Monthly Archives: February 2011

Home Education – a Day in the Life.

Recently I heard a home educating mother of 12 announce that it was important for mothers to be up before the children. I assume her children don’t hear her moving around the house. Here the reality is that if I so much as put my feet on the floor children appear from all corners of their bedroom.

This morning they were up before me (two days without meds has made an umpleasant impact). But I was soon up and making Heleyna’s breakfast. The other two had made their own. Then they went off to play while I did morning prayer, cleaned the kitchen, set the dishwasher and sorted some washing. Then it was time to set the work out. They started work just before 9am today.  This makes for freer afternoons.

By this time two big people had emerged and had their breakfast and gone off to work in their rooms.

I admit we never did do family morning prayer today. I do need to get back on top of this.

Math U See, Mathematical Reasoning, Language arts of various kinds and reading took place, followed by Faith and Life and Bible story (Gideon) and Critical Thinking. Then it was time to cuddle up for a story from history about Rollo the Viking.

Iona made lunch for the  three smaller ones and I put together the dinner and got it in the oven. After lunch we finished off the Astronomy book which has taken a while and looked at a brilliant book Ronan got for his birthday from Iona. It is a pop-up book commemorating the moon landing.

Then it was music time using the keyboard and software recommended on  Seton HS. I have the 7 day free trial via the website which I think I may continue or buy the discs from Seton. It has been a terrible faff to set up but is showing itself to be worth it so far.

Ronan’s Godmother came over to give him a birthday present and to spend some time with him.

Time for story; We are reading The Jungle Book.

Time to get ready for Beavers. Avila was invested tonight and Ronan is moving up to cubs so he has stayed on for that.

Iona took them off to Beavers.

I cleared up – sorted some Jungle book stuff for tomorrow and then it was time to serve dinner for the ones here.

Cleared away and started some writing until Avila was home with her dad. Served them and came a blogged.

Ronan to serve when Josh goes to get him home and Al will be putting the girls to bed. Final clearing and washing sorting and perhaps a bit more writing: I did promise an Easter to Pentecost booklet to follow the Via Dolorosa didn’t I? :)

Then crash on sofa – stare mindlessly at TV and bed. Josh has kindly been out to get my meds so I will have pain relief tonight!  I have come across an HS mother who was up until midnight – let me tell you – I could NEVER do that.

Dr Bernard Nathanson in the palm of His hand.

I know I am a little late on this but I did want to mark the death of Dr Bernard Nathanson a few days ago at the great age of 84.

He was born into a secular Jewish family and grew up atheist. He became one of the founding members of NARAL and set about making his fortune by campaigning for abortion. He lied, exaggerated and won the argument as Roe vs Wade went ahead in favour of allowing the killing of the child before birth. From that we in the UK and America and so many other countries now kill unborn children on a scale that has outdone Communist Stalinist Russia’s death count.

The doctor admitted he was personally responsible for the death of thousands of babies, until one day something happened that shocked him into thought. He saw an ultra-sound where the 12 week fetus was actively trying to avoid the needle that was coming at him. The child opened it’s mouth in horror and from there the famous and disturbing video The Silent Scream went viral.

Nathanson left NARAL and went in search of the truth. He became had already realised that killing people, however young is terribly wrong and joined the pro-life movement. He became Catholic as did the mother of the aborted child of the Roe vs Wade debacle who herself had converted. [I've written about Norma Mc Corvey before].

Dr Nathanson’s death comes at the time when an ex-Planned Parenthood employee has also found God and has joined the Pro-Life Movement and the Church. Abby Johnson is a brave woman, standing up and announcing the lies that she was told and told mothers about their unborn children; it’s only cells, not a real person etc. etc.

America is showing good signs of turning the tide from this massively lucrative industry; we still have a long, long way to go here in Britain.

I knew a young mother who was told to abort her baby as he wouldn’t live anyway. When she refused she was heavily pressured to accept the offer. Thanks to support she stood firm and her son was born and lived for 20 minutes so she and her son’s father held him as did the grandparents before he died. That special and terribly important time with her son would have been taken from her if she had given in.

