I feel like an accomplished woman today :) Truly, I am greatly relieved to have the educational wing of our parish back in order. All the rooms are put back together for our parish program. I had help from a young man who needed to do community service hours, and wow, was he a help. He had strength, which I don’t have, to really lift and move around those heavy tables. We spent two hours just moving things, tearing down and putting away VBS decorations, and unloading the shelves of our old PSR books and hauling things to the dumpster. I still have a little bit more to do, finishing touches, but it’s well in order, praise God!
As I prepare our own home school, which will begin this next week with orientation for one son’s on line learning support class with Mother of Divine Grace, and then a couple days later an early start with our local co-op for his Algebra, (really just for fun, and extra support if needed), I am reminded of how many years we have done this, and what it was like schooling with little people, a toddler, a baby…or nauseated with pregnancy…..oh how I remember sitting next to a child, nodding off from pregnancy tiredness…trying to help them with math! I assure you it did not hurt their ACT, SAT scores in the least in later years!
As I help mentor other families and develop their educational plan and offer practical tips, I remember how I did it myself…..for the “littles”, I always had a “drawer system”, as I called it. A rolling drawer cart, stuffed with the best most intriguing fun items that could only be used “during school”, when mom was helping another student. How I depended on that cart! And how it got me through many a harried day. It included ONE video tape (science or history oriented, like Magical School Bus, Bill Nye the Science Guy, Liberty’s Kids….)..and I would alternate tapes throughout the week….and many fun puzzles, building blocks, figurines, small games, activity pads, art items, play-doh, anything educational and fun and lots of it. And ONLY for use during school when mom needed to buy time. These items, this cart, would be rolled away to a different location and even covered up at times, when school was over.
Another invaluable item that helped me with home school, is the crockpot. How much time it has saved me in dinner prep. When I can get up earlier than the rest, do my morning devotions, get myself ready and put dinner in the crockpot, I could start my day out right. This was especially so helpful with little children about.
And because home education doesn’t stop in the home….it extends to church as we are the primary educators/first heralds of faith to our children, and should be instructing hands-on with them in the pew, I found this to be helpful with the little ones: a mass bag.(example)
Not a play thing mind you, (in fact, other than a small bible figure finger puppet perhaps, I would likely not include the lacing animals above)…but a bag with child spiritual items in it that will keep a little one in the pew and help guide their thoughts to God and prompt them to pay attention with good picture images of the mass to follow. As my children have grown with a mass bag, the contents have changed, until the need for one diminishes, around first communion age,or shortly thereafter, where I then have them bring their first communion missal book to follow the mass with, or their Magnifikid prayer companion (I bring my Magnificat for praying before mass).
This week, (what’s left of it!) continues to be and has been all about, “preparing” for things to come. How appropriate it seems our Pope tweeted a day ago:
Pope Francis @Pontifex
"An excellent program for our lives:
the Beatitudes and Matthew Chapter 25"
Matthew chapter 25 being about always “being prepared”, not acting in foolishness or haste, ….And the Beatitudes as a way in that preparation.
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
I believe that NOW is the day and the hour we need to be prepared and make right with our fellow men/women….
As we prepare physically for many things – so that events of earthly nature can take place in an orderly manner, so much more should be prepared our souls for heavenly things that will take place.
I think reading the Beatitudes and meditating on Matthew Chapter 25 is a perfect way to prepare for the new school year, a new start, new relationships, new knowledge…..new hearts full of forgiveness for one another. Most of life is spent either holding a grudge, or forgiving over and over, as our Lord asks us to forgive ….(as he forgives us….)
“Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matt 18:21-22
So as you begin your new school year, as I will be doing soon, go easy…on your children…your students; prepare as much as you are able, and look ahead to a great year together.
“Be forgiving of other people's mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes too.”
“And just as you desire people to do for you, do also for them.”
'Love your neighbor as yourself”
You are in my prayers this evening as we say our nightly rosary.