Where I Get My Pro-Life News and Commentary

newssources

A friend, Francis B., requested a list of my sources for pro-life news. So, in no particular order, my favorites:

General

Crisis Magazine
First Things
Catholic World Report
MercatorNet
NewAdvent.org
National Catholic Register

Abortion
Live Action News
Americans United for Life
Students for Life
National Right to Life News
Priests for Life Blog

Politics, Legislation, Religious Freedom
Susan B. Anthony List
Alliance Defending Freedom
American Center for Law and Justice
Judicial Watch
Catholic Vote

International
Turtle Bay and Beyond
Human Life International

Bioethics
Charlotte Lozier Institute
National Catholic Bioethics Center

Marriage and Family
National Organization for Marriage
Family Research Council
The Public Discourse
Ruth Institute Blog
United Families International

Education and Education-Related
Catholic Education Resource Center
Catholic Education Daily (from Cardinal Newman Society
Intercollegiate Review
Circe Institute

Conservative
The Heritage Foundation
Ethika Politika
American Thinker
PJ Media
Taki’s Magazine
The Imaginative Conservative
The American Spectator

Catholic
Ignatius Insight Scoop
Catholic News Agency
Catholic Herald
National Review Online
Sandro Magister
Touchstone
Catholic Culture
Women of Grace
PewSitter
What Does the Prayer Really Say?
Homiletic and Pastoral Review
Vatican News

and because sometimes, I just need a humorous take on all those:

Eye of the Tiber
Creative Minority Report
Curt Jester
Ironic Catholic
Catholic Memes (there’s a whole lot more on FB, plus Tumblr)

Two ways I organize my news sources:
Feedly
and when on Facebook, Lists, where I have lists for a) Pro-Life Leaders and Writers, b) Current Events, and c) my mom friends and other close friends who keep up with the same concerns.

Every so often, I go on Twitter to see what people are talking about, but I prefer getting my current events from the above.

I also like taking a peek at how the Catholic youth view their faith and current events from time to time, so I check out Catholic Tumblr blogs.

Note that many of these overlap in terms of the news they report/comment on. It goes without saying that I am not capable of reading all these sources every single day, so it just depends on what time I have. Sometimes I go on FB to catch up on news, sometimes I go on Feedly, other times I rely on friends and family to keep me informed. I try to not to overwhelm myself with too much input, especially during Lent. I process/digest things throughout the day — blogging and journaling helps at times — and when I feel that I’m inundated I shut things down and focus on prayer and family.

Hope that helps!

Yena’s Curriculum (11, 7th grade) 2013-2014 / The Curriculum Planning Post

Haha. I was typing up the title for this post and had to stop and call Dad and Yena who are out on a biking trip (it’s 7:35 am). I think I made a mistake somewhere along the line. When I was 11, I was in 5th grade…. Hm. I don’t know if I accidentally made her skip a grade or if we just started too early. At any rate, I asked her if she would like to go back. She doesn’t. But now I’m relaxed because that means I COULD delay her a year or two if I wanted to. #homeschoolingmomproblems

Well, we’ll see how this year goes. She was having a bit of trouble with Math so it may be a good idea to slow down a bit there. Going back to my previous train of thought….


This is my favorite time of the schoolyear: every control freak homeschooling mom’s dream. Right now I am surrounded by books and books and booklists and more books.

How I plan curriculum in a nutshell, now, after 14+ years of homeschooling:

– Gather materials from previous year that weren’t completely finished or that child didn’t like, so I know WHAT TO STOP DOING or WHAT I NEED TO CHANGE this year. For instance, she’s tired of Artistic Pursuits and she doesn’t want to do Henle Latin.

– “Shop” our shelves. I looked through our religion shelf, and I had her look through the history shelves, to find any books that I think is appropriate for her age/maturity level now, and she can read some of the things that she wasn’t allowed to / ready for before :).

– Make a notepad file of the basics, listing at least one resource for each subject.

So I start out with something very rough, like this:

curriculumplanning1

– Then I gather all of the books, plus the things I’ve collected through the year and classified as “Maybe One Day” or “When the Time is Right” items.

