Friday, July 31, 2009

Primary Sources Evaluation

I really appreciate Susan Wise Bauer's The Well Trained Mind. I've used and used it. One of the things I like is how many ideas and options she gives for each stage of learning. For middle school, I require my kids to use some primary sources. She gives an easy way to evaluate them.

How it works for us, is that I find (or let them find) a primary source online. Here are a few:
I also have a set of primary sources called the Annals of American History from Encyclopedia Britannica that I got for $15 on e-bay which was recommended by Angelicum Academy.

I've also found this article interesting, but for ease of use you can't beat The Well Trained Mind's evaluation of primary sources. Thank you Susan Wise Bauer!!

Summer fun - finally!

We have one week to pack all our summer fun into. We did school about half-time this summer. I usually like to start school around August 1st. The library is painted (my one project that needed done this summer) -- my husband is WONDERFUL! And we're done with Wildcats. So, we're taking the week off of serious cleaning (just keeping up on normal chores) and that's it. The rest is for whatever we'd like to do. Sunday we had fun with friends in their backyard (kickball that day). Monday we went our cousins' house and it was one of the first swim times all summer. The kids had an absolute BLAST! Unfortunately, I let them get burned to a crisp -- spray sunscreen doesn't seem to work for us. I sprayed the baby twice and thought the kids would be fine -- afterall, they've baked in the sun on the ball field all summer...but I neglected to recognize that they had their shirts on, then. Let alone the water intesifying the sun. I sprayed them once they looked a little red -- too late. They came home like lobsters. Crying kids at night and clothes changing times...poor children. God should have given them a more responsible mom.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quote of the Day

Ds#5 has seen the other kids shouting and raising their hands when we suggest something fun ('Who wants to get icecream?' and each of the kids raise their hands and shout 'Me')
Now, he'll suggest what he wants and respond to himself.
Out. ME!!
and raise his hand so we can see him.


My Prayer Checklist is a FANTASTIC tool too keep track of K-12 memorization items for Religion class. Each year when I choose the 4-6 items we'll memorize as a family, I'm so thankful for such a complete list. (Truth be told we only get to 2-3 of them for the year, but I'm still further along than if I hadn't made the effort or had the chart to know what I was missing.)
I retyped My Prayer Checklist into an excel document so I could put the prayers in a different order (I put all the numerical items in order), but you could just as easily use it as is.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Inspite of (or because of) Ds#3's obvious over-excitement, he won the sportsmanship award, the "mental attitude" award among all the age groups at his Wildcat site. He was encouraging to all the kids and a great sport the whole summer. Dave and I were really proud of him!


Ds#3 is at 3rd base and we teased him all summer long about how he'd have his glove in his hand and jump up and down and wave his hands because he'd get so excited about the possibility of catching the ball!


When I watch this all keep thinking is "Ds#4, get your dirty hands out of your mouth!"

Wildcat Summer

Book Reports

I'm not a big fan of book reports because I don't want kids to dread reading because they know they have a report coming. I also don't want to burden younger grades with too much writing. When I was in school, I thought the format took an exciting book and didn't do it justice (just making it boring).

I do like book reports because when I'm not available to discuss with the kids each book they've read, I'd like them to reflect on it. I also sometimes just need a small writing assignment and it seems to fit in how easy they are to do.

Here are some of my favorite book report ideas:
  • Find a critic's review of the book and write a comparison/contrast from your perspective
  • Compare / contrast yourself with the main character
  • Make a list of 10-15 rules to live by that the main character lives by. Compare this to a list of rules others want him to live by. What is the outcome?
  • Make a test (and answer key) for the book
  • Put yourself in the role of main character. What would have been different?
  • Tell what way this book has added to your life? What have you learned? What have you discovered about yourself or others?
  • Write an alternate ending for the book
  • Do a character sketch (give the moral, emotional, emotional, physical and circumstantial characteristics of one of the people in the book).
  • Explain why you would or would not want to live in a world presented by the author
  • Write a jeopardy game / questions about the book
  • Plan a party with a theme based on the book.
If these aren't enough, do a google search for "creative book report ideas."
I also liked this link.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quote of the Day - 2

I know this is our 2nd quote of the day, but while discussing the last quote of the day...

So, they didn't really fall down, they were having an occasion.


That's what Mama said happens when two people sin. They have an occasion.
Daddy looking at Mama dubiously

She means fornication.

She thought Mama said the sin was for an occasion instead of fornication.

Quote of the Day

The children were watching a show with us that I did not pre-screen. There was one passionate kiss (the extent of the inappropriate content.) The two kissing people, who had been sitting kissing for about 2 seconds, went diagonal and as they were kissing in motion toward a horizontal position went out of sight off the screen. I was blushing inside wondering if I should turn off the TV or discuss it or what when :
Ds#4 as he was laughing hilariously.
Look! The kissed so much they fell unconscious and fell over!

Confirmation Notebook

I took ALOT of ideas from this person - THANK YOU! The notebook will be the paper record that we followed through with the confirmation plans.