We pray for Dr Nathanson and may he be praying hard for all those mothers –  especially those for whom abortion isn’t a choice because it is forced on them. And remember, the fact that medics assume no one will disagree with them means there is far less care and support for families who do go ahead with a pregnancy against the medics view. Please don’t ever be tempted to judge those families; it’s a frightening situation.

Being pro-life is a difficult and for some dangerous business. There are even people who dare to call themselves Christian who have no problem in supporting abortion.

We offered more than once to take on a baby but were refused. Nevertheless I know there are good people praying and fighting both here and in heaven.

HERE is an article from someone who knew Dr Nathanson.

Home education and family: Free booklet and lesson for Lent.

click pic for link

Lent is fast approaching (Ash Wednesday 9th March) so I have written this booklet as a study and lapbook pack. [click on the picture to go to link]. It’s available at That Resource Site and on my page there.

There are 72 pages with blank sheets so you can print the whole thing back to back. [If you prefer to only print the lapbook pages that should work fine too].

click pic for link

Via Dolorosa means road of sorrows and I decided to begin with the importance of Mary’s Fiat at the Annunciation and move onto the sorrowful mysteries from the Seven Sorrows chaplet and then through to Holy Week which I have written up one day at a time. Hope you find it useful.

I have also done a Little Lesson for children to learn the Our Father in Latin.

I have coloured the cards to help visual learners.

I note that K has placed it under Montessori catagory and actually I think that’s about right. It does have that sort of method, so it should suit kinesetic learners too. Have fun.

Ronan is 8.

Yesterday was Ronan’s 8th birthday. He got the Batman cake of his dreams (gluten free so Avila could have some too) curtesy of Iona.

He had a good day despite the fact that the car decided not to start so we couldn’t go to a friend’s field for an adventurous day. Dad took them to the park instead.

Got the battery charged overnight so today we went to Think Tank. It was so crowded – I am thankful we HE because we have never been there when it’s like that; holiday season is so short everyone must have arrived at once.

Came home to lego and mechano – what more can a boy ask for?

Home education as pro-creation.

As I read through Charlotte Mason’s lectures, I am a little saddened that her bright optimism over natural law and it’s effect on human nature back in 1895 is replaced by a more somber and less effusive view by the time she has finished her writings around the 1920s, as Britain never recovers from the First World War.

She speaks with admirable charity of how all families, whether Christ centred or agnostic can (and at this point in her writing she believes will) conform their consciences and habits with natural law. I wonder if, at this point, she has natural law a little confused by the laws of nature and therefore forms the opinion that it is a law of nature that human families will grow in good sense and love.

By the time she is writing Ourselves (pub 1904) she has already moved somewhat from this position. Ourselves is a book that is very obviously inspired by St Teresa of Avila’s writings on the mansions of the Interior Castle. This gives a more robust and realistic view of the hard work entailed in forming a good person.

In the lectures, Miss Mason talks of the Christocentric family in some fascinating ways, beginning with an exegesis on Christ’s words in Scripture about children and how they should be loved. She then makes a very important warning:

Now, believing parents have no right to lay up this crucial difficulty in their children. They have no right, for instance to pray that their children may be truthful, diligent, upright, and at the same time neglect to acquaint themselves with those principles of moral science, the observance of which will guide into truthfulness, diligence and uprightness of character.

In other words, God isn’t there to bring our children up for us; we are endowed with the authority to do that work WITH Him – that is we pro-create our children where pro means jointly.

I think it is fair to say (I can’t be the only one to have seen this) that while there are some parents who have no faith who believe that their children are naturally good and will simply grow up if left to their own devices; so there are Christian parents who think they need not form their children’s habits as it’s up to God to make them good. This seems to me to be why some apparently very holy people have such horribly behaved children.

I suspect things are more difficult for parents now than when Miss Mason spoke to those mothers in Bradford, for a number of reasons. From the Christology point of view, Jesus has been made into a cuddly, softie who would never dream of making a whip and throwing people out of the temple. He isn’t going to discipline or punish us – so we, copy that and refuse to discipline our children.

