"Children obey your parents in all things; for this
is pleasing to the Lord." -Col. 3:20
Heavenwords- Instructional Stories in Religion
By: Wilfred Diamond +Imprimatur 1941
HOW TO PLANT CARROTS - OBEDIENCE
This morning's question: What is the fourth commandment? Honor thy father and thy mother. Honor in that catechism answer means to obey. Ever one of Christ's children must learn to obey. To obey does not mean to do what you are told. IT means to do exactly what you are told. There is a difference there. Maybe this story will help to make that clear to you.
While the great St. Francis of Assisi was alive two men came to the door of his monastery and asked if they could join his order - the Friars Minor. St. Francis asked them several questions and finally said, "Will you keep the vow of poverty?" Both men said they would. "Will you keep the vow of chastity?" asked Francis. "We will," replied the men. Finally St. Francis asked, "Will you keep the vow of obedience?" Both says "Yes." "Then come with me," said St. Francis, and he led the two men into the garden. In the garden the two men got the correct idea of the religious life and of obedience. St. Francis gave them each, of all things, two carrots and said, "Plant these." The two began to dig into the ground. "Now," said the Saint, "I do not want them just planted. I want them planted upside down." One man planted his carrots upside down. The other man scratched his head and said, "Oh, no, Father Francis, you are a very holy man and know many things, but you do not know how to plant carrots. Here's how you do it. You plant them this way." And he planted his right side up. St. Francis smiled at him tolerantly and said, "Young man, you would make a very good gardener, because you plant carrots right side up, but you will not make a good Franciscan unless you learn to obey. Now plant them upside down. You must learn that to obey means to do exactly what you are told to do." But St. Francis was not finished with his lesson on obedience. He said, "What a shame! I've made you spoil the carrots that were meant for our supper. There are some nice ones in the next garden. Jump over the hedge and steal two of them." The man hopped over the fence to steal two of the carrots. Immediately St. Francis called him back and finished the lesson. "To plant carrots upside down in one thing. To steal them is another. You must obey your superiors - but only in things which are not sinful."
That story shows that obedience means that we should do exactly as we are told as long as we are not told to sin. It does not mean that we may do the thing any old way that we please. If we are told to do our homework now, that means that we must do it now and not after we finish the chapter of the novel we are reading. If we are told to be home at seven o'clock, we do not obey if we just straggle home when we are ready. We must be home on time. If our parents wanted us home at 7:15 they would say 7:15. But they said seven and that meant seven. If we are told to wash the dishes, we do obey if we put them away without being dried properly. To be obedient we must do exactly what we are told. That means that we must do exactly what we are told. That means that we must do the things we are told to do (and not something else); when we are told to do it (not when we feel like it) and in the proper manner (not carelessly or sloppily). If you do not do all of these things you cannot call yourselves obedient. Both of the men in the story planted carrots in the ground but one was obedient and the other was not. One did exactly as he was told. The other did it the way he felt like doing it. Remember this next time you are told to do something. If you are told to plant carrots upside down, then plant them upside down. It is not your mistake if you do what you are told to do. You obeyed - and to obey means to do exactly what you are told to do.
An Activity & More Reading
"In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters. And God said: Be light made. And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from darkness. And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day. And he said: Let the earth bring forth the green herb, and such as may seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind, which may have seed in itself upon the earth. And it was so done. And the earth brought forth the green herb, and such as yieldeth seed according to its kind, and the tree that beareth fruit, having seed each one according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: To shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done." -Douay Rhiems Bible: Genesis I: 1-15
We are excited to be adding to our science this year, Journaling God's Creations with St. Francis; A Nature Journal for Young Catholics!
Until this year science has been a rather light subject in our home, as it is a modern subject in terms of the history of education, there isn't much out there that is really and truly Catholic and so we have always put our focus on other subjects other than science.
We live in the city with a small back yard and over the last few years we have been growing a garden in several garden boxes. Its amazing what one can grow in a few small garden boxes. For the last two years we have also planted calendula flowers in those gardens and have been harvesting the petals to save for medicinal purposes. In this process the children have learned so much about the lovely things God made and how He gave us these things for our use.
Inspired by our garden and God's lovely creations we decided to make a nature journal to use as part, if not all, of our science class. Taking nature walks to learn about new plants, animals and rocks that God made, or just a little trip to our small garden, a walk through with a book about plants, etc. There are so many places to find and learn about God's creations!
Intro page allows student to place picture and identifying information incase journal is lost.
Ideas on how to use the Young Catholics Nature Journal
Each of the 3 sections is separated by a color divider printed on beige card stock.
Filling in Your Nature Journal
This 8.5 in. x 8.5 in. nature journal has pages that gently guide the young student through the uses of the plants that they find, their names and space to write about the parts of the plant. The animal section has space to write what habitats the animals live in, what their kingdom and class is, what foods the animals eat and more; along with space to draw or cut and paste a picture of the animal. The rock section has a place for a nail test to see how hard the rock is and also describe its luster. All of these pages are printed on 110# card stock for durability so whether the child is using water colors, colored pencils or markers this paper should do the job.
The cover stock is a thick heavy weight stock with a gloss on the front (and on the back of the back cover) and topping that is a clear plastic cover on both sides giving more durability for ease of use. The black plastic coil allows for some bend and given when these books are packed away and stored but they hold their shape very well with the heavy card stock making them great for little hands to use!
The blank space given on each page allows the child to paste/tape their findings, or draw/paint/color them on their own or even cut and paste a picture from the computer or another resource.
There is plenty of space for writing all of the details and on every page is a reminder of how/why God made each of the plants, animals and rocks!
"And the Lord brought forth of the ground all manner of trees, fair to behold, and pleasant to eat of..." -Genesis I, ix
Preview the Pages Below
Putting the Nature Journal to Use
I've been so excited about this journal, really it probably shouldn't say for 'young Catholics' because it works for all age levels. I put it to use the other night, yes my own copy! I plan to journal findings right along with the children. Why?
The knowledge of plants, animals and rocks is such a lost art in regards to how we are able to use them all. For instance many people may not know that Dandelions are edible, that their roots provide great detoxifying properties and that before coffee, dandelion root along with chicory root was the main hot drink of the time.
Did you know that calendula makes an excellent salve that beats out Neosporin any day? By logging away all your findings and doing a little plant identification you might just find your yard is full of free medicinal plants! Put that nature journal to work and once you know the medicinal properties of the plants you will find it easy to make your own salves and balms to cure anything from cuts, bruises, athlete's foot, diaper rash, bug bites, colds, coughs and more!
Pictured above with our notes on the Calendula flower (part of the Marigold family... which is named after Our Lady), is some Calendula salve we made which we use for cuts, burns, scrapes etc. Anything you might use Neosporin for. It's also great as a type of lotion to make skin more smooth and soft and I've been told it does wonders for dry feet when placed on them every night before bed. And the other, as requested by my sister-in-law, is homemade bum balm, a.k.a. diaper rash salve. It has some different medicinal herbs in it from the basic calendula salve that make it perfect for itchy diaper rash and any other ailment that might itch/burn and have similar symptoms. It is cloth diaper safe and has no harsh chemicals in it. Salves are one of the easiest things to make and they are perfect for children learning in the kitchen. Just make sure you supervise the heating of the bees wax and oils well... perhaps just let them stir a bit . For some salve recipes visit our Pinterest board for Herbal Medicines
and also our Soaps/Bars/Lotions board
Help bring back the lost art of using God's plants, animals and rocks to heal ailments naturally and also show children that God gave us animals for clothing, food, etc. And that rocks are also used in our every day life from the roads that we drive on to using them in the making of a mortar and pestle to grind the herbs that He also gave us!
"It is your sacred duty to begin to teach your children the science of salvation from their earliest infancy. Teach them, first of all, to lisp the holy names of Jesus and Mary; and, as soon as they begin to learn to speak, gradually teach them how to make the sign of the cross, and to recite the "Our Father," the "Hail Mary," the Creed, the acts of faith, hope, charity, and contrition. Explain to them the meaning of the crucifix and of the holy pictures which you have, or which you should have, in your house. Inspire them with the love of God, with the horror of sin, with a tender devotion to "sweet Jesus and Mary." By the time they are old enough to be sent to school they ought to know not only all the ordinary prayers, but also the principal articles of faith and the obligations of a Christian. We shall develop this in the following chapters." -Popular Instructions on the Bringing Up of Children, Imprimatur 1896
It's the third week of the 'Not Back to School' Blog Hop! This week homeschoolers from all over are sharing their 'Not Back to School' School pictures! We thought it would be fun to participate here on our Catholic Education Blog.
Where does the time go? It seems like we were just sharing our curriculum for the year during the first week of the blog hop
and here we are just two weeks away from starting school. Are you all ready yet? When do you plan to start your homeschool? We are putting our nose down to the grindstone these next two weeks to finishing writing curriculum and finishing our planning in hopes that we can get started on September 3rd!
This will be my first year with three students! Our oldest two while a year apart we put them both in the same grade. One struggles with math about 2 grades behind and the other excels about two grades ahead. One struggles with reading one grade behind and the other excels with reading in the opposite. Thus they end up about on the same grade level, the benefits of home education (one of the many). Here are my 3rd graders for the 2013/2014 school year! They enjoyed picking herbs and flowers on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary from our garden to put up on the altar with her statue.
