Saturday, July 19, 2014

Excellence in Education for Any Child

I have had so much fun reading this summer.  I have read several excellent books, some of them I’ve blogged about.  The latest is called:

  Simply Classical, A Beautiful Education for Any Child, by Cheryl Swope

Such a beautiful story, and so welcome in my heart. It  is just fantastic what this mother did with her adopted impaired twins with an integrated approach of therapies and classical education.  To see how the daughter went from an I.Q. in early grade school of 75, to testing at 8th grade, with results of either right on at an 8th grade level, or in many categories, levels of 11th, 12th grade and post secondary.  Such proof that a classical education can do so much for special needs children. 

I can not stress enough the Latin, the beautiful language of the ancient literature, the scriptures, beautiful literature overall, the purposeful instruction in Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric, the seven liberal arts, and the exposure to all things, good, true and beautiful.  Modern day education has strayed so far from anything resembling these attributes and is such an ugly mutation of the beautiful, dignified manner to educate with excellent content, while within the stages of human development.

I applaud Cheryl Swope for taking on the task of truly educating her special children with excellence.  I have always subscribed to the idea that you have them home, do something excellent with them.  You are not doing them any favors by keeping them home, and not helping them excel and truly filling them up with all things true, good and beautiful that are at your disposal. 

It’s true Cheryl had a MAs in special education, and it’s true she didn’t know how to teach children, had never really learned in her studies and field work, and wasn’t even close to understanding what classical education was about.  She herself was the product of the public school system, and university, that eroded away all classical thoughts and Christian teachings.  It was a sheer blessing she emerged with the seeds deep inside of her, the yearning for something more beautiful and substantial to enrich her children’s education and progress, as well as herself. 

If this author can do it with two children very greatly impaired, you can do it with your children that are not cognitively and physically impaired.  And you can do it with your child/children that are impaired.  This story makes my heart leap for joy as I see my own autism spectrum disorder child grow so much this last year with our own homegrown integrated approach of excellent school and therapies.  I am so blessed and glad to be giving him an excellent high quality classical Christian education that is so hard to find out there.  What is pawned off as education today, with all it’s progressivism and serious anti-Christian garbage is such a sad state, through charter schools and public schools and sadly even tuition paid private schools, it’s no wonder children are so confused and emotional and trying to grasp onto something of substance in their lives and souls.   Integrating the Christian faith with your classical education is the only way to go.  It will make so much more sense.  When history is a true account, from the ancient pagans to the gospels….your child will know the truth of his salvation history, he will see the “big picture” and have the scriptures at his disposal as an every day way of life and living.

You are the example also.  By our children seeing us praying, reading the scriptures, attending bible study, and encouraging beautiful hymns and church practices, we give them a higher and better standard to mark their lives by.  Let’s face it, there is so much they can fall into if they are not solidly and truly grounded in the Christian faith.  I feel I have fallen short in some areas of my child education/raising (by not sending my children to a very Christian oriented university).  I’m grateful they didn’t fare worse, but I can see where some of their Christian formation has been eroded by the experience.  I only pray they are healthy enough and infused with the Holy Spirit plentiful, to make a good recovery and move forward, perhaps even stronger.

So if you are at all interested in education and home education,  and want to read something truly inspiring, truly real life….this is an excellent and informative, beautifully written book. 

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Let’s talk about Jesus

Let’s not only talk about Him, but let’s consider Him as central to our faith belief, as He is the way, the truth,and the life [Jn 14:6].

When I was an older teen attending Catholic schools in Utah, I use to go on retreats to one of the convents in downtown SLC.  At my confirmation, around age 12, I began to discern the possibility of a vocation as a religious, and all through high school, I made good on that discernment.  I lived at the convent for two months one summer, the year before my senior year.  I was very inclined to join the Daughters of Charity. Very.  Then my mother came up with breast cancer, my father’s job was causing him much travel time, and I decided to put the strong inclination on hold and take care of things immediate to me. I guess you could say the rest is history… personal history.  But, my inclination toward religious life did not end, in fact, it was only just beginning and growing stronger.  When I look back now, I realize how God fulfilled my desirous inclination – my very deep want of relationship with Him, through a lay vocation.  All the talents and charisms I was blessed with have been used abundantly in my lay life, among my family, my church, with the education of my children….exhaustively so, and yet they keep coming….they keep flowing.