I am too old and too grumpy these days to care what other people think, so I am quite happy to put my children on the naughty step or make them minutely study the front door if they need to – regardless of who is around. I do remember feeling very embarassed and horrible the first couple of times I decided to go ahead with this. But what I have found is that other mothers are more willing to do the same.

As one mum said to her friend over having to put her son by my front door one day. “Oh no, I wasn’t embarrassed; it was Shell’s house.” LOL

I have become relaxed at removing privileges as well; no chocolate snacks or fun toys to play with – or whatever privilege has been removed.  I know that I am not always consistant and sometimes tend to shout rather than do but, you see, that is where God comes in. He makes up for my lack, but I don’t expect Him to do it all while I sit back and chill.

One day I am going to have to answer to Him for how I did my mothering (and wifeing), and while Dr Ray advices “Don’t take credit when they are good, then you wont take the blame when they are bad” – which has truth to it, I know that however they turn out, I have to try and form them and their consciences to give them the best chance of turning out right.

Of course this side of education has no tick box, but I have come across some American Christian curriculum that includes forming manners, kindness, honesty and diligence in the children. 

 If we love them we will form them or else those who don’t love them will do it in a far more painful way.

Charlotte Mason says…

Charlotte Mason went to Bradford to give some lectures.  I am reading those lectures. I have to say, so far, there is hardly a wasted word. She makes a statement that many HE parents have made that there can not be a one size fits all approach to education.

In hardly two households would the same plans be practicable; but every mother may stike out a course for herself, including what seems to her “the best” as her circumstances admit of: “What else am I for?” said a wise mother with reference to her duties in the education of her children.

She also has something to say about the business of handing children over to strangers for care and education. (This is something John Taylor Gatto speaks against too)

[You] must see the folly and wickedness of leaving children to the care of ignorant servants and vulgar companions at a period when impressions are most indeliable – a period when as we know, the germs of the future character are inherited.

So much of what she said and wrote (and Maria Montessori) is echoed by Gatto and others who point at the shockingly awful results of institutionalised child care and education. How slow we are to listen.

That Resource Site, major revamp – go and see.

My friends over at That Resource Site have been working very hard on revamping their website. I think the dad is the computer savvy one and K the mum makes so many resources.

Click on the picture and visit their site

As a family they are trying to give back a little and to reach . out to those who might want a helping hand with lessons and worksheets.

I want to do the same thing and that’s why I joined them. They have a tab for “FRIENDS”. If you could offer something why not become a friend and offer your free worksheets or ideas. They don’t have to be elaborate; one of mine are only one page.

K tries to ensure new sheets are added on a weekly basis. They are well presented and colourful so that children will find them neat and attractive.

Go and look.

Home Education Out and About.

We set off for the Home Ed group at the library. Met up with a lot of parents and children, drank tea, chatted and the children read books to each other and made pictures with the craft stuff one of the mums had bvrought.

The group attracts a lot of families just starting out, and many of them have removed children from school.  There’s something a little disturbing about the stories mums and dads recount about why they had to remove their child from school; and that is, they are the same story – different child, differnt age, different school, different learning – the story of nastiness and stonewalling  and refusal to guarentee children are safe is the same story. It is surely the banality of evil.

These stories mingled with talk about “The Meeting” that most of us can’t or have very good reason not to attend.  How can the LA talk about monitoring us, and checking up om the standard of education and safety of our children, when they are so patently incapable of providing that to the children that have been handed over to them? It’s a mystery.

Off to the Museum and Art Gallery afterwards. Got permission to eat our packed lunch at the school tables; although apparently they are only for schools and must be booked in advance. Still, they let us when I asked.

 Lots of beautiful things to explore, touch and look at.  I liked the fact that some of the pottery was in plastic boxes the children could put their hands through and feel.

On the way home Heleyna said she had enjoyed her day. Her favourite part of it all?…eating lunch!

On St Val’s I must talk about my deep love…of books.

You may well be shaking your head at such an unromantic subject for St Valentine’s day, as a bibliophile. But you see as much as that Bishop and martyr St Val may have the caught the hearts of many, there is a chunk of my heart left for the brothers whose feast day happens to be today as well.

