St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, September 27, 2013

Home Schooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

Friday Daybook

Outside my window....Beautiful sunshine, breezy day

I am thankful for...being able to home school my children and be at home most of the time with them; and now have a job that I am also able to do from home

I am thinking about...a few special moms that helped mentor me in both home schooling, my faith, and religious education; without them paving the way and offering guidance I would not be where I am today.

Learning all the time...I am learning more algebra and way more Latin than I ever imagined :)   And I am learning that people really do hold grudges – forever, which is such a shame.  I have also learned this last summer to never say never….you just never know what God has in store for you.

From the kitchen....nothing much at the moment, but thinking about dinner; we moved our fast from meat to Wednesdays where it works with our family better (and still includes a legit fast day per Christian Orthodox teaching)..So today may bring a meat dinner, but I haven’t even thought that far ahead yet.

I am creating...more comfort, peace and a gentle learning environment at home and in the bible study my husband and I will oversee next month

I am working on...My Lego information for my classes at co-op; my music selection for the music I teach there also; and an order list for crafts

I am the library later for my son’s Algebra enrichment course

I am hoping...for more sleep

I am reading...mostly my lesson plans and encouragement, and my daughter’s college guidebook for certification, on writing tutors (she is now a nationally certified writing tutor, in both written and oral communication).

I am praying for...healing in mind and soul; and for many friends who need prayers

I am hearing...a lot of crickets and birds outside….and the light hum of the floor fan

Around the house...I pretty much see a mess here and there

One of my favorite things...Waking up in the morning to sitting in bed, sipping my coffee and having my devotional “me” time before I get into the mix of the day

A few plans for the rest of the week...The weekend will bring work at church, having to go in an organize PSR resources/items on Saturday…drop off sign –up sheets in the church gathering spaces; preparing for catechetical Sunday recognition, so checking on certificates and my church mail that comes.  Then, Monday brings a therapy appointment for one, son, Tuesday brings another son’s birthday, and Wednesday brings my mother’s birthday; Thursday brings the start of our new local co-op, and Sunday brings the blessing of our 25th wedding anniversary and dinner out together.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...very silly, but it made me smile :)


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New loves and sweet memories

Lately, thanks to my dear husband, I have found a new love: Ruggles Greek Frozen Yogurt.  Oh the sweet memories it invokes of my growing up in Salt Lake City Utah, and stopping after drama and dance classes to buy a frozen yogurt on the way home.  It was sold at this awesome, very missed mall…Trolley Square.  I recently looked on their foods listing, but alas, no frozen yogurt bar…that I could see. 

I also wore wooden clogs sold from s special shop at Trolley Square…they were very popular out west in the 70s; anything I could do to be different while wearing a private school uniform!  I even wore Givenchy textured hosiery to be different. 


Hmm…let’s see, when I was a teenager growing up in Salt Lake City, I also drove around in a Toyota Corolla four door sedan; I adored Babe perfume from Faberge’, I carried a red back pack, and tried to eat a Gyro from the Greek Souvlaki downtown on State Street every weekend :)  I think I’m making myself home sick!  I’ve been in the east for over three decades now.

Thanks for following me down memory lane…..

Fighting the hard stuff and winning

I can’t believe how fast the last week went.  I’m still stuck on that monumental Monday where I was able to go away for hours and leave my son with anxiety, and things have just continued with improvements from there.


I was really wondering how this young man would do with high school at home this year, and well, he is doing an amazing job.  It’s like some miracle struck!  And I am very, very grateful. Those who know me, know the difficult stress and near-hostage situation I found myself in and how it has deeply affected our family  – being crippled along with the disorder my son suffers.  But all those hard years of therapy are paying off.  I’m convinced he will be better than the rest of us because he has all the storage of techniques and skills to cope with a host of stresses and fend them off.  He has matured so much in the last several months, and I’m just in awe of how blessed we are by the talented special young man.  The disorder itself has seemed like such a curse, bringing misunderstandings, judgments, shunning, gossip, ….that I’ve mostly taken the brunt of as a mother, and yet there are so many blessings that have come.  I have seen the true nature of those around me, in response to our difficulty, or in response to my challenge as a mother.  If anything I’ve learned real love and patience, and real friendship, and so has my son.  He is blessed by some very special young people in his life that accept him no matter what, and that is really saying something. Those young people are exemplary in their responses and they will be wonderful young adults and mature individuals out there in the world; we certainly need more of them.

So today, we forge onward, and continue school, take grandma (my mom) out to eat for our bi-monthly outing, and head to some appointments – we have so much to be thankful for as Autumn arrives and all the changes that have occurred over the last months begin to settle into a new normal. 

God bless you! Have a lovely day!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Beautiful Autumn is in the air

I love autumn as it arrives. It always seems like a new beginning.  And this autumn, this new school season, is so welcome and so comforting and liberating at the same time for me this year. 