– Lay all items out on the floor (or other large space) and narrow down. When the children are little, this job is 100% Mom’s (wheeee!!!!) 😀 . As they grow older I let them make more and more decisions, so that by high school they are designing their own curriculum.

curriculumplanning2

What’s here, and my thoughts as I’m looking through them:

A – The Grammar of Poetry: Never worked for any of the kids. If Yena doesn’t want it, poetry is covered anyway in Lightning Literature which we’re considering, plus we’re doing Shakespeare. This may have to go, OR we could try the new and improved version which looks like fun, especially since there are now DVDs. Eeee!!!! Got ME excited.
B – Warriner’s English, Voyages in English, Easy Grammar: Will have to pick one of these, leaning towards Voyages in English. Or maybe see if I can give Classical Writing (not pictured, but we have them) another go.
C – Migi’s Confirmation Portfolio: Will pattern Yena’s confirmation portfolio after this and Paco’s, and Aisa’s (if we can find them).
D – Confirmation Materials: Life of Grace (Faith and Life 7), Following the Holy Spirit, Spreading and Defending the Faith, My Path to Heaven; The Holy Bible: All of these are a go.
E – Collection of Calendars with Marian art, for a Mama Mary Project in December and/or May: Need to plan exactly what will be done with these. Probably an artist and artwork study coupled with a Marian prayer or meditation. Possibly copywork. Can spread out to do once a month for the whole year instead of December or May. Or do one a month, and a wrap-up grand plan for May to coincide with May Crowning.
F – Mom’s All-Time Faves for Curriculum Planning: Elizabeth Foss’ Real Learning, Michael O’Brien’s A Landscape with Dragons, Laura Berquist’s Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: Peek at these if there’s time or need more ideas. Other booklists/references I like to check out from time to time: Reading Your Way Through History, Bethlehem Books, Treasure Chest for Tweens, and Angelicum’s Curriculum. I used to check out the curricula of the various online homeschool curriculum providers, but I always manage to overwhelm myself so I’ve stopped doing that. 😀
G – Yena’s choices from the History shelf: historical fiction and saint bios: Plan this out at least once a month, alternating with lit selections from (P), include in Book of Centuries. Read chronologically. Can write up/find lit guides for a few if needed.
H – History Spines: Light to the Nations; Christ the King Lord of History; pick one, do the other at end of school year if she’s run out of history stuff to do 🙂 . Leaning towards Light to the Nations.
I – more Religion-History books: Definitely St. Philomena the Wonder Worker, Color Your Own Book of Kells if she’s interested. Maybe Bartholomew’s Passage during Advent. Probably not the Fr. Laux book.
J – The Harp and Laurel Wreath, which Amazon tells me I purchased in 2002, for copywork, memorization and handwriting improvement.
K – Traditional Logic: May chuck this unless she’s interested. None of the other kids have been. Might replace with Fallacy Detective.
L – American Heritage Girls Merit Badge Workbook: Plan for one merit badge a month (outside of AHG troop/patrol plans).
M – Science: Definitely Keeping a Nature Journal. Can read The Way Things Work for fun, or maybe do narrations. And/or maybe Apologia
General Science since she liked Apologia Botany last year. Maybe Quick Six for fun, downloaded last year and never used.
N – Shakespeare: Read, watch, memorize. See if she can join Drama club this year.
O – Art: The Story of Painting: The Story of Painting: If this will be the art program for the year, then plan out pages to read/take notes from. Use this as spine for artist and artwork studies.
P – Literature selections, picked by Yena from the Landscape with Dragons book: See G above.

What’s Not Here:

Math: Probably Teaching Textbooks again, or Life of Fred, or both.
Music: I’ve been suggesting formal music lessons, but we’ll see.
Latin: Considering Visual Latin, or back to Henle (maybe she’ll want to do it if I promise to do the lessons with her, which is what I did with the older ones). Oh yay! Visual Latin has been updated to ecclesiastical pronunciation. Looks promising.


