Monthly Archives: November 2008

A vision of a homeschooling method

children_readingI’ve been talking with a few homeschool mums and watching Montessori vids on Youtube as well as reading my Charlotte Mason books. Every so often you have to sit back and reassess how you are going about the business of educating your children; what they are getting; what they are missing and what we ought to be doing as a group of parents with different children with different needs.

One of the major themes that has come up in conversation is how we as parents can support each other in the task of educating our children -and what that task entails.

In our little group of four mums, two of us have some experience in home ed, one is just starting out and the other has children too young as yet, but she intends to homeschool. Our children are different ages and have different needs and abilities but we believe we can work together for the common goal of ensuring our children get the best education we can give them.

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Oxford Pro-Life Witness

Oxford Pro-life witness

 Saturday, 29th NovemberWe meet at St Anthony of Padua Church, Headley Way, Oxford.

3pm – 4pm


This is just behind the emtrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital where we witness along the roadside.

We have Exposition for the hour inside the Church, and a short Benediction afterwards.

Prayers led by Fr John Saward, in reparation for all abortions, for unborn babies, their Mothers and Fathers, and all those involved in abortion.

Refreshaments available afterwards in the Church hall.

Car park right outside the Church.

As always I ask that we keep this courageous group of people in your prayers.

I have also received this via email. Those who want the destruction of innocent human beings never stop their campaigns. We must stand strongly against them to protect the vulnerable in our societies

On December 10th, pro-abortion groups will present petitions asking the United Nation’s General Assembly to make abortion a universally recognized human right.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute created an alternate petition drive that calls for government to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting human life from the moment of conception to natural death. They need at least 100,000 signatures by December 10th, the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Please go to the Website:

Christmas gift places I recommend

It’s that time of year when we are trying to budget and sort out the Christmas shopping. The usual guilt trips are marched out to make life confusing and make us feel like terrible Christians if we don’t give our kids a stocking with an orange and a bag of nuts in.

So I fully admit and without shame that yes I do buy from mainstream shops. Woolworths will see my money.

Despite some snide remarks I’ve seen on a rather popular blog on this matter- I will be handing out homemade gifts too. I know some people on my list don’t want that so we try and find them something else.

Homemade stuff this year will include; chutney, strawberry and gooseberry jam, Christmas cake, dark ginger cake, chocolates and biscuits. We are also making mulled fruit juices and ginger beer. I’ve bought a load of really lovely bottles from Lakeland for them.

I’m buying bits and pieces from the Deli where Alex works. These are tough times and they have been good enough to employ my son so I will support them. I also support them because they are local. We’ll get meat from the local butcher and I will order some extra stuff from my milkman. It’s important to help keep people in work at the moment.

For other stuff I highly recommend the following:

Shana’s rosaries are practical and lovely. ST HUBERT’s ROSARIES She will make what you ask for.

Cards and some simple gifts from Aid to the Church In Need. The money goes where they say it will and they have no dodgy political or moral points to make.

We will probably pop in a buy bits and cards from ST MARY’s HOSPICE shops.

Buying from charities can be a minefield. I’ve stopped supporting a lot of them. CAFOD wont get any support from us again this year. I avoid Unicef, Christian Aid and until I am more sure of them Oxfam are off the list too. Too many charities are bending their ethos to get Govt handouts.

What are the rest of you doing?


Rita has suggested PRACTICAL ACTION as another good place to go Christmas shopping this year.

normal service will resume soon


I’m afraid most of us have gone down with the lurgy. So far only Ronan and Al have escaped it.

As seems to be the way with me-I had to have it in a more dramatic form than everyone else. I have to say I had a proud parent moment on Friday.

I was so ill I could barely move-or stay awake. Alex was still unwell and Avila hadn’t started the morning well either.

Al went to work and Iona took care of the little ones. She was marvellous with them. I sent them out with Josh in the afternoon to get an airing and to give Iona a break. She was patient and gentle the whole time.

She went down with it Friday night herself poor kid. She’s reasonably okay today but it was depleted family that went to Mass this morning.