It’s a time of many changes that have taken place.  A new co-op, more local, closer than the last one we’ve participated in for many years.  Some new PSR teachers, which is quite wonderful; I love to get new people on board, sharing faith with our parish children, including my own children.  I think it’s important that our children recognize that while family is the primary vehicle of evangelization, there are many, many other faithful, faith-living-loving others out there.  I like my children to know them, as well as their peer mates in the faith.

This year my husband and I begin a new venture together at the parish level, a Bible Study Prayer Group.  I’ve mentioned before we are using the Liguori Catholic Bible Study series, which I am very excited about.  We are doing things the old fashioned way sans media…this means, “reading”, and “writing notes” and “praying together”, without technology.  It will be human-driven, not technology driven.  Imagine that!

This is my most beloved bible given to me by our pastor seven years ago and signed inside by him.  It will be perfect for me to tote back and forth to bible study.  I have purchased a lovely (“mom”) cover for it, as pictured below.  And I loved the cover so much, I purchased a lovely tote to match it!  That way, I’ll have something to haul my items in, both for bible study and co-op

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! -Psalm 139:17

The tote reads:  Mother’s Love:

A Mother's love does many things. It gives us roots and gives us wings.

A mother's love when first we're born, makes us secure and keeps us warm. She feeds and clothes us through the years, she cheers us on and wipes our tears. Her wisdom and her faith impart integrity within our hearts.
This love of hers knows what is best. She keeps us safe within the nest. But when it's time she somehow knows.and bravely, prayerfully lets us go. Her love goes with us and will be within our hearts eternally.
God bless you Mom.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Update on anxiety disorder teen son

Dear Friends,

I just want to share with you that yesterday evening was a monumental moment for my OCD son.  As you have known, he has suffered anxiety terribly through the last five years, and more so when he anticipates I'm leaving to go somewhere.  All summer, with his new art therapist, we have been working on this area.  I would go away into town for just about 15 mins, working up to 30-40 mins at a time.  Even when I didn't have a reason to go, I had to just go...for therapy's sake.   (There are two other areas that need tackling, but we approached this one first.)

Yesterday evening I had a scheduled mandatory Child Protection Policy training session, an hour+ away from us in the heart of our diocese of Steubenville.  I had known I would "have to" attend the session - a month  in advance -- and we began to prepare Michael for my going away.

Well, it was successful!  I told him, I would be driving with our pastor, (pastor driving), so I could text him on occasion, and could talk on the cell if I had to.  I left it at that.  All he asked as I was leaving, was to talk to him on his cell for a little until I got to the rectory, where my ride would be waiting.  So we did that, hung up, and I didn't hear from him at all! I texted when I got to Steubenville to let him know I was there and the Bishop was now arriving.  He texted back that he was fine, and his therapist had called him on his cell and talked with him a while!  How great was that??  And you know, he was FINE.  We planned it that, although grandma was coming to “sit” with him and his brother, just let the ordinary day happen – if big brother ends up being home, fine, if friends come by and want to play, fine.  Just “do what we do.”

I didn't get home until around a little after nine - and the only time he texted me was around 9 o'clock, and I was back in town already.  No panicking, no sick stomach....nothing.  Like no big deal!  (of course, to me, I was a nervous wreck inside the first time attempting this in a long time!)

All summer we have been working hard on this -- and he himself had gotten on his bike and gone to a friend's house for hours.....up to 5 hours he's been away, no fretting, no heart palpitations, nothing.  I really think we've had such a breakthrough.

I want to thank you all for your kind prayers the last year as this was such a difficult area for not just me personally -- but my entire family.   Grandma, (my mom) staying with my sons last night said she enjoyed every minute of it - saying how different it was, Michael was relaxed and had fun.  It was enjoyable for her! ...not stressful.  Praise God.

Blessings to all!


Friday, September 13, 2013

Winnie Ille Pu ….and other things, oh bother…;)

There is just nothing like hitting Friday after a long and productive home school week. Even if you were in school…Friday was the most welcome day…and rightly so; who doesn’t look forward to a break after putting in a long week’s worth of work?

Our school year is up and running; we completed our second full week.  There are several things I am so pleased with, and rather surprised by.

One, my ninth grade son is actually doing the work and doing it spectacularly.  All the reading, all the writing, the Latin, the tough Algebra 1…the hard stuff.  In fact, he’s moving so quickly through the algebra, and loves it, he may be in Alg II into the second semester. And he loves the Latin; it is a nicely done program (Cambridge Latin)[1].  Seriously, I know he is capable of challenging work, but I wasn’t sure with his anxiety disorder, that he’d face it well.  Hmm, he has really surprised me.  In fact, he may end up being my best high school student so far (my apologies to his older brother and sister :) haha……oh, they would understand, because we have been through so much with this child, sooooo much.   I like to think that hard work over the last five years is paying off – and in fact, I have seen leaps this summer.  A big leap is bound to happen this upcoming Monday evening as I have to go away for about 4 hours and leave him with his younger brother and grandma here at home…..But, this son has gone away from me (not I from him, there is a difference when he’s in control), for up to 5 hours+, so I think he is very capable of eventually being left to even care for his young brother.  I have left for small errand running – up to 30 mins at the most, but left often; so many times this last couple months, I’ve lost count.  And he has been fine  - only once he texted me….and I think it was to be sure to bring back a certain candy!  So, I feel he has “arrived” finally……Monday will tell us a lot.  Pray for us!!!

