Expressions from our Youngest

Expressions from our Youngest
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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday

What a wonderful opportunity to post the things we are thankful for during our week at Thankful Thursday.  Here is my list:

- The nicer weather for a few days here in Maryland so that my son and our new puppy and I enjoyed a walk together.

- The father-daughter dance at my daughter's Catholic school.

- The Blue and Gold dinner for my son's cub scout pack.

- The Valentine's candy a sent to my two college sons (even though it is late).

- The energy to clean and organize a little the other day.

- A potential new doctor.

- 2% milk - it gives me energy and I think I need the Vitamin D for my bones.

- The authentic history and theology my girls are learning at school.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I am linking up with Thankful Thursday this week.  Just click on the link to participate. I am thankful for:

- Teaching my son how important our economy is with this systems view

- The library books we have this week to write about

- The visit from my college son this past weekend and the discussion we had about his difficult delivery...he gave me a big hug

- The two birth certificates I ordered for my two oldest sons...otherwise they would not have one

- Eating smaller meals earlier in the day for Lent and health

- Special food for our new puppy...she's happier and calmer

- The medicine for our puppy that cleared her round worm up

- Popcorn for my son...I think he eats ten times a day and he's still skinny as anything

- The medicine that helps me with RLS

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sabbath Moments

I am participating in Sabbath Moments today.  Here are some of my Sabbath Moments:

1)  Attending Mass and a talk on the power of God's Word with my hubby on a Saturday morning with Fr. Francis Martin.  He also has a website and has been on EWTN.  A great theologian and intellectual.

2)  Cuddling with my son and puppy last night while watching the movie "Ice Age."  (We fell asleep on the couch afterwards.)

3)  Saying the rosary today with my family...always a Sabbath moment.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

My Homeschool Week

Two Daughters on Swim Team

My Awesome Tiger Scout

I am participating in The Homeschool Mothers Journal this week.  Here is a recap of my week.

In my Life this Week.....I am so proud of my swimmers and scout this year.  As a gift to them we just got a new puppy.  She is adorable and her name is Bella.  It is both a challenge and a joy to see my six year old interact with our new puppy.  At one point, I was so busy that I almost forgot an important appointment.  Bella is sometimes like having another child.  New puppies sure keep one busy.  My son spends a good part of his days laughing and playing with Bella.  I love to see and hear his laughter!!!

Welcome Bella!
In our Homeschool Week.....

Pledge, Devotion, and Prayers: 1) A child conquers evil with good. (Romans 12:21); A child learns a valuable lesson from a bad behavior. (Romans 16:19); A child learns to pray for others who make fun of her. (Matt 5:44-45); Kids return a lost wallet. (Phil 2:15); A child learns not to judge others because of differences. (1 Peter 2:1); Twins go through surgery for a kidney transplant and are not afraid. (1 Cor 15:57); Mysteries and one decade of the rosary every day.

Reading:  Finished William Bradford Pilgrim Boy by Bradford Smith.  This was an excellent book and I highly recommend it to any young elementary age student.  We even made connections to a previous novel about the Mayflower.

Religion - Lent, Holy Week, Easter preparations:

- Visual of the liturgical calendar which shows 40 days of Lent from Ash Wednesday through Holy Thursday and Holy Week to Easter Sunday. 

- Compared Easter representing 'New Life' to visual of Crucifixion by artist Emil Parrag

- Spoke about and observed changes at Mass:
   1) Purple plain linens
   2) A few less songs
   3) No Alleluia
   4) No flowers on Alter
   5) Simple decorations

*This is symbolic for Christ's suffering in the desert 40 days.