Saints Cyril and Methodius, don’t tend to get much attention on this day of pink fluffiness., so I would like to give them a bit of attention.

They were brothers from a wealthy and politically quite powerful family. Both boys gave it all up to enter a monastery and they both received Ordination.

It was not an easy time for the Church, with many of those in power in Europe showing themselves to be unworthy of the authority they held. Pope Nicholas died and an elderly bishop was elected to replace him. Adrian II was in his seventies when the Cardinals elected him against his will.

The  Fourth Council of Constantinople was called and held in the beautiful Church of Hagia Sophia to deal with some of those problems.

Despite all this there were still good and holy men who wanted to know God and hear His word. The slavic people had received Germanic missionaries into their land but as the missionaries only spoke German the endevour had not gone very well.

A message was sent asking for priests who could or would speak the Slavic languages and as the brother priests Cyril and Methodius did, they readily agreed to go to work.

Pope Adrain made Methodius a bishop and tried to ensure his idependance but the German prince and bishops still managed to have Methodius put in prison. When he was released 3 yrs later (thanks to Pope John VIII) he and his brother returned to their mission.

They worked on a sctipt so that the slavic language could be written down. The people got the Liturgy in their own language; even though the German bishops protested about this.

They created the Glagolithic alphabet from the Greek alphabet they would already have  been very familiar with. As with the Greek and Hebrew alphabet some of the letters were signficant symbols for the faith and life.

With this alphabet books, stories, all learning could be shared in a different way, besides the great oral traditions. 

And love letters could be writtenValentine rain hearts


Josh puts his foot in it (well under it)

It is quite important for father ans sons to have their male bonding times. This usually involves going to the gym or other such activities.

One fine winter evening Josh and his dad discussed their great plan to jointly invest in a two man saw.  This fine piece of man-bonding kit is still made in Sheffield. Very nice.

We have a lot of logs that need cutting down to size and so on Saturday afternoon the men went outside to deal with them.

Now, we all have a laugh about ‘Elf’n’Safety but ignore that Elf at your peril. So, somehow those steel toe cap boots were left to sit  in the cupboard and a great big log refused to sit properly on the saw horse and …

Josh’s toe is broken; shattered in fact, in three places. He is now on crutches and I have offered him a race. :) He had to return to hospital this morning to the fracture clinic but there’s not a lot they can do, other than strap one toe to another.

The poor lad has received giggling sympathy from family, friends, workmates and girlfriend.

So then you have been warned.

A Frugal Friday Freebie: A slice of Gatto and some other resources.

If you are getting ready for St. Valentine’s day you might want to have a look at a St Val resource put together at That Resource Site.

I found this set of free audio that has a treasure trove of Gatto talks done all over the place. (There’s also the Ken Robinson Audio  about the destruction of creativity in schools). Now, I have to admit I have been very cautious about whether I was a “fan” of Gatto or not. He is well-loved in home education and homeschooling circles, but I have discovered one or two heroes of home ed are not that heroic when you get to listen to or read what they actually have to say.

Teacher of the Year one more than one occation.

I haven’t listened to all these Audio files yet, but so far I am truly impressed. He speaks as someone who really has learned some history. I was particularly pleased to hear him speak with complete accuracy on Calvin and Darwin.

One of the ways I discern whether I can trust someone on what they say about stuff I don’t know about, is how they handle the stuff I do know about. Gatto is a massive breath of fresh air, not only because he does know history but because he is quite happy to speak about things that are cultural no nos.  I love his courage and strength of character.

The other free audio I have found is HOMESCHOOL AUDIO. I haven’t listened to all of them but I do really recommend the last one about DARE. I was surprised to hear Dr William Coulson whom I wrote about three years ago. He worked with Rogers and Maslow and brought about the damaging and frankly ludicrous “how does it feel for you?” revolution. I first came across Dr Coulson when I heard his Mea Culpa on his role in the therapeutic nightmare of Rogarian Therapy. As it happens Rogers and Maslow both repented of their deeds; which is good, but I am saddened that despite this, in far too many places the damage continues to be done.