Okay here goes. Yena’s home, so we’re finalizing choices. Sometimes when a kid can’t decide, they’ll use eenie-meenie-miney-moe, and the control freak in me is screaming inside, but I will take a deep breath and let it go.

3 hours later:

Here’s what we came up with!!

Religion: Faith and Life 7 + My Catholic Faith Delivered + Confirmation Portfolio (separate post) + Fireside Catholic Bible. Bartholomew’s Passage for Advent. Mama Mary Notebook throughout the year, with special emphasis in May (Art + Prayers and Meditations).

Latin: Visual Latin

English and Literature: Novel Inquiries — this one was a gift from Margot Davidson of Hillside Education, many years back when I used to take care of her website). + some of Voyages in English and Easy Grammar as needed.

The List of Living Books (covering Religion, History, Literature)

  • Warrior Scarlet (Novel Inquiries), Bronze Age Britain, 2500-800 BC
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile (Novel Inquiries), set at the time of Thutmose III 1479-1425 BC
  • Caesar’s Gallic Wars (Novel Inquiries), 58-50 BC (argh cannot find this)
  • The Capricorn Bracelet, AD 61
  • Heroes of God’s Church, 3rd to 19th Century
  • The Leopard Sword, 12th Century
  • The Tale of Troy (Novel Inquiries), 12th or 13th century BC
  • The Blood-Red Crescent, 16th Century
  • Outlaws of Ravenhurst, 17th Century
  • The French are Coming, 18th Century
  • Petticoat Rebel, 18th Century
  • Romany Girl, India, 18th Century (?)
  • Bargain Bride, Oregon, 19th Century
  • Ribbon of Fire, Scotland, 19th Century
  • Hoofprint on the Wind, Ireland, 20th Century (?)
  • Master of Morgana, Scotland, 20th Century

Math: Life of Fred

Logic/Critical Thinking: Fallacy Detective.

Science: Apologia General Science + Keeping a Nature Journal

History: Light to the Nations, with living books (listed above in the booklist section) keyed to corresponding centuries she’s studying

Music:: YouTube videos and printable music sheets/chords online for guitar. No formal lessons, she doesn’t want them 🙂

Art:: Artistic Pursuits Junior High Book One + Art 7 for Young Catholics

AHG Merit Badges:: Cycling, Cake Decorating, Best Me I Can Be, Creative Crafts

Home Economics: Menu Planning, Budgeting, Grocery Shopping, Cooking and Baking, Allergen-Free Recipes, Healthy Eating, Sewing and other Needle Arts Projects, MAYBE some furniture painting/reupholstering if time permits. Mom-designed.

Also planning to do some Shakespeare with the local Catholic homeschooling group. May be as simple as a Shakespearean tea where they can dress up and read aloud, or something more elaborate depending on what the others want to do.

Next step is to put this curriculum into monthly/weekly/daily lesson plans. (Spreadsheeeeeeeets!!!!!!) That’s for the next post, hopefully within the next two weeks.

Things that caught my eye, but will have to be done some other time because of time/financial constraints:

One Year Adventure Novel
Encounter: Catholic Middle School Bible Study, with Mark Hart
– a couple other philosophy books at Amazon.
The (new and improved) Grammar of Poetry
Memorize the Faith
Classically Catholic Memory

Habemus Papam!!

Well, that was a short conclave!! Thank You, Holy Spirit!

waiting with bated breath for the Pope's appearance, ready for screenshots
waiting with bated breath for the Pope’s appearance, ready for screenshots

I don’t know what we were expecting, but we sure didn’t expect the text from Pope Alarm telling us about the WHITE SMOKE!! We all rushed in front of the computer and forgot all about lunch. It was already a late lunch as I was teaching my 14-year-old how to make a spicy tofu stir-fry, and it was made even later because we found ourselves glued to EWTN online and couldn’t look away. Consequently, lunch wasn’t served ’til ~3:30 pm. But no matter. We were jumping up and down, hungry and teary and just joyful and thankful all around. What a beautiful day! We ended the day with a late dinner after the kids’ various activities.