This is my newest student, our Bulgarian Princess. While we have her being in Kindergarten this year it will be a very loose Kindergarten as she is behind a bit in the learning department but we didn't want her to feel left out! She is a very silly one who loves to tease and likes to do that when being taught school so we will see how this year goes! She was also picking flowers on the Assumption to put at the altar with Mary. They had quite a bit of fun on that day learning about how the Church use to bless the herbs and flowers on this special day! Thank you for visiting our 2013 'Not Back to School' Pictures! May God bless your upcoming school year!!
As promised in our first post on how we use the Holy Simplicity Planner in our home
, we are continuing on with how we write lesson plans for the academic year in our home using both the Holy Simplicity Planner
and the Catholic Children's lesson planners
In the first post
we demonstrated how we added tabs to our Holy Simplicity Planner for the months of the year as well as the reproducible section and the Liturgical Journaling Section along with a tab along the top for 'this week', the current week we are on making all things easy to locate. Also in that blog post we went over setting up the monthly calendar for each month, writing up the yearly curriculum goals, planning the Liturgical feast day celebrations, our Mary (spiritual to do list) and Martha (household to do list) planning and menu planning. Today we are going over how to write lesson plans in the Holy Simplicity Planner as well as combing that with the use of the Catholic Children's Lesson Planners and making them work together as an organizational team.
Coordinating Monthly Liturgical Calendars Holy Simplicity Planner w/ Crusader's for Christ Boys Planner
After I've completed the above tasks I open up my Holy Simplicity Planner to the monthly page and make sure that I place my fasting fish stickers where appropriate (see a St. Andrew's Daily Missal from 1945 or the New Marian Missal from 1958 for helpful tips there) as well as any stickers for feasts of Our Lord/Our Lady and any birthday's or other events I want to mark. Once I have them in my planner I then, or perhaps one of the children can, transfer them over to their Catholic children's planner and also place their stickers on the appropriate days. This is a great time to discuss with the children why we are placing full fish stickers on Fridays as we abstain fully on those days and why we place half fish stickers on Ember days, days in which meat is only allowed once in the day with fasting in-between meals. We can also show them our Daily Missal and explain how to look up those days in it along with discussing the saints for the month and so on.
Liturgical Monthly Calendar - Holy Simplicity Planner
Children's Monthly Liturgical Calendar
Children's Monthly Reading Log & Planning Page Children's Monthly Planning Page
On the back of each month's calendar page in the children's planners is another type of planning page. There is space for writing books that were read in the month, usually those books for free reading or extra reading, or even silent reading that needs logged. Each month the parent/child can pick out a few Catechism questions to learn and memorize and write down the page number and book that they are located in. Or perhaps just write one whole entire question down. There is a slot for writing down important dates to remember for the month whether they be feast days, Liturgical Seasons, birthdays, anniversaries or other important dates. Lastly there is a place to write down a short new prayer the child will work on memorizing during the month.
Adding Curricula Plans to the Holy Simplicity Planner
I'm still in the process of writing down lesson plans but we have a start on it enough here to give you an idea of how we use our Holy Simplicity Planner when it comes to teaching 3 children (Kindergarden and 2 3rd graders on different levels in different subjects).
Some Quick tips:
- Use a Pencil, something will come up and this makes it super easy to change!
- Plan the whole year. Yes I know that seems daunting. One year we just filled workboxes with what ever seemed good for the day. The next year we wrote in our lesson plans as we went for a record. Last year my darling husband convinced me to write the whole years plans and it was such a life saver. It sure took the stress out of things and I always knew what was next.
- Leave space for adjustments. While it was nice to have the whole year planned out I also found myself rewriting some plans. That's ok! What I'm hoping works even better is to leave some room for adjustments. Such as leaving the math page numbers out and writing them in as we go, then we know we have math to do and which book but we leave it open to moving ahead when ITS LEARNED rather than because the planner says so.
I should preface this part by saying that I write our own curriculum, being that we don't buy a packaged curricula all in one that has it all scheduled out already, so this part may or may not apply to how you homeschool in your home.
First I go down the sides of all the pages and write in the subjects so I know where they will be going. With the curricula I start by taking the curricula we are using and giving it a good look over. Seeing how many chapters are in a book and having an idea of how many weeks are in our school year. Or if part of it needs to be done before Christmas and part after according to our schedule or how it fits in with the Liturgical Year (such as our Bible Stories for Children Unit Study that is done Liturgically).
to use the Bible Stories Unit Study and an example: There are 60 chapters, 2-3 pages each and then each chapter has additional reading and projects that go with it. I want to do the Old testament so that it lines up with Christmas and so in turn it will work as our 4 month Jesse Tree study as well ending with the the Nativity the week before or week of Christmas. So I count the weeks I have there then figure out how many units that is a week. We are doing one a week until Nov/Dec when we bulk up and do two a week as the season gets closer. I will do the same with the New Testament and timing it with Easter and Pentecost (when our school year ends). For each week I write in the Bible Story we will be working on in my Holy Simplicity Planner. In the children's planners I will write that as well as: mama reads on one day, activity on another day, mama reads on the 3rd day and another activity on the the 4th and 5th day according to how the curricula is laid out.
When I have three children under one subject (or 4 maybe some day), I write their first initial with a dash and then write an abbreviation for the book and the page number they are working on. Such as with Math or Religion. I write L, P, F each on their own line and then page such and such. Or in the case of math and religion this year we will write in which pages they read that day. We are finishing up some books from last year and with math they move ahead when they are ready so there is no point in rewriting the pages every time they need adjusted.
On the opposite side I write our weekly menu, I only plan dinners as our breakfast are always one of two things and our lunches are left overs or PBJ. Nothing to fancy here for two of the three meals. While our dinners are usually one of the same 20 some recipes, I still like to have something that can just 'tell me what is for dinner' and also help me make sure I have what I need in the house for it. Something on my to-do list is to write all these recipes down with shopping lists for each one and just stick them on a rotation. Then my meal planning is done unless we try out a new recipe.
In the Notes section I write anything from a to-do list for the week, to reminders for the next week or if my planner is the only scratch paper handy when on the phone I use that section.
Saturday and Sunday's slot doesn't usually get too much attention unless we have a special occasion like a feast day that needs some extra space for meals or activities we ware doing on that day.
Close up of Curricula Planning
Merging the Holy Simplicity with the Children's Planners
Now that the main planner is in order we will work on transferring that to the children's planners.
This might seem a little redundant to some and it is in many ways. Let me explain why we use more than one planner at a time. So many times I would get:
"What's next mom?!"
"Mooooooom, I'm DOOONNNEEEEE."
"Are we done with school yet?"
"How much do we have left to do?"
Stare.... "Why aren't you working?" "I'm done and waiting for help."
One year we tried the work box system to try and counter act these questions. There were 10 drawers with their work and all they needed to get moving and they would systematically go down drawer through drawer and wait on the ones they needed help with. They did ok with that but they were a lot of work to keep full and while I wasn't answering questions such as above as often during school it took a lot of extra prep. So we designed these children's planners so that the children' could have their own planner. They could easily see what was next to do, they could see what was left and how much longer they had before school was done. It teaches them to read directions and follow and order without being constantly reminded. My children' are on the ADHD spectrum and that energy together with the distraction always has them needing redirected. Instead of getting after them and them not knowing what they were doing next, a gentle reminder to check their planner has them taking charge of their actions again. They can cross off those things that were done and see the progress that they made.
These planners also have a to-do list at the bottom that is customizable and we can add non school things to it such as making the bed and brushing teeth in one easy to use location. Another item for them to check off and see progress made and they can see what they have completed in a day. If they forget when dad asks at night what they did in school they can pull out this one planner and get their memories jogged and tell him all about it. They can keep track of the calendar and feast days as well.
You might ask, so why not JUST children's planners and foget a main planner? I like to know what my children should be doing so that I can look up and see they are doing math, or science and look on my planner to make sure that is indeed what they should be doing. Then I don't have to ask and go look at their planner. I know that some people have the same exact lesson plans for each child in each grade so they could write one lesson plan and hand it down. With our children we teach more according to their maturity level on any given subject and move on when they have learned it so the learning of the knowledge dicts when we move on more than the number of pages in a book. Also our children are complete opposites so I don't ever expect that one years curricula will work for one as well as it will work for the other. They have different ways that they like to learn and different speeds so these planners give us the freedom to change that and fit them how they need it.
The other reason I have a main planner is because I have one little student who cannot yet use her own planner and I need her lessons in there as well. I like to have an overview of all three children's lessons so that I know what I must be doing and what is coming up next with out waiting on one of my students to tell me they need help or its time to read ect. I also use it for my menu planning and my calendar and I keep more notes in my main planner than are in the children's planners. Such as teacher guides reference pages or answer pages ect.
When I transfer curricula from my planner to the children's I only write the essential information. So while on my math notes it says P-MUS (Math U See) pg., his planner says math workbook pg. He knows which math book is his, as its in his work box so he just pulls that out and does the next page. When he is done he will write in which page he did that day. At the end of the week I'll write those down in mine so we have a record and I can reference that if need be.
