It’s that time of year again, but now it’s all different. Normally, I would be unpacking the box full of Sunday School packets. Always a happy event. But not this year. Earlier in the year, I cancelled our auto-renew subscription. I had intended to check back and see if my concerns were addressed. I had sort of assumed that we would hop right back on the bandwagon, because I’ve been impressed with the materials for many years. The best laid plans…
Now, with budget shortfalls and red ink dripping from the page, we must go with a different supplier – one that is “Free”. Of course, you get what you pay for. When we looked at it last summer, it was agreed that if we switch, there are enough instruction materials, but the extras are not there. Craft, activities, etc. The things that keep little hands and minds busy and out of trouble during the hour. We will have to put together our own stuff for this. And doing so within our budget constraints (free) will be a challenge. We have a couple of large cabinets of craft supplies collected over the decades. We will tap into those, and hopefully keep this from becoming one of those penny-wise and pound foolish situations. But we can’t spend money we don’t have. And while we could have as many as 8-10 kids, and so need 8-10 packets each quarter, we almost never have everyone here at the same time. It happens maybe once a year, if that. Most Sundays we have packets for 10, and only use materials for 3. Sometimes, if roads are bad or visits to grandparents ill timed, we have packets for 10, and use 0. This way, we can scale it up and down quickly and easily.
And as I’ve gone through the materials we’ll be using, putting together a Scope and Sequence, I’ve actually started to get kind of excited. Because there was another limitation to the materials we bought – it’s hard wired into the system, there is no way around it. We have a schedule that works for our parish. We don’t meet in the summer. We don’t meet during vacations. We have voter’s meetings on Sunday after church. We have to scramble to squeeze in the Holy-Day lessons every year, because for some reason, Holy Days always happen on holidays. We skip and jump around a bit.
Also, we’re on the one-year series. There is a particular rhythm to life on the one-year series that is not reflected in the three year. And it’s not entirely reflected in the materials we were purchasing. Oh, the major things were there: Christmas, Easter. But Transfiguration always came three weeks late. The subtle change from Epiphany, where we focus on the miracles of Jesus, to the Gesimas, where we are exhorted to attend to the Word in preparation for Holy Lent is… just missing. Lent as time of testing and temptation comes through more clearly in the one year than in the three. (Personal opinion. Your mileage may vary.)
I was able to put some of those things back. What I have isn’t perfect. But if you, like me, find that your number of students varies wildly from the number of possible students, and if you, like me, use the one year series, and if you, like me, end up having to shuffle lessons around anyway to squeeze them all in every year, and if you, like me, are looking at other options (even though it’s sort of late in the game), here is my scope and sequence for 2018-2021. It’s what we are planning tentatively. We may find it doesn’t work at all. We may find it’s just not what we need. We may decide to go back to the happy parcels filled with bible stories that used to arrive once a quarter. But, for now, this looks like where we’re heading. And if it’s of use to anyone else out there, feel free to use it as you wish.
It’s keyed to the materials from the Church of the Lutheran Confession. They are freely available. My plan follows the same basic pattern we’ve been using for years: Old Testament in Fall, Life of Christ in Winter and Spring. For the Old Testament, It goes in chronological order (except for Job at the end of year 3). For the New, it skips around quite a bit. Firstly, because the Gospels need not necessarily be read / learned in order. The parables and miracles of our Lord can be learned out of sequence and still make sense. It allowed me the freedom to match the basic tone to the sequence of the 1 year lectionary. On occasion, the Gospel readings match. When they don’t, it still follows the basic rhythm of life in our parish. I think that’s important, and I think this will be helpful. I’ll be going over this a bit more closely. I want to add some catechism connections, some bible memory verses, and I’ll need to tie the hymn suggestions to LSB. My crafty lady has her work cut out for her. There will be challenges. It will be a lot of work. But I think it will be a good thing overall. I may post more as we move through this new adventure. We’ll see.
If some of this sounds good to you, feel free to take a look. Use or adapt freely: