St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blessings to you on Memorial Day

May the wreaths they have won never wither,
Nor the star of their glory grow dim....

As I recall my dear father and his passing this time of year, seven years ago now, may his soul and the souls of the faithful departed whom we've known and loved in this life,  rest in the peace of Christ...Amen.

Busy Days in May…

What’s been happening lately in my little corner of the world?  Almost too much to post….but I’ll give it a try….

Preparation for VBS in our parish – it’s in the beginning stages, now that our PSR program is finished for the summer…..and First Communion and Confirmation both have been accomplished….getting ready also for a graduation mass in honor of our parish graduates, including my own daughter…Just makes me realize more and more how our church is the hub of which our existence and milestones of life occur…..and are blessed ….within a wonderful parish community…..We have been at our parish for 25 years now…having met there, married there, and had four children baptized there…

A bridal shower….for my soon to be niece….it was all very lovely and we played more bridal shower games then I have ever played at any shower so far in my entire life of going to showers….fun fun fun…really, it was.  My daughter and I enjoyed it thoroughly, all the way to the sun-dried tomato bread sandwiches…turkey, bacon, tomato….wonderful food and company and a lovely bride to be…very excited for the June wedding….but, had to leave a little early before the shower ended…to attend….

…a home school student’s graduation party, a close childhood friend of my daughter, who graduated from her home school a year early and will be off to college this Fall….Another wonderful milestone of celebration….as I spoke to an old friend at the party I was declaring my inner most thoughts of where I stand with home schooling entirely through 12 years…..that I am just happy I can do it at all and get them into college….it’s just the frosting on the cake to have them accepted into a strong academic college…my other inner most thought: if institutions of truly good Catholic higher-education were more affordable we'd utilize them, but right now, it's not affordable or sensible for us or our children who will, in the end, be paying those bills....

Soon, our own daughter’s graduation party…..still preparing for it and anticipating another birthday – a few days after the party, for our soon to be 12 year old son.  He is the one that suffers from OCD/anxiety, and while he has been doing somewhat better in some areas, leaving him with grandma or an older sibling is still very trying on him – he frets, cries and generally is very upset with overwhelming separation anxiety – we still go to therapy sessions regularly to combat this and I hope and pray in time it will improve. 

Getting ready to set up language therapy sessions for our autistic son, who has done very well this year overall in both schooling and social settings, but is still a work in progress……summer therapy sessions are my goal, as I already spend time throughout the year with his older brother and his therapy...I can only spread myself so thin in covering their I attempt to balance it and keep my sanity :)

…and finally, hoping to get the attic completely remodeled, another bedroom on the second floor made into the master bedroom, and cleaning/clearing the basement as well as organizing home school bookshelves (again)….in preparation for the new year ahead…..AND, hoping for a little summer sun and surf and relaxation….snatches of it in between the different kind of busy-ness this household will be involved in…..

May God bless you with a warm and wonderful summer!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Fun…VBS


Parade Around the Our Father

Starting to plan for this summer’s VBS ….this one looks fun – with a carnival/parade like theme and solid teaching utilizing the best prayer ever: The Lord’s Prayer

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rainy Days...sigh....

Now I know why I purchased a sun lamp for therapy for one of my sons!  This dreary rainy overcast weather is starting to wear on us....we seemed to have gone from wintry ice, to overcast rainy days....and it's grown colder again.  Just doesn't seem right...we should be warming up!.....Dear Lord, give us strength and brighten our spirits!

On the other hand I'm trying to make some lighter brighter atmosphere here....need to make more coffee... and listen to my son DJ this morning:

WRMU 91.1 Alliance, OH

Sunday, May 15, 2011

..there were four little rabbits..and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter….

Listen to or read here: Tale of Peter Rabbit
This year at our local home school co-op I’m going to teach two classes for the K – 3 grades.  The first class, beginning in the Fall, is a sing-a-along enrichment of folk songs, patriotic songs and Christian tunes, hopefully with hand motions (assisted by other moms);  I can’t really “motion” when playing guitar and leading singing…I’m not an octopus :)  Although I should be!  Think how much more I could get done!

The next class I teach won’t be until the spring session of the 2012 school season and it is a Beatrix Potter Literature enrichment class, based on the short tales of Peter Rabbit and Friends.  I originally came across this course when our oldest son was just in Kindergarten.  In the beginning…..we bought two pre-packaged curriculums from two different providers before we got on the path of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum and the syllabi that accompanies each grade level * [more on syllabi below this post].

The first pre-packaged grade was Pre-K and it was from Our Lady of the Rosary…..our son was completely finished with everything in the box by mid winter……I decided not to use them again the next year for Kindergarten, instead I purchased the K boxed items from Calvert Home School.  It was wonderful because everything really came in one box – pencils, paints, paper for water color painting, all the books and the lesson plans.  We did better in K and went further, but still our son had this curriculum completed by the time spring hit.  Thus, the transition to utilizing the suggestions and curricula in Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum per grade level, and it was in accord with our Christian faith and I wanted a program that integrated our Catholic beliefs and history within it.

But, certainly  not all was a wash with our first two trial years of using a boxed curriculum; one wonderful find was that Calvert had this great little enrichment program written for the Peter Rabbit tales and I made the extra purchase in the spring of Kindergarten that year, to finish out the year, and we went through the wonderful tales of Beatrix Potter and felt we had completed a good year.  The stories were refreshing and delightful, the pictures beautiful, and the vocabulary fun!…perambulator…(baby stroller).  And as it is with most unit type studies, it involved more than just literature enrichment, but art enrichment as well.


So, this year, I will introduce the young students (including my youngest son among them) of our co-op to Beatrix Potter and her Peter Rabbit and friends.   You can see the teacher guide at this link:
Beatrix Potter Literature enrichment program designed by Calvert.

Syllabus – singular
Syllabi, plural
Syllabus is a latin word for a lesson plan – instructions.  The enrollment program affiliate of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum is: Mother of Divine Grace home study and it utilizes the syllabi resource so nicely whether you are enrolled with their program or not – you can purchase a syllabus per grade level from several different providers.  What is described per grade level in the book Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum (Dyocc) is packed into one great syllabus per grade level from K through 8th grade. From 9th through 12th syllabi are available but as separate disciplines, i.e. Algebra I, Latin I, Earth Science, Chemistry, Medieval Spanish & English History, Advanced American Government & Economics, and so forth. 


The syllabus has kept us on track and is great preparation for college work, as I know our son in his first year of college was handed a syllabus per each course from his different professors.  He felt comfortable with this system already and loved referring to it for deadlines, and instructions and the entire schedule for the semester. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Home School (designer) Wish List


While we follow Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum pretty much as a rule in this house, and have been enrolled with the program the book outlines, (Modg) I still have other resources I look at and consider that land on my home school wish list.  One such source is: Veritas Press.  We definitely believe in and follow a classical education as we feel it serves many purposes in both formation and information, one such purpose is that this course of studies is excellent preparation for college level work.  As we send another child of to a liberal arts college to continue the classical education we began at home, we look at several factors that went into the recipe of home education.  I personally evaluate what we are doing and using, and what changes could occur, and what needs to happen for each individual child.  A beautiful thing about home education – it can be designed for each individual child’s uniqueness.  And I don’t know about your children, but mine are definitely unique!   I have smart, smarter, smarty pants and out-smarter …..lining up the ranks here :)

A few picks on my wish list in addition to our regular course of studies include: 

The Milly Molly Mandy  storybook with guide book.  I think our youngest son would greatly enjoy this as he is the one that needs more each day and finished his 342 page math book early this year!  He loved the Five In A Row system – and he’s far outgrown that already. So I think I will need to design a literature program for him for the new year ahead.  I also have Pinocchio with guide book, and Winnie-the-Pooh lined up for literature enrichment as well.

I’m also looking a the Encyclopedia Brown series for him to read – he is 7 yrs old and reads on a 6th grade level, with comprehension at the end of 2nd grade level. 

We’ll continue to use the States & Capitals songs; if I can find the cassette tape again….hmmm….or might have to re-order!  If I do, I may opt for the DVD as this autistic son benefits greatly from visual and auditory at the same time.  Maybe God does have a plan!!

Kidnapped! by Robert Louis Stevenson would be good for an extra read for my seventh grade son.  Just thinking out loud here!  He is reading all the Vision Saint books currently – one after another – and the Bethlehem book series next: the Letzenstein Chronicles.

I would like to make Latin more fun and enjoyable and have more support for myself as the instructor, so I’m looking at different Latin programs for the older levels of school.  I’m fine with the Memoria Press Latins, until high school hits, then I will not use Henle Latin again.  Sorry :( …..I’m looking at Wheelock’s Latin  and considering Elementary Algebra by Jacobs, to make both of those subjects more palatable for my son, possibly for 8th grade, (planning ahead as he’ll be 7th grade this year).  Planning ahead is important…laying the formation and foundation now for the next year’s work.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Jackie Allen | Starry Night | CD Baby

Jackie Allen | Starry Night | CD Baby

Her Starry Starry Night is beautiful....

Dream on - Kelly Sweet

We Are One: Kelly Sweet


Since my son is DJ’ing during the summer for the radio station at the university he attends, I have come across some new music I’m greatly enjoying.  A sweet angelic version of the old Aerosmith 70s tune, Dream-On, done is a beautifully enchanting mode by Kelly Sweet…..her name truly fits her lovely voice. We Are One: Kelly Sweet: MP3 Downloads

If there were a way to have it play here I will figure it out and embed it.  Otherwise, use the link to find it (Dream On) and listen.  Truly beautiful.

More new music finds later…….

Monday, May 09, 2011


My Son is a DJ this summer; he’s on rignt now, so I just had to post this Smile

What courses does your high school home schooled student do, what do you use, how do you do it?

Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this question now.  The last six years of our home schooling lifestyle has included high school.  My oldest son graduated into college in ‘09, and now our daughter is on her way as well.

What has the last six years of homeschooling high school looked like when parent led? To begin, it has not included any on-line courses, or post secondary at a college location. We have truly “home schooled” in every sense of the word, as law describes it. We exercised complete control over content and resources used. It has included daily catechism, deep and broad and solid.   For us, it resembles what we originally found in Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, by Laura Berquist. The beauty of this program is that each year layers itself.  Each courses is meaningful and serves a formation. Whether you are Catholic, or not, this guide book to classical Christian education is truly a God-send.  Many protestants have utilized it happily and successfully. I consider ourselves very blessed to have come across it very early in our home education journey.

To sum up, I’ll plot it here for you what our daughter’s transcript looks like and put in some of the links to the resources we’ve used to accomplish this transcript.  Our son’s transcript was very similar with just a few different courses here and there.

Please note students using the History syllabi from Mother of Divine Grace receive 2.0 credits due to the amount of literature integrated with the history.


Four Years High School Home Education:

9th grade

P.E. and Fine Arts as well (1.0 credits each)

10th grade

P.E. and Fine Arts or other electives as desired; keep in mind this program is very literature based, particularly in the area of history


11th Grade

P.E. & Fine Arts & Electives as desired

12th Grade

Our daughter also worked on the yearbook staff  and newsletter team of our local home school co-op, sang in choirs, dramas, and worked on the VBS team and basically did a variety of electives throughout her high school career. 

One size does not fit all when it comes to home schooling through high school, and like I mentioned our son’s transcript read a bit differently but for the most part the core courses were the same.

Jamie Piano3 

I highly recommend reading Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum especially if you are considering home schooling through high school.  What is nice about the program is it is flexible giving a few choices in sciences and maths and is thorough in core standards and formation.  For Catholics it’s a wonderful Catholic education choice; for other faiths it is an excellent educational choice, with just the right amount of traditional rigor but yet flexible to work with each individual child.  Would I change anything?…personally, I would plug in a different Latin program as I felt the Henle Latin, while good, lacked support for the latin novice and parent who was attempting to teach it.  I would prefer more support resources to tap into.  But, honestly, no complaints!  A fine program that has now successfully gotten my older children into a liberal arts college both receiving excellent higher end merit awards for their GPAs and college board test scores. 

I’d love to answer your questions about homeschooling through high school, please feel free to contact me any time.  God has richly blessed us and I know he is just waiting to bless you too!


