Expressions from our Youngest

Expressions from our Youngest
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Shepherding a Child's Heart

I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss the next two chapters in Tedd Tripp's book called Shepherding a Child's Heart.  We are currently on Chapter 6:  Reworking Your Goals and Chapter 7:  Discarding Unbiblical Methods.  In chapter 5 we discussed what Mr. Tripp calls 'unbiblical goals' when we involve our children in:  Developing Special Skills, Psychological Adjustment, Saved Children, Family Worship, Well-Behaved Children, and Good Education without the awareness of biblical values and of our chief purpose in life to know, love, and serve the Lord.  These activities can not achieve success on their own.  Children should be instructed to percieve and participate in them within the light of biblically held principles and faith-related realities that address their hearts.

Therefore, chapter 6 assists us in valuable insight into "rethinking unbiblical goals" (p. 51) in order to enhance the lives of our children which enables them to fulfill their true purpose in life to "to glorify God and enjoy him forever." (p. 47)  I would love to post every one of my rethinking of these goals but, for the sake of time and space, I will pick one to work with as an example.  Tedd Tripp's book is so good that it helps the parent really analyze the goals they have set for their children and direct the hearts of their children toward Godly realities.  I think I can write a whole other book just on my family.  In any event, I've chosen to talk about reworking the goal of Developing Special Skills from Chapter 6.

Learning involves knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study, or even modification of a behavioral tendency by experience (as exposure to conditionings).  This is one of the benefits of homeschooling because repeated exposure in reading scripture and participating in parish activities helps give children valuable knowledge which assists them in their involvement with any goal, activity, or event.  For example, when a child learns a special skill for a sporting activity, do not let just the sport influence their hearts.  Parents should help them develop the dire awareness that "strength and stamina" can greatly assist "them in a life of service to God." (p. 52)  Good health can help us meet the needs of those we serve to build up the Kingdom of God.  Therefore, if a goal for your child is to learn a sport, teach them "a biblical worldview to exercise and care for their bodies as an expression of stewardship for God's gifts." (p. 52)  They will surely be more motivated to work hard perfecting their sport and showing teamanship with the Lord at the helm of this activity.  I can't wait to analyze (or rework) my other goals with the help of this book to ensure a healthy Christian development and unity for my family.

Now Chapter 7 helps parents discard unbiblical methods and refers to the many negative influencers children can encounter in life, including:  parental attitude of "I Didn't Turn Out So Bad, Pop Psychology, some Behavior Modification techniques, some Emotionalism, some Punitive Correction, and Erratic Eclecticism.  For the purpose of time and space, I've chosen to discuss Behavior Modification.

"Some pop-psychology methods apply behavior modification" which involves rewarding your children when they perform well or do something good even when "they are fulfilling normal responsibilities." (p. 63)  Parents have to be careful to avoid training "hearts toward greed and selfish interests and to working for rewards" only.  Mr. Tripp referred to a family that had their children put their names into a jar whenever they did something good.  "It taught them to earn parental approbation and therefore, a name in the jar.  They quickly learned what would get their name in the jar and how to maximize the number of times for a minimum amount of effort.  They became manipulators of the system."  This is the wrong purpose to be doing good things.  "The God who knows our hearts calls us to right behavior for the purpose of honoring Him" (p. 64) not winning a game or gaining approbation.

Now, there are times when I have to remind my five year old that he can not receive the privledge of going on the computer before prayer and school work.  I do not see this as a bribe though, but rather prioritizing activities properly.  I do not have to tell my older children this because they've already learned to value honoring God as the number one priority.  My children are never given something for the task of cleaning their rooms.  This is part of proper hygiene that they are required to be responsible matter what.  Periodically, their rooms can get too messy though.  I've told them that they are unable to invite friends over if their rooms are messy or even tell them thay can not watch t.v. until their room is clean.  Is this a bribe or making a deal?  A bribe is something that serves to induce or maybe it is.  Nevertheless, I tie in the fact that cleanliness is close to Godliness in which we always "look out for the interest of others." (p. 63)  Brothers and sisters who share their rooms need to be respected too and any friends that come in their rooms need to feel welcome, safe, and comfortable.  I think about biblical principles of caring for others so that this attitude will penetrate their hearts:  the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, the Poor Widow, Joseph during the famine in Egypt, Ruth, David and Goliath, the Passion of Christ, etc.  It is a good idea to have a Concordance which can help parents locate biblical passages that apply to their child's current situation.