On my main planner under History it Says Creation & The Angels. Later I will write in the page numbers we are reading and which specific activities we are doing. I haven't yet had time to finish that up. On the children's planner I write the subject but then that mama reads on Tuesday and Friday and then Wednesday we have a vocabulary worksheet and Thursday we do an activity. I don't write out which activity because it is parent lead and those details will go in my planner but then they know they need my help and must wait. They can move on to another independent lesson in their planner.
At the bottom of the page is the Daily Checklist. This is a great spot to put daily chores that need to happen every day of the week, or if there are co-ops or music lessons etc. Also other subjects that need practice but don't necessarily have different page numbers or projects every day or that are self lead.
On our list we have some chores, our Catholic Child's Daily Journal,
each child has some project they are working on such as typing saints stories and making their own book or a specialty coloring book that they work on ever day and also some typing practice.
Opposite of the Daily Checklist is the Virtue Practice. This little chart may be filled out every day after school or the end of the day so the child understands which virtues they need to practice on. At the bottom is a grading chart so that the child has a gage and can reference this during the week. This also helps in prepare the child to examine their conscience weekly and have some tangible reference and we know that children needs lots of repetition and reminders to remember to do things.
We would love to hear if you have another way you use our planners or write your lessons! Leave us a comment and share :) May God bless your upcoming school years!
"Religion, then, forms the spirit and essence of all true education. As leaven must be diffused throughout the entire mass in order to produce its effects, so religion must be thoroughly diffused throughout the child's entire education, in order to be solid and effective."
It's August, nearing the middle of the month which means for us that school planning for the next year is in full swing. For the last two years we have participating in the 'Not Back to School Blog Hop' and this week we will be joining that blog hop again in the 'School Room Week' posts.
Today we are inviting you to take a little tour of where we do school in our home. Not too much has changed from our school room last year, but there are a few adjustments.
Our family of five lives in a small duplex about 1000 sq ft. maybe a bit more than that if you count the garage. We have three bedrooms and the living area, kitchen and dining area is one big room that is all combined with just carpet and linoleum to separate the 2 rooms (kitchen/dining & living room). We have been here four years now and in that time have added one little Bulgarian Princess. The boys were also about half the size they are now and so space seems to shrink as they keep growing. For now this is where God has us so we are trying to make do with the space that we do have. Necessity is to often the proof of invention in our home and things are always being moved around.
The center of our homeschooling takes place at the dining room table. Actually a lot of things take place at our dining room table! Last year
we were hand grinding wheat at our table, this year we moved on to an electric grain mill (its wonderful by the way!). Sewing sometimes happens here, usually during October when we are getting All Saint's Day costumes made. Craft projects and art projects happen here. Sometimes it is the shipping table for All the Saint's Books! Our Feast Day celebrations usually happen here whether it be coloring pictures or crafts or feast day food. We also do some visiting here with company. Needless to say this is probably the most used location in our home.Last year
we added the white board you can see in the window for our All About Spelling & Reading. We also write on that who's feast day it is and the Liturgical Season. We use it for copy work and for other lessons I might give. Sometimes we write new words on the board that the children ask about while writing in their Daily Journals or other reading.
On the table is our moveable tool tray that has scissors, glue sticks, bottles of glue, thin and thick markers, coloring crayons, rulers ect. They are all contained in their own glass canning jar so they can come out if need be but still stay organized. This is a new addition this year as having these items sorted in our cupboard with the other manipulative and school boxes was just an excuse to chuck it in and shut the door. This is much more handy and cleaner, at least so far! We also added a plastic table cloth over our cloth table cloth so that the children could use markers and glue without messing up the bare wood table or the table cloth. It is super easy to clean up and we have some plans to put a world map under it since we do not have the wall space for such school things. The children sometimes put their art work under it at dad's end so he can see it when he sits down to eat dinner.
The Church's Year, is the Liturgical Year, which is our Academic Year
The Liturgical Year
is huge in our home, for those of you who follow our blog that is probably a given statement. We base our school year around the Liturgical Year. We start school near the end of the Time After Pentecost in September and we take our Christmas vacation for two weeks of the Christmas season. During Holy Week our school mostly focuses on Religion and those subjects that have to do specifically with religion. We take a couple weeks off for Easter and then finish up by Pentecost and have the whole 'Green Meadow' as Maria von Trapp calls it off from school.
The Liturgical Year is so important that we have a bulletin board calendar
for it right in our dining room near the white board and the kitchen table. We begin our day with it as it contains daily prayers for each day of the week that we use. It teaches the children what the date is, the year, which day of the week, which Rosary mysteries will be said during Rosary time, monthly prayers and the time of the Liturgical Year as well as which saint's feast is for the day. We change the calendar every month with laminated reusable pieces that we have stored away in our school cabinet. The children are always thrilled every month when the new pieces go up to see which feasts are this month! The pieces are free to download and print here on our Liturgical Year Bulletin Board page.
Teacher Command Station
Across the way from our ever busy dining room table just a few steps into the living room is our computer desk. It is also the office of All The Saint's Books
. We have a three drawer plastic storage bin to the right (which is new) that stores our copy paper, white and beige card stock. These are our stocks of choice, they work great for printing basic things to book marks and file folder games. Something we seem to do a lot of around here. On top of that bin is our scale for weighing all the books shipped out that are ordered at All The Saints Books.
The lovely stack in front of the iMac is small compared to what is usually piled up on my desk. But you all are company so I thought I'd clean up a bit ;) those are some of the school books that lessons need to be written down for in the Holy Simplicity Planner
(also known as my brain, or my boss). To the left is a pink storage bin where my planner sometimes lives when it isn't being used along with other documents and books that I need to keep handy. Also a picture there of my dear husband and I on our wedding day. Beyond that which you can't see is our all in one printer which gets quite the work load in our house and next to it a small three bin plastic storage that has pens, erasers, more pens, and some other small tools in it.
I have been on a storage/organization kick as I tend to pile things up here and there. I guess its finally getting to me so I've been on the attack to get those things cleaned up. About half way through last year we moved this small bookshelf out to the living room in front of our living room window. For a while it was a catch all and held a lot of the school books I needed for ever day. It still is a catch all but recently I added two square bins to the lower shelf. The one has school books for the upcoming year in it along with a few school supplies. The other is still empty for now. In-between are some more school books and The Bible Stories for Children Unit Study I'm working on finishing.
On the top shelf are books, there are so many books in our house. Many of these are readers and religion books for school that I reference often. And then a few other books that haven't found a new home yet. Way to the right on that shelf is a small little black bin that I got for storing cd's, dvd's and other small school supplies in that were floating around. The top of the bookshelf has a paper tray. On top is the iBook that the children use for typing and watching their Math U See videos. Its an old slow machine but it works well for what they use it for and Apple's are hard for kids to mess up, I love them! Then our globe and the home of our 'tool tray' (see mentioned above) and our pencil sharpener.
Here is a little close up of our tool tray. The tray was found at a second hand store for a few dollars. The canning jars came from my stash. There are two short wide mouth jars for the markers, two regular mouth jars for colored pencils and regular pencils, and two short 4 oz jars for the coloring crayons. The glue sticks are those white things on the far right stuck in the side along with some bottles of glue and rulers on the back side. It works great and even I use those things more with them out to see and organized ready to go! No more picking through piles and piles of markers and deep plastic bins of used crayons.
Our Home Altar & the Things That Cannot Be Seen
Exactly the opposite of the little bookshelf above about 15 feet is a little black cabinet that holds the center place of the living room. On top of this cabinet is our little home altar that changes according to the Liturgical Season. Its a center part of living our Faith and by that way teaching the Catholic Faith as part of our 'lessons'. During Christmas time this is the home of our Nativity scene, during Lent we have a picture of the Crowning of Thrones and a large crucifix, during All Saint's Day we place all of our statues of Saints here. And many other things inbetween. We also have a little basket that holds our prayer books, read alouds, Catechism for Sunday's lessons, and other story books that fit the liturgical season or just books we are enjoying. Below you see our Liturgical Year Set, the most highly used set in our home. Below are two cupboard drawers, which are not pictured here.
Inside those two cupboard drawers is an ever changing array of school things. When the boys were toddlers this was full of manipulatives and things that might be considered 'busy bag' material but were in little totes like you see here. They would play with one item at a time at the kitchen table and it would keep them entertained when their toys did not. Since they are much bigger now this has changed some. Many of these things their little sister now use but there are also Math U See blocks, puzzles, scrapbooking scissors, Jenga blocks for building, alphabet stamps, geo blocks and geo pages in the binder. and their workboxes!
Last year when we started school we were using rolling 10 rainbow colored tray carts
as a work box system. At that point I was still filling workboxes some of the time but we have left that for a more traditional schooling method stored in a smaller workbox. Our oldest son did great on those 10 tray work boxes that were bright colored. If we had the space for that cart I would probably have him go back to it. But the location in which we were storing those carts was at the opposite end of the house and the wheels did not hold up. And now our 'extra' space for those has disappeared since the adding of running a book store in our home.