I never stopped working with priests and sisters, and with religious education in those earliest years – in fact, little did I know that my working at CCD [Sunday school] on the weekends in our parish, was the beginning of my formation for something God later had in store for me; (because I attended Catholic schools, I didn’t need to go to religious instruction at the parish on weekends). Seemingly by default, I fell into teaching our 2nd grade at our church during my married life, and eventually was asked to serve as director of religious education, which I continue today. 

I can do all things in He who is my strength. [Phil 4:13]

.The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart. [Jn 7:38]

When I was also in my older teens, I committed myself to Jesus, I accepted Him as my Lord and savior (yes, protestant sounding, isn’t it?) 1 But the truth is, knowing the person of Jesus and following Him is what our Catholic faith is about.  All else falls into place thereafter. It isn’t a foreign notion, or non-Catholic notion to accept and take up a relationship with Jesus.  If more people consciously did this, think how transforming our churches and communities could be.

There is a marked difference between being an intentional disciple, or a cultural one…an intentional Catholic, or a cultural Catholic, the latter being one born into the faith, but never really making it their own – never really taking up a relationship with Christ and becoming a true disciple.  Never really opening up and unwrapping the charisms given to one in the awesome outpouring of the Holy Spirit through baptism and confirmation. Think how true disciples of Christ can change the world……can change your church, your community, your family. 

When I was a young mother, still bearing children, and beginning to home educate my own, I founded a mother’s nurture group for Catholic home schooling moms in our parish, and the motto I adopted to it was from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, also a mother, and the founder of a religious order…..”Women building the kingdom of God through home schooling; women of faith, women of hope, women of love.”  My heart felt desire was to bring out in myself and these mothers the sharing of spiritual property, as one would gather to share intellectual property for the betterment of a cause, I desired not just that (for the good of home schooling) but for the building of the spirit and strength in these godly women.  We read our bibles together a lot, we studied church encyclicals, we prayed together (the best part!), and we grew in our relationship with Christ.  I still take away fruits from those meetings, to this day, although the group no longer meets.

I wanted to share with you a bit of my personal journey, to lead you to a wonderful resource that helps Catholics in particular revisit their baptisms and confirmation, and reawaken, renew within themselves the very gifts they’ve been given, and how they can live them out as true committed followers of Jesus Christ.   The book speaks for itself and much more eloquently then I can, so I leave you here with the information regarding it.

God bless –

Forming Intentional Disciples: The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus
by Sherry Weddell

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Freedom, gratefulness, ordinary life

It has been a beautiful beginning to this month.  Coming out of June where I helped a friend find her birth parents, knowing she is still floating on cloud 9 and will be for some time (!!); and now, getting ready to celebrate my favorite daughter's 21st birthday.  (er ahem, my only daughter, :) )  Life is good. 

I have enjoyed the sunshine (even the rain) more than anything this year.  Maybe it's my age/aging, but that last winter was a beast!  This has caused me to really appreciate the clearer more moderate months.  

I am heavily into intense preparations for our Vacation Bible School at the church, that is too take place the week of July 21st.   I am working hard to get our volunteers organized and the pre-preparations in order.  It is always a lot of fun kids of all ages, but is truly an exhaustive endeavor.  

I also ask that you keep me in prayer as I have a special prayer intention, that really can't go out there on the cyber waves, but all the same, God will know.  Thank you in advance.

Have a beautiful weekend!  Continue to be grateful for this great country, land of the free, and home of the brave.  

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

So beautiful......St. Joseph

Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints | Catholic Homeschooling & Traditional Catholic: Foolproof {Catholic} Homeschool Days

Whether you're Catholic or not, homeschooling is a blessing and an organizational pursuit!  This was wonderful, simple advice on how to really make progress.  Going on 19 years of home education, I know I can personally STILL use and NEED every bit of wisdom possible.  Discipline of one's self is the biggest thing.  Putting prayer and God time first, getting up earlier and getting ready....and having done your homework before presenting the children with their work, and really sitting down and schooling them, are givens.    God bless you on your mission!

Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints | Catholic Homeschooling & Traditional Catholic: Foolproof {Catholic} Homeschool Days:

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Life & Education ala’ mode–with a cherry on top

My recent tweet:

Curriculum shopping ::exciting:: …no really!  LOVE homeschooling :joyfulheart: :teachingmyown: :peace:

It could not be more true.  I love homeschooling my children. I consider it such an honor and privilege and natural extension of natural mothering.