In a nut shell, we can not let the "human mind be used as the standard." (p. 61)  God sets the standard for all of us and is the author of life.  He tells us what is good and bad and gives us the proper perception to have in all our daily affairs.  Oprah may be entertaining, but she does not set the standard.  Our children need this proper perception along with everything and anything they become involved in.  Reading the bible can be an objective by directing our hearts and efforts toward Jesus; and it can also be a method employed to live a virtuous life and avoid vice.  Acts of learning and instruction are always considered beneficial when they assist us in building up the Kingdom of God.  After public schools left religion out of their programs, their effectiveness to instill virtuous characters and proper patriotism in their students declined.  Parents have the authority and power from God to deal biblically and faithfully with the heart rather than being tied down in only instances of behavior.  I highly recommend "Shepherding a Child's Heart" to any parent interested in affirming and/or improving their parenting skills.

Although it is good to analyze the goals we set for our children and ensure compliance to biblical principles, married Christians also attain a special grace in virtue of the sacrament of marriage.  Weather your Catholic or not, these words elevate Christian Marriage to its reality of Christ being present in the union of man and woman.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the graces of the sacrament of Matrimony in paragraphs 1641 and 1642.

1641  "By reason of their state in life and of their order, (Christian spouses) have their own special gifts in the People of God."  This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony  is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity.  By this grace they "help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children."

1642  Christ is the source of this grace.  "Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony."  Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to "be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ," and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love.  In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a fortaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father?...How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service!  They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh.  Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit.

These words can not be denied as the greatest commandment is to love God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and to love our neighbor as ourselves.  The ultimate reality for us is our relationship with God and eachother.  The relationship of a Christian husband and wife, undeniably, receives special graces in order for them to love God and fulfill their state and order in life which includes educating their children.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Listing of World War II Events

Below is a list of many of the events that occurred up to and during World War II.  I obtained this information from "Christ and the Americas" by Anne Carroll.  You can research these events if you would like and use them to teach your children.

1)  1937 - U.S. Congress enacted the Neutrality Act:  Forbade selling of arms to any belligerant nation.

2)  Sept. 1, 1939 - Nazi blitzkrieg smashed into Poland and the world was once again plunged into total war.

3)  Sept. 3, 1939 - FDR said, "This nation will remain a neutral nation, but I can not ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well."

4)  Nov. 4, 1939 - Congress authorized the "Cash and Carry" arrangement:  Repeal of the arms embargo and allowed export of arms and munitions under a "cash and carry" arrangement that required the purchasing nation to pay cash and to carry the weapons in its own ships.

5)  Jan. 1940 - FDR's budget allowed $1,800,000,000 for National Defense

6)  May 1940 - FDR made an additional $1,300,000,000 toward National Defense

7)  June 1940 - FDR extended credit to British and released to them surplus arms, munitions, and aircraft.

8)  Summer 1940 - U.S. builds up own Armed Forces

9)  Sept. 1940 - U.S. transferred 50 destroyers to Britain, in exchange for 99-year leases on bases in British territory.

10)  Oct. 1940 - U.S. instituted its first-ever peacetime draft. 

11)  Dec. 1940 - FDR set up Office of Production Management to coordinate defense production and to send all possible aid "short of war" to Great Britain.

12)  Dec. 1940 - Fireside chat:  FDR called for maximum production to make the U.S. an "arsenal of Democracy."

13)  Jan. 6, 1941 - FDR's annual message recommended the Lend-Lease Act.  It was signed into law 3/11/41.  It enabled any country whose defense the President deemed vital to that of the U.S. to receive arms and other equipment and supplies by sale, transfer, exchange, or lease.

12)  March 1941 - Germany invaded Greece and Yugoslavia; Rommel rolled through North Africa; and British ships sank in the North Atlantic.

13)  May 1941 - FDR proclaimed an unlimited National Emergency

14)  June 1941 - U.S. broke off diplomatic relations w/ Germany and Italy.

15)  June 1941 - Hitler turned on Russia and the U.S. granted Lend-Lease Credit of $1 billion to Soviet Union.