At Christmas our children were given one of those Crayola packs in a file bin for Christmas. I decided to use these as their school boxes. I made them teach a fancy sign for their box and modge podged it on the front so they knew who's box was who's. I placed some hanging file folders in them and labeled them for each subject and put in those DONE file folders for their completed work. They also store some workbooks in here. It works ok but boys in a hurry don't usually file their papers as neat and clean as I would like. This year the 'done' file will be located at my desk in the paper tray and they will just have their work books in here. I'm also going to revamp them a bit using primary colored hanging folders to make items easier to spot. These boxes are stored in the bottom of our cabinet in the living room. Where the doors shut nicely and no one would know it was a school storage cabinet ;) Unless of course they read this blog post!
Mom's Meditation Corner
Also known as the kitchen sink! Now the school room isn't just about where the student's do their school work as much as it is also about where the teacher does her planning! We mother's spend a lot of time in the kitchen and often times it takes longer to clean up the mess than to cook it. Stored over the kitchen sink on the window cill is a statue of St. Anne and a little bamboo plant my sister in law gave me. Hanging between them attached to the window with a removable plastic hook is a little board that I painted with chalk board paint. My husband drilled a couple of holes in the top and I tied a ribbon through it. With a chalk board pen I change out the quote on the board from time to time with words read in some spiritual reading that I want to remember. This one has been up for quite some time as every time I go to remove it I read it and think I need to live it up so I remember it again. I guess I haven't found any better words to guide us quite yet! I have to also mention this board isn't just for the mother of the house but the father and any adults that come visiting.
Games, more games, maybe some hand towels....
Leaving our ever busy kitchen/dining/living area we head down the hall way and at the end of the hall is a small, tall and narrow closet. There are 4 shelfs in it (one you cannot see pictured) and then the floor. Last year I was inspired by a pin on Pinterest to roll all my towels and sheets. That worked ok for some time but one would get pulled out and make the whole pile a mess. This closet was one of those you shut quick because everything would tumble out if you didn't!
A few combined pins from Pinterest had me moving our towels, sheets and other linens into fabric totes we had hanging round here, and a few extra bought to accomiadate things. Some plastic drawers for filing away all those first aide items. This would also be the teacher's nursing room... full of band aides, remedies, bug bite items, and other natural remedies. Along with a few books to the side of those drawers to help find the right one. Near the bottom are all our board games, some of which are used during school time.
Last but not least...... TV Cabinet Gone Storage
Last year we blogged about our TV cabinet gone storage.
This TV cabinet was a hand made wedding gift from my father. When we parted ways with our television we were not sure what do with it and it takes up quite a bit of room. It was moved back to our bedroom and some totes were added along with some plastic bins for shelving.
Each bin has a label (or will at some point!) and different subject books are stored in them. Since children don't always stick to one grade level I have several books I like to have handy to reference for things. The shelf needs some clean up as we are moving things around and using new things ect. It also stores a few of our office equipment items. In the drawers below we have extra crayons, markers, erasers, pencils, batteries, binding materials, file folders, etc.
My project in progress right now is redoing the filing cabinet. Stacks of paper seem to be a plauge in our house. inspried by this pin on Pinterest
(can you tell I use Pinterest a lot?!) I went out and bought some multi colored hanging file folders and some return address labels to make our filing cabinet a bit brighter in color and also more uniform in the labeling. Its better but there is still much work to be done. On top of our two drawer filing cabinet (which sits next to our dresser) are two blue crates that have hanging file folders in them and store our file folder games. Our room seems to be the catch all for storing items as its almost as large as the living room and there isn't much space any where else.
That is about the extent of our 'homeschool room', we store things in every nook and cranny we can find and in the most efficient way possible. It takes a lot of trial and error but it can be done! Hop on over to the ihomeschoolnetwork and check out other ways families are homeschooling in their homes
The sweet summer days are melting away quickly, the garden is ripening up and fall items are showing up on store shelfs and those back to school supply lists are coming out! This week starts the first in a four week series for the Not Back to School Blog Hop
. This week we are sharing our curriculum choices for the upcoming school year with you all as we have in the last couple of years.
This year we have a few new things we are adding and some old things that we have used over the last few years that we plan to keep around. This year both boys will be in 3rd grade with various levels on various subjects and our Bulgarian Princess will be in Kindergarten. Below today we are sharing the 3rd grade curricula we plan to use as I haven't quite decided on all the Kindergarten one yet, that will have to be a post for another day.
We have been enjoying our religion curricula the last 2 years so our plan is to continue on with it. We have been using the Living my Religion Series from Our Lady of Victory. They are reprints of old books and they can be used as reading practice as well as religion lessons. This year we will be usingLiving in God's Law
and Living in God's Grace
. These I feel are not enough for a religion course in and of themselves while as they are easy for the children to read they are very basic in the beginning and leave out some key concepts.
To make up for this we use the Baltimore Catechism set
, right now we are working on book one. These are tried and true religion course books that have been used for well over 100 years. A review of the set and 10 ways to implement them in the home can be found on a previous blog post here.
My most favorite way to teach the Faith though is by living it every day and a great 'curriculum guide' to doing that is by following the Liturgical Year of the Catholic Church. Our main blog
is dedicated to information regarding the Liturgical Year and we always try to share our feast day celebrations there when we have time and also free printables, recipes and other ideas for keeping the Feast days. In this way the children learn all the major parts of Our Lords coming, Life and Death and Resurrection along with the Ascension. In turn we end up following the life of our Lord throughout every year and each year the children understand more and more. We also learn about Saint's feast days and those stories give us a good example of how sinners as our selves can imitate our Lord and gain eternal life. One of our favorite feast days is All Saints Day
(November 1st) where the children pick a saint to learn about and dress up as for our All Saints Day feast celebration
. We have some fun food that relates to several of the saints as well as some games that remind us of God's heavenly friends.
I have in mind my kindergarten plans but they are not written out quite yet. Of course our little lady will be joining in feast day celebrations. We also plan to use the title Howto Teach Our Little Ones
for her Catechism Lessons. This book has short simple lessons that should be easier for her to understand and they have some great black and white pictures that I hope to turn into coloring pages for her. Catholic Nursery Rhymes
is also on our reading list, I have the idea to turn the two into a religion and/or kindergarten unit study if time allows.
Reading & Literature
Last year we used All About Reading
upon finding that our two boys (and probably our daughter) have symptoms of dyslexia. I LOVED the way this was layed out and easy to use but I did not care for their readers. They are full of modern stories that 'teach' virtue by showing the wrong thing to do. Children learn best when shown the virtue and not the vice. There were also immodest pictures that needed covered and all this added up to the discarding of the readers. We still used the teachers guide and some
of the student workbook pages. We supplemented the reading practice with the Ideal Catholic Readers
and some of the Little Angel Readers.
Our plan is to carry on with that this year when the All About Reading level 3
is released in the fall.
The teachers guide lays out the lessons wonderfully cutting down on the work for myself, and since I wasn't taught phonics I need the extra help so that my students are taught correctly especially with the dyslexia stumbling block. Its a hands on program using tiles, flash cards, and hands on worksheets. Hands on around here is something that is a must for any learning to happen!
My children really enjoy the Ideal Catholic Readers
, they spent portions of the summer picking them up on their own accord and reading bits and pieces. They are old readers only found by purchasing a used original copy. They have lovely short stories about our Faith in them as well as some other general stories. The first two in the series are pretty basic, the 3rd one has some vocabulary words before the beginning of the stories and also some questions to answer at the end. The artwork is black and white but well done and modesty is not an issue in these old readers. There is even some poetry and they are just fun books to read!
We will also be doing morning read alouds, some books that are maybe a bit advanced for my new readers but that they enjoy when read to them. We are currently working on Just Stories
and Little Therese
. On our 'to read' book list we have The Young Man's Guide
, St. Anthony
and St. Paul/St. Peter
from the Vision book series along with a few others. Our Bulgarian princess will also have her share of stories read aloud to her from various things on our book shelf.
Spelling & Grammer
This year we are going to useAll About Spelling
Levels 2 and 3. It uses the same approach to teachings spelling as does the All About Reading program and they can be used together. Its hands on with titles and some dictation. Its a wonderfully laid out program that is easy on the teacher to just set up and go.
For grammer this year a dear friend of ours is making a Catholic language arts program for her son that she is so graciously sharing with us as well. I also purchased Help Your Kids with Language Arts
from Costco and thought I may go through there for a list of concepts and then do some hands on learning with that similar to the Math on the Level chart and process. Maybe even some Catholic File Folder games
We are still struggling to get some decent penmanship around here. We have one student that just doesn't like to write and so rushes through things and another who has dysgraphia and has issues with spacing and letter size ect.
My favorite handwriting program is still Handwriting Without Tears.
This year we will be working on the 3rd grade Cursive Handwriting book
. I've read that cursive can alleviate a lot of handwriting issues so we are praying for the best! The reason I love this program so is because, once again, its a HANDS ON program. Not only is there a work book for practice but they have several suggestions for learning the letter forms such as tracing letters in the air, the famous wet, dry try method, using play dough and other tips. The wet dry try method has the teacher write the letter to be learned on a chalk board, then it is traced by the student with a small wet sponge, and then traced again with a small dry sponge and lastly the student writes the letter in chalk. This gives them a multi sensory approach and repetitive practice without the frustration because each repeat is done with a different tactile item. I love love love this program especially for Pre-K & 1st grade because there are even more tactile items to use and more fun involved. Little ones love it !