There is one thing that has always brought joy to my heart, and plentiful rewards, and it has been that of homeschooling my own children.

I would not trade it for the world.

Yes, there have been difficult, challenging times. How could there not be after 19 years of this?  But long ago a wise homeschooling mother told me, “do not get caught up with the secular world’s ways, or the mothers who go the way of the secular world always feeling their children are missing something because they are homeschooled…..those that don’t find peace with homeschooling and don’t see it as an apostolate, a holy mission.....they will only make you despise what you are doing…”

I talk often to those who want to homeschool, love to homeschool, and Iisten to and read copious amounts of support and encouragement materials and resources surrounding homeschooling.  This way I nurture myself and fill myself up with the very tools and nourishment I need for my mission.

Nemo potest: You cannot give what you do not have.

If I speak negatively about home education in my own home, (which I never do), what does that do to my children? 

My husband has trusted me to the care and education of his children.

Our philosophy here is: institutionalized and public school are off our options list.  So, within that context, how we education our children within our set boundaries and standards, moves outward from that very determination.

So, as I begin my curriculum purchases for the year ahead, I delight in my heart and soul deeply and gratefully.   I am grateful to be here and have at this moment, time with my children to revel in their development and intellect.  Meeting each child where they are at, and bringing them forward in progress that reflects their personal best.

May God bless you and your children with the graces and joy you need to fulfill your mission.

Monday, June 09, 2014

A Productive Day in June

Although I’m suffering terribly from my seasonal allergies, today is a glorious day! Why?  Because we have completed our school year, and planned for the next.  This is cause for much celebration!

I can’t believe my 9th grade student has all As!..well, his Fine Arts (on line course) grade isn’t in yet from his teacher, but it’s likely to be an A- at least.  I could not be more thrilled with how this young man accomplished all that work load this year and got an A in the rigorous Algebra (Abeka) course.  The math enrichment teacher at our co-op mentioned how she was tutoring one student in Teaching Textbooks Algebra II, and how her Abeka Algebra I students were actually doing those same Alg II concepts. So, Abeka is tough.  And tough on grades also, as you really get quite a lot marked off of each wrong problem, more so than many other math courses.

So, onward, onward!

Next up: Jacobs Geometry for 10th grade, and we will enroll in the LS (learning support), classes for that through Mother of Divine Grace.  Enrollment for LS classes begins tomorrow, so I’d best be seeing to that.

We will do the next unit of Cambridge Latin Unit 2, which we are definitely looking forward to.  Unit one was Caecilius and his family, living in Pompeii….yes, a sad ending indeed! Unit 2 is when the Romans invade Britannica…or Briton. 

All other courses are the standard Modg 10th grade line up. 

I have a couple decisions to make with my rising 5th grade student who got all As on his assessment this year.  If that doesn’t do my heart good, as his autism spectrum disorder doesn’t seem to hold him back from performing well academically.  

This son really needs a lot of focus on language arts, therapeutically, so oral and written communication is essential for him as well as spectrum children in general that are high functioning, and had speech delays. It must include inferences, as these children tend to take everything quite literally. And they need one on one concentrated sustained work.  It’s slow, but my son is making progress in this area. 

So, normally Intermediate Language Lessons is used again at this stage,(and we use the workbook form) but I’m considering using the 4th grade edition of the Learning Language Arts through Literature book, or perhaps his grade level 5 one.  There isn’t a lot of difference between the two except for the literature used.  The thing is:  I want to get him interested and involved in the literature reading more.  So, the 4th grade lit choices may appeal to him more, but then again the 5th grade ones may also…should I toss a coin?!  And the books are on our shelves, so no problem there.  Modg recommended LLATL many years ago, until Laura Berquist discovered Emma Serl’s gentle grammar lessons, and switched over to her texts for grades 3, 4 and 5.  I know my consultant (and myself, as a consultant), won’t mind my using this older recommended resource for this son.  Grammar is something you need to do with your child, at least for it to be successful, so this is an area I involve myself in with my children no matter what in those younger grades, until around 8th grade/high school; and even then, we do Latin together, which furthers grammar study.

