Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day and Our Homeschool Experience

What? Are you confused? What's this guy doing in this St. Patrick's Day post, pointing at a pile of snakes?

Why, that's ole' St. Patrick himself! One of the things that he is known for, is for banishing snakes from Ireland. What does that have to do with St. Patrick's Day? Well, in our American culture, we have sort of "changed" the meaning of St. Patrick's Day.

Being a homeschool family, we spent the greater part of this morning researching what St. Patrick's Day really is and what all of the traditional symbols of St. Patrick's Day really mean.

We learned that in Ireland, St. Patrick's Day is a religious holiday, celebrating the date that St. Patrick died. He was known for driving the snakes out of Ireland (possibly meaning the driving out of Druid ceremonies that involved snakes). Most importantly, he spread the word of God and converted many non believers.

We also learned that many in Ireland feel that the color green is unlucky. American's have kind of introduced the drinking of beer as part of the holiday. Oh, and last but not least, the shamrock does indeed, have Irish backgrounds. St. Patrick himself taught that the shamrock represented the Trinity (Father, Son, and The Holy Ghost). So, how about that.

Our learning didn't stop at searching the web. The two younger kids wrote St. Patrick's Day stories (both about leprechauns) and I gave the older kids a fun sheet so they wouldn't feel left out. Later, we searched different locations (including the place where St. Patrick was born- Scotland, by the way) and Dublin Ireland using the street maps so we could get a bird's eye view of the real places. So, basically, it's like we traveled over the ocean and actually "saw" what we were studying with our own eyes (without having to leave the comforts of home!!). If I had thought ahead, we could have thrown some home economics in the mix and fixed some traditional Irish meals today but this mama wasn't that prepared....

Well, we traveled to Ireland and Scotland, wrote some stories, learned some history, AND managed to get our regular school work done. What a St. Patrick's Day we had!

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