For other handwriting practice we will do the Stabat Mater copy work
during Lent, Catechism in Rhyme
and more from Crusaders-for-Christ
along with other lovely (and free) downloads from their site for various religious handwriting practice. That is the only thing that could make Handwriting without Tears better is if it was Catholic!
Last year we also did Catholic Child's Daily Journal
for penmanship practice but also so they could get a start at writing stories about their day, learn some parts of the Liturgical Year, how to write dates, record the weather and write about certain topics such as manners and definitions to Catholic words. We intend on continuing that again this year as its a great way to start off the morning after our read-alouds. For anyone that would like to join us the free journal pages and covers can be found on our Catholic Child's Daily Journal Page.
Finding a history curricula that met all my ideals was a hard one. We searched through a couple of old books and last year we tried the Highway to Heaven series
with Before Christ Came
the first half of the year and also The Life of Our Lord
the second half of the year. I was reminded once again that my children are not auditory learners, they have to be moving to learn and so I'm afraid not much settled in by just the reading, answering questions etc. We even added some coloring pages there at the end but it wasn't quite enough, though it did help immensely and they were always asking to color on the days there was no coloring page.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and some times also very time consuming! Our lovely friends over at Refuge of Sinner's Publishing
recently reprinted the title Bible Stories for Children
. Its an old beautiful book (of course I think all old Catholic books are beautiful!) and it was written in an easy way for children to understand. The stories are only 2-3 pages which keep the attention of children much easier. There are a few black and white pictures in the title. It ties in a lesson to ever story that has to do with our Holy Catholic Faith so that the children understand the point to the story. This book was the jumping point for our history this year. I wanted to figure out some other way to add Catechism stories to our children's lessons from one of my favorite books, Anecdotes and Examples
. They are lovely short stories that illustrate the meaning of a catechism answer. There are no pictures as this book was intended for a bit older children during a time when children were reading much more advanced items than now. The short stories still make for wonderful reading, especially aloud, one at a time in reference to some other thing that is being learned. Along with this title I wanted to make sure my children were learning the vocabulary words in their Baltimore Catechism
. With all these things in mind I combined the 3 into a Unit Study that involves LOTS of hands on activities, worksheets, word finds, word searches, cupcakes!, science projects and craft projects. I'm sure my children will be thrilled with this way of learning history and it will be sure to sink in. They won't forget a cupcake with an Angel topper or making salt dough maps of the Red Sea or doing a science experiment to see what things can live in salt water (AKA the DEAD SEA) and which cannot. We would love for you to join us on our journey and we have provided the printables for free over on our Bible Stories for Children Unit Study page
along with links to the books that we are using for the Unit Study. There are currently 10 units up and more are on the way. We pray they will be complete by September but your prayers are much appreciated in this matter as we are all busy moms!
Ahh math, one of those subjects I struggled with in school and I'm afraid teaching it isn't much better! I knew from the time I started schooling our oldest son that a math workbook just wasn't going to work for him. The search had gone on for a couple of years, we started out with Saxon math and it was just too much work book for our crew. And too much to read through for this teacher! I don't mind direction but having everything scripted for me felt very dry and lengthy. A couple of years ago we stumbled on the Math on the Level curricula
. Its a VERY hands on approach to math using every day experiences for teaching math, math games, flash cards, cooking, playing store, ect. Now this might sound pretty relaxed and 'unschoolish' but what I love about this program is that it lays out all the topics the child learns from pre-k to pre-algebra. A subject is selected and then ways to teach that, hands on, are found to explain and learn the subject matter. Once they have the general idea then they do a 5-a-day review. 5 problems a day and they can vary on subject matter. So two could be telling time, one about fractions, one about double digit addition and one about rounding numbers. This gives them daily review without over whelming them. For the days when we are learning a new subject we have a little chart where we right down the activity. So say we play a pizza fraction board game to work on fractions. We write down the name of the game on our chart. Across the top of the chart is a list of conceptions we are working on. Fractions would be one, adding, putting things in numerical order, conceptions of time ect. We would then mark under each of those that applied to the game. In this way we record what we do every day, they get review every day and I can see the progress they have made AND it sinks in and sticks like glue!
Last year for half the year we switched programs. Math on the Level
is a lot of work. Workbooks are much easier, I'll freely admit its easier just to teach the concept verbally and hand them the work and let them at it. Until one has a child that struggles so much with math that it takes 3-4 hours to do 12 math problems. Which is what has me going back to Math on the Level
with our oldest. I can spend half that time teaching him a hands on way and its a much calmer experience even if it is a lot of work.
Our youngest son loves math, he craves numbers. It took me some time to realize they are two different people or rather to apply that to their math curricula. Our youngest excelled using Math U See
last year and so we are going to carry on again with that this year for him. He is half a grade ahead in math and so we plan to finish the rest of the3rd grade Math U See (Gamma)
and then start working on the Delta
the second half of the year and perhaps finishing that up. Math U See
is also a bit hands on using base 10 blocks which is about the perfect about of movement for our youngest. There are also DVD's that teach the math lessons. There are about 12-20 some problems on a page so its not too many and about right for our little math whiz. They are simple black and white pages without any distractions other than the base 10 blocks which some times turn into forts and castles and such.
We have gone really light with science over the first few years focusing more on the 4 R's (Religion, Reading, Writing and Math). This year we plan on doing Science and Living in God's World
from Our Lady of Victory. We worked on the 2nd grade book
some last year, and again that lack of auditory learning got in the way. We ended up just doing an animal coloring book from Dover Publications each day for our science as some hands on activity that allowed the children to learn about different animals. They learned much more from that. This year we are going to attempt the second grade book
again along with the 3rd grade book
the second half of the year. Though this year I'm hoping to add more hands on activities such as going out and about to find seeds in our garden, maybe a nature journal and more walks outdoors, more coloring pages and living books. We will only be doing science 2 days a week at this point unless some of our 'extras' get us side tracked and we will add those to the days we don't have lessons planned. Science and Living in God's World
are reprints from the 1950's with some black and white pictures. They are simple and in sort of a story book form which makes it easy for the kids to understand and keeps it from being dry like a lot of text books that just want to pack in names and facts. At the end of each chapter is a list of some experiments to go with the lesson and its easily added to. It keeps God in mind which is a must for us for science, and hard to find something that is not of a Protestant nature in our day. With the right additions I'm looking forward to teaching science in a simple way and just learning about the things God made that are every where around us.
The second half of last year we startedAlfred's Basic Piano course
for children. I've always wanted to learn to play the piano and so I figured I'd start with my kids! This course is workbook based along with some practice on our key board (some day I dream of a real piano and the space for it!). My math whiz really enjoyed this course while my non-math whiz struggled with it, though its amazing how much music and math have in common! It was really good for our oldest regardless of the struggle as it challenged him but he enjoyed it for the most part and it was a good mix. We plan on finishing up those books the first half of the year and then moving on to the next level. Along with this I hope to add some vocal music by taking songs from the St. Gregory Hymnal
and learning some Catholic music.
Latin was a new subject to us last year and our kids absolutely LOVE it! Partially because they think foreign words sound funny (which is funny to me since they are all adopted from foreign countries!) and part was the program we used. This year we will be finishing up Song School Latin
. It has a workbook and a CD and the kids usually want to do their Latin first before anything else and usually don't need much direction other than some pronunciation of the words. There is also a DVD that can be purchased which does help with being able to annunciate it and it also has some root word lessons. There is a continuing story about a monkey in it that I prefer to skip as it is very modern in its attitudes and doesn't give a good example for young Catholic Children. The program can easily be used without the DVD.
The second half of this year, once we complete the Song School Latin
, we will be diving into Prima Latina
which deals more with grammar and pronunciation where as Song School Latin
is mostly just learning meanings of the words. It will be a change for our students but I think they will adjust ok after some time. We may continue learning other words on the side as well as we see how this goes. I also have planned for the second part of the year to make a Catholic Latin lapbook for our crew.
Other must haves!
Our lesson planners! Not much gets done in our home unless it is planned out, no matter how hard I try to write it down after we do it or do a few weeks at a time. Things just went better last year when my husband convinced me to write it all down for a year. Sure we had to change some things here and there but a pencil and eraser and patience can fix all that. This year the boys are excited to have their own lesson planners too, Crusader's for Christ Planners for Young Men
and the Holy Simplicity Planner
for the teacher!
Read our previous blog post on how we use our Holy Simplicity Planner here
. Later this month we will be sharing how we use the children's planners with the Holy Simplicity Planner
and how we plan individual lessons as well.
To celebrate 'Not Back to School' we are giving away a Holy Simplicity Planner! Enter the give-a-way below! May God bless your school upcoming school year!
If you are a follower of our blog(s) you've seen mentioned and even couple chapters shared of the wonderful book Public School Education by Father Michael Muller C. Ss. R
. Today I'm excited to announce that this lovely gem of a book is back in print and we are giving away a couple of copies!