Allergen-Free Dinner in honor of the Pope
Allergen-Free Dinner in honor of the Pope: Argentine “Fried Rice”, Roasted Shrimp with Chimichurri Sauce, Sauteed Spinach, a 2011 Malbec, and some Dulce de Batata con Chocolate

This is such an exciting time!!!


I am gathering here a collection of pictures and articles that caught my eye/our eyes yesterday and today.

Pope Francis the Liberal or Pope Francis the Conservative…

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Viva Il Papa from Teresa Tomeo

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Pope Francis’ first 24 hours: Doing it his way

awestruck

Francis offers his second blessing as Pope to pregnant woman

catholicchurch

Pope Francis pays his hotel bill, avoids pomp and visits chapel revered by Jesuits from Radio Vaticana

catholicmemes

“What is that banana peal doing on MY SIDEWALK?” from Fr. Zuhlsdorf

catholicmemes1

The First American Pope from George Weigel

catholicmemes2

Traditionalists and Pope Francis: Can We Take a Deep Breath and Please Calm Down?

catholicsistas

Pope Francis on Same-Sex Marriage: ‘A Move of the Father of Lies;’ ‘A Total Rejection of God’s Law’

dennisbrown1

Pope Francis to cardinals: ‘I hope God forgives you’

domenicobettinelli

Pope’s 1st Trip Was to Lay Flowers in Front of Image of the Virgin Mary

ewtn

Pope Francis presides first Mass of his pontificate at Sistine Chapel

from L'Osservatore Romano on FB
from L’Osservatore Romano on FB

Pope Francis’ First Homily

Caught My Eye 09.March.2013

Fascinating and creepy at the same time:

Google Glass: How It Feels


Contribute to Catholic Mom’s Project and help provide spiritual support for pregnant women (click on the pic to get there):
catholicmom — I just sent in my donation.

Heritage House is holding a Free Pro-Life T-shirt Survey at their site. Only thing is, I don’t know when the deadline is, if there is one. But may be worth a try: (click on the pic to get to the survey)

Heritage House National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day Survey
caption

And this post from Erin made me scratch my head, shake my head, lift my eyebrow, say HM several times, and annoyed me a bit…. and then by the time I got to the comments it was… ho-hum. What haven’t we heard/read yet about homeschoolers? Maybe one of these days I’ll do a “Why We Homeschool” post, since it seems to be a popular topic these days. Even at the forum someone started a new thread, which is quite exciting — to be where we are now in our homeschooling life (going on 15 years I think), have a 21-year-old who’s almost done with college and doing well, have one going to college soon, and at least 3 more waiting in the wings…. and then seeing all these new homeschooling families just starting out. I’m not a pioneer by any means, but to some of the young ‘uns I guess I look like one :D. Anyway, Erin’s post: Homeschooling: Revenge of the Nerds?

And then this, from the Ruth Institute Blog: Homeschooling Not a Fundamental Right Says Justice Department. That same week I was listening to Al Kresta and, I believe, Michael Farris of the HSLDA, speaking about laws that are being attempted to pass or have already passed, etc. right here in the good ol’ US of A. Oh, here it is: German Homeschool Case May Impact U.S. Homeschool Freedom. Couldn’t find a podcast but it’s all covered in that article. Good to keep aware.

Interesting article on CSAs and health insurance rebates.

Lamest video ever, but I still couldn’t keep from laughing:

This one from the hilarious Eye of the Tiber blog: Catholic School Children Offended by Dumbed Down Homily.

Oi. Notre Dame again. Are there are any real Catholics left at that university? What are they doing?

Lastly, LOL:

suicide

Getting to Know God: Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer

More scraps of meditation while rereading:

Page 32.

stripped of [their] belongings, knowing that [they] owned something that was better and lasting

I’ve only ever been in two situations where I felt so terribly alone and couldn’t cling to anyone else but God. The first was many years ago when we first moved to the US and I was forced to give up everything that was familiar. Life changed and I had to grow up, pronto.