16)  FDR and Churchill issued the Atlantic Charter (15 nations endorsed it, including the Soviet Union, which had broken, was breaking and would break almost every provision in it).

17)  Fall 1941 - U.S. and Germany were fighting an undeclared sea war.  In May, the U.S. helped British sink the German battleship the 'Bismarck.'

18)  Oct. 1941 - 3 U.S. destroyers were sunk.  FDR issued order to shoot on site.

19)  July 24, 1941 - Japan, which signed a mutual assistance pact with Germany and Italy, occupied French Indochina.

20)  FDR nationalized the Armed Forces of the Philippines, placing them under the command of General Douglas MacArthur.

21)  October 18, 1941 - General Hideki Tojo became Prime Minister, and Japan began preparing an all-out assault on Eastern Asia.

22)  November 20, 1941 - Discussions began in Washington between Secretary of State Cordell Hull and special Japanese envoy, Saburo Kurusu.  Each side made proposals unacceptable to the other, and talks dragged on.

23)  December 6, 1941 - FDR made a direct appeal to Emperor Hirohito, asking him to preserve the peace and withdraw from French Indochina.

24)  December 7, 1941 - DAY OF INFAMY:  Japanese attack Pearl Harbor

25)  December 7, 1941 - Japanese also bombed the U.S. base in the Philippines and took many islands and 11,500 POWs.

26)  December 8, 1941 - Congress declared war on Japan.  3 days later Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S., which then recognized a state of war with these nations as well.

27)  April 18, 1942 - FDR sends U.S. Air Raid on Tokyo

28)  May 7-8, 1942 - Battle of Naval Errors between U.S. and Japan (tactical draw)

29)  June 4-5, 1942 - Battle of Midway between U.S. and Japan.  In 6 months, the Day of Infamy had been avenged.  U.S. won and now could go on offensive.

30)  Aug. 7, 1942 - Nov. 1942:  Battle of Guadalcanal:  Japanese win at night while U.S. wins in the day.  The U.S. Air Force was superior in the day.

31)  Fall of 1942 - May 13, 1943 - Operation Torch:  U.S. and British troops drove the Germans out of North Africa.

32)  July 10 - Aug. 17, 1943 - Americans took Sicily off coast of Italy with "The Man Who Never Was."

33)  Sept. 3 - Sept. 8, 1943 - Italy Surrenders.  Italy's new leadership opened secret negotiations with Allies.

34)  End of 1943 - Germans take control of Northern Italy and many U.S. and Brits died in the hills of Italy.

35)  Jan. 14, 1943 - ALLIED SOLDIERS VS. ALLIED POLITICIANS:  FDR and Churchill meet in Casablanca and made 3 agreements (1 good, 2 bad).
                                      a)  Invasion of Sicily
                                      b)  Unconditional Surrender
                                      c)  Terror Bombing

36)  Late November 1943 - Another conference in Tehran with FDR, Churchill, and first time with Stalin.  FDR and Churchill endorsed the Soviet absorption of Eastern Poland, which Communists seized in early days of war.  FDR tried to appease and charm Stalin who could no longer be trusted.

37)  Early 1944 - Bloody battle for Italy continued.  Allies bogged down in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Cassino.  4th Cassino on May 23 the Germans were in full retreat to "Adolf Hitler Line", which he quickly changed the name to "Dora Line."

38)  June 6, 1944 - Operation Overlord - Invasion of Normandy, France:  Largest amphibious operation in History.  Only a matter of time now to invade Germany.  End of June the D-Day objectives met.

39)  Germans request for surrender on Western front ignored.  Allies adhered to Unconditional Surrender.

40)  After D-Day, Allies slowly travel through France
                      a)  Aug. 25, 1944 - Paris liberated
                      b)  Sept 4, 1944 - Brussels liberated
                      c)  Holland - Bogged down
                      d)  Operation Market Garden failed and Allies go long way around
                     d1) October 21, 1944 - Allies take first German city of Aachen
                       e) Germans made 1 last counter attack at Ardennes
                       f)  Dec. 16, 1944 - Germans advanced 50 miles:  Battle of Bulge
                       g)  Jan. 20, 1945 - Germans pushed back to start position

41)  1944 - U.S. in the Pacific still fighting Japanese.  Jun 19-20 U.S. won Battle of Philippine Sea and Oct. 20 U.S. won Battle of Leyte Gulf

42)  End of 1944:  Stalin's goal of extending Communist power became obvious.
              a) Oct. 1944 - Stalin to Churchill: Polish Communist Comm. will have a majority in Polish govt.

