and go camping, hiking and do nature journaling and that could be an extended Feast Day.
- You could do a Feast Day for Shakespeare.
- One could revolve around Christmas, which isn’t a school subject, but is certainly worthy of a celebration all it’s own.
- You could have a theme like gratitude or the difference one person can make. Spread the table with examples of people who make a difference. The documentary, The Drop Box, comes to mind. This would be an easy one to find material for!
The idea is to educate and inspire. Inspire in Math. Inspire in Science. Inspire and celebrate the Arts.
Just celebrate! You can do it. Once a month. Check back here towards the end of September and I will share how my first Feast Day (Science) went!
For those who don’t homeschool, don’t feel left out. Every single thing I do for school, you can tweak for you! If Feast Day appeals to you, what do you want to celebrate?
You can celebrate each other. Pick a child and make the day all their favorites. Write down sweet things from each of you for them to keep. Even a small brag book of the day will remind them how special they are to you. Each and every day. That’s a win!
I have a friend who celebrates every holiday in a BIG way. Her kids look forward to it. She doesn’t have to look for things to celebrate. She just looks at her calendar. Even voting day rates a party!
I hope this idea adds some icing to your monthly schedule, but only use it if it serves you and your family. Stay tuned for the rest of my homeschool schedule. I will lay it all out for you!
(Just a little more information about the Alliance. They didn’t really rip up my planner. I just felt like that happened. We were asked lots of hard questions about the children we were teaching, their strengths and weaknesses, learning preferences, teaching style and lots of other questions to ponder. I came up with my own answers. The goal of the class was not to add celebration, but in my case, that is where the answers to the questions led me. So I am taking my personalized answers and incorporating them into my schedule in a realistic, doable way. This is my result.)