Plenty to listen to there. I wonder how many people who still think school is the way to educate children would bother to hear what Gatto and Coulson have to say. In the book I’m reading at the moment Socrates Meets Jesus there is a moment where Socrates is discussing the question of being open minded. He asks how someone can decide to be open or closed minded about a subject without having first listened to the arguments on the subject. It’s a good question. If  we don’t hear the reasons for and against schools and compulsory education, how will we know which is true? And let’s be sure about one thing the truth of this matter is vitally important because it effects the lives of every single child and family living under this system.

Toddle-bonce Wednesday ( or Preschool Home Education)

On Wednesdays another family joins us for the day. The children are aged 4 and under so they are not that interested in what could be called “formal” education. But they do enjoy having lesson time together.

We do two short sessions with the little ones and the rest of the time is playtime. Ronan and Avila get a more-or-less free day. They tend to read to the little ones and help the out, so they aren’t kept out of the group. It’s a bit of a role change for Heleyna as she is usually the one ‘joining in’ with lessons as best she can while they are really aimed ar the older ones. On a Wednesday the lessons are for her and her friends and the older two are the ‘joining in’ children.

Geography  They do a very short worksheet about the world or how to read a map using picture maps, so that they understand the concept of looking at things from above. There will be a few lessons of map symbols later on. It’s very basic: we started with a print of the 1oo Acre Wood from Winnie the Pooh and they found various things on it.

Then I have a print out of the world which we use with an old children’s Atlas I’ve had since the big ones were little.  We find a country and tell a story. Last week we found Japan and America which lead to me reading them Grandfather’s Journey. This week we found China and had a look at the Yangtze River. This was followed by The Story of Ping.  I have other books for other countries and my friend has soon too.

Music happens after lunch. I use some of the printouts from Kinderbach, but not the lessons. We sing a nursery rhyme and learn how to clap it and then the children have notes to srick down to match the clapping. There’s a colour sheet for the nursery rhymne which they can colour in, or not as they like.

That’s it. Simples (as a Meerkat might say).

Josephine Bakhita seeking and finding

Sister Guiseppina Margarita Bakhita spent forty-five years of her life as the porteress for the Canossian sisters in a little convent in Italy. The chair and little place she sat to open the door for all those seeking is still there today. It seems very fitting that she spent so many years opening doors as she had spent the first years of her life seeking the door to God. Jesus, of course promised that all those who seek will find, and so she did.

She was born in Darfur in the Sudan, but, as is still the case, the rulers were slavers and one day the slavers came to her village and violently captured her and took her away from her family.

She was a little child and now she was plunged into a world of torture and misuse and her owners treated her with contempt. One of her owners beat her so badly she nearly died, then she was sold on. A Turkish General bought her for his wife. By this point the girl, who had no memory of the name her parents had given her, had been named Bakhita, which means “fortunate one,”  The General’s wife had the 13 yr old girl  tattooed that is a woman came and cut the little girl 114 times, rubbing flour and salt into each cut to make the scar as pronounced as possible. Her body was covered, only her face was left.

Despite the sheer horror of her life Bakhita continued to seek and hope that somewhere she would find truth, meaning and the God of these things. Her prayers were heard and she was bought by the Italian consul Callisto Legnani. His plan was to have her freed, but war was brewing as the Arab factions struggled over who was to take over Sudan. Legnani and all the Italians had to leave Africa quickly,  so he handed Bakhita over to a friend whose Orthodox wife was expecting a baby. When the baby girl was born they named her Minima and Bakhita became her nurse,

Finally the family were able to leave Africa and taking Bakhita with them they arrived in Italy. Minima was now old enough for school, and her parents had to leave and travel for business. Minnima was to be taken into the care of the Canossian sisters, and Bakhita was to go with her.

Here, at last the young woman found what she had been seeking all her life. She was astonished to see a crucifix and asked the sisters who the man was. They told her all about Jesus and Bakhita realised with joy, that she had found Him. She asked to be baptised and took the name Josephine, or in Italian Guiseppina.

When Minima’s parents returned to Italy the mother wanted both her daughter and Josephine back, but by now Josephine wanted to enter religious life.