Father Michael Muller was a priest of the congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer and wrote many wonderful wonderful thought provoking books. He is by far one of my most favorite authors dealing with modern day issues. What is interesting is that during the time he wrote in the late 1870s and 1880's the issues he wrote about were not things that I thought would have occurred during that time. In reading a few of his materials I quickly got a history lesson that our modern day issues are not quite as modern and new as I once thought they were!
His book Public School Education was published in 1872 and I remember the first time I read the book, about a year or two ago, I was in total shock at the numbers of mother's who didn't want children, who used birth control and put off marriage. I thought all these things were new issues and it turns out they are over 100 years old! What does this have to do with Public Education? A lot, Fr. Muller goes over all the details of the effects on young woman who attend public schools and the mind frames that they leave the school with and it is not one of religion or the idea of a family life. It is quite amazing what depth of social issues the education system in our country reaches and it is easy to see after reading this book why we have all the issues with our world today along with all the well known issues of public school from its failure to teach the basics to the moral issues that surround it. Public School Education
starts out with an introduction from Fr. Muller about the ills of the world stemming from an anti-Christian age which has me in awe to think of the world over 100 years ago being anti-Christian compared to our day and age. It seems that the issues have only multiplied and grown in depth in our times! He mentions how the immorality even verges on rejecting natural law and how fraud, theft and robbery have become the norm. He speaks of the ill effects of common law allowing divorce and in turn the breaking up of the family. As you can see he covers almost every issue of our time. After his description on the ills of society he concludes the introduction with the root of the problem being the lack of religious instruction and the attendance of godless public schools.
What is wonderful about his writings is that he provides such thought provoking statements and that he doesn't just rant but he provides a solution/fix to the issue. Chapter II dives into the necessity of education. He provides the main stream view of the purpose of education and why at first glance it seems reasonable but goes on to explain the true necessity and purpose of education as being the perfection of the body and the soul
. Here is a brief description from Fr. Muller on the purpose of education: "The term education
comprehends something more than mere instruction. One may be instructed without being educated; but cannot be educated without being instructed. The one has a partial or limited, the other a complete or general meaning. What, then, is the meaning of Education? Education comes from the Latin "educo," and means, according to Plato, "to give to the body and the soul all the perfections of which they are susceptible"; in other words, the object of education is to render the youth of both sexes beautiful, healthful, strong, intelligent and virtuous.
The first and most important of all duties which the child must learn are his moral and religious duties; for it will, I hope, be universally admitted that man is not born into this world merely to '"propagate his species, make money, enjoy the pleasures of this world, and die." If he is not born for that end, then it is most important that he be taught for what end he was born, the way appointed by his Creator to attain that end."
The Origin of the Public School SystemFr. Michael Muller
There is not one area of the education topic that isn't covered in the Public School Education book
and the third chapter dives right in to the history of the education system. The most striking fact, at least at the time the book was written, is that the United States public education system was the only one that wished to exclude religion from the education system. It seems that over the last 100+ years the idea of separating religion from education (amongst all other things) has spread far and wide from our dear country.
In the earlier part of American history all schools were part of one church or another and regardless of the denomination, religion was part of the education, and could not be seen as education without it. Fr. Muller goes on to discuss the plan put forth by the Secret Societies (which were in full rage against the Church during the 19th century) that would separate the Church and the State as well as religion from education. They knew well how much influence a religious state and a religious education had on spreading the Holy Catholic Faith. Reading on the subject will show that they almost knew how much good it did more than the Faithful understood. Fr. Muller documents the information that these groups were spreading around as well as includes a statement from the Pastoral Bishops of Ireland who spoke out against such a war on religion. Later the idea of allowing all religions within the school was brought about by these same groups so as to taint the True Faith. I find this chapter one of the most fascinating because it provides such an excellent history of education but also Catholic history in general. This is just a brief description of this chapter as it is one of the longer ones and space and time do not allow for an in-depth review of the chapter.
Chapter four talks about the fundamental principle of religion as being, even noted by Protestants, the only way that man can reach his destiny by understanding the knowledge of the religion which Jesus Christ taught. The next couple of chapters talk about the ills of a public education relating to men and then the next relating to women.
What is it to be a mother?
Chapter VII probably deserves a whole review or sharing of the whole chapter in and of its self as most of our readers are mothers and Fr. Muller dives into the importance and necessity of motherhood and the impression that they leave on the souls in their care. As mother's we are the first instructors to our children in Faith and Morals. We have an effect on them even before they are born as our disposition and attitude can affect them prior to birth. When they are born they are totally dependent upon us, Fr. Muller calls our mission 'divine' and quotes St. Peter Chryologus as saying those that instruct others into the way of salvation as "the substitutes of angels." What a wonderful thought and something that would be and should be so uplifiting to every mother today who endure the trials of raising children in a world that looks down upon God's little innocents as something to be pushed aside and avoided.
Again in the following Chapter Fr. Muller talks more about the ills of the Public Education System, what devotion and inspiration he provides. His words just speak such truth that one cannot help but contemplate his statments. He talks about how the State does anything but allow men to be free and only boasts of its material advances which he refers to as polished barbarianism. How true is it in our day and age when we boast to be such a great country yet our abortion rates are sky high and our population is dropping. When gay marriage is even a phrase or term that we understand and use when it is yet another example of that polished barbarianism allowing the thought of legalizing sodomy as a substitute for God's divine institution of Matrimony. In Chapter IX he continues on with how the State has failed at even providing a worldy education to those who attend, which seems more and more apparent in our current times. As well as discussing how the State has ursurped our rights, again something that is attacked on a daily bases the most current being gun laws and other such subjects always in the headlines. The next chapter digs more deeply into how the State is a robber and violates our consitution and common law, a law it made itself and it doesn't even obey. How often do we hear from policial conservatives that we are Christian country and yet we have a godless government and godless schools. This chapter shows how we got from one place to another.
Chapter XI provides a remedy for the situation, as with all of Fr. Muller's writings once he throughly (and very throughly) explains the ill to be delt with and the history of it he always provides an answer. As he says, "A skillful physcian, who wishes to cure his patient, endeavors first to remove the cause of the disease." He gives several examples of how godless religion has educated those who cause crime because the system has failed to train the soul with virtue and rather just trained the brain. Fr. Muller provides so many documents from newspapers and other print material to support all his statements that it is obvious he did his research well.
The solution to such great ills? The denomination system alone satisfies the wants of all and can save the Republic. So is titled the twelfth chapter. Fr. Muller quotes Saint Paul as saying that in "the last days men shall be lovers of themselves, covetous, haughty, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, wicked, without affection, without peace, slanderers, incontinent, unmerciful, without kindness, traitors, stubborn, puffed up, and lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God." He says that St. Paul calls those times "dangerous times" when the moral atmosphere we breath is so full of what the scriptures call the "spirit of the world." The only way to fix these ills is to provide a truly Catholic education based on religion and virtue, contrary to the "spirit of the world." The latter part of this chapter discusses some historical points on the education system and its effects on the people and the Church.
Chapter XIII takes a bit of a different turn in discussing the ills of public school from the view of a Priest and with the teachings of the Church in mind. This chapter also includes Encyclicals from several Popes on the education system with writings from Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XII and others. Also writings from several Bishops and Synods on the same subject matter. In the concluding chapter he provides answers to objections regarding education topics and then the chapter following that discusses the need for zeal in the Priest as an educator.
Gerson leaves us with the following words, "It is considered honorable and useful to educate the son of a monarch, presumptive heir to his crown.... But the child that I form to virtue, is he not the child of God, inheritor of the kingdom of heaven?"
Enter to win a copy of Fr. Muller's Public School Education!
"The young man's lot is to go out into the hostile life. What is necessary for him? Behold the warrior, as he goes forth to the field of battle. Is he not amply provided with all needful weapons?" so starts the intro of Rev. Father Lasance's The Young Man's Guide.
For homeschool mother's this battle that boys wage can be a great trial during school time. Since the industrial revolution ADHD and similar issues are on the rise. Boys are diagnosed more often than girls. Boys more often get in trouble during school for disrupting class, boys tend to get lower marks on their papers, they are kept back a grade at twice the rate of girls and as this news article states
there are 6.4 million boys diagnosed in this country alone. Two of these 6.4 million are my own.
In my reading in trying to find ways to help my sons (and myself!) I've learned both from secular books from the ADHD/sensory therapy world and also in old Catholic books that many of these symptoms were not present prior to the Industrial revolution. The reason why? Before the Industrial Revolution the majority of the population were farmers. Young boys worked on their farm along side their fathers and other family members. They worked hard and long and applied the use of those God given muscles to some intense labor at young ages. God made the young man strong and to be a warrior. When the Industrial Revolution came along the majority of people no longer worked on the farm but in the city, in factories. About this same time, out of necessity, the education system changed its focus so that it could train a work force to work in the factories which required sitting and doing the same task for a long period of time. Skip ahead to our modern day times and most people have desk jobs requiring even more sitting and our food comes from the grocery store (unless we are blessed with our own garden and/or farm!) and so there is little activity in every day life unless we make a point of adding it.
