Monday, April 3, 2017

Sunday of Orthodoxy Activity

As a private and public junior high and high school teacher for ten years before becoming a homeschool teacher of grades pre-k and up, I can basically offer something for ALL of your kids, no matter who your are! (smile)

When I post learning material I hope that you can see yourself using it whether your kids learn at home or also in a traditional school. For instance, today's COPYWORK on the Sunday of Orthodoxy can be used several ways once you print it out:

  • Do you help with Sunday School? Include it in your lesson this week, along with this coloring page found here.

  • Work on it with your child Sunday afternoon, between your own parish's service and the Pan-Orthodox service later that evening*. Ask your child to listen for the words when you attend that evening service.  I love the knowing look my five-year-old gives me when he hears something we had talked about before the service. 

  • If you homeschool, use this for handwriting practice on Monday as a way to review Sunday's events.
Don't try to click on me - I'm just for show!

  • If it is appropriate in your parish, you could allow your smaller child to quietly color the line drawing and practice the letters on the manuscript page during one of the bed time evening services this upcoming week.
For the file, click on the link at the bottom of the page :)

But, why copywork? Isn't that sort of like busywork, that pointless time-filler many teachers who didn't know better used in order to keep little hands occupied?

Actually, the process of saying words aloud and then writing them with one's hand accomplishes several benefits beyond improved handwriting.

First, your child encounters an idea in those words, an idea that is nourishment for the mind and soul. In this case, your child gets to spend a few minutes with an idea that is foundational to our Faith. You can talk about it together. As he writes, time is provided to chew on and digest something from this important day, making this year's Lenten journey a little more meaningful.

Second, writing can be an elaborative rehearsal device. What is that, you might be thinking? It is a technique that moves information from one's short-term memory to one's long-term memory by providing opportunities to repeat that information and link it to other encounters. In this case, you are linking the encounter of the Church service to the copywork.

Third, writing and speaking the same words uses three of our five senses: we see them with our eyes, hear them with our own ears, and "touch" them as we form our lips, tongue and teeth to say them and touch the pencil with our hand. The only senses missing are smell and taste, which your child will receive at church with incense, beeswax candles, kissing the icons, and Holy Communion. 

Why does it matter to use our senses? When I taught Speech and Drama students to memorize their material, I instructed them: imagine your brain receiving a message from one of your senses; your finger touches something and a little pathway is created from the tip of your finger to your brain. Now, what if more than one sense were traveling down that pathway? You write the word and say it with your mouth and the pathway is made wider, stronger, more like a road to your brain. The more times the path is traveled the stronger it gets. The stronger the pathway, the better you remember.

This is perhaps why Katherine Johnson included so much copywork of Scripture and hymnography in her Orthodox Curriculum, Ages of Grace. We want our children to remember the important things about our Faith.

On to the file: it is a pdf file with a page for cursive, a page for elementary manuscript, and a page for easier manuscript.

I hope you can use it!

* (Okay, I realize because I have been there that some of you don't even have one parish within an hour drive, much less two! Thanks be to God you have that one you can get to sometimes! If you have to, you can do your own procession around your house and shout together the lines of copywork.)

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