43)  Dec. 1944 - Stalin recognized a Communist regime (controlled from Moscow) as the official government of Poland. (FDR and Churchill did not try to stop this.)

44)  Next, the Soviets had Bulgaria, Hungary, and Yugoslavia

45)  Feb. 4, 1945 - Yalta Conference:  meeting with FDR, Churchill, and Stalin / United Nations begins.(More appeasing Stalin).

46)  Early 1945 - From West Allies drove to Berlin / From East Soviets.  Dresden was worst senseless destruction.

47)  Mar. 7 - Americans crossed Rhine River and Mar. 24 had control of West bank.

48)  Apr. 6 - Offensive against Berlin

49)  Apr. 30 - Hitler commits suicide

50)  May 2 - Berlin fell and German forces surrendered in Italy.

51)  May 8, 1945 - V-E Day:  Victory in Europe / End of War (Nazi ended but Communism waved over Eastern Europe.)

52)  Operation Keelhaul - FDR, Churchill, and Stalin agreed that all citizens of an Allied country who were liberated by another Allied country would be sent back to their homeland.

53)  April 12, 1945 - FDR died and Harry Truman became president taking on the Manhattan Project or Atomic Bomb.  U.S. had unconditional surrender with Japan too.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Eileen is Grateful

What a great opportunity to express what we're thankful for during the past week.  I am participating in a Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings at Judy Dudich's blog.  Just click on this link to participate and list five things you are very thanfful for.

1)  I am so grateful for the little co-op we attended on Wednesday with some wonderful families.  The children really enjoy themselves (and so do the moms!).

2)  I am thankful that my daughter and I were able to stay home from dancing lessons on Thursday as we were both feeling very tired and overwhelmed.  I was haveing some symptoms from my illness.

3)  I am grateful for the sunny days we've had this past week.  We've been able to play outside more and take the dog for walks together.

4)  I am thankful for the extra ENERGY I had at the beginning of the week.  We were able to come together in deeper prayer early in the morning before we start our day.  This is always a plus!

5)  I am grateful that I saw the Neurologist.  I have been diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Restless Leg Syndrome.  I have some medicine that is helping tremendously.  It if very hard to accept that my body is having all these problems.  Nevertheless, the Lord is helping me work through these difficulties.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shepherding a Child's Heart

Today I'm going to link up with Amanda Pelser's book club discussion on Sheperding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp.  We are currently discussing Chapter 4:  You're in Charge and Chapter 5:  Examining Your Goals.  This is all beneficial instruction for parenting.

In chapter 4 we discover that parents are to act on behalf of God as His agents.  An agent is one who acts for or in the place of another by authority from Him.  This is one of our most important aspects to functioning effectively as parents.  If we act on behalf of God, we must pass the Faith on to our children ("Genesis 18:19, Deuteronomy 6, Ephesians 6:4" p. 30).  "God has an objective" (p. 30) which is something toward which effort is directed.  "God accomplishes this objective through the agency of parental instruction." (p. 30)  Parents are the first and most important educators for their children...not the government and not even the Church.  Although we can rely on the Church to assist us in this process because they have the same objective for families as God.  Unfortunately, the government's objectives often work towards secularism or any re-indoctrination to passed failed philosophies.  We can not rely on them to pass the Faith on to our children.  We have a better chance for faith-driven principles to be adheared to in our society when politicians honor the Constitution and Declaration of Independence though.  Unfortunately, there are some in power that want to stop honoring these time honored documents that have helped pave a path to prosperity.  Parenting can be a real challenge in a culture like ours.  In a nut shell, parenting is more than "being an adult care provider.  This is light years away from directing your child in the ways of God." (p. 34)

"There are objectives that direct our choices as we raise our children." (p.42)  We just have to remember that the primary objective is for our children to know that "man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." (p. 47)  In other words we need to know, love, and serve the Lord as our main purpose in life.  Our children will know, love, and serve the Lord by teaching them how to embrace and desire scriptural objectives, by loving the Church he founded and participating in the sacraments, and by loving and serving our neighbors as Christ shows us in his own life on earth.