Then my decision between Abeka 5 math or Saxon 65.  I know Mark likes to cut to the chase on math.  I’m considering using Calculadder for some drill work (made fun).  He’s a great math student, and I don’t want that to end.  Abeka is rather diverse and “busy”, and moves at a clip.  He’s definitely needed more time on some concepts, so Saxon 65 may be my switching point. Although “visual” math does help him – the pictures and diagrams in color in Abeka have helped him a lot.  So, I need to pray about this one, and ask my God for a revelation!

I know I’m down to just two children, and have never had to teach more than 3 at a time, with a baby or toddler about…..but I have taught other people’s children in with my bunch for several months at a time, and that has given me a broader perspective of what it’s like to teach more children.  I am so amazed at my Modg families who are doing that every year….teaching 6 to 10 children unending.  God bless them.  What a message and a mission…and a mission with a message!!  I am very impressed.

God bless you with a wonderful day!

Thanks for stopping by ::smiles::

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story - Social Affairs & News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Sat, Jun 07, 2014

In case you didn't hear the real story......the headlines world wide were very misleading

Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story - Social Affairs & News from Ireland & Abroad | The Irish Times - Sat, Jun 07, 2014

The Church and God and Man

I generally don’t enter into any deep or sensational blog posts regarding world religions and Faith beliefs, and maybe I could as a long certified religious education teacher, but I will say just a few things… (and then you can follow the links to the further information on the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings regarding the couple areas I’m addressing briefly). 

I am in much appreciation and  greatly admire the  Roman Catholic faith/church that has stood the test of time, (good and bad, mind you, because anything with longevity is going to have some ugly histories as well), but “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…”(Matt 16:18). As we approach Pentecost Sunday, and reflect on the gift of the Holy Spirit, given among us, signifying the birth of the Church, I am in even more awe and gratefulness for a church that remains unModern and non-politically correct, if I may say so, and yet up to snuff on current issues. 

Yes, it seems a contradiction in some ways, but not all modernism nor secularism is healthy or good for the people of God….no revelation there, eh?  If you just look around yourself with your Christian eyeglasses on at the media, writing, cultural trends…it’s so obvious that we as professed practicing Christians are at odds with our very environment.  Romans 12:2, John 17:15-17

After extensively studying Rome and Greece in our home schooling, in a cyclical manner as classical education calls for, we become more fully aware of the paganism and the gods and the One True God-lessness, we still have among us. Even Christians can thoughtlessly have their own gods; they can be the “things” of this world, we attach ourselves to all too strongly placing them first before God (idol worshipping)…..and just not acknowledging God as the one true God, and Jesus as His son, our Lord and Savior….well, some things don’t change, and here we are as Christians among it.

So, while I am not a theologian and don’t wish to pontificate in the least to you my readers, I will say this:  again, I am grateful for my particular strain of Christianity which is broad and guiding, not narrow minded but rather, firm in its stance against offences that destroy the dignity of man and God’s plan.

I direct your attention to other religions of the world that the Catholic Church believes and teaches and acknowledges “all that is good, and true and noble” in any Faiths; as they contain some of the Truth.  Or that they worship the same one true God; the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob… we do. 

And in regard to Creationism and Evolution, the church very eloquently and intelligently, does not hold a Catholic to one or the other.   The Church does not claim to know the entire truth of the origins of man, or the earth or it’s length of existence in time and eternity, however, the Church does distinctly say that however the earth and man and all creation came to be, GOD’s hand was in it…..He is the Almighty Creator. re: Evolution, again,  that if this was how God chose to create man in his likeness and image, HIS HAND was in it, infusing a soul in man (being the operative area of thought). We do not take God out of anything …He is the creator, the Almighty.  We are honest in admitting to both science and sometimes the word of God, that we don’t know it all.  There are those that claim they know it all.  but I am thankful as Catholics we are left to consider and discern these areas for ourselves, and be humbled by the fact, again, ONLY GOD KNOWS THE FULL TRUTH, we do not, and there is a tremendous area of TRUST in God, that is unfolded in the “not knowing.”

So, without further ado, I give you the more articulate and eloquent voice of the Church universal: 

Truth Cannot Contradict Truth: (full discourse by clicking on title)

excerpt: “In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII had already stated that there was no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points.”

Vatican Council And Papal Statements On Islam (click on title for full discourse)

excerpt: “But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place among whom are the Muslims: these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”