We were glad to have the gerbils with us this past Reformation Day though:
For our school day, this past October 31, we focused on the Reformation. Unfortunately Tabby wasn't feeling well so she was only able to join us for some activities. Hopefully we can do more next year. I thought I'd share our activities, so maybe you'd be inspired to celebrate it next year!
First though, are you thinking "What in the world is Reformation Day? I thought October 31st was just Halloween!" Well in 1517, the famous theologian Martin Luther nailed up his 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in Wittenberg, Germany. This was a list of Luther's questionings of the Catholic church regarding things such as the sale of indulgences. (Indulgences allowed people to buy their salvation.) This event sparked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. (You can read more on this German website on Luther here - and yes it's written in English!)
Our home celebration started with me taping up a printout of the 95 Theses and the boys "nailing" it into place:
Next we read a children's book about Martin Luther called The Barber Who Wanted to Pray by R. C. Sproul. It doesn't talk about the 95 Theses but is an excellent book. I had wanted to buy gummy worms to eat while we read it but couldn't find any so I bought red licorice as our worms. This was to remember the Diet of Worms that Luther was a part of. Now there were no real worms involved in that one, but I explained to Hunter that Worms was a place and "diet" here meant a formal, deliberative assembly. Luther was answering to accusations about his writings and teachings and ordered to recant. He didn't. He was labeled a heretic because he was writing and speaking things in disagreement with the Catholic church.
After that yummy - but hyper inducing! - snack we learned about the "Luther Rose." (I had downloaded the information and coloring pages free here from CurrClick.) Luther's rose was a seal that had been commissioned for Luther in 1530. Luther came up with the colors and symbols himself. (They're explained in the free download, so I won't take the time to type them out here.)
Next we gathered around the computer for a few video clips on the Reformation on YouTube. The kids very favorite one was this clip, done with Lego people showing Luther hammering up the 95 These. (It made me laugh too!)
After that, Hunter played a rousing game of "Match the Beard to the Reformer." It was pretty funny! (I got this game and several other activities from an e-book called "Reformation Day Activities" - also from CurrClick.)
Then we played "hide the heretic." After some discussion, we decided that Luther wasn't the heretic - the Pope was! So I hid a picture of Pope Leo X and the kids searched for it.
Then it was time for writing and I had Reformation notebooking pages from The Notebooking Fairy. Obviously Tabby did more writing than Hunter. But he did a little copy work.
We wrapped things up by making some Reformation day bookmarks:
That night, we enjoyed a German themed supper as a family. I had thought it would be fun to dress up, but never made it up into the attic to dig out my Renaissance fair outfit. The menu:
Green salad with a German dressing, bratwurst, mashed potatoes, and (root) beer to wash it down:
For dessert I made apfelkuchen, which is a German tart:
It would have been nice to watch a movie on Luther's life, but with little ones it's hard to get in much movie watching. Also, one other excellent resource on ideas for activities is Doorposts' book A Night of Reformation. (Read the description on Doorposts website here.)
I'll wrap this post up by sharing one of Luther's very favorite scriptures:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” - Romans 1:16-17