This morning I set out three packages for three of my kids. It included all of the items they need for their pilgrimage: a cloak, two journals, a shoulder bag, a map, and a pilgrimage certificate. The only things missing were the staffs and a hat for my son. (I was not paying $25 for a hat from Party City. We'll look elsewhere.) Most of this was kept secret from them this summer, and they were excited to sit down and open them up.
I allowed them to look through everything and try on the cloaks before we talked about what they would be doing for the school year. They tried to guess what they would be this year, but eventually I explained to them that they would be medieval pilgrims going on a pilgrimage through Church History.
I read to them my rationale for the year: why Christians should know their church history. And then I told them a truncated version of church history (complete with slide show and music), how pilgrimages began and why they eventually ended - although they really do continue to this day.
We also discussed what we would be using the two journals for: one for a nature study and the other for the pilgrimage. And we looked over the map of the Mediterranean region and talked about the significance of the pilgrim's certificate. Then I had them glue the map and certificate into their pilgrim's journal.
And that was the opening day of our school year. Next week we really begin our journey .