Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three weeks down….who’s counting?

And so here we are approximately thee weeks into our home school, and our co-op.  I made an edit on my Friday Daybook post, as I forgot to include a few important classes the children participate in at our local co-op this year.

First, I want to thank the fine mothers who volunteer to share their talents and know-how for such courses.

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My youngest son is delighting in taking American Sign Language with a real specialist in it.  Two actually.  They are doing such a great job of teaching two groups of K-3rd, and 4-6th. 

This son is also taking an earth Science course, right now covering atmosphere (weather systems); and has learned so much already.

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I somehow forgot to add our oldest son’s ACT Test Prep course to my Friday Daybook ramblings also.  The mother leading this is such an expert in ACT prep.  Her older daughters did AMAZING on the ACT tests, and this mom is using her favorite resource for success for the students and I’m thrilled my son is able to take this class.  I just thought of this course as my son was doing the homework for it, and I was grading it.  I thought how marvelous it is he is doing this and how the instruction will benefit him so much.  I know he can do excellently, IF his anxiety doesn’t get in the way. It likely won’t take place until fall of the next school year. So we have time. Thus far, in home school this son has done very well indeed; an A on his first geometry test,(Euclidean geometry – not just any geometry);  A on first Latin test, A on first religion essay….he’s off to a great start!

His little brother is quick behind on……A on his first Saxon Math test!..and A on his first science test. 

After home schooling for 19 years, it doesn’t get more exciting than this!  It’s really exhilarating (and down right nerdy, eh?) to enjoy and marvel in every detail of their learning.  One is reading Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and one is reading the authentic Iliad, Homer….it thrills my heart with deep satisfaction that they are learning in deep layers and thriving. After all, this is all I do raising our children and teaching them….our life is all about education in this home.

God bless you with a beautiful home school year!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday Daybook

On this lovely feast day of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), we find ourselves nearing the end of two weeks of home school.  It has been a rush, to say to the least, but sweet as sweet can be.  I am very grateful for the freedom in this country to keep my children home and educate them in the manner we as parents see suitable; especially as I see the world around us suffering from violence and hatred and war, and huge groups of Christians displaced as refugees.  May our own Mother Teresa intercede before the throne of God for peace and healing to these nations.

So, yes, our home school is moving along – we had our first co-op day yesterday and it was very nice indeed.  I have the privilege of teaching two beautiful twin girls guitar this year (picking up where their former teacher left off).  They are seniors, entirely home schooled and their mother wished for them to continue with their guitar this year before heading off to colleges.  All I can do is make them rock stars, or country maybe  :)  Ha ha…I am terrible at music theory anymore, especially since my eye sight is so bad, so I’m teaching them every strum and pick on the planet, tips and tricks and many many new pop songs, gospel songs, traditional and seasonal. 

So, our actual courses are looking like this:

Sophomore Son’s line-up:

Religion 10 (Sacraments & Apologetics)

Ancient History & Geography with integrated Ancient Literature

Ancient Literature

Jacob’s Geometry (on line class w/LS through Mother of Divine Grace)

Physical Science (BJU high school text, through home school co-op)

Natural History (Science)

Mod Design 1 (programming with Java – on line course)

Cambridge Latin Unit 2

ACT Test Prep (through our co-op)

FIFTH GRADE son

Religion 5 (Faith & Life: Credo)

Saxon Math 65 (w/Adaptation workbook)

Learning Language Arts through Literature (Purple Book) this is great for this son as it is encouraging him to read literature.

Science Concepts & Challenges in Earth Science

Science 4-6th, also at our Co-op

American Sign Language (Co-op)

US History & Geography (& Literature)

Latina Christiana 1

New American Cursive

Fine Arts / Music

We have a full year indeed, but this is all I do.  Educate my children, help at our church educating the children, consult to other families educating their children and participate in our local home school co-op for the sake of educating the children.  Yes, this is all I do!

God bless you with all you need today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I have a son who has longed to learn java programming language, but we just weren't finding the right situation.....until the other day.  Home School Legal Defense in conjunction with Homeschool Buyers Co-op, sent an offer I couldn't refuse!  What luck, what providence, that this email shown up in my inbox bright and early while I sipped my coffee.  I simply could not believe it.  Mod Design 1, java language, 30 course hours, design your own Minecraft mod.  Wow! THAT was so much what we were looking for and more.....plus 40% off as a co-op buyer member. This excellent offer directed us to:  Youth Digital.

We just began school and my son is thrilled to be doing this programming course. I will report more another time.

Our Lady of Czestochowa: The Black Madonna

Our Lady of Czestochowa: The Black Madonna

Friday, August 22, 2014

All Good Summers must come to an end….

I had a very lovely dinner with my PSR (Parish School of Religion), family yesterday evening.  We started with a meal, done by our resident local chef, hosted by our Knights of Columbus, followed by our much needed kick-off meeting packed with new information regarding curriculum and child protection procedures. Only four teachers couldn’t make it – that’s pretty much record attendance :)  So I am very pleased that we were able to bond, meet the new teachers, and discuss highlights all in a most pleasant atmosphere.

This means our Sunday school season is about to begin, the weekend following Labor Day weekend. 

I am so grateful we have some new teachers and returning teachers that are very committed.  We need that – all programs need that.  After 22 years of teaching 2nd grade at the parish level, it doesn’t get easier, in fact, I’m beginning to look for my replacement.  I would gladly help in the background, and still direct the program, overseeing the Child Protection Policy, sacrament preparation, ordering of curriculum, and  step out of the 2nd grade position.  I’m leaving it to prayer and God’s plan.  I just know that there is someone God is placing the desire and vocation within,  to step into this position, and they will make themselves known, soon.