Sadly, as the wife could not accept that the young woman had a right to decide her own life, the situation was taken to court. Keeping slaves was not allowed in Italian law and so finally Josephine was given her freedom and she went back to the Canossian sisters and asked to be admitted to their order.

So it was that she became Sister Guiseppina Margarita Bakhita and considered herself very fortunate after all. Her health had suffered because of all the tortures she had suffered as a slave, so she was given the role as porteress. She had a lot to do with all the local children who named her “la nostra madre moretta” which means “Our little brown mother.”

Josephine forgave those who had owned and tormented her. She forgave them even though the results of their treatment was her ill health.

She lived through the wars that rocked the world,  and must have been deeply wounded to see her adopted country taken by Mussolini to support National Socialism, Hitler and the terrible war.

On 8th February 1947 God called His daughter home.

She lies before the altar in a glass coffin as she is one of the incorrupt saints.

Ven Pope John Paul the Great canonised her on 1st October 2000 and she has been adopted as the Patron saint of Sudan.

Quote from Maria Montessori

I have been dipping into The Montessori Method by Dr Maria Montessori and I found this quote:

The principle of slavery still pervades pedagogy, and therefore the same principle invades the school. I need only give one proof – the stationary desks and chairs. Here we have, for example, a striking evidence of the errors of the early materialistic scientific pedagogy, which, with mistaken zeal and energy, carried the barren stones of science to the rebuilding of the crumbling walls of the school.”

This is not, obviously, an attack on science in it’s proper form, but on materialistic scientism that reduces a child to some sort of machine and denies him his personhood, which is his by nature and therefore by right.

This denial of the personhood of the child is what Charlotte Mason worked against in her phiosophy. The wisdom of Mason and Montessori have been ignored and the cogs in the machine type pedagogy remains.  Throwing more money at a broken system built of the sand of denying the nature of the person will not mend anything.

Home Education and working children.

The idea of children working in any way other than by sitting in school strikes a cord of Dickensian moral outrage at child labour. But in normal family life, most of us recognise that children taking part in the everyday chores that keep the home ticking over, is a necessity. It’s not just that the parents in the house want the help (although we do) it is part of children learning to manage every day life and recognising they live in a family, not a hotel.

One of the things that has changed over time is our view of what a “child” is and what an “adult” is and what should be expected of each. Our strange modern culture doesn’t seem to know what to do with children. So while five year olds are to be subjected to “sex education,” twenty year olds (and older) have no idea how to cook good food, what good food is, how to manage a budget or what it means to clean a toilet.

Now, obviously I am not advocating going back to the days of putting children down mines, or into mills and sweatshops. That is no way to treat children (it’s no way to treat anyone).  But why have we gone so far in the opposite  direction, to the point where many teenaged youngsters have no idea what end of a vacuum cleaner is what and have never worn rubber gloves?

I am reading “See I Told Me So,” the free book download I mentioned last week. it’s a fascinating set of stories from veteran homeschoolers. One story from a mother who uses a wheelchair and antother (I’m reading now) from a mother who nursed her own mother as she died of cancer and then was diagnosed with MS. She has managed to continue to have her children home, and did not cave and send them to school. Part of the reason she has managed is because her family are so close knit and because her children had learned to be capable. So capable that she was able to take two children with her to live with her mother (900 miles away) leaving her husband and two other young children in the care of her 15 yr old daughter. Was it easy? No, of course not, but the girls had grown up in a home environment where  they had learned what I suppose should be called “housekeeping” and how to give of themselves within a loving, God centred home.

I have come across young people (usually girls) who were the primary carer for the family, thanks to serious illness or the death of one parent (usually the mother) and the work committments or just absense of the other parent (usually the father). It was not always good for the carer, but often it did allow them to be adults and very capable ones. Instead of the professional pity that was heaped on these young adults, they were deserving of great respect.

My own children have had to deal with some pretty difficult situtions and my dd says she believes it has made her a better person. On one occasion, they had been in the difficult situation of having to call an ambulance for me and take charge of the younger ones. Later that day they came up to the hospital to vist. I was in a room shared with another lady. Duringt he visit we had talked about the plans for what would happen while I was stuck in hospital. This included completing the marmalade making, organise food and see to their learning.

