Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evaluating ME!

I had the opportunity to attend an amazing hardcore Catholic boot-camp this past weekend, otherwise known as Cursillo!  This movement has done wonders for me and my faith.  You would think that after attending the weekend as a candidate and now after serving three weekends as a team member, it would all be old information for me.  But nope...I'm still learning!  He's truly not finished with me yet!

Being there, in the presence of some of the most holy women and man I know, really caused me to sit back and take a hard look at myself.  I get all the basics of the tripod...piety, study, action.  I've always known where I struggle in those areas.  No new news there, but definitely a reminder to try harder.

Would you be surprised that what ran through my thoughts the most was the world of technology?  I kept returning to it so often that it soon became clear that God was trying to get me to open my eyes.

I found myself remembering a piece of advice someone long ago told me.  They place a sign on their television with the question, "Would you watch this show if Jesus was sitting next to you?"  I'll admit that my husband has constantly pointed out my lack of morals when it comes to picking out my TV viewing.  It drives me crazy.  Probably because in the back of my head I know it's the truth.

So, yesterday I ran through my scheduled DVR program list and deleted a lot of shows.  Such a bittersweet moment!  I know I'm doing the right thing, but goodness it hurt to see that two hours of Grey's Anatomy leave the list of shows needing to be watched.  All forms of the Bachelor also disappeared; the Pad and -Ette!  It was like saying goodbye to a friend that you know only causes you trouble.  How ridiculous do I sound really?  I wish I wasn't serious!

Along with my TV addiction, comes my addiction to Facebook.  I don't spend hours at a time on it, but the five minutes here and there definitely add up to A LOT of wasted time.  Here's the dilemma, I use Facebook for so many necessary things...coupons, homeschooling information, etc.  So, I've spent the last two days unsubscribing from just about everyone's news feed that has no relevance to me.  I'm hoping this will be a balanced solution.

Photo credited to eeekays photography
What hit me the hardest...was a tremendous failure.  A friend, actually she's more like a family member, has been going through some tough stuff in her life lately.  I was there at first and then suddenly I wasn't.  I literally just disappeared when the going got tough for her.  Imagining what she must think of my abandonment is crippling.  There are no excuses to offer; I simply stunk at being a friend for her when she needed me most.  The only step to take now is to apologize and pray that she can one day accept it.

It's hard to look in the mirror; really, really look.  You have to look to see the cracks though.  Without seeing them how can you even begin to start making repairs.  I'm so thankful for the Cursillo weekend for giving me the opportunity to fix what I was trying so hard not to see.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ancient History...a kind-of review

We decided that we would teach history to our children in a chronological format.  The curriculum we ultimately went with was The Story of the World, which originated from The Well-Trained Mind.  So far, I really like the program.  It's set up to do a chapter each week.  They give several different options of how to spread everything out during the week; we chose the four-day approach.  Day one and two we read through the chapter parts and then do narration and illustrations.  Day three we listen to the CD of these same chapters (I highly reccommend the CD!) and complete our map work and coloring pages.  And finally, on day four we read any additional literature I was able to find at the library, OR we do some of the wonderful suggested activities.

I really think this is a great history program for anyone looking into the classical approach of teaching.  My only complaints are where they chose to begin Volume 1.  Being a Christian history book, I expected to find the first chapter filled with Biblical history, i.e. creation, Adam and Eve, etc.  I was disappointed that it wasn't mentioned at all.  I have noticed that in just a couple chapters we will be studying Abraham and Joseph, so there is definitely Biblical history in The Story of the World just nothing on creation.  Also, my particular library carries very few of the suggested additional literature that is recommended.  I am a little apprehensive when it comes to teaching my children a subject that can be very subjective from one single source.  Having additional literature would have alleviated this problem.

For now, we'll stick with The Story of the World for our ancient studies.  I do think we'll switch to Connecting with History next year though.  Of course, I have about 8 months to decide that!  Don't you love how I like to worry about things so far off in the distance.  My husband's (and my mother-in-law's) favorite phrase is, "we'll cross that bridge when we get to it."  I guess I'm more of the, "but we need to know what the bridge is made of, how much weight it will support, and if it will get us to where we want to go," type of person!

In the midst of our Story of the World experience we have discovered fun crafts!  The boys learned about ancient writing recently.  How wonderful to have them actually make their own clay tablets with their names written in cuneiform!  I think it's such an added benefit when we can turn any of our learning into hands-on projects.

September 8th, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mary!!

September 8th is the day Catholics celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  I absolutely loved how their "real school" included special Marian-type snacks and crafts during this day.  It was a must for me to do this in our home school.

This morning it hit me!  A pancake rosary!  It worked out perfect.  I had all the "beads" made well before the boys made it downstairs for breakfast.  We used white chocolate chips as the chains between the "beads."

The boys loved putting our rosary together.  It was a wonderful lesson in the construction of the rosary as well.  They learned how many beads were in a decade and how many decades in a rosary.  And, of course, once it was complete we took the opportunity to pray this beautiful prayer together.  The boys took turns taking one of the "beads" off of the rosary after we finished each prayer.  I think this is the first time they actually paid attention during an entire run through of the rosary...we're generally a decade-a-night family.

We're celebrating even more tomorrow evening with our other sweet homeschooling friends. Happy Birthday, Blessed Virgin Mary!  How thankful we are that you said YES!