Learning to take care of each other is an important part of life.

Anyway-normal service will resume soon :)

Regina Doman books

When I first pulled Alex and Iona out of school I wanted them to have access to ‘teen’ friendly books that had a Catholic worldview. I have always believed that the foundational way we learn is through stories. it is the way people have learned about who they are and what values their community have, probably from the time of Adam.

REGINA DOMAN has written some lovely books which you can BUY HERE. Iona loves the books and I have read them too. Even Josh has read and enjoyed them-although he thought they were a little bit ‘girlie’.

For the younger children we have read ANGEL IN THE WATERS online. I have added the link under Living Fiction in the side bar.

THANK YOU for the award.

LEIGH of Mommy Memoir has kindly offered me the PRIMIO DARDUS award.  She tells me that Americans don’t tend to use the word “Twaddle” but thinks they should use it more. I am sure dear Charlotte Mason would love to know her friends across the pond knew twaddle when they saw it. LOL.

God bless Leigh and thank you.

Homeschooling and Nursery considerations.

On Tuesday the little nursery Avila attends had been flooded so she stayed home. She doesn’t go Wednesday and Thursday and then on Friday I forgot to send her. I forgot again yesterday and they phoned to see if she was ill! Honestly I can’t believe the things I forget sometimes-but then the three biggies managed to miss the fact she hadn’t gone as well.  I was quite touched that the staff were genuinely concerned in case she had been readmitted to hospital.

Part of the reason I am forgetting to send her is that she is joining in with Ronan’s work more and more. She is beginning to read and while he wrote a letter to his cousin yesterday she was busy practicing letter formation. She does counting and number recognition when he is doing maths and she joins in with catechism and making the big display. She sits with us for story time and even likes to join in with Astronomy sessions or looking at dinosaurs.

With the other home ed families coming over she is joining in with the children in singing and playing. One of the children M is 4 and he and Avila have begun reading the Oxford Reading Tree books together.

What with all that and going off to the chiropractor twice a week I have lost track of Avila going to nursery. She loves it there and has friends so I don’t want to stop her going at this point-but it is something I am wondering whether I should cut down on. Not sure yet. I’ll reconsider after Christmas.

Learning to Read.

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*sigh* Another reason to homeschool

On the front page of the Catholic Herald I discover that the school I pulled my daughter out of-for a 15number of reasons- had invited Ms Claire Short MP anti-Life politician who consistently voted against anything that might save the life of a baby- to some kind of prize giving event. Apparently ‘Ms’ Short was an old pupil there.

After Fr Guy Nichols of the Oratory-a very good and holy priest-and some parents protested, the invitation was withdrawn. Ms Short is very cross believing the withdrawal is ‘rude’.

It is just so sad that when there are so many Catholic women out there trying to follow the teachings of Christ and His Church, that this Catholic School couldn’t find one for it’s prize night.

Love, Lust and Sentimentality

Iona is starting work on what love really is. She watched the first three parts of Jason Evert’s talk in a Catholic High School that is available on YouTube.

If you click on the video you’ll be able to find the rest of the series on YouTube. We have watched up to part 3 now. The series concentrates on the sanctity of marriage and love within marriage. Jason is very good at explaining the huge difference between love and lust and remind the gentlemen of the audience that St Paul told them to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. (Eph 5:25) Having said this Jason gives a very definite description of what the crucifixion consisted of. When Jesus poured Himself out as the Bridegroom, He gave His whole self.

Every human being is made in the Image and Likeness of God and that means in the image of His Love. Real love. Not lust- using another person for our own ends, and not some kind of sloppy sentimentality which so often comes as emotional manipulation.

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Homeschool days


You know you’re a homeschool mum when you walk into the kitchen and find an experiment going on.

Over the last week I think we have managed to get quite a bit done.

Iona has a tape version of Macbeth from her aunt which she has been listening to. We have gone through a couple of scenes together and read the story of Macbeth with some of the history of the real King Macbeth. He was actually a very good king of Scotland.