The second one was ~10 years ago when I had to deal with a situation I was totally unprepared for. I remember being on the bed, curled up in a fetal position, and crying out to God to just take it all away. I looked and felt pathetic. But it was another instance of having to grow up quite suddenly.

I could, I suppose, resent those times when God allowed the rug to be pulled out from under me. There have been moments I’ve wallowed in that resentment. But I cannot begrudge Him the seeds that He planted in my heart, of faith just waiting to bloom. They are in full bloom now. But I’m sure there will be other moments of uncertainty, of loss. If I can manage to cling to Him, I know He’ll be there for me yet again, ready to plant more seeds.


Page 33.

This sublime sanctity is not of this world; it has a divine stamp on it.

The only way to sanctify ourselves is to remember at all times that our possessions, our very lives, are temporary. Everyone and everything that we have can be taken away in a heartbeat. If we keep this in mind, we will also realize that the only constant, the only forever thing in our lives is God and who we are in relation to Him.

Further on, in the responsorial Psalm 81, we read that the Lord wishes to feed us “with the best of wheat, and with honey from the rock I would fill them.”

Very much like the saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force him to drink. All that we could possibly need or want to grow our faith is already here…. apps, books, people, churches, charities, radio, blogs, etc. But it takes US actually using these things, reading the books, listening to the shows, interacting with people, to progress spiritually. I have a handful of people who are near and dear to me, and I wish I could shake them sometimes by the shoulders and get them to just ENGAGE. I am out of ideas how to turn the light on for them — so I just pray. If you’re reading this and are moved to prayer as well, please pray with me.


My favorite Catholic apps — these are only the ones I’ve used myself, either on our old iPod Touch (that now belongs to the 16-year-old), my tablet, and lately my phone.

divineoffice
Divine Office

imissal
iMissal

ipieta
iPieta

ibreviary
iBreviary

laudate
Laudate

myyearoffaith
My Year of Faith

catholiccalendar
Catholic Calendar from Universalis


That said, my husband’s example proves one thing: you don’t NEED any of the above-mentioned apps to get closer to God. He’s been constant in his scripture-reading, his prayer life, his Mass-going, his partaking of the sacraments, for years. That’s how he knows God intimately. More than access, it’s really COMMITMENT that’s key.

“In-Spite-of-Mom” Schooling

askquestions

A friend at our Catholic Filipino homeschooling forum asked, “What is unschooling?”

In years past I’ve shied away from answering this question because the pioneers already have, and I didn’t feel I had anything to contribute. Of course this was years ago at the Catholic Charlotte Mason Yahoogroup, and more recently at the 4Real Forums. If you’d like to learn from the people I’ve learned from, buy this book: A Little Way of Homeschooling; many of my favorite unschooling friends and their stories are featured in it.

Now that our two oldest children are juniors in college and high school, perhaps I do have a bit to say on unschooling. This won’t be a post on the nitty-gritty, but more of an explanation of our educational philosophy as it evolved. We didn’t start out with a goal to be unschoolers, so I can’t share in detail exactly what we’ve done, because the more apt term for it is “In-Spite-of-Mom” schooling.

Learning happened, and learning happens, sometimes because of something I did, but at least just as often or even more so, because of something I didn’t.

stayoutoftheway

When asked what our homeschooling approach was, I’ve always used the word eclectic because it was a safe all-encompassing word. But having homeschooled for almost 14 years total now, I look back and do see a pattern, which by the world’s standards is not a pretty one.

I am as much a perfectionist as I am a slacker, and through the years, I’ve swung from one end of the spectrum to the other. At times the swinging is slow and takes weeks, other times it’s insanity-inducing in its speed. I’m glad to say none of my children are in therapy (yet), so the damage may have been minimal.

hatedschool

I have tried, through the years, to analyze why I am the way I am, and why I “teach” the way I teach. Like Sigrid Undset, I hated school most of the time because of the way school worked. I still harbor some resentment over accusations I received about work that I produced that didn’t look like I produced it because it was “just too good” 😀 …. such as the 100+ page paper on scientists I did for English, which included the scientists’ life stories as well as hand-drawn illustrations for each. Or crochet work for which I received low grades because the teacher thought “No way she could have done that herself”, not bothering to find out that I had a mother who had crocheted well from her teens and who had taught me all her neat little tricks. Many other school experiences burned me, and by the time I graduated from college, I’d had enough of institutional learning and was wondering how my future children could be spared.

creative

Understanding my motivations stemming from the above experiences, I thought, was essential, so that I could become the teacher my children needed me to be. For those just starting out, it might help to define how you view the learning process and what kind of learning experiences you’d like your child to have. I didn’t quite have the answers when I began, but I did know what kind of experiences I DID NOT want the kids to have.