- Pages 161-172 in workbook referencing Psalm 1:3 and John 13:1-15

NOL Journal Writing and Art:
- Read Three Bags Full by Ragnhold Scamell
- Drew and colored journal picture
- Completed Topic sentence then rest of paragraph for draft
- Edited paragraph
- Completed Final copy and referenced 1 Sam 16:7

NOL Co-op Class:
- Read What is Love? by Robbie Marantz for VALENTINES DAY
- Drew, glued, and colored journal picture
- Completed Topic sentence and referenced 1 Cor 13

English:  More Adjectives

Math:  Working with tens and hundreds, graphs, money, regrouping, speed drills, word problems, measuring, shapes, greater/less than, patterns, time, fact families, order, adding 3 digits

Geography:  Used Atlas for Climate Map of U.S. to make our own climate map and key

Science:  Forces and Motion
- Pushes and Pulls
- Magnets
- Measuring Motion
   * Made a ramp and measured the distance toy car traveled
- Friction

History:  The Early Greeks
- The Mycenaeans
- The Greek Dark Ages
   * Painted Greek vase, map work, oral questions, and quiz

Helpful Homeschooling Tips/Advice.....If you are not feeling well, it is helpful to stay home and take things slow.

I am inspired daughters dedication to their education and sport, a devout priest we spoke with recently, and my college son who visited us with his girlfriend yesterday.

Places we're going and people we're seeing.....A session for the eighth graders to have interviews for a prestigious award at their Catholic school.  We are always impressed with the speakers.  One alumni spoke who had just finished college and pointed to the virtues in their Catholic high school as guiding her through college and giving her hope for the future.  She realized that this high school is what kept her grounded and virtuous during her college years.  This is so good for parents to hear.  The principal of the school also gives very philosophical and heart warming speeches.  It is quite awesome.

I'm grateful for.....God letting me live until I'm 50 years old on this earth and for all the loving children I meet and teach.

Things I'm working on.....CCD class went very well when we talked about Lent.  Nevertheless, there was so much excitement that no body raised their hands enough to speak.  Therefore, I'm going to create a chart to reward all the students with stickers when they raise their hands to speak.

I'm praying for.....Some friends and my two oldest college sons and all the adults in the world.

Hubby is, shrimp, and crab cakes

My favorite thing this week.....Doing our morning devotion and prayers with a cuddly new puppy to snuggle with while we pray.

Photos to share.....

Some science ideas and teaching the young simple economics with a systems view.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I am participating in Thankful Thursday today.  What a wonderful way to remember ones gratitude to God for the week.  I am thankful for:

- The Valentine celebration for my NOL Journal Writing class (with yummy ice cream cake)

- Quiet time at McDonald's with a coffee, some books and writing materials

- Attending the VERITAS celebration my eighth grader applied for at her school

- Preparing my CCD (first graders) for Lent

- The Father Daughter dance for my middle schooler

- The swim meet my sixteen year old daughter was chosen to attend this weekend in Richmond, VA

- Beginning to teach my first grader about the economy using a systems view

- The box of chocolate my hubby gave me for Valentines Day today

Commentary on Article

I came across this article at Catholics United for the Faith website and wanted to take a closer look at the meaning behind some of the statements.  Let me know if I'm jumping the gun or they are beating around the bush or neither.

The title is The Art of Living:  Whose Rights?  The Paradox of Moral Relativism

The Holy Cross is a great paradox that good Christians embrace every day.  The Holy Cross is the sign of sacrificial love that can foster freedom in the ART OF LIVING while fulfilling our purpose in life to KNOW, LOVE, and SERVE the Lord. 

The purpose of a knife is to cut our food into bite sizes in order to eat.  Why would someone choose a spoon when they need a knife?  They would not be able to eat at all.  In fact, they would become extremely burdened in the process of trying to cut their meat with a spoon.  So why would a Christian bargain with morality when morality points to the good actions we can take in fulfilling our purpose in life? 

It is apparent that relativists want to suppress morality but this article some how...seems to suggest there is a way to bargain with them.  Maybe it comes from hope in a change of heart or prayers.  Nevertheless, I feel there is too much dependence on immoral leaders posed by some of the statements or questions in this article.  Therefore, if you gain any insight from my analysis...please share.

