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.