There are many worthy objectives that help our children find success, but they are secondary to knowing, loving, and serving God.  Some of these objectives are listed in Chapter 5:  "Developing Special Skills, Phsychological Adjustment, Saved Children, Family Worship, Well-Behaved Children, Good Education, and Control."  One item that really caught my eye can be attributed to leaders who deceive the righteous and poor people in our country was included in well behaved children.  Tedd Tripp says that "When being well-mannered is severed from biblical roots in servanthood, manners becomes a classy tool of manipulation.  Your children learn how to work others in a subtle but profoundly self-serving way.  Some children become crass manipulators of others and disdainful of people with less polish." (p. 46)  This is a sad state of affairs because the naive are attracted to these people with poise and no sense.  This is why so many Americans vote for the wrong candidates for president.

We are in a spiritual war and need to equip our children with the truth by shepherding their hearts.  Christians have been persecuted since the beginning of time and we need to continue to pray and teach our children that the most important purpose of their lives is to know, love, and serve the Lord. This can attract the lost to come to righteousness in the Lord.  Everything else is secondary but can be utilized after our children ask themselves "WWJD" (What would Jesus do?) in the situations they encounter in life.  Knowing, loving, and serving the Lord is first and foremost in our lives.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Shepherding a Child's Heart

It is time once again to discuss Chapters 2 and 3 in Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp.  I am sorry I am so late getting to this but am battling some health problems at the same time.  Chapter 2 was titled - Your Child's Development:  Shaping Influences and Chapter 3 was titled - Your Child's Development:  Godward Orientation.  While both chapters were very informative, it was much easier for me to relate to chapter 3 because (I think) Godward Orientation should be the priority and the shaping influences flow from this.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes is: 

"As a college student, I received my first exposure to sailing.  I recall my amazement to learn that the direction of the craft is not determined by the direction of the breeze, but by the trim of the sail.  In a sense, Godward Orientation is like the set of the sail in a child's life.  Whatever the shaping influences of life, it is the child's Godward Orientation that determines his response to those shaping influences."

As you can see here, if the sail isn't trimmed properly (if the child does not have the love and knowledge of Christ in his/her heart)...the breeze ("selfishness and rebellion against authority" p.24) will carry him or her down the path of "trying to make sense out of life without God." (p. 24)  This quite often leads to "the idolatry of rebellion against God's authority and his/her determination to be one's own authority" (p.24) which can lead to vice.  Good Moms know their child is not born perfect and needs to be nurtured and guided toward truth.  It is a journey, a direction, that needs to start off on the right foot from the earliest years.  These early years trim the sail to set a course for your child to continue a smooth journey their entire life and enhance their own choices to bring him or her to a glorious redemption and salvation in Jesus Christ.

The shaping influences discussed in chapter 2 would be very interesting to write out one's own 'lists' for these items:

1) Structure of Family Life
2) Family Values
3) Family Roles
4) Family Response to Failure
5) Family History
6) Family Conflict Resolution.

While these items are very important, the priority still remains 'God Orientation.'  Nevertheless, chapter 2 caused me to ask various questions that may be interesting to think about.  For example,

Tedd Tripp describes shaping influences as:  "those events and circumstances in a child's developmental years that prove to be catalysts for making him the person he is."  I'm just curious why shepherding to achieve a 'God Orientation' isn't included in 'shaping influences?'  Is reading the bible an event or circumstance in one's daily affairs that instills in one's heart a wise and better response to the environment around them?  This response points to his character or 'person he is.' Or is 'Godward Orientation' listed separately, outside of shaping influences, for some specific reason?  Is this because 'Godward Orientation' is the only influence that initiates or triggers a response from the heart while the other shaping influencers just influence without having an affect on one's heart?  He does explain that children are 'active responders' of shaping.  This means all shaping, right?  What part of our faith shapes?  Just something to think about.  While I don't know why my brain does this quite often, I will refrain from putting all the questions from chapter 2 I have here to eliminate confusion.  Both chapters have been very informative and I am really enjoying Tedd Tripp's wisdom.  I would highly recommend reading his book if your a parent!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Homeschool Week

It is time once again to link up to The Homeschool Mother's Journal.  Please click on the link to join in the fun.  We have been blessed to focus Holy Week activities in the life of the Church.  My daughters just hid the Easter eggs in the yard for Patrick to find.