To begin, the article poses a question:  "Whose rights are protected in a relativistic culture?"  If the answer isn't learned by now, many are being deceived.  The rights of individuals who put morality up for a vote are the ones whose rights are protected because they don't have to follow a higher order or have faith in God.  It becomes obvious that they have a deep hatred for true wisdom which is knowledge in relation to the God of Israel.  The Christian becomes the enemy precisely because they do not believe morality should be put up for a vote.  It is the Christian who gets blamed for the ills that happen in society by the sheer power of immoral people put into the highest leadership roles.  They claim the Christian is intolerant when it comes to destructive behavior/sin but they assign a different title to the marriage equality, etc. to justify their claims.  They also attempt to make past ills of society resurface (slavery, racism) by describing behaviors that have nothing to do with the past ill.  As long as the attempt suppresses Christian morality...than it is a right to elevate the unjust claim into the consciousness of society.

The article answers this question with many interesting questions. The first paragraph reads... "It is precisely on this point that relativistic societies face a serious dilemma: How does a community arbitrate various individuals' competing interests?  There is much rhetoric in our modern world about protecting human rights and every individual's freedom, but what if one person or group wants to do something that is directly opposed to someone else's values or interests? How does a society decide whose "right" or whose "freedom of choice" will be protected?"

The relativistic society does not face a dilemma but faces destruction and injustice when morality and freedom are shut out.  Therefore, immoral leaders must be prevented...not bargained with to prevail over...but taught the right approach to solve problems in order to serve justice.  It is the Christian who is forced to face a dilemma from their freedoms being denied them little by little.  It is a dilemma to the Christian's art of living (title) not a dilemma to the relativist.  In fact, most of them take joy in seeing the Christian suppressed.  The immoral leader is not concerned with the destruction and injustice he/she causes because it doesn't affect first.

"How does a community arbitrate various individuals' competing interests?"  The answer is...The community is prevented from making decisions and the Christian is oppressed when power is taken away from the citizenry according to the arbitrating immoral leaders.  It is the immoral leaders who arbitrate various individuals' competing interests...always suppressing those who favor morality.

"How does a society decide whose "right" or whose "freedom of choice" will be protected?"  They don't decide because the tyrannical immoral leaders will decide for them.

The article states..."How does a relativistic society determine whose freedom of choice will be safeguarded and whose will be limited?"  EASY - those who will be limited are the ones who believe in morality...the way a good Christian does.  "In a culture that has no reference to a common good - that has no shared vision about the good life for man - these questions are not resolved in any fair way."  RIGHT - The immorality will spread a common apathy toward any morality or even go as far as spread a common evil.

The article states...They remain constantly up for debate and completely up for grabs."  WRONG - debate is discontinued as the immoral leaders dictate their discriminatory views towards Christian morality to us.  Christian morality has no place in a relativistic society because it is perceived as a constraint.  How can one be so na├»ve to believe debate continues in a relativistic society?  That's my question!  One must be able to see the effort beginning to rear its ugly head to attack our freedom of speech.  Otherwise, one should not be influencing others that wait on debates without morality as a serious contender.  Decisive moral action should be taken into consideration before morality is shut down.

The article states..."In the end, the very determination of what a human right is and whose rights are safeguarded is completely arbitrary."  It is not arbitrary to a tyrannical immoral leader as he/she knows his/her goal is to suppress morality.  What they believe in their hearts and what they say out loud are apples and oranges at times.   This is all to deceive the public into accepting their false claims in the initial stages of the deception.  Once they have convinced the public to believe their spin on matters of importance, our rights will slowly erode away.

True human rights will not be protected because what will be arbitrary in the beginning is the decision itself...not the right.  Immoral leaders know they don't want good citizens to have rights.  Their ruling decisions will always confuse, burden, and suppress the good which our individual rights foster.  The good is what must come before the right and immoral leaders will not have this vision for justice.  Arbitrary means selected at random and without good reason.  Therefore, debates will be arbitrarily chosen and debates that serve justice will never see the light of day. 

The article says - Vatican II states..."Man finds himself when he makes his life a sincere gift to others."  YES - man "makes his life" not the government "makes his life."  It is largely his own choice and own work to give to others.  The government causes too much waste with spending.  Immoral leaders want to claim helping or giving to others for their photo ops.