So what is a mother to do with these boys to 'teach them in the way they should go' and use that energy that God gave them? Below I hope to share some things with you that we use to tame the warriors in training in our home and also some things we would like to implement or use that we do not currently use yet. Please make sure to share you ideas in the comment section to, we are always looking for more ways to tame the arms and the legs in our home!
The article previously mentioned titled, Stop Penalizing Boys for Not Being Able to Sit Still at School
lists the following tactics for teaching boys:
- Lessons that result in an end product--a booklet, a catapult, a poem, or a comic strip, for example.
- Lessons that are structured as competitive games.
- Lessons requiring motor activity.
- Lessons requiring boys to assume responsibility for the learning of others.
- Lessons that require boys to address open questions or unsolved problems.
- Lessons that require a combination of competition and teamwork.
- Lessons that focus on independent, personal discovery and realization.
- Lessons that introduce drama in the form of novelty or surprise.
10 Ways to Tame the Arms & Legs
Putting those tips in action! Here are 10 ways that we tame the arms and legs or ways we plan on trying!
1.) Unit Studies
The above article would have saved me a lot of time in figuring this out but never the less it came to be the hard way. Sitting and reading text books and answering questions at the back of the book usually results in loss of attention, staring at clouds, cars what ever else passes by and frustration on this teacher's end. The year that we did school the 'normal' way with lots of textbooks and worksheets and/or questions at the end of the lesson was the most frustrating year for all of us and not much learning (at least on the children's part) happened. This year we are going back to our hands on activities that require much more work on the teacher's part but avoids the 3 hours of sitting and staring, pouting and protesting.
Our first unit study this year is for our History course. Unit Studies usually take a main text and find related items that go with the reading to provide a full experience including everyday life things and not just limiting the study to the main subject at hand. By integrating all the different areas more learning occurs and it is not segregated to the specific subject. We are using as the main text Bible Stories for Children. I believe history should start from the beginning and Bible History is the beginning of the Catholic Faith. We plan on teaching this from PreK to 3rd for 4th grade before moving ahead with other history. This will give them a firm foundation in the beginnings of the world and in a simple way that they can understand. This title has about 2-3 pages per chapter and 61 chapters ending with the Ascension of Our Lord. There were a few other things I wanted the boys to learn this year so we integrated those into the history book along with a few other short stories from my favorite go to title for easy reading, Anecdotes and Examples. To make this unit hands on we are adding some cooking (boys love to eat, more on this below), some hands on activities with salt dough and other dough forms, the use of paper, scissors, glue, paint etc., use of the internet and maps and so forth. Our unit is free to use and can be found here if anyone is interesting in tagging along for the ride.
2.) Re-inact Events, Plays ect.
Does your son zone out when you read him a story? Is there a virtue that is trying to be taught or a vice that is trying to be avoided? Using plays and re-inactments is a great way for boys to get up and MOVE. They seem to learn better when their bodies are moving rather than being focused on trying to sit still. Have the children give a play about the Last Supper, The Nativity, the taking of Jericho ect. Are they learning about a certain saint or character in history? Make a costume mimicking the time period and have them dress up. Let them do a Notebooking page or report on the Saint or character and read it to the family while they are dressed up in their outfits. Perhaps they can build cardboard box castles and re-inact the Crusade's. The more creative these are and more time that is put into it the more the child will remember. Our children are still found wondering around in their All Saint's Day costumes pretending to be Sts. Peter, Paul and Faith.
3.) Memorization Games & Compeition
Using the suggestion above to use things that create competition, have boys practice memorizing things and seeing who can do a better job and learn quicker. Who can remember more Catechism answers than another? Make a card game out of it and play it similar to the card game "war" to see who can get the largest stack of cards. Our boys love memorizing things and the challenge it provides seems to give the motivation to complete the task at hand.
Another way to utilize competition is to provide a reward for a task done. Require reading done by such and such a time, or so many pages a day etc. Something similiar to most communities Summer Reading Program. We did this the last month with reading every day and all that was required was to fill the reading lines in their Crusader's for Christ monthly reading log. And prizes were not given until both boys were done thus fostering team work as well. Not only did they do that but they also increased the number of pages that they read every day and it was the first thing out of their mouths every morning. Can I read to you?!
4.) Independence in LearningAll children like to be independant from their parents in some way, seems that starts when they are about 3, if not earlier ;) Its a natural part of life to some degree and a required survival skill for adulthood. From this and some over exertion of that strive for independence was born the Crusader's for Christ children's lesson planner! It seemed like every morning I would have question after question about what is next with school. Bored boys sitting there waiting for mom to tell them the plan, what to do next ect. Meanwhile pencils become rockets or guns, things go flying through the air, the insane laughing starts and the arms and the legs start flying in every which direction. Sound familiar? While it might seem like double work for me to write my lessons down in my lesson planner and then to write them in each of the children's it really saves time. I have MY planner that is only touched by me and shows me what each of the children should be doing for the day, in one easy to use location. THEIR planner is theirs! They can put stickers on important feast days which they love to pull that sticker off and put it in the right place. A special marker for a special day. They can record things that happen in their day or things that coming up in the month. There is a place to log away the books they read that are not part of their curricula. A place to work on virtues, where they can see day by day if they are gaining the "weapons" required to make it to their heavenly home. Its hands on, its tangible and useable by them as well as very Catholic and yet young boyish. What little boy wouldn't want to be like St. George and grow up to fight the dragon with his spear?! What little boy doesn't dream of being a Crusader fighting in chain and mail against Saladin for the Holy Land? The way we use our planners is that I write down the page number and book that is to be used, or if the lesson requires myself I write 'mama help'. They go through their lesson and do their independant work while I work with the other on work they need help with. There is also a daily check list for things like brushing teeth, making the bed, typing practice, car coloring or saints stories. It gives order to their morning and their plans and keeps some of those arms and legs busy... well arms, unless they try to write with their foot which thankfully hasn't happened YET! ;) We are offering a special in honor of Catholic boys, see the end of the article for this Crusader's for Christ special!5.) Read to Little SisterTeaching other's was on that list of how boys best learned lessons. What better way to foster love for other family members and the responsibility of big brothers than to have them do their reading to their little sister? If they are fairly proficient at reading they can take their reader and sit with little sister in the bean bags, on the floor or the couch and do their reading. So long as they are in ear shot I can here if they struggle with words or need some help and it entertains little sister too while this mama helps the other son with different work. This can work with any other sibling as well, even brother to brother they read to each other! It really does inspire some exciting reading and they start building up emotion and such when they read out loud. It can be quiet entertaining school work!6.) Take a break!As much as it is easier for me to just dive into a project to get it done without breaks I believe I'm finding the hard way that boys might just need that break and do BETTER with it than not. This is certainly true in the spring time. The sun comes out and the flowers start to bloom and one can just see little boys arms and legs sprouting like the flowers. Then the jitters come, and then the bouncing in the chair, the fidgets, sitting on legs, sitting on edges of chairs, balancing on ledges ect. Any how you get the picture. I've found that our Spring break tends to last longer than the usual public school week long break. Some times it turns right into summer but in all honesty their bodies have been in hibernation all winter and they NEEEEEED to MOOOOVEEE! Its time to take a break! Or at least take the work outside, make it shorter, make it moveable.... read while they swing, quiz them on math problems while throwing a ball. Go for a hike and take the science lesson outside. Even in the winter we all need breaks, perhaps short breaks for hot cocoa and a snack or story time by the fire side. Integrate lots of seasonal crafts into the lessons or not as the lesson but as a break from the lesson. Make cookies and just take a general break from books to do some moving and then get back to work. Perseverance is a virtue was well!
7. Play with your Food!
I can't believe I just said that as a mom! Though of course I mean to play with your food in a constructive planned sort of a way! No food fights! Well I guess unless you are re-inacting some Crusader battle and that plastic sword stuck in your cheese cube is just too irresistible.
The saying goes 'The way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' Story after story is told about boys and their huge amount of food consumption in their teen years. So why not take advantage of boys and their need to fill their bellies by applying some learning to it?
Last year as one of our science lessons we learned the parts of a plant by eating them. We used this idea found on Pinterest for eating the parts of the plant: we had seeds for seeds, broccoli for the flower, celery for the stem, spinach for the leaves and carrots for the roots! They loved it and they can visualize all the parts of the plant, feel them and eat them! Very tactile! We also use food in so many of our feast day celebrations to teach about the symbols for the feast. Such as lily sandwiches for purity used in our St. Anthony Feast Day, St. Anne Feast Day and All Saints Feast. Food in the shape of Roses for our Lady's feast days. The boys favorite are 'cloud cookies' which we purchase from Trader Joe's. AKA Lemon Meringues to remind of our Our Lady's Assumption into heaven. So many a lesson can be taught using some of the wonderful things that God made for us to nourish our bodies with.
Some times a formal lesson isn't needed and just the right tools. Unschoolers would call this strewing. By placing some tape, scissors, coloring pencils, crayons, marker, pipe cleaners legos, recycled paper tubes, foam trays, straws ect. along where they can be easily accessed and used at any time, yet manageable and organized of course. This allows boys to be active and you might just see what they have been thinking or learning about without any prompting. They like to create and discover on their own and this gives them the tools to do so. It doesn't just have to be crafty items either. Having a cupboard full of Jenga blocks for building, Lincoln Logs, counting bears, other building blocks and materials, Zoobs, even Geo Boards and a deck of cards. These all provide ways for learning and ways for showing what has been learned. Perhaps a good idea for one of those breaks would be to have just an invention table between that hard to do reading lesson and the frustrating math.