  • Baptism Pics of Dd#1's Baptism
  • Essay including sources of Baptism (CCC & New Advent) and abreviated explanations
  • Meaning of Baptism & symbolism from other sources (Scott Hahn's Salvation History)
  • All 3 of the above for the sacrament of Confirmation
  • write and illustrate biography of Maria Goretti, her Confirmation Saint (We've got the movie and we'll work through the study guide)
  • Saint books she's read will need a book report of some kind and I may have her write her own prayer to each saint she studies
  • copywork through the year of quotes & include favorite Saint prayers and novenas
  • Creed - Each phrase will have some life application and explanation with it
  • Ten Commandments - I think I'll have her do creative writing and do a short story of someone who has broken that particular commandment and let her decide how to end each story (repentance & grace or pride & consequences)
  • Gifts and Fruits of the Spirit - each item will have a common fruit (banana) or a wrapped present in a particular shape to write the fruit, it's definition, explanation and application and the day we talk about it we may make a recipe (banana bread).
  • Spiritual & Corporal Works of Mercy - the faith folder from Catholic Lapbooks is available, but I'll most likely give her a coloring page (she still LOVES to color) and let her write about that work on the back.
  • A mini book - a Confirmation Prayer Book - of common Mass and Catholic prayers - she'll most likely do it in calligraphy.
  • She'll do book reports of some fashion (her choice of a list I have) of all the books she is reading
  • Salvation History/History of the Church - I may have her review these (we've done alot of them) and do a timeline and outline of them
Vocation - she'll need to work through the topics in the books we've chosen (Life's Work)
Service Project - just an explanation of what she's done
Confirmand - this will be done after the Confirmation - photos and narrations, a scrapbook of the day
Lest, anyone accuse me of being so organized or smart or be impressed by this list -- please remember I STOLE most of these plans and I've been working on them for 2 years -- quite a bit of time to make a decision or two.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Confirmation Plans

We are well versed on how to prepare for First Communion and First Reconciliation, but now we're venturing into new territory. Dd#1 will be confirmed at the end of this school-year.
Due to my upraising (or lack there of in certain areas) I didn't get confirmed until I was 22 or so. As an adult I chose to make the Catholic Church my permenant home and a nun-friend (who was involved in Campus Ministries) gave me individual classes. I read through the CCC and we discussed the parts I didn't agree with or had problems with. She had a great sense of humor (needed to try and teach a disagreeable person like me) and gave me a wonderful blessing as my confirmation sponsor.

My plans for Dd#1 are not so simple, but hopefully will give her at least as good of a send off into the adult phase of her faith. I'll most likely have her keep a notebook on it. She'll be in CCD, but I haven't been super impressed with how much she's learned when she's gone (we put the kids in during sacrament years - Dave's preference). I got plans from this person and Elizabeth Foss' plans. It sounds like a lot of books, but we already own the items in black and I don't really expect to get through it all. Also, we're really focusing on religion this year and letting science & writing be a side-note rather than a real subject. I'm also just looking for a nice rounded smattering of the following:
Church History
  • We own many of the vision books
  • We're also purchasing several saint movies from Ignatius Press
  • 30 hours of some kind of service outside of our home (this works out to around 1/wk during school)
  • helping clean the church
  • helping clean a house for someone who just had a baby
  • visiting a nursing home, etc.
  • Holy Hours of Eucharistic Adoration
  • "Extra" Mass weekly
  • Solo prayer each evening
  • Stations of the Cross Fridays of Lent (we attempt this every year and fail -- maybe if it's an assignment we'll accomplish it.)
  • Consecration to the Holy Spirit
  • Continue to pray in front of the abortion clinic at least once a month

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Family Catechism

I'm looking into my options for doing religion together as a family next year. This is what I've come up with.

Topics to Cover :

Sacraments / Doctrine - Mass unit study - Sunday Preparation looks AWESOME! and it's free!, St. Patrick's Summer by Marigold Hunt, discuss Q in St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism, Catholic Catechism Board Game, Faith Folders for Catholics

Living the Liturgical Year - we've all discussed this at length with my favorite suggestions being at 4Real Learning forums

Scripture - Coloring pages & narrations from Golden Children's Bible, Life of Christ, Bible History from TAN books : Knecht's Bible History (the slim blue volume) for ~K-3, Schuster's Bible History for 3-6, and the Bible History by Johnson, Hannan, and Sr. Dominica for 7-9 (the first two books have the same illustrations). Middle & High school students just read the Bible.

Saints - Vision books are our favorites for upper elem / middle school and Catholic Mosaic suggestions for youngers.

Apologetics - for the older crowd.

Trying something new - 2009/2010 plans

As I'm planning for next year, I'm considering my options. Although I've always been a Classical homeschooler, I'm sort of taking a break from the classical model and hoping to have a really fun year, while keeping up the academic rigor. (The plan is for Classical highschool for Dd#1, so I'd like to do something different before we dive into that in the coming years.) It's an exploration to see if the model that fits us better is more/less fun than another OR if my expectations that school will always be a joy is not in sync with reality.

We WON'T be studying chronological history. Let me repeat. I'm throwing history out the window for the year. Shocking, isn't it? Instead, we'll be reading literature for fun (and studying audience, author, events from that time period, literary terms & usage, etc. a la TWTM method) My younger kids haven't read Charlotte's Web since we've been so immersed in history and I plan to cover this and other important literary works next year.

We WON'T be studying a year of one branch of science. Instead I'll let the kids choose 9-10 topics that we'll play with by reading library books and finding experiments on and trying to figure out which branch of science that topic would belong in.

Math (MUS), English (LOG for youngers & Seton for olders), Latin (LCII and Henle) will all be pretty standard stuff.

I may take a short break from Dd#1's Traditional Logic (Memoria Press) to do logic puzzles and games with the entire family.

We have 2 sacraments (Dd#1 Confirmation, Ds#4 First Communion) this year and we'll be studying those intensively, but I'm hoping to do religion class together as a family with additional reading on the part of the bigger kids.