When I arrived at the St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference with the Sider-Rose family, snowflakes were falling. The people who had arrived on time didn’t notice the flurry. It was, however, the briefest of flurries, so brief that one might almost wonder if it had been real.

Morning Snow

Later in the weekend, I was in my room, and I wanted more light while I put some finishing touches on the workshop I’d soon be leading. I realized it had snowed overnight when I threw open the curtains in my room. There wasn’t enough snow for snow forts or snow angels, but it hadn’t snowed this past winter at all at my home in the Pacific Northwest, so I stood and stared out the window for a while before I settled down to work.

Then I heard something thunk against the window. It sounded like a bird might have flown into it. I shrugged and kept working. Then another thunk. There was no feeder outside the window, no flocks of birds, no reason to have birds hitting the window. I stood up and looked outside. There I saw not a bird, but a boy who was finding joy in throwing snowballs before the snow disappeared.

I smiled and waved and went back to work.

49 Pounds of Books

I’d brought a suitcase full of picture books to the conference, to use in my workshop. The suitcase weighed 49 pounds; the airline limit for checked bags was 50. But how can you lead a workshop without having materials for the participants to use? I wanted the parents to see how easy and effective it is to use picture books to teach literary analysis, poetics, visual literacy, and formal analysis to older students. Because picture books are both visual and verbal, and because the words and images in picture books are often integrated and interdependent, they are an ideal medium for such lessons. And everyone, even adults, even teens, loves picture books.

A Small Spider and a Sad Boy

Besides the workshop for parents, I also provided two children’s sessions at the workshop. At one of the children’s sessions, I killed a spider. You have to understand that I am terrified of spiders. One of the children ran to me and told me there as a spider on the toys. I went to see, hoping it was just a wad of fuzz or thread, but no, it was a spider. At home, if there’s a spider in the house, I will get the vacuum cleaner, which allows me to remove the offending arachnid from a safe distance. But there was no vacuum cleaner, and there were many children, and I couldn’t let them see my fear. And the spider was, thankfully, small. So I grabbed a tissue, and bravely squished the spider.

And while I was congratulating myself silently for my courage, one of the little boys began to cry. “You killed it!” How was I to know that one of the children adored spiders? I couldn’t comfort him; his mother had to take him out and reassure him that I wasn’t a monster.

Apparently he believed her. He came back in and played happily with the other children. He enjoyed listening when I read Catherine’s Pascha, and shouted “Christ is risen!” and “Indeed, he is risen!” with everyone else. And when we played the jelly bean games, I think I was well and truly forgiven.

Read More

14 Ways to Use Catherine’s Pascha: Lots of projects that you can use to extend the delight of Catherine’s Pascha.

Book Reviews and Awards: Read what others are saying about Catherine’s Pascha.

Paschal Greetings: How do you say Christ is risen! in Armenian or Japanese or Swahili? Find out here.

Charlotte Riggle, author of Catherine's Pascha and The Saint Nicholas Day Snow
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