The article states..."When, for example, a man gives liberally to the poor, he realizes a deeper fulfillment in life as he grows in sacrificial generosity.  The sacrifice is not just good for the poor people he serves; it is good for him as well."  It is the man HIMSELF that gives and serves...not the government to do it for him.  We have a wonderful safety net but people are beginning to take advantage of it.

These are just some of my thoughts.  The article makes one think...and maybe it is just supposed to do this.  If you have any insight on it, please feel free to pressure though.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I am participating in Thankful Thursday at Jenni's blog today.  Here are some of the items I am thankful for this week:

- Completing our Science lessons on how matter changes along with some experiments
Which ice cube will melt faster?

Air takes up space

Salt in the water reappears after some water evaporates

- My hubby who drove the girls to school today for me because of bad weather here in Maryland

- Our new puppy

- Discovering that our new puppy has round worm so we can give her medicine

- My hubby who said he will make a volcano with my son this weekend for his history project

- Completing our Journal entry for The Empty Pot

- Learning about adjectives in English

- My first grader working with adding and subtracting tens successfully

- Learning how the Lord loves children at CCD

- My college son possibly coming to visit this weekend

- The flowers and balloons I was able to send a family going through a difficult time

- Discovering potatoes to cook for dinner -  before they go bad

- My wrist brace for Carpel Tunnel while I cut potatoes

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mid-Year Evaluation of Schedules

Here is Bella...the new puppy addition to our household.  I've put her picture here to cheer you up while I get into my analysis of my homeschool schedule.  She has been such a good puppy so far...even with all our 'puppy interruptions' to homeschooling.

Homeschoolers know that we have to be flexible for the demands of family life.  My schedule is designed for a week when we do not have to go anywhere.  We all know...this can not always happen with family life.  The puppy has pushed our subjects back a bit during our studies.  That is o.k. though because I've designed the schedule to end at around 2:30 pm.  We have a couple of hours to play when necessities like this occur in our schedule.  We will be sure to complete the basics, history, journal writing, and reading today...even with all our 'puppy distractions.'

I am attempting to begin 1/2 an hour earlier in our schedule than I had originally planned at the beginning of the year - changing from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. - for our Pledge, Devotion, and Prayer.  This will ensure that we complete 3 to 4 subjects before lunch time.  Often we average between two and three subjects before lunch.  Once we say our daily prayers and devotions, we set the momentum to pursue our morning studies.

The fact that we MUST begin each day with the Pledge, Devotion, and Prayer lets us put our faith as the priority every day.  It is so rewarding to think of how Our Lord leads us before we begin work.  When I had all five or four (or even two) kids homeschooling, we would say a Morning Offering and save our prayers and devotion until the afternoon.  It was beneficial then as it strove us to conquer our math lessons and challenging subjects in the morning when we (I - ha ha) had the most energy.  Our family needed mornings for this and, we looked forward to a quiet and peaceful prayer time in the afternoons.  This also enabled the older kids to play after work while babies napped, cuddled with mom, or received my full attention.  Every family changes and modifies their approach as their families grow to meet the needs of all.  This is just how our homeschooling day has evolved over the years.

In the schedule below, you will note that we have the choice between two to three subjects at certain hours of the day.  This permits us to devote more time to the subjects that require extra planning or materials or choose the subject with the highest need at the time.  We have to plan and gather materials occasionally for projects in history or experiments in science.  We also need to make sure we've chosen good library books for NOL Journal Writing beforehand.  All these things take extra time.  Therefore, time for these subjects will attempt to be between 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. each day. 