I marked our early years of homeschooling with an almost feverish drive to acquire books for the shelves, pictures and maps for the walls, science supplies to populate the countertops, art materials of every kind to fill the drawers. But honesty demands that I reveal how homeschooling looks like in our home, and I now have to admit it looks most like unschooling.

Charlotte Mason taught that learning was about making connections. So we’ve designed curricula and bought learning materials dutifully, every single year. But while I love designing curriculum and putting booklists together, I have to admit that I’ve failed too many times in terms of the actual TEACHING that one would expect happens in a homeschool. In other words, following the “rules” did happen, but when it did, it was mostly out of guilt 😀 .

Now that the results have made me a bit bolder, it can be told: We’re not strictly unschoolers, but there is a strong element of unschooling that runs through our days. At the beginning of each year, I come up with a highly detailed plan that often includes activities for each day, hour to hour. On paper is about as perfect as it will get, because from that point the learning pretty much belongs to the child. Books will be read, ideas discussed, questions answered. Every now and then I go into control freak mode and make demands, but for the most part learning happens organically in our home. Reading material is everywhere, any reasonable interest is pursued. But illnesses happen, travel is enjoyed, babies come. Meals had to be prepared and laundry folded; Mom went crazy for a few years trying to make money on the side by blogging; cookbook and sewing and knitting obsessions came and went. Life happens as we try to homeschool, and unschooling is the result.

At their ages, our kids pursue even more of their own interests, but their success in those areas can’t be attributed to anything I’ve done. The charge that we homeschoolers brainwash our children into becoming mini-me’s is even more hilarious now, considering how I HAVE tried to do that and yet it just has never worked for me.

brainwashed

Brainwashing doesn’t work in the homeschool because our children are not us. Perhaps if I had access to an instruction manual and brainwashing or torture devices, I’d be better at it. But all of us are born with an unquenchable desire for learning. As Catholics we believe that this is the way we’re made because we are ever on a journey, seeking the Ultimate Truth. My children are no different from me. I cannot stop them from learning even if I tried. They learn things that I have zero interest in and zero desire to teach. The 21-year-old, for instance, gets A’s in her Chemistry classes — I don’t even remember attempting to teach her Chemistry. The 16-year-old wants to be an engineering and political science major; that’s so far removed from MY own interests or aptitudes, it’s a wonder I haven’t embarrassed him yet with my ignorance in those areas.

Early on in our homeschooling I heard a beautiful quote: “Education is not about filling buckets; it’s about lighting fires.” Well, we did manage to light some, in spite of me. Those fires are still burning, and I have reason to think they’ll be lighting other fires.


“But wait! Where I can find the nitty gritty?” This might help. 🙂

August Reads #3 (Migi and Yena) [reviews]

– cute, but kind of pointless

– Verdi is our “Composer of the Month” for September, and this is a perfect rabbit trail book — the illustrations are just beautiful. I have a newfound appreciation of Aida. The drama of a love triangle may not be entirely suitable for the younger set though — my kids read it, but didn’t really like it.

– studying more Shakespeare this year. 13-yo has read/listened to Macbeth. We’ll be watching the movie soon. This is a gentler intro or re-intro to the Bard, for the younger ones.

– another cute book, about Chinese culture and imagination… not much substance though, or maybe I just missed it

– get this book! if just for the artwork. Lovely!! One word of caution: there is a page where Michelangelo is dissecting a cadaver. It’s not particularly gory or indecent, but probably not for sensitive or very young children. This one’s a read aloud aimed at older kids.