How we did it…….I’ll leave that for another post Smile

Saturday, May 07, 2011

All in a Mother's Day

This sweet little poem was written by my daughter 6 years ago ~ she is now graduating from high school ~ where does the time go?  I wanted to share it again here.  May God bless all the dear mothers near and far! 
Original post:

Among my treasured gifts today, I received this wonderful poem written by my daughter and signed by all her siblings; also included were several beautiful holy cards. Thank you my children!

A Mother's Day Poem for You
Mother's Day is here again,
But I have no money, no gold, or Yen,
to buy you a candle, coffee or sweets,
or fluffy socks to cover your feets.

So I hope this poem will do just as well,
to tell you that it's pretty swell
That you're a great mother, Yes, it's true!
Happy Mother's Day from Me to You!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Our Little Corner of the World

Back to our little corner of the world - if only for a while.  Seems that huge world events have taken over everything this last week and weekend.  I'm not turning on the TV this morning, or today for that matter...well, maybe for American Idol later :)  We are finishing up our school, nearly done.... such a minimal amount left in math for both boys, one math test and one chemistry test left for Jamie, then we will wrap up her documentation with Mother of Divine Grace so they can close her out, and issue both her diploma and transcript.  She will have standardized testing next week to satisfy the state requirements and they too will close her out as she moves on to college. And her last piano recital is this weekend as well -- more sniffles and sobs here..... She has been such a delight to school all these years with very little trouble ever, no airs, not much teenager-iness and will continue to be such a blessing to our home when she is home - I'm sure her brothers will be so thrilled when she's home on breaks.  She really does have a fan club :)

And so life is busy in our home. Our college son just completed his sophmore year finishing his last final which was the last final scheduled on campus...last night.  So far, all "A"s are popping up on his grade report, so we are grateful for his hard work and productivity.  He is looking forward to time off, hanging out with his friends a bit, remodeling our attic (into his own bedroom and art studio), and working both as a DJ this summer and his regular job in town at a nearby restaurant.  

Now that the sacrament celebrations I coordinated at our parish are complete, and our religious education program is nearing an end, I can relax a bit too.  There is still plenty to do, but the heaviest part of it is past and I'm looking forward to the piano recital and Mother's Day.  By the way, I received this last weekend: a beautiful Cuisinart Coffee Maker, from  my husband and children, after all the festivities of the weekend at our parish.  Early Mother's Day gift....a nice way to end the events of the weekend and begin a new week.  I always look forward and take great motivation in "beginning again", as I believe our Lord has blessed us with the graces to alway begin again anew.  And so, as I see closure in many areas, it awakens in me, new beginnings in other areas.   

All in all, it has been a very productive educational year for us in this home.  I'm pleased to see how Michael took off reading novel after novel, and right now is reading through Saint living history books, such as Francis and Claire (which he loved), and now St. Anthony (his birthday feast day saint).  Michael is doing algebra and geometry -- and loving it.  Thanks to Abeka Math...which I am sold on to produce good math students; it's a bit advanced, but I choose the program to match the child and this particular child needed the challenge and to be engaged and "move on!"...with math.  He is very intelligent once we get the OCD/anxiety controlled, and it's so wonderful to see him blossoming academically.  Very good year for him.  Many thanks to God on this one!   And Mark is just as delightful and smart as ever -- his Flat Mark is still enjoying many adventures out there, while the real Mark has successfully breezed through first grade - reading on a 6th grade level, getting math like nobody's business.  He's looking forward to a DQ Blizzard when the last few pages of his math book are complete, which is likely this Friday.

Ahhh, so I breathe a sigh of relief and restfulness at the moment.  Now if our skies would just warm up with the lovely SUN that I know is out there somewhere!......Off for one more cup of coffee before I get started with the routine of the day.

May you have a blessed day wherever you are!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Official Vatican Statement

"Bin Laden... has had the gravest responsibility for spreading hatred and division among people, causing the deaths of countless people, and exploiting religion for this purpose. Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of everyone before God and man, and hopes and pledges that every event is not an opportunity for a further growth of hatred, but of peace.”  (more here)

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live. Ezekiel 18:23