Advent guides abound, but I have a harder time finding guides for Holy Week—Palm Sunday through Resurrection Day—especially ones that don’t contain images of Christ. So I made one, and I want to share it with you today.
The guide is geared for what’s come to be called homeschool “morning time,” the part of the homeschool day (morning or not) spent doing family-style learning with all ages, including a time of Scripture reading and singing hymns. But this guide could easily be used for evening family worship as well. Everything in the guide is religious in nature. I haven’t scheduled Easter bunny books or poems about the coming of spring. Instead, I specifically wanted the selections to orient our hearts around Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross and prepare children for the worship services of the week.
The guide contains daily Scripture readings from the gospels leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection. I also scheduled chapters from Catherine Vos’ The Child’s Story Bible for families with younger children. These chapters cover the same content as the scheduled Scripture readings. There’s also a short Scripture memory passage for the week.
In addition, I included a passion hymn for each day, complete with printable sheet music and audio piano accompaniment accessible through either hyperlinks, or, should you wish to print the guide, QR codes.
Most days have the text of a devotional poem by George Herbert (1593–1633) on the topic of Christ’s sacrifice. These can simply be read aloud, but I’ve also included some explanatory notes on the poem text for parents and older children. Don’t try to analyze these (especially with younger children). Read them for their beauty and vivid imagery. Though Herbert has dozens of excellent passion poems, I tried to choose those with especially clear imagery and repeating refrains. Don’t underestimate the power of even young children to enjoy quality poetry. It’s beautiful when we don’t try to pick it to death.
I also included a 2-day study of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, with audio and video links and QR codes, and 2 paintings by Rembrandt to study on 2 different days, also with links and codes. The paintings can be studied simply by looking, looking away and asking children questions about what they noticed, and then looking back for further observation. Children really do come to know and love art through simply observation like this. The paintings do not have images of Christ.
Finally, on a couple of the days without Bach listening or Rembrandt observations, I scheduled optional recommended picture books, both by R. C. Sproul. (These, also, contain no images of Christ—and, believe me, quality Christian “Easter” picture books without images of Christ are tough to find, so enjoy these with your younger children if you’re able!)
I hope this is a help and a blessing to you in the upcoming week as we reflect with our children on the death and resurrection of our Lord on our behalf.