– an okay book, for kids who either don’t know what a library is or have no appreciation of it yet

– I’m not usually a fan of books that remind me of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (link to the book here), but this one really won me over. It highlights the grandpa-grandchild relationship and is just endearing and sweet. I highly recommend it, esp. as a gift to Grandpa. Totally heartwarming.

– classic book to teach your kids about good stewardship of the earth — if you like/love this book, perhaps you’ll like/love the next one as well. It’s also ecology, but more fantasy-style. I love the realism of the Kapok tree book, but something about the Florentine art in the other just captures and holds my affection.

– This book, of course, would be more suitably read in February, but we are on a Clyde Robert Bulla kick these days. I love that this book goes into the different legends/origins of Valentine’s Day, and doesn’t neglect the Catholic POV. Not really a fictional book per se, but entertaining and colorful enough to hold a little one’s attention.

– I *love* this book! Sooo sweet, but not saccharine sweet. Very very respectful and honest about sibling relationships and the rivalry that sometimes may come with it, balanced with a gentle (but non-preachy) emphasis on generosity and sharing. A great gift for a new big sister. Also a great reminder for parents to be sensitive to the needs of an older child when a new sibling joins the family.

– Very nicely done retelling of Russian folklore on the seasons of the year. I like books that present basic facts in a creative manner, and asks questions of the reader, or prompts them to ask questions, and come up with their own answers. The pastel drawings would be great for an art lesson or two!

– a pity the artwork isn’t available on Amazon. It’s a rather quaint book, with a myriad of characters all taken from well-known and common nursery rhymes and Mother Goose stories. Perfect lead in to many rabbit trails…. or use as the perfect ending to tie up and finish a collection of classic read alouds. Reminds me of Jolly Postman books.

– great bio of Anna May Wong, written for kids. She was heretofore unkonwn to me. Every now and then it’s good to see new authors and illustrators tackling previously unknown subjects. Great springboard for discussing the film genre, stereotypes, racism, etc.

Preliminary Confirmation Prep Plan for Paco

  1. Study of the Saints
  2. The Holy Spirit, Virtue and Habit Formation, Service
  3. Scripture, Tradition, Catechism and Apologetics
    This list is currently overkill, so we’ll have to be picky about which sections to cover.

  4. Salvation History
  5. The Sacraments
  6. The Holy Mass
  7. Christian Literature
  8. Vocations/Theology of the Body

Resources for Dad and Mom

Letters to a Young Catholic (Art of Mentoring)
Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters


These books were either culled from suggestions at the 4Real Forum or were used during dd-18’s own confirmation preparation years.

The plan is to use this as the bulk of our curriculum for this coming year (we’ve already been working on a few of these this past year so some are just continuing), only adding Math (Saxon) and Science to the mix. I’m thinking we’ll have to pare down on a bunch of these still as it may be too much even for one year’s worth of coursework. I’ll update this with the final plan when we get back to the US and gather the rest of our resources.


Note August 10, 2011:

We are now in Migi’s confirmation preparation year so I’m looking back at this and re-evaluating. Paco ended up doing 50-60% of this list. I’ll probably have Migi pick just one from each category, since he has a full curriculum as well. Portfolio not optional though 🙂

Simplified Homeschooling for Advent

I am officially TIRED.

Starting today and until baby’s here and we’ve recovered, here’s our coursework:

Religion: Pray the Liturgy of the Hours with Mommy at 9, 12, 3, 6 and 9.
English: Read a book (approved by Mom) and blog about it.
Math: Do 1 Math lesson.
Science: Watch one episode on the Physics DVD or read a book and blog about what you learned. (Do experiments when the kits come.)
History: Read a book/chapter (approved by Mom) and blog about it, or continue work on your History lapbook.
Music: Listen to classical music radio online.
Help Mom clean/declutter/reorganize the “room of the day”.
Clean your room for 15 minutes.
Play outside for 15 minutes if weather permits. Otherwise, play in the basement/practice your forms.