In reviewing the lessons for these three subjects, I may need extra materials to buy or books to borrow from the library.  Some days I will be able to devote this time to two of the subjects while I can purchase or gather the materials for the third subject in the evening for the following day.  It is important to know that these three subjects take the most time and planning and are scheduled during our most productive time to work with a lunch break in the middle of their execution.  Oftentimes, lessons are broken up during the week for these subjects:

1)  Science
2)  History
3)  NOL Journal Writing

Before accomplishing these three subjects, we will complete an important basic.  It has always been good for us to complete math lessons in the morning.  I think this comes from awful memories from my school days where it was hot and late in math class.  All I could do was think about the bell ringing to go home (I don't dare tell my kids this just in case they have math in the afternoons).  Therefore, I've devoted every day this year (M - F) from 9:00 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. to complete math for my first grade son.  We will occasionally look at our extra religion lessons from CCD class or Faith and Life series during this time too.  It usually takes my son around 30 to 40 minutes to finish math lessons.  His speed somewhat increasing or decreasing at times.  This gives us a guarantee to fulfill time spent on an important basic every day.

I've just picked up a Christian Light Education (CLE) Math in January.  We complete a CLE lesson along with an MCP Math page (front and back).  We are in the last quarter of MCP Math and the beginning of the book for CLE Math.  This gives us the best of both worlds as the beginning of many math texts or workbooks are often filled with some review.  Patrick is still learning new skills and at the same time reviewing past concepts.  Both of these curriculums are in workbook form and are very user friendly for first graders.  Therefore, we are not conquering tons of challenging  textbook material in both curriculums at this age.  By third or fourth grade, he will be ready for Saxon Math.

Another important basic for Patrick to complete is English.  He has a simple workbook this year so may average around 20 minutes to complete this subject beginning around 11:15 a.m.  We've been spending more time with Journal writing this year, but I still want him to finish his workbook.  This is one reason I am re-evaluating our schedule in ensure we cover everything we purchased at the beginning of the year.  It is just a matter of rearranging the initial schedule a bit to squeeze in the necessary time for subjects that have received less attention.

There are limited occasions when history, science, and/or journal writing get pushed into 'overtime.'  On these days, we will omit English and/or eat lunch a little later.  It all depends on the type of project or experiment we do that particular day.  There is about 1/3 of his English workbook to finish.  It may not be the same situation to make English so flexible in second or third grade because we start using the Voyages in English text and pick up Spelling.

Around 12:00 to 12:45 p.m. we will attempt to complete two out of three subjects.  They are:

1)  Catholic National Reader
2)  Library book w/ NOL Journal Writing (Sci or Hist)
3)  Religion: CCD Class / Faith and Life Series

Numbers 1) and 2) we will probably alternate between every day as they both always involve reading and writing (unless we need to finish up a project or experiment).  Notice that I can determine which subject requires the most time each week by choosing between two or three subjects at one designated time.  During some weeks, we have more religion because of the extended gathering time taken during our CCD or a longer project or experiment to conduct for completion.  NOL Journal Writing is always broken up and is easily manageable to fit in where needed.

Between 1:00 and 1:30 we will attempt to complete another two of three subjects.  The subjects are:

1)  Geography
2)  Phonics
3)  Handwriting

These subjects are all in workbook form.  We've saved the easiest subjects for the afternoon.

From 2:00 to 2:30 we will dedicate to reading good chapter books together.  We have 2 1/2 hours to fix dinner or catch up on loose ends.  This gives us flexibility if something gets started late or we want to venture out for some fun or an important errand.

Our schedule is below:

 8:30  -  9:00  ---  Pledge, Devotion, Prayer
 9:00  -  9:45  ---  CLE Math/MCP Math and or Religion
10:00 - 11:00 ---  History, Science, and/or NOL Journal Writing
11:15 - 11:30 ---  English
11:30 - 12:00 ---  Lunch
12:00 - 12:45 ---  CNR, NOL, (Sci or Hist), and Religion
  1:00 -   1:30 ---  Geography, Phonics, and/or Handwriting
  2:00 -   2:30 ---  Reading

This is my schedule in a perfect world.  Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world.  For example, the other day we were only able to complete three subjects because I had to pick my daughters up for 1/2 day of school, get two kids hair cuts, and bring Bella to the vet.  When I have a plan though, it helps me to have goals and objectives to strive for during certain periods of our day.  I wanted to document our plan here and share it with you if you can gain any insight from it for your own homeschooling.  I've been homeschooling for over twenty years now and it is helpful to learn from each other.  Keep in mind that I've only had to homeschool during the elementary and middle school years for my kids.  I credit this to the priority of their faith life and learning the virtues that come with proper actions and attitudes to doing their work.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My Homeschool Week

I am going to try to participate in A Homeschool Mother's Journal this week as my college sons are back at school after their long winter break and I have more time.  It was great to have them here.