In my life this week...This past week it has been quite cool in Maryland for me.  In fact, today I wore a winter coat and scarf to the store to get Easter candy.  No one else had a coat on though because it is comfortable to them.  I am an odd ball.  Towards late afternoon and early evening, I can shed the coat or sweater sometimes.  Unfortunately, I've been unable to completely get over a severe head cold from about three months ago.  I've been walking around the house all bundled up in a blanket to keep drafts away from my sick feeling head.  My life involves a lot of eye drops, Blistex, Kleenex, aspirin, and throat lozenges for a while now.  It has been very difficult to accomplish much as my sinuses bother me, I'm lightheaded quite often, I get tired all the time, get slight headaches, and my hands and feet ache often.  Nevertheless, I've been pushing through the pain to get out a little and get some work done.

On Good Friday, my middle school daughter was in the Stations of the Cross play put on by the teens at our Church.  It was great and I cried almost the entire time.  The kids were all so reverent.  Even Patrick was extremely interested in the play.  My daughter was one of the weeping women from Jerusalem in the Eighth Station.  One of my college sons showed up with a couple friends too in order to see the play.  It was a nice surprise!  Here is a picture of my daughter.  She is the one in the green scarf on her head with a grey gown and white belt.

In our homeschool week...

Religion/Prayer - Morning Offering, Prayer for Religious Freedom, and Rosary every day.  Daily devotions with CBH Ministries.

Math - Adding and Subtracting Fractions:  3 Steps; Listen and take notes from Dive CD for Rounding Decimals and completed Lesson and Supplemental Practice on this topic; Completed Lesson on Probability and Chance and Listened and took notes from Dive CD on this topic; Completed Lesson on Reducing by Grouping Factors Equal to 1; Completed Lesson on Adding Mixed Numbers and Listened to and took notes from Dive CD on this topic; Completed Lesson on Circumference and Pi; Completed Lesson on Polygons; Listened and took notes from Dive CD on Equivalent Division Problems.

Writing - Edited Book Report:  'Girl of Kosovo;' Completed Dress-Ups and Sentence Starters for paper titled "Giving Joy;" Completed Final Edits and Final Draft on 'Girl of Kosovo' with the help of older sister home on Easter vacation.

Reading for Pleasure - Three books by Mary Downing Hahn:  'Wait till Helen Comes' and 'The Doll in the Garden' and 'The Witch Catcher.'

Art - Those were the Days:  Analyzed painting from long ago and compared their clothing to that of today's styles.  Designed on paper (sketch/color) what clothes might be in style in the 2300.

Latin - Translate and Answer questions on the birth and early life of Romulus and Remus; Studied family tree of Romulus and then designed own personal family tree in Latin;  New vocabulary with syllabication and accents; Make study charts for Verb Tense, First Declension, and Second Declension; Adjectives in 1st and 2nd Declension; Translate Adjectives and Nouns they modify and make sure they agree in case/number/gender.

Kindergarten:  Completed Journal Entry on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (read bible story, discuss, draw, color, letter tiles, write sentence); Math - Addition; Phonics; Science - Erosion and Soil Composition (rub rocks and observe soil) and learned why we need soil and rocks and what they are used for in our world, Volcanoes and Earthquakes change the land; Reading - Reader and Unexpected Treasures; Map Skills - Directions, Maps, Symbols, Map Keys, Boundaries.

Other places we're going and people we're seeing...Tonight we are all attending my son's girlfriend's Confirmation at the Easter Vigil at University of Maryland.  Beforehand, we will all go out together for Easter dinner.  I am so excited for this event.  My son's girlfriend chose St. Anne (Mary's mother) for her Saints name.  The priest at the Catholic Student Center is very good with the College students.

My favorite thing this week...Seeing my son discover EROSION.

Who I'm inspired by...I'm inspired by my neighbors who have nine children and they are all grown and moved out of the house now.  I was able to see their basement that has just been remodeled.  They are so encouraging as they said they couldn't afford to get their basement fixed while the kids were still at home.  Maybe someday we will be able to do the same when our kids have moved out.  It would be so nice for the kid's friends and homeschooling if our basement was fixed up.