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For Grandad

We saw Grandad on Saturday and Ronan was going to recite the poem he is learning R.L Stevenson’s ‘Bed In Summer’. However, he was overcome with shyness and never did.

So in the quiet and …. erm…relaxed (??) homeschool day he did this for you Grandad.

Water From the Right Side and Destruction of the Temple

longinusTodays READINGS were pretty powerful-don’t you think?

I remember some time ago listening to someone phone into a Catholic radio programme and ask about the depiction of the crucified Christ. Which side, he wanted to know, should the lance wound be? The answer was that it didn’t matter.  It was one of the few occasions when I have disagreed with the answer given.

Ezekial sees the water flowing from the RIGHT side of the temple. The water is the water of healing-living water- that flows out to the sea and so all the nations are nourished by it. I wonder if Ezekial knew that this wonderful prophecy meant. Did he see the signs that meant the Messiah was coming?

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Premio Dardos Award



Thank you to Marie (View from the Pews) for this award. There are a lot of really good blogs out there.  Many bloggers are like me, ordinary people who are simply saying things in a quiet corner of internet space. A lot of people write with amazing skill and insight. I have met and made some good friends.

Now, I am to pass on this award to 15 people.

1. Leigh of the Mommy Memoir- welcome back!

2. Philip of Pellegrinaggio

3. Sonitus Sanctus

4. Deb at UKOK’s Place -will email soon

5. Sisters for the Gospel of Life for all the work they do.

6. Swiss Miss at St Monica’s Kneeler

7. Karen the Gem of the Ocean- because she loves and is willing to be angry in the face of cold indifference.

8. Therese at her Aussie Coffee Shop who has inspired my header and inspires in other ways too.

9. Kit at Brookside- a good woman and a friend

10. Dies Irae- a smiley blog I have only just discovered

11. Stuart- Tears of a Clown - hope this cheers you a little this dark winter.

12. Rita who fights her way through those Tigerish Waters.

Now I am going to offer the last three places to blogs I have either recently found or have recently re-found.

13. Joyful Catholic

14. Friends with Christ

15. Soul Pockets- which I found thanks to Marie.

Christmas cake recipe

food-n-things-004I have found that if I soak the fruit for about a week I don’t need to feed the cake.

For a 9″ round or 8″ square tin take

3 lbs of dried fruit: go for a mix a bit like this: 13oz raisons, 10 oz sultanas 6oz dried cranberries, 4 oz dried blueberries, 6 oz glace cherries, 6 oz of chopped dates, 3 oz of mixed peel (if you like it). Mix it all around in the bowl and throw in a mans handful of ground almonds.

Add a generous teaspoon of Christmas/Allspice and a teaspoon of mixed spice. Stir it in.

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Conversations with a taxi man

I had to get a taxi to and from the chiropractor on Wednesday. (I am trying to use Ring and Ride but I’m having problems). I had the same driver for both journeys. He is a young man, not long married with a baby daughter he is proud of.

In conversation I told him I had six children and he was surprised. He said white people don’t tend to have many children. He is a Muslim and he told me what he sees as a taxi man picking up fairs. White people are anti-family he thinks. They wont bother to open their lives to children and treat the couple of kids they do have as non-entities. He talked of drunk girls with hardly any clothes on getting into his car. He was horrified by the behaviour of drunk people in town, violent, vomiting and screaming abuse at the police.

He believes white people abandon their children as soon as they get the chance. Refusing to spend time with them or take responsibility for them. This is what he sees.

He and his wife are open to the children God wants to give them.  The anti-life, ME first culture he sees here disgusts him.

If we are going to face Islam head on we need to be more Christian. That means following what Christ acutally wants, what He has taught us through the Tradition handed down by the apotles and writers of Scripture.

The Church has the most beautiful rich culture of Life. We have inherited the teachings of LIFE since the days of the Old Testament (Deut 30:19). St Paul taught against the use of phamakea-which many scholars acknowledge meant not so much magic (there was another word) but the potions used by pagans to contracept.

The Didache begins “There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death; but there is a great difference between the two Ways.”

This is our culture.  Or it was until we gave it up.