9.) File Folder Games
File folder games have been the homeschool thing to do for some time now. They were shared with me by a cousin in law who throughly got me hooked! They are simple games that fit into a file folder making them easy to use and easy to store. There are several free ones out there for download and to put together, several that can be purchased and of course you can make your own as well. About a year ago, before we headed off into the textbook/workbook land that is currently causing us much stress, I created several of these file folder games with Catholic themes for learning phonics and for basic math. We plan to go back to these this year and prayerfully, if time allows, add several more. They are great for teaching basic concepts where a little bit of movement is needed and maybe even some competition. It makes boring math flash cards more exciting and challenging and also provides that bit of independence as the child can place a math card on an answer where as if it was flash cards they would need to wait on another person to move ahead and correct their answer. I find my children are always excited to do these games and its also a great way to integrate the Catholic Faith as well. Find our free Catholic File Folder Games
here.10.) Get Exercise!
Yes I said that E words, something I'm not a huge fan of. I'm thankful for my husband who has the energy to take our boys for bike rides, hikes, walks, etc. Plays basketball with them, catch, Frisbee and so on. Boys need exercise. In the winter we usually do some jumping jacks, plain ole jumping up and down, sit ups, push ups, wheel barrow races down the hall and this year we added some of those lovely bouncing balls with the handles. Let me tell you what, those really get the energy used up and they have a lot of fun doing it. We have a small house and it can get kind of wild with those things but they help immensely and keep the sanity around here at all other times. We also have a couple of balance boards, jump ropes, pogo sticks and anything that helps move and use up energy. Brains sure seem to work better when their bodies aren't screaming at them to get moving!
What do you do to keep your boys moving and those arms and legs contained? In honor of boys,their arms and their legs we are giving a discount on the Crusader's for Christ Boy's Planners
through the month of August! Receive 10% off any Crusader's for Christ Boy's Planner
by using coupon code: ARMSANDLEGS2013
Popular Instructions on the Upbringing of Children
+ Imprimatur 1896
CHAPTER XI - The Schooling of Children, Part II
Your obligation to send your children to none but good Catholic schools becomes still more evident if you call to mind the sad fact that, outside of the Catholic Church, the spirit of unbelief is making great headway, and is accompanied by its natural fruits—vice and corruption.
It is an unquestionable truth that "without religion there can be no effective moral restraint, and without adequate moral restraint morality is impossible."
What is it that makes an act good or evil in itself? What is it that constitutes the essential difference between right and wrong, lawful and unlawful, virtue and vice? An act is good when it is in accordance with the divine law; if contrary to it, it is evil. Obedience to the divine law constitutes what is right, lawful, and virtuous, whilst disobedience to it constitutes what is wrong, unlawful, and vicious. He who ignores or rejects God and His law ignores or rejects all essential difference between good and evil, between right and wrong, between lawful and unlawful, between virtue and vice. If he admits any difference at all between them, it is only an arbitrary and variable difference, depending on his own whims and caprice! He who ignores God's authority and power necessarily denies all lawful authority and power, because, as St. Paul says, "there is no power but from God." He who discards religion, if he be consistent, acknowledges no other authority, no other law, no other obligation, than himself, his own feelings, his own interest. Why, then, should he perform what people call right, and refrain from what they call wrong, if his own interest, his own feelings, his own animal passions, prompt him to defraud his neighbor or his country's government, to murder an enemy, to violate a woman's chastity, or to commit what other men look upon as heinous crimes?
Only godless people are guilty of such crimes, because they have no effectual restraint on their evil passions. The fear of God and respect for His law are the only effectual restraints on man's evil inclinations.
No moral restraint can be effectual unless it reaches man's thoughts and desires, for these, as Our Lord declares, are the source and primary cause of evil-doing. The thought always precedes the deed. But our thoughts and desires are wholly interior, and are therefore beyond the sphere and sanction of human laws. The only possible and effective restraint on evil thoughts and desires is the fear of God, who sees and knows all things, who is the supreme and most just Judge of man's thoughts, words, and actions, and will forever reward or punish man according to his works. "The fear of the Lord," says the Royal Prophet, "is the beginning of wisdom." This wholesome fear, as experience testifies, is the only universal and effectual restraint against all evil-doing. The fear of the Lord, however, cannot be instilled into the heart of man except by a good religious training. But in the present public school system, from which religious instruction is carefully banished, a religious training is an impossibility. It is therefore evident that such a system is unable to impart sound moral principles, or to furnish an effective moral restraint on one's evil inclinations and animal passions.
Such a system is, then, in itself erroneous, and, if alone followed, highly dangerous to the real welfare of the individual, of the family, and of society.
"No man," says Christ, "can serve two masters.'' No one can serve God and the devil. If you are not on God's side, you are siding with the devil, for you cannot remain neutral. "He who is not with Me," says our divine Redeemer, "is against Me." That system of education, then, from which religion and religious instruction are excluded is not with God,—the Author of religion,—but is godless, anti-religious, and destructive of the basis of morality, and the education it imparts is injurious to salvation, for "a bad tree," says Christ, "cannot produce good fruit." Just as our bodies may be killed not merely by poison, but quite as surely by want of nourishment, so also our souls may be spiritually killed, not only by heretical doctrines, but even more surely and insidiously by the want of religion, that is, by infidelity.
There is now a general conviction that wickedness and the lack of moral principles are to be found among all classes of society, from the highest to the lowest. We need not be astonished at this, for a large proportion of the present generation, brought up in schools from which all religious instruction is excluded, have received no religious training even at home, and, consequently, have not had the wholesome fear of the Lord instilled into their hearts from their infancy. Being destitute of this salutary fear, they have but little fear of man or respect for human authority and law, because the instructions they have received have made them, not good and virtuous, but smart and godless, capable of devising a thousand ways of escaping or defeating human justice.
One instance among many will suffice to illustrate our position. Statistics show that, in late years, ten thousand persons are murdered annually in the United States, and hardly one murderer in twenty is punished. The general lack of conscience, the dishonesty and immorality of the present generation, are mainly attributable to the want of religious education and to godless training. The only safeguard for your dear little ones against this torrent of corruption is the God fearing spirit acquired by a thorough religious education in a good Catholic school.
You ought to bear in mind that it is not a matter of choice with you; that you are not at liberty to send your children to any school you like. Wherever there are good Catholic schools it is your sacred duty to send your children to them, and to no other schools, unless you have serious reasons approved by the bishop of the diocese. Such is the decision given by our Holy Father the Pope to the bishops of the United States. And when Rome has spoken the case is finally settled and is no longer appealable, as St. Augustine declared fifteen centuries ago. This is likewise the decision of the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, which prescribes, wherever feasible, the erection of Catholic schools in every parish, and requires Catholic parents to send their children to Catholic schools.
The enemies of the Catholic Church are everywhere doing all in their power to wrest the control of education from her, and it behooves every true Catholic to stand by the Church in this momentous question, on which depends the preservation of future generations in the true faith. In this vital question every man must choose his side; no one can remain neutral. You cannot serve two masters. Under which banner will you fight? Will it be under that of Christ and His Church? If so, you must send your children to none but good Catholic schools, and do all in your power to contribute to the erection and maintenance of such schools. But if, without reasons approved by your bishop, you send your children to non-Catholic schools, you are actually fighting under the banner of the devil, and you are helping Satan and his imps to destroy the Church, your mother!
“If any man," says St. Paul" hath not care of his own, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." To take proper care of your children, it behooves you to send them to none but good Catholic schools. Send them regularly, for otherwise they will not be able to learn much. Do this at least for the sake of your little ones, who ought to be so dear to you. In these times our young people, in order to earn a living, are obliged to mingle with a corrupt and unbelieving society. They ought to be well acquainted with their religion, not only to defend their faith, but also to secure themselves from the danger of losing it altogether. To resist the seductions and allurements of the world, and to withstand faithfully the fierce assaults of their own fiery passions, they should from their very infancy have grown so accustomed to the faithful discharge of their religious duties as to find these indispensable for their happiness. You cannot bring about this desirable result in your dear children, unless you send them to schools where they will get a good religious training.
Some parents object to sending their children to Catholic schools under the erroneous pretext that their children will learn more in the public schools and be better fitted to earn a living. This is not true; and, even if it were, is it not better for your children to be good and virtuous, than to have learning without virtue or religious principles? But what does experience testify? It testifies that the secular education given in Catholic institutions is not only equal, but even superior, to that imparted in the public schools. Whenever a competitive examination takes place between pupils of various schools, the palm is usually carried off by the pupils of Catholic schools!
Another very powerful means of promoting the religious education of your children is to adorn every apartment of your house with a crucifix or some pious pictures, and to procure for your own use and that of your children some good Catholic books and papers. Every family ought to subscribe and pay for at least one Catholic paper—the paper having the approval of the bishop of the diocese.