In the meantime, my own school season at home is about to be underway, beginning this next week with our high school son beginning his on line Geometry course (Jacob’s Geometry, Euclidean).  I am just thrilled about his doing this with a Mother of Divine Grace teacher in a cyber classroom, because while I did do it with my previous two students solo, I love that the classical part, the Euclidean part can be brought out more.  Yes, Jacob’s Geometry is Euclid’s Elements brought to lay people, so to speak.  It does teach geometry, but with more focus on how to think  (through the proofs), rather than just getting the answer.  How to think well, training the mind, and teaching the student “how to learn” is key to classical education.

We need more people in our society that can think well.  It has become more clear to me as I age, that the shallow stripped down education of the culture definitely is trumping everything in its path, including sanctity of life, human dignity, politics, health care issues, the Christian faith in general, and the Catholic faith most particularly.  Catholics are faced with difficult times in that they stand for the tough issues, the issues that have morphed into politically correct issues.  Those issues you have to be accepting of, tolerant of, “you’re a Christian!…love your brother!”, these kinds of dysfunctional accusations pour forth when a Christian stands their faith ground on moral issues – and society doesn’t like it.  Society doesn’t get his way…resulting in attacks on Christians.

There is a lot wrong with this picture.  It will take another post for another day.  But please pray, pray, pray, for those being martyred for their Christian faith beliefs,  and offer your own personal persecutions endured here in the USA, for those Christians, those Catholic Iraqis (Chaldeans – original Roman Catholic Communicants in Iraq), and others being martyred in that region of the world.  May the hatred end.  May the people be protected.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Carpe Diem

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Summer is surely fleeting….although I’ve been preparing for our new school year slowly but surely throughout the summer, I have more recently begun to get our school courses really ready, our home clean, some  cooking/freezing done, and stocking up on school supplies.

As I pour over the curriculum, pulling select books off the shelves, taking inventory of supplies, I realize how much I have adored being able to impart an excellent education to my children.  What a blessing.  How did this happen??  How is it my heart grows ten times bigger with gratefulness and awe each year? While it is a lot of work, it is work that is worthy and noble; it is full of depth and breadth and heroic effort.  This moment makes me want to stand up and applaud every parent out there that has done this, is currently doing this, or has an inclination of stepping up to the plate and giving it their best shot.  

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If anyone would have told me 30 some years ago, I’d be married in Ohio, with four children and home schooling them, I would have never ever ever believed it.  Home schooling wasn’t even something on my radar, wasn’t even something I knew anything about.  I was still playing in bands and singing and traveling; I was working a very amazing job at the Utah state capitol and just living in the moment from day to day.  Now, I wake up and realize how God used those experiences to bring me to this place in my life with my own island of people. 

Wow, does God work in mysterious, or what?  Really, HE has a plan…and if you are just open to it, it unfolds beautifully in his timing and perfection.

I know I don’t want summer to end, because….well, I’m selfish and it was a long hard ugly winter, and I know I personally need a super long mental health day summer to recoup.  But, at the same time, I am thrilled to be able to school my own children with a beautiful classical education, giving them so much more than just subjects to be filled in, crossed off on the transcript. 

I am also so grateful that I can let my kids, be kids.  That means the teens can continue to be carefree, with some appropriate responsibilities of course, but not the pressing issues that secular society dictates to them in this culture. Girlfriends, boyfriends, sports.  If your teen life doesn’t consist  of  those ….then you are weird, or nothing.  It’s not what education is about. My children can relax more and prepare more deeply, with consideration and prayer, their God given vocation in life.  After exposing them to noble thoughts, amazing characters of history, cultures and languages, truth, and all that has come before them…they have such a more broadened view of the world and their place in it.  Giving them personal meaning through Christian studies, and how cherished they are by God, helps lessen their burdens of this sometimes very stressful and demanding existence.  They realize their existence is purposeful and meaningful.  Everyone has a place in the choir.  Every person is important.  As the Eleventh Doctor (Doctor Who) so thoughtfully express: “I’ve never met a person yet that wasn’t important.”   Believe it. 

So, as summer winds down, and I prepare to teach again the classical repertoire and Christian studies to my own family, I feel a deep poetic beauty and connectedness to this fascinating world of ours……to our maker and His creation, and to the particular clan of people He has chosen to put me with on this chronological timeline of His making. These are the kinds of feelings, I like to grasp a hold of revel in  forever…..savoring them and keeping them safe in my heart to open up again and again, as a pleasant reminder of a life blessed.    

GettingReadySchoolYearBooks

Bring on the books!  Carpe Diem!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Schultüte

I know I’ve shared about the lovely tradition of the Schultüte before, but it’s worth sharing again.  I mean, anything that says: “chocolate” or “candies” or “sweets” in the description is worth sharing, right? 

I will begin some school supply shopping soon – and for the first day of School at home, I really like to brighten it up and make it special for my children.  While I haven’t always given a precise cone shaped Schultüte, I have given a special box or bag with lots of goodies.  However the cone shape item is still my favorite and I do like to construct my own; my difficulty lies in doing it in secret and hiding them……

This awesome little website, KinderCone,has made Schultüte getting and giving all the easier.  You can order pre-filled ones, or empty ones to fill yourself.  How nice is that?

And while I really don’t want to say good-bye to summer quite yet, I do need to plan ahead, because the start of our school year will be here before we know it.  And yes, older students can enjoy and benefit from a  Schultüte also, filled with say….a scientific calculator and geometry tools, their favorite chips and snacks and gel pens……Schultüte is not just about the Kindergarten folk :)