It saddens me-and let’s face it; it is a bit scary- that so many Muslims look at us and see a society of hedonism, selfishness and greed. Soft people too wrapped up in themselves…

He is not the only taxi man I have talked to.

The truly Christian teaching on family is far and above better than Islam’s view. Let’s take it back. I know in Africa where Christians are Christian millions of muslims are getting baptised.

I forgot to remember remember …gunpowder, treason and plot.

Whoops! Some homeschool mum I am. I didn’t realise it was the 5th until too late so I forgot all about the Gunpowder Plot. So we have done nothing about it this year. Ah well, it comes round every year and as my ancesters were probably invovled on the periphery of the plot it’s not something the kids don’t know about.

Was Guy Fawkes innocent? It’s hard to say. James I was as guilty as hell of renaging on his promises to Catholics. He might not have murdered as many as “good” Queen Bess, but he made sure the persecution continued.

I wonder really how many Catholics already hardened by persecution; land stolen, inprisonment and family members killed-actually truly believed James Stuart was going to save them?

Faith and Superstition

 I.H.S. I was talking to my sister today and the subject of someone we both know who is supposed to be Catholic but has done some pretty terrible things in his life came up. He is 78 and it would seem it was time he would start swotting for his finals-but there is sadly no sign of this. She believes he is firmly of the opinion that as he has attended Mass every Sunday and often during the week- that this means God hasto let him into heaven. Interestingly she blamed the Church for part of his situation. She thinks not enough is ever said from the pulpit about how to live a Christian life; about a man’s obligation to his family, to his children and how renaging on that is serious, very serious, sin.

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Am I my brother’s keeper?

Bringing our children up to be real brother’s and sisters.

It would seem there is such a thing as a stupid question. Of course Cain was trying to be clever. I often read MERE COMMENTS which I think is Evangelical (but I’m not sure). It’s an excellent blog. The post on being our brother’s keeper points out that Cain was NOT being asked to be a keeper to his brother, but a brother to his brother. The MC articles consider the act of theft Obama thinks is required to take money from those who have earned it and ‘redistribute’ it to those who haven’t. Meanwhile he has a huge amount of personal wealth and has not felt the need to redistribute it towards members of his own family. I have to say I do not think this will do him any favours in the long run. However what Obama does is not the point of this blog.

I am in the process of teaching my children that they are their brother and sister’s keeper or brother or sister. Each of them has a responsibility to the others. Although the (rather strange) culture of today is based on the individualism of Me Myself and I, the way God actually designed things is Family.

As parents it is our right and duty to love our children and educate them. Scripture warns right from the beginning that parents can make a pig’s ear of things by having favourites. Cain was Eve’s favourite. the ‘man’ she had been given who was, it seemed, her hope of the Messiah. Only he wasn’t and when Abel came along she named him “vain breath” as though the whole process of bringing him into the world was pointless. Poor lad!

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Josh has a dream too

Josh started back at work with all the paper work cleared at last. His mission to get back to America and attend FUS is in full swing. Since he returned home things have been difficult for him. While he immediately got his old job back, the forms went AWOL thanks to a member of staff and so he had much longer to wait than expected for the police check to clear. It finally cleared last week. Then the same member of staff sent him on a wild goose chase to head office for training.

All the time he has been waiting and been messed around he has been looking for other jobs-but nothing has been available. Then yesterday he went online and there were THREE jobs he could apply for. So he is doing so. His friend John came over and annonced there is a job going where he does voluntary work and he recommends the place. So Josh can apply for that also!  Cow 

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All Hallows, All Saints and All Souls

The little ones-and the big ones, had a great day yesterday. On Thursday morning while I was at the chiropractor (I’ll post about that soon) Josh got together with Roni and Avila and they made pumpkin lanterns. Meet Little Alien, Avila’s creation and Thomas, Roni’s creation.

Yesterday they dressed up and Batman and a Fairy Princess and Heleyna was the Cuddly Baby-a part she plays well. Another homeschool family came over for lunch bringing their son The Incredible Hulk with them. After lunch the little ‘uns and Iona went back to their house for a little party.

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