When they had left the lady in the bed opposite confessed that she had overheard the conversation and she was astonished that two teenagers could be so easliy trusted to do all that we had discussed. She had two step children of similar ages who couldn’t boil and egg and would never be able to take over the running of the hosue while she was in hospital. In fact, as she was, it was a very difficult situation, requiring outside help.

Children need to be able to learn from what life throws at them. Constantly hiding them away  from reality (in school usually) is denying them a substantial aspect of life skills and coping strategies.  I always laugh when I see those comments about how home education is “sheltering children from real life,” LOL! It’s school that does that- and the results can be very damaging indeed.

Frugal Friday Freebies

There are days when I want to hear someone talking about the stuff of my life. Unfornunately I ama bit weird, so not many radio shows or online shows have much to say to me about my life. I do like to listen to Dr Ray when I’m cleaning or sorting the washing, but the biggest chunk of my life is about home educating and so it was good to find some podcasts and MP3s on that sbject.

HOMESCHOOL.COM has a lot of podcasts for Christian homeschoolers. I have listened to a couple and they are ok. There are some great pionters for those just starting out and some I haven’t heard yet that look aimed at the old’uns like me :)

There are some great workshops from Dayton Catholic HS Conference 2010

If you are going to listen to Regina Doman’s “No Matter What Happens, Blessed be His Name,” have tissues on hand. Even though I am sure most of us already know her story, it is heartbreaking hearing her speak so bravely and positively about it. She offers excellent advice on how to cope and support others when tragedy happens.

Her workshop with teens is well worth listening to. I’m going to get Iona to hear it too as it will be very useful to her.

There’s more good Dayton MP3s HERE  . So you have plenty to keep your home education life happy.

Check out my friend Kalei’s new blogsite with recipes for busy homeschool families. If you have some recipes, why not send them to her for the blog. You can catch the latest recipes on the right sidebar of her Resource blog.

She has also posted my latest Little Lesson, to continue my forensic science history theme. This one is on the history of Facial Reconstruction.  Hope you like it.

I am reading the children Edith Nesbit’s “Five Children and It” which I have downloaded as a pdf.  My lot are really enjoying this.

A Mystery of joy and sorrow.

I remember being told in great detail during my studies for the MA that mystery comes from the word mysterion (or something like that) and means “veiled” or something similar. I can’t remember the whole thing.

Today is the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. It’s an interesting little insight in Jewish Law of Torah and Mizvah. From our standpoint the laws seem very strange indeed, and as much of it is in the priestly book of Leviticus they cannot be so easily explained as the Mosaic second law of Deuteronomy which he had to write to as the people just couldn’t keep the Law without some extra help.

So in accordance with Lev 12:4 Mary had stayed separated for forty days. (For a girl it was 80). On the 8th day Jesus had been circumsised into the Law and now on the 40th day she and Joseph went to the Temple to obey the rest of Lev 12 which demanded a ransom to redeem the first born son.

God of course has a sense of humour. The only other thing that could have it’s first born redeemed was a donkey. Yes, God is telling us what we are :)

The veiled moment in the Temple is that while Mary completes all that the Law requires for sinners, she has no sin. She presents her Son for redemoption but He is the Redeemer. Luke tells us that Anna of the tribe of Ashur was there. Scott Hahn points to the significance of this. Remember that at the time of Christ Israel is scattered. Judea is land to the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and the Levitical priests, but the rest of the tribes are outside of this. The prophecy of the Messiah is that He will restore Israel, so Anna’s presence is a veiled reference to this.

When you say the rosary this even is a Joyful Mystery (the 4th) and we tend to contemplate on the wonder of the arrival of a beautiful baby and all that He means to us and what joy He brought to those around him.

But when you say the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows it is the first Mystery you contemplate, for Simeon speaks to Mary and says “And a sword shall pierce your soul also…” Mary will share in her Son’s Passion. Can you imagine a greater pain than watching your child being tortored to death? Like the mother in Maccabees Mary will stand firm in her love and faith,she will take up her cross as her Son demands and she will suffer greatly.

It makes our crosses seem a little lighter doesn’t it?