Saint Justin Martyr

June 1, 2015 § Leave a comment


St Justin Martyr ~ Theophanes the Cretan

Saint Justin Martyr

Born 100 AD – Died 165 AD

Apologist an Martyr.

Feast Day: June 1

What would you do if your child came to you and said, “I molested someone?”

May 22, 2015 § Leave a comment

Tamar Alexandre Cabanel

Tamar Alexandre Cabanel

A few of my friends have been posting something or another about the latest “Duggar News”  what especially caught my eye was Simcha Fisher’s Would your kids know what to do if someone molested them?

It is a good question, though I think the answer for all children really is “no, they wouldn’t”  and I could expound upon that a little but it is just the nature of children to not know.  In reality the best you can hope for is that the relationship you have with your child is such that whenever anything disturbs their peace they can come to you.   I completely share Simcha’s absolute lack of any interest in even the smallest news about the Duggar Family, but  I will say that my take away from the little Facebook has forced on me is this: Josh Duggar went to his parents when he was 15 years old and told his parents he had done something horrible and they took him to the authorities.   His parents convinced him to turn himself in.   Which brings me to the question, “what would you do if your child came to you and said, ‘I molested someone’?”

I suppose the only lawful and moral answer to that question would have to be to convince them to turn themselves in and failing that to turn them in yourself.   But I can’t even imagine the pain that would cause.   When on occasion my children have come to me to confess something “horrible” they have done I have always been able to sooth them, advise them on how to right the destructive road they have started down.   But something so horrific?  Where do you even start with that?  My soul shrinks at even the smallest thought of my child doing anything like this.  I know my heart would want to hide them, protect them, keep them safe.  Fifteen is still so young.  It would be so easy to make any excuse not to contact the authorities.

Prayer could be the only place to start would be prayer.   When David heard that his son Amnon had raped his sister he did nothing as we read in 2 Samuel  “King David, when he heard of the whole affair, became very angry. He would not, however, antagonize Amnon, his high-spirited son; he loved him, because he was his firstborn.”  I feel nothing but compassion for the Duggars and any parent who has to deal with such a devastating turn of events and I would pray that Our Lady of Sorrows comfort them and sustain them to  do the right thing.

Mater Dolorosa - Titian

Mater Dolorosa – Titan

Homeschool Planning: Goals for next year and beyond

May 21, 2015 § Leave a comment

The White Symphony: Three Girls

The White Symphony: Three Girls ~ Whistler

This post is the third post of of our homeschool planning series you can read the first here.

One of focus points of our parent and child interview is the child’s vision for where God wants them to be, what they envision for their future and what they are interested in learning more about. I prayerfully think about my goals for the children and where I think they need more focus.

Our goals serve three purposes: To improve where we are weak, to enhance where we are strong, to explore something new.

We also want to be living balanced lives so we make sure that we have goals in all the following areas: Spiritual and Vocational, Academic, Esthetic and Cultural, Life Skills and Career, Physical and Health, Character and Virtue, and Relationships and Family.

Homeschooling is more than just teaching your children reading and writing and history. While all those academic things are good and important it is critical to be working on developing a balanced person. With that in mind each of the children have a Guiding Statement. This would be a mission statement in the corporate world, but craft a statement to guide us. This statement focuses on the being of our better selves. We also pick a motto for the year, a short little statement that is to improve where we are weak.

Each goal should be focused and well defined, achievable given the resources of the family, each goal should be measurable and each goal should be completely within the control (as much as anything can be) of the family. While it is worthy to aspire to “grow closer to God” that doesn’t really make a good goal as there isn’t a good measure for it. It would be better to say “I will make a pilgrimage to the Vatican”, but if that isn’t within the means of the family it will only lead to frustration. Your child could set the goal of attending daily mass, but if they can’t get there on their own and mom or dad can’t take them they will not be successful. But they could set the goal of saying a decade of the Rosary every night – it is focused and defined, achievable, measurable and within their control.

I have a worksheet for tracking the Guiding Statement, Motto and Goals shared on Google Drive.