Extra credit for taking dictation from 6-year-old to document what *she* learned.

Third Week of Advent Readings

  • Sunday
    Isaiah 13:6-13
    6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come! 7 Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every man’s heart will melt, 8 and they will be dismayed. Pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in travail. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame. 9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising and the moon will not shed its light. 11 I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, and lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless. 12 I will make men more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.
    John 3:22-30
    22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; there he remained with them and baptized. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been put in prison. 25 Now a discussion arose between John’s disciples and a Jew over purifying. 26 And they came to John, and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is, baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice; therefore this joy of mine is now full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”
  • Monday
    Isa 8:16-9:1
    16Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 And when they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the wizards who chirp and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the teaching and to the testimony! Surely for this word which they speak there is no dawn. 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; and when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their God, and turn their faces upward; 22 and they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.
    1 But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

    Luke 22:39-53
    39 And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. 41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom; 43 and when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company they went a day’s journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances; 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; 47 and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers 48 And when they saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been looking for you anxiously.” 49 And he said to them, “How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying which he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.

  • Continue reading “Third Week of Advent Readings”

Second Week of Advent Readings

  • Sunday
    Luke 2:15-16
    15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
  • Monday
    Luke 2:17-18
    17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; 18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
  • Tuesday
    Luke 2:19
    19But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
  • Wednesday
    Luke 2:20
    20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
  • Thursday
    Luke 2:21
    21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
  • Friday
    Matthew 2:1-2
    1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 2“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”
  • Saturday
    Matthew 2:3-6
    3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'”

Food, Humor, Organization, and Gift Ideas

Luxury for Mom:

Started off the early morning with 1/4 cup of Mariebelle Aztec Hot Chocolate… just enough for me to handle in the dark hours of the dawn…

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Yena’s Quote of the Month: “Mom, what’s the name of that movie, Princess Diarrhea?” (Princess Diaries)… oh my child, so blessedly out of the loop.

Tip for Slow Food Lovers in Wintry Weather:

Take some oxtails from your favorite grass fed beef farmer, put in water in a large heavy pot, bring to a boil, then simmer overnight on LOW LOW LOW. Wake up in the morning to falling-off-the-bone tenderness. Take out meat pieces with slotted spoon, leave pot with stock outside in the cold (32 degrees F here right now), covered. In the early evening an hour before dinner, take pot inside. Scoop out solidified beef fat (could probably use this for a birdseed feeder?), bring stock to a boil, season with salt and add yummy things like peeled quartered potatoes, lots of onions, whole black peppercorns, green beans and cabbage leaves. Return meat to pot and simmer just until all warmed up. Perfect for fall.

Prayer to Saint John Bosco for our Young Driver

O glorious Saint John Bosco, who in order to lead young people to the feet of the divine Master and to mould them in the light of faith and Christian morality didst heroically sacrifice thyself to the very end of thy life and didst set up a proper religious Institute destined to endure and to bring to the farthest boundaries of the earth thy glorious work, obtain also for us from Our Lord a holy love for young people who are exposed to so many seductions in order that we may generously spend ourselves in supporting them against the snares of the devil, in keeping them safe from the dangers of the world, and in guiding them, pure and holy, in the path that leads to God. Amen.

Keep her safe from irate drivers who are impatient to get to where they’re going…

On my to-do-list today:

Off to do my 15-minute-each-room tasks, so I can check them off Toodledo, THE (so-far) perfect online spot to help me accomplish tasks according to GTD principles. Still working on a paper-based organizational tool, but haven’t perfected *my* system yet.

“I don’t understand, but I will hope”

I have no words of my own, as my heart is still too full to speak, but I echo Jennifer’s:

So I don’t understand, but I will hope right along with you. I will have faith, the same faith I’ve always had, not a new one brought about by this one human man. I will teach my children to pray. I will teach my children to cherish and protect the newest of lives and those that are not so new, but just as precious. I will teach them to conserve, starting with our own backyard and our own consumption. I will educate my children. I will teach them to love one another [snip]. My family and I will financially support those in the world who live in poverty, just as we always have.