I am also inspired by my husband because his boss wanted him to manage a new and different group of employees.  He has greatly improved the moral and productivity of the employees in his current position.  This would require a lateral move in his job position.  After he declined the offer, his boss made him make the move anyway.  (This would have been unheard of back when I was working).   He is taking the responsibility well even though it is a hard group of people to manage.  He spent four hours in discussions with two people who were not getting along.  At the end of the meeting, they were communicating much better and looking positively at working together.  

I'm not inspired by my other neighbor because he never waves or says hello.  Does anyone have a neighbor like this?  What did you do?

Things I'm working on...A historical timeline of events during the Cold War for our Co-op History Class for middle schoolers.

Questions/thoughts I have...Our dog, Abby, is getting old and has seizures quite often now - I would say weekly.  I don't think she will be with us too much longer.  Does anyone have experience with their dog having seizures?  Here is a picture of Abby.  She has one blue eye and one brown eye.

I'm reading...Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp and Finding Joy in Depression by Amanda Pelser

I'm praying for...Our country, my children, and my health - BIG TIME.

A photo to share...Here is a picture of me on one of my better days when we got out and about on a bit of a warmer day.  You can see though that I am still in long sleeved shirt and long pants.  I wish it would get warm enough for shorts in Maryland.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Eileen is Grateful

I am so excited to be able to participate in a Thankful Woman's Blessings this week.  My younger daughter was accepted at the same private school my older daughter attends and, therefore, we've been able to change to our summer homeschool schedule.  This gives me more time for me - yay!  Judy Dudich hosts this wonderful meme.  Just click on the link to participate by listing five things you've been thankful for this past week.

1)  I am tremendously thankful to be able to go to confession at my daughter's school on Thursday afternoon.  I have been too busy or something always seems to 'pop up' during the reconciliation hours at our parish on Saturdays.  Therefore, it was just what I needed right before Holy Week began.  I am also grateful for this new priest at the school.  He seems to be so sweet.

2)  I am thankful for being able to see my two girls help my husband usher at the 7:30 mass this past weekend.  We were also able to bring up the gifts on this past Palm Sunday.

3)  I am grateful that we can attend the Easter Vigil at University of Maryland's Catholic Student Center to witness to my son's girlfriend be confirmed.  She chose St. Ann, the mother of Mary, as her Confirmation Saint.

4)  I am totally thankful for being able to cast my vote for the primaries in Maryland.  The voting booths were not very crowded here in Montgomery County because (unfortunately) it is filled with Dems.

5)  I am grateful for the nice birthday my family had for me.  My girls posted secret notes up all over the house for me to see.  I was surprised by phone calls from my college boys and a yummy birthday cake.  I just had to pour a glass of wine to go with it.  My Mom also surprised me with a call.  The weather was beautiful, the traffic was light, and policemen looked like babies as I passed them on the road (boy - am I getting old).  It was a great day all in all.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Passion of Christ has Impact

This past week we had a productive Co-op Journal Writing Class for our sons in Kindergarten.  I see so much improvement in the ability of the children to color, write, develop a thought/sentence, write the Mystery of the Rosary we are learning on their hearts, and enter into prayer.

We learned about the second Sorrowful Mystery called "The Scourging at the Pillar."  Even at five years old, the boys seemed more somber and still while we prayed and discussed this mystery.  I sometimes have to remind one of them to try to sit still.  Not this time!  It is almost as if they could feel and/or see the injustice that was done to our Lord and they took it seriously.  This is a huge accomplishment for a five year old child.  It is great to be focused on the Sorrowful Mysteries just before Easter too.

Note the Creation Display we discuss at the beginning of every lesson.

Co-op Moms / Great Fellowship and Friends

Parents should all be aware of the reality that our young children are tremendously smart and can and should study biblical realities to bring them closer to God so they know and live the ways of the Lord.  I've witnessed these moments of passion for the Lord in all five of my children from the earliest of ages.  Therefore, continue to incorporate biblical counsel into your educational plans when you teach your children to help them strengthen and carry on a passionate relationship with Our Lord!  It may be parents after all who save our country through these efforts!

All five of my babies (what do you expect from Mom) have a deep passion for Our Lord!  YOU GO PARENTS!

Please share your homeschooling moments to remember at