So, yes, I am thrilled with this progress. 


Then there’s another fourth grader….hmmm…..He is my autism spectrum son, and while he is doing quite well academically speaking, it’s not stellar that’s for sure.  His super power is reading however…..but, I don’t know what it is about fourth grade,  it’s never been an easy grade at home for us.  Yes, the math is challenging (A Beka in particular), but we are sticking to it ….maybe moving slower until the concepts are better cemented.  We have just started, so two weeks doesn’t tell us everything….we’ll see where we are in a month, maybe two.

I’m exhausted and it’s only the end of week two….getting back into the swing of it is never easy, but it is welcome.  I am glad for the routine and ever so grateful for the freedom of home education.  Today, I am even more grateful for finally seeing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel with my anxiety suffering son.  It’s quite a relief.  We have a lot more work to do in many areas, but we are chipping away and making progress. Praise God for that!


[1] With Cambridge Latin, we are doing Unit 1 (I wish we had done it last year – had I known what a nicely laid out program it was, I would have).  My son wants to do “all the books”, and read Winnie Ille Pu as a senior!  I admire his goal – and it is a 12th grade Latin pursuit with Mother of Divine Grace, so I think he is capable of achieving it.  So I have this adorable book sitting on my book shelf (it’s been there since 2004)…..waiting for my son’s eager eyes and analytical abilities!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Bookshelf Flashback ….

This just still cracks me up when I come upon it in my photos….the BEFORE..chaos!…and the after…(not perfect, but much better)….





This shelf has gotten even better over the last 6 months as I greatly reduced and re-organized it.  But that will be yet another photo and post for another time :)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Our family–God’s family…

This month is our big start of back to school.  In fact we begin the day after tomorrow! 

Today we enjoyed one last big family get together celebrating Sept. birthdays with the family at a special restaurant and catching up.  I forget how much younger my children are then any of the cousins on either sides of our families until we get together again!  This is one reason I am grateful for my children’s friends and always welcoming to them because we have such an age gap going on.  My husband is the baby of the family (and so am I), and the last youngest of cousins on either side would be 25 yrs old…then my oldest son picks it up with 22…on down the ladder with my bunch, with no other cousins close to their ages.  My oldest son has a cousin that’s 2.5 years older than him, that he’s a twin with (almost quite literally, they could be twins!) and my daughter has a cousin gal five years older than her (that looks just like her Aunt Denise.:)…but they aren’t as close because of the five years difference.  (the cuz friends here in 2009, still babies!)

Doug and Ian

It’s so funny how families are designed by God’s special plan – we just take it as it is!  My children have long been adopted and welcomed into other families through the years, so they have others besides their cousins naturally, and that always does a mother’s heart good to know that there are other families outside of family, that care about their children as much as family would.  I am grateful for my own second mom and dad growing up, with my dear friend Kris – I was always welcome at their home,  and went on many vacations with them.  Likewise, Kris practically lived with us many summers and to this day although the miles are between us, we stay in close touch.  Her youngest son, a Godchild of mine, just came to visit recently, on his trip across the states back home.  It was wonderful to see this young man growing up and another generation of hope to carry on.

So, we too, are welcoming to our children’s friends; our home by it’s very nature is in the middle of town and so many just stop by at random.  It’s been this way for years and I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  We love when friends stop by any time. Hospitality is a virtue …

Which brings me to God’s family; and welcoming them and inviting them into the word of God. I have been preparing to begin leading a bible study prayer group for our parish this Fall, and it is finally been confirmed and organized, and blessed by our pastor.  I’m looking forward to it and I think my family will benefit from it as well.  I know I need it.  And my teen son will put to use his confirmation gifts by helping to watch other children that may have to come for the evening study. He has been growing more responsible by the minute (and working through his anxiety heroically). So, we are doing it “as a family”; my husband included, as he will also be available to help lead in my place when needed.  So we have been praying daily about this endeavor and are pretty excited about it.  Our resource is almost endless as we’ve chosen the Liguori Catholic BIble Study series to help facilitate the study.  We are starting with Acts of the Apostles:

This is a wonderful to the point, “prayerful” series.  We will do the first eight weeks following this resource, take a break, and pick up with another book of the bible in winter, and likely another in the spring. 

And so it is, as we say hello to yet another Labor Day, and yet another school year, we look forward to how God will speak to us and use us this year ahead……I have a feeling that this is going to be a very good year.

God bless+

Labor Day Blessings

Labor Day Prayer
God, please help all those who work. Give them special graces to continue working each day. Provide them with support, guidance, and love. Assist them in finding the right occupation that will lead them closer to You. Lastly, be there for the unemployed. Amen.