Catholic Family Vignettes

A collage of literary snapshots from the life of a large traditional Catholic family


February 17, 2008

Our prayer board…

A few friends have asked that I post about our “prayer board”…

On Ash Wednesday each family member submitted five names for our prayer jar. These names are written on red hearts and placed in the jar. Each night the family gathers to pray the rosary. One of the children draws a heart from the jar. Blessed candles are lit, the statue of the Blessed Virgin is placed on a low table and the heart containing the name of the person or family we are praying for is placed at the feet of Our Lady. We pray the rosary for that person or family and try to email or call to let them know that we are praying for them. The names are then tacked onto our prayer board and surround the image of Our Lord upon the Cross. We continue to add hearts to the jar, as the need arises and on some days we draw more than one heart.

The children enjoy this devotion greatly and the families and individuals that have received the gift of prayer are so very touched.

The week in pictures…

Here’s a peek at our week:

Monday: the most amazing sunrise I’ve ever seen. A beam of pure, pink light shooting straight to the heavens

Tuesday: Charlotte has titled this picture Jesus is Love…how appropriate!

Wednesday: A breath of spring! My seeds are here!

Thursday: We had a brief post on our Valentine’s feast…here’s Clementine and Charlotte spreading a little love:

Friday: Ahhh…No Knead Bread…you should give it a try!

That’s the week in pictures!

Digging out of a rut…

The winter “blahs”…

Apparently, I’m not the only one suffering from them! So many of my homeschooling friends seem to be “stuck”. Lacking inspiration. Struggling with feelings of inadequacy.

I’ve been there, sisters…many times. I’ve been digging out my rut for the past week.

The unfortunate tendency of mine during these “down times” is to scale back… to do less. We call it “core”; a nice way of saying “just the essentials, please!” In my experience, it only seems to exacerbate the problem. Feelings of guilt over not doing enough, frustration over merely “doing” school and not “living” it, abound. And boredom, boredom, boredom!

It seems that the moment that I’m most ready to throw in the towel, it becomes increasingly obvious that I’m being called to take up the cross and persevere.

So…I’m in evaluation mode. As a classical home educator, I’m constantly searching for the best “Multum non multa” (much not many) approach. I’ve used packaged curricula, but none have ever seemed to fit well for my large family and teaching style. Our current program consists of whatever product best suits the subject being taught with Latin and Religion forming the base upon which the entire “house” is built. I’m constantly seeking the best of the best, questioning others on the efficacy of a particular text book and listening to both experienced and novice home educators. Believe it or not, in spite of the fact that our homeschool boasts three graduates (two from our homeschool and one who went to public school her senior year) and all three have made it to college, I agonize as much as any novice over whether or not I’m up to the challenge of home education.

I prefer “flying by the seat of my pants”, adhering to (as much as this home educator is capable) the principles set forth by Dorothy Sayers’ excellent essay The Lost Tools of Learning. The following quote aptly summarizes the desire of most of the home educators with whom I am acquainted:

What use is it to pile task on task and prolong the days of labor, if at the close the chief object is left unattained? It is not the fault of the teachers–they work only too hard already. The combined folly of a civilization that has forgotten its own roots is forcing them to shore up the tottering weight of an educational structure that is built upon sand. They are doing for their pupils the work which the pupils themselves ought to do. For the sole true end of education is simply this: to teach men how to learn for themselves; and whatever instruction fails to do this is effort spent in vain.

What a terrific reminder!

So…having decided to persevere in the face of the “blahs”, I’ve happened upon a real gem…one I’ve been meaning to read for sometime. The Latin Centered Curriculum by Andrew Campbell has truly helped this classical home educator get back on track. Too many distractions, too many diversions from our primary goal has dimmed the original vision, indeed the mission of this homeschool. Time to get back on track…

My point: whether you’re a classical home educator, Thomistic/scholastic, Charlotte Mason, Montessori, unschooler–whatever–if you’re in a rut, dig out! Find inspiration. Remember why you’re doing this. And don’t just “do school”. Live it.

Nothing succeeds like success!

Happy Birthday, Gareth!

Today Gareth is eight years old!

Happy Birthday, my dear young man! What a blessing he has been to his family.

So many fears during the months before his birth…a mom on bed rest for three months, a possible brain anomaly, steroid injections to prepare for early delivery, born five weeks early.

Gareth is so very full of life in every way! An absolute clown and performer, hot tempered and full of fun.

We love you, buddy! May God grant us many more years with you!

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