In my life this week...we have been blessed with a new puppy.  My first grader and I visited the shelter and as we were walking out - they were walking in.  Her name is Bella.  Here is a picture of the kids with her when I brought her home.

In our homeschool week...

Pledge, Devotion, w/ Daily Prayer consisting of 5 Mysteries and Decade of Rosary: 
-  Devotions had stories regarding -
    1)  Prayers are heard for a boy to find his lost little sister (Psalm 4:1) Discussed prayer pretzels
    2)  Classmates sacrifice to raise money for an ill student (1 John 3:18)
    3)  Learned that Jesus is a giver (Luke 6:38)
    4)  A boy thought fast to collect money from passengers to pay for the ambulance for a pregnant woman on a train (Ephesians 5:16-17)
    5)  A girl prays to meet new friends even in the midst of worrying about moving (1 Thes.5:16-17)
    6)  A boy teaches a classmate how to read (2 John 6)

Religion (Faith and Life Series and religion class):
  1)  Jesus heals the sick girl
  2)  Jesus calms the storm
  3)  Jesus feeds 5000
  4)  Jesus makes the man walk
  5)  Jesus makes a blind man see
  6)  Jesus heals the servant of a man
  7)  The Annunciation - made stain glass windows w/ wax paper and crayons
  8)  Grace - used watercolors here and white crayon

-  Telling time
-  Pairing and counting by two's
-  Counting by 5's
-  Fact families / Associative Property
-  Greater than, Less than
-  Adding tens
-  Counting by 10's
-  Even vs. Odd numbers
-  Counting coins
-  Decimal points
-  Fractions
-  Shapes
-  Measuring with a ruler
-  Addition and Subtraction
-  Speed drills
-  Hundreds
-  Place value
-  Money / dollars
-  Ordering numbers
-  Patterns

NOL Journal Writing:  Wrote final paragraph and colored drawing for Don't Forget the Bacon by Pat Hutchins.  Chose bible verse on parable of the yeast Matt. 13:33 and marked parts of speech.

Finished draft on paragraph for The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh, chose bible verse from psalms on thankfulness, drew and colored picture, finished final draft, and marked parts of speech.

Science:  Matter - Solids, Liquids, and Gases / Read Chapters

1)  Experiment on solids with measuring mass on a balance.

2)  Experiment on liquid matter with measuring amounts in milliliters

3)  Experiment on gas showing that it takes up space and is matter

Discussed future experiments on 1) Finding solid figures and 2) How much liquid is in fruits

History: Map work on Mesopotamia Area, Questions orally and test on Babylonians defeat Assyrians and make friends with Persia.  We learned about King Nebuchadnezzar and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.  Also began learning about early life on Crete with the Minoans.

Reader/Reading:  Story learning that good friends do not gossip and William Bradford Pilgrim Boy by Bradford Smith

English/Phonics:  Pronouns

I am inspired Meetup for NOL co-op classes

Things I'm Working on...Lesson plans for religion class and plans for my NOL Journal Writing class.

I'm grateful for...taking a trip to the shelter when we did.  It was as if an angel appeared when we saw Bella.  It was amazing that we ran into the family that was giving Bella up.

I'm cooking...cheese burgers and tater tots.

I'm praying for...a close family whose son's appendix burst.  Please pray that their family heals from this tragedy.  It is a long slow process to recovery for their son.

Helpful homeschooling tips/advice...At this mid-year point, one can probably determine now if any subjects will be continued through the summer.  From where I sit today, we will be doing a some history along with keeping up skills in math and writing in the summer.

A Photo to share...Here is my little soldier for the Lord!  Call him "Tough Guy!"