Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Introducing Today's Catholic Homeschooling

Please visit my new website devoted to the beauty and diversity of Catholic homeschooling today: http://www.todayscatholichomeschooling.com/

This project has been about a and a half in the making. The idea first came to me in October 2013. I was losing my job at Catholic Lane and and trying to figure out what I was going to do next. The idea for this site came to me in the shower (where many good ideas percolate) and I set to work. I  to create a site where someone could find information on the different styles of homeschooling as well as search for curriculum and find support and encouragement no matter where she was in the homeschooling journey.

The project took a back seat to other projects that came my way, but I would keep working on it from time to time. It was definitely one of my goals for 2015 to get it ready for public viewing. That day came today!

Please consider following Today's Catholic Homeschooling on Twitter at https://twitter.com/TodCathHomeschl and Like it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/todayscatholichomeschooling

I am also seeking contributions of articles on all aspects of Catholic Homeschooling - product/book reviews, lesson ideas, a day in the life of a homeschooler, challenges, etc. Articles may be sent to editor@todayscatholichomeschooling.com \

Thank you!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review: The Spirit of St. Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis

The Spirit of Saint Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis

Edited by Alicia Von Stamwitz
Cincinnati, OH: Franciscan Media, 2015

Since becoming Pope on March 13, 2013, Pope Francis has taken the world and the Church by storm. He took Francis as his name and "his optimism, courage, and playful sense of humor are reminiscent of the beloved saint." In "The Spirit of St. Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis," editor Alicia Von Stamwitz has collected a quotable collection of Pope Francis' teachings.

Cognizant that the Pope's words have occasionally been taken out of context, Von Stamwitz emphasizes that these quotations "have been selected and arranged with care. They are taken directly from the official Vatican texts of Pope Francis's homilies, speeches, tweets, audiences, prayers, daily meditations, and writings."

The quotations are organized into themes: the love of God, God's forgiveness, God's mercy, prayer, joy, humility, the poor, preaching the Gospel, promoting peace and pardon, and protecting creation. This book is not meant to be read cover to cover, but rather to be opened to a certain section to read a quote or two, and then to reflect upon that quote. It would be a perfect book to have on a nightstand to assist with morning or evening prayer.

Like St. Francis, Pope Francis offers so much food for thought in both his words and his deeds. "The Spirit of Saint Francis" is a wonderful compilation of his most memorable quotes to date.


Friday, April 17, 2015

American Chemical Society Middle School Chemistry

For science this year, the boys (grades 7 and 8) and I used the free lesson plans from The American Chemical Society available at http://www.middleschoolchemistry.com/

Designed for use in a traditional classroom, these lessons were easily adaptable to a homeschool environment. Topics covered include: matter, changes of state, density, periodic table & bonding, water molecule and dissolving, and chemical changes.

This was an incredibly hands-on program which the boys really enjoyed. A few supplies are necessary to buy or borrow, but overall the cost was small for such a quality program. The handful of times I didn't have the materials at my disposal, we simply read through the lessons and watched the accompanying videos. A test bank of questions is also provided so that one can create tests for each chapter with ease.

I highly recommend this program for anyone searching for a chemistry program designed for middle-schoolers.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Shakespeare Saved My Life: Lessons from Behind Bars

I recently read Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Dr. Laura Bates. She tells of her experience teaching Shakespeare in a Maximum Security Prison in Indiana and of one student in particular, Larry Newton, who has been in prison since he was seventeen and will die in prison.



Newton's whole world was changed by being exposed to Shakespeare and has been working from behind bars to help keep other young people going down the same road from following in his footsteps. There are many who argue against educating prisoners such as Larry, but he makes the following case:

"Why should we do good for bad people?" The answer is because 'anything else would be bad.' If we are not doing good for bad people, then we are doing bad for bad people. We should not be working on ways to do bad for isolated populations of people; rather we should work on developing good no matter who is on the receiving end. That is our obligation to society. . .  

We cannot risk not helping. The vast majority of prisoners are going to return home. They are going to be our neighbors and they are going to be around our loved ones. The question really comes down to: what kind of prisoner do you want living next to you? No matter how you feel about the subject, the reality is that these prisoners are indeed coming home, and you do have the power to help shape what kind of neighbor they will be. Why education? Because it is the one science that overwhelmingly works. 



Monday, April 13, 2015

Book Review: Teaching in Your Tiara

Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the rest of Us

by Rebecca Frech
Dallas: Scabbed Knee Press, 2013




Are you thinking about homeschooling? Or are you a seasoned homeschooler who is often asked for information about homeschooling? "Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the Rest of Us" is a great "intro to homeschooling" book.  Unlike some of those idealistic portraits of homeschooling one often comes across, Rebecca Frech, a Catholic mom of seven, presents a very honest, helpful view of homeschooling, seasoned with a generous helping of humor.

Topics include making the decision, getting Dad on board, talking to your family and friends about homeschooling, choosing curricula, homeschooling with different ages, facing high school, special needs, finding a support group, and how to homeschool and still take care of the house and yourself.

As a veteran homeschooler myself, I found myself nodding along as I read. This is the same information I would give anyone considering homeschooling. It is a wonderful resource for anyone thinking about taking that leap into homeschooling.



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Novena to Divine Mercy, Day 9

Today bring to Me souls who have become lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart post painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: "Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will." For them, the last hope of salvation is to flee to My mercy.

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love let those tepid souls, who like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love; and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Fire and ice cannot be joine;
Either the fire dies, or the ice melts.
But by Your mercy, O God, 
You can make up for all that is lacking.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls, who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your Mercy.

(1228-1229 in Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul)

Divine Mercy Chaplet

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Novena to Divine Mercy, Day 8

Today bring to me the meek and humble souls and the souls of little children, and immerse them in My mercy. These souls most closely resemble My Heart. They strengthened Me during My bitter agony. I saw them as earthly Angels, who would keep vigil at My altars. I pour out upon them whole torrents of grace. Only the humble soul is able to receive My grace. I favor humble souls with My confidence. 

Most Merciful Jesus, You yourself have said, "Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart." Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart all meek and humble souls and the souls of little children. These souls send all heaven into ecstasy and they are the heavenly Father's favorites. They are a sweet-smelling bouquet before the throne of God; God himself takes delight in their fragrance. These souls have a permanent abode in Your Most Compassionate Heart, O Jesus, and they unceasingly sing out a hymn of love and mercy.

A truly gentle and humble soul
already here on earth the air of paradise breathes,
And in the fragrance of her humble heart
The Creator Himself delights.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon meek and humble souls, and upon the souls of little children who are enfolded in the abode which is the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls bear the closest resemblance to Your Son. Their fragrance rises from the earth and reaches Your very throne. Father of mercy and of all goodness, I beg You by the love You bear these souls and by the delight You take in them: Bless the whole world, that all souls together may sing out the praises of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen. 

(1220-1223 in Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul)

Divine Mercy Chaplet

1. Begin with the Sign of the Cross, 1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary and The Apostles Creed.
2. Then on the Our Father Beads say the following:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
3. On the 10 Hail Mary Beads say the following:
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
(Repeat step 2 and 3 for all five decades).
4. Conclude with (three times):
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.