Saint Cristóbal Magallanes Jara

May 21, 2015 § Leave a comment


St Cristóbal Magallanes Jara

“I die innocent, and ask God that my blood may serve to unite my Mexican brethren.”

Born – July 30, 1869   Martyred – May 25, 1927

Memorial  May 21st

St. Bernardino of Siena

May 20, 2015 § Leave a comment


Saint Bernardino of Siena by Jacopo Bellini

St. Bernardino of Siena O.F.M.

Born September 8, 1380  Died May 20, 1444

Fest Day May 20.

Assessing Where We Are

April 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Saint Anne

The first stage of planning for next year is taking an honest assessment of where we are and what is working and what could work better. This is one of those times where having a big family means a lot more work. This is a bit of a time consuming process. You really can’t skip this step even if you are moving from a school environment to homeschool. You just really need to know where you are in order to get to where you want to be.

The first things we are going to decide is if homeshooling is the best option for this child for the upcoming year or should we investigate other options, is the program and/or methodology we have been using working for us as a family and for this child in particular and which subjects are we continuing and which are we not. Once we say “yes, we are homeschooling next year.” I list out the subjects that each child has been working on this year and their extra curricular activities. For example Joshua has been working on Handwriting, Math, Spelling, Reading, History, Science, Grammar and Writing. We do CCD at our parish and Boy Scouts.

These go into my Yearly Assessment Worksheet. Then working across I ask the child their thoughts on the subject, I put down my assessment and if this is a subject that we will continue next year and if so will we use the same text series and what level we will need.

Yearly Assessment Worksheet.

This is also a great time to do a parent interview. We do this from time to time through the year but the end of the year is the “big one”. I sit down with each child and we go through a bunch of questions. The kids know they are free to say anything. This is a time where they can say anything at all and there will be no repercussions of any kind. It is very valuable to be able to see what they are feeling and thinking.

These are the questions we are using. If they don’t have an answer I let them think about it overnight and ask them again. I ask the questions and let them answer and then I hand the questions to them if they want/need to have some thinking time. It is ok to not have an answer.  Once I get the information I have a conference with each child and we talk about things they could do to make the family better.  I never share the specifics of what any child says to another, but we do talk about any themes that are revealed.

Interview questions

Homeschool Planning

April 20, 2015 § 1 Comment

Music Lesson by Lord Frederic Leighton

Music Lesson by Lord Frederic Leighton

Homeschool Planning.

Today is the beginning of the last eight weeks for our 2014-2015 homeschooling year. That means it is time to start planning for next year. Over the next eight weeks we will assess where we are, plan our goals for next year, think about the methods we are using and if they are still working for each child, decide what subjects and activities are important for next year, plan the budget and select books and resources, setup next year’s calendar, lay out the scope and sequence and then start creating lesson plans. That really is a pretty full 8 weeks.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should start out by saying I am a pirate. I have no problem boarding a random homeschooling methodology on the high seas and pillaging whatever I like from it and leaving the rest behind. I am also pretty ruthless when it comes to raiding book lists, curricula and pretty much anything I find without feeling obligated to take it all or “buy in” to anyone’s vision. Our homeschooling ship is a jolly mix of what appeals to me from a variety of programs and methods.

If I had to be pegged on our preferred route I would say it looks something like Montessori until the end of first grade, a lot like Charlotte Mason until fourth grade and more or less Classical after fifth. My basic goals are to transition my children to independence as early and smoothly as possible, to give them the basic tools of education and to instill a love of their faith. The theory is a gentle continuing acquisition of skills that entails as little stress for me and them as possible. We want our children to able to learn and think independently while still having a deep sense of honor, faith, family and community.  I don’t claim to be expert in teaching or planning and I don’t think my particular methods are the best for anyone but myself and family. We all end up working through a good bit of trial and error before we find what works and then often enough the seasons change and what worked before no longer does. Flexibility is critical. Since I know people are often wanting to peek inside what is working for other families I am documenting our process here over the next several weeks. Please feel free to check in again – or like me on Facebook or follow the nascent Twitter feed (both on the sidebar).   I hope what I post will be useful to you.


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