Monthly Archives: July 2011

In which we had two and half weeks without the internet.

Yesterday a friend came over with her children and we talked about life during the hols, when we get to do other stuff rather than run ourselves ragged with the formal learning side of things.

When I said we had spent the whole two and half weeks without internet, she sighed and said, “Bliss!”

And do you know what? She was right.

As it happens I love the internet. I think it’s an incredible tool and can offer huge opportunities for learning, reading and even making very good friends. But there was something “extra” about being semi-techless for that time. We had no proper phone signal for the two weeks we were in St. Ninian’s place, which was no problem to most of us – but once the girlfriend had to go home, the second week of Signal searching for the sake of love, was hard on Josh (although strangely there was a way of sitting in one chair upstairs in such a position that he was able to phone the Beloved LOL).

As we were on holiday and all together as a family, we had lots of time to do other things: time on the beach, exploring forests, rivers and streams and mooching around villages.

There was also a lot of time for us all to read. This was enhanced by visits to Wigtown where books are a-plenty.

So, am I going to say that all that time without internet connection was good? Well, yes it was. Nevertheless, I am not saying that being without the internet is good over all. I didn’t get much writing done because I had nowhere to check facts. My husband thinks this was good as I was supposed to be resting – he points out.

It was lovely to have everyone sitting around reading. I had preloaded the Kindle with all sorts of goodies, including a lot of audio for my “kitchen time”.

I had “The K Handshape” by Maureen Jennings as beach reading. I didn’t much like it I’m afraid. She is the writer of the Murdoch Mysteries – a TV series on Alibi which is pretty reasonable. I was disappointed by the banal two dimensional stereotypes of the characters. I had bought it because it purported to have an insight into Deaf culture. It had some basic insights, but nothing you could get your teeth into. The root of the story about a Deaf woman who had deliberately conceived a Deaf child could have been fascinating – but wasn’t explored. There was no ethical consideration – just that she had done it and received some (of the usual kind in stories) hate mail. BORING!

Far more interesting and with more complicated characters was the book by Robert Hugh Benson “By What Authority?” Benson himself felt the book was over emotional and that he had put some cultural thoughts into his characters that where more Victorian than truly Elizabethan. He had written it, he says, around the time of his own conversion, which explains some of the colour.

We get another look at St Edmund Campion who also appears in Benson’s more famous book “Come Rack! Come Rope!”

The love story has some surprising twists in it and the history is well researched and told plainly. I wish he had said more about the uprising in the north, which apparently happened after some promises to the Catholic community up there were reneged on – but it was not part of this tale.

The other short book I read was The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne of all people. I didn’t know until I came across this book on Many Books that he had ever written for adults, let alone a murder story. However, there is a definite ‘Winnie-the-Pooh” humming moment to make you smile. Good little story.

Audio wise I listened to Heretics by G.K.Chesterton and began listening to the Catholic Lab podcasts which are packed with fascinating information. The disadvantage of no internet was being unable to check out the links Mr. Maxwell offers with each podcast.  I really do recommend these podcasts for your teens or even younger ones (except the TOB ones of course).

Now that we are back and have the internet again I am going to try and ensure that it doesn’t eat into reading time. Term will start all too soon and I know my chances of reading much then will be greatly reduced – so now is the time.

One other thing that may seem minor – but is pretty major to me – is that I have returned from this holiday feeling pretty well. Last year’s holiday of one week was so exhausting I ended up with a severe flair and a visit to A&E – not something any of us wanted to have happen again. Reading is good for flare avoidance as well as for the soul 🙂

Thank you for the freebies and timesaving award.

Over the years of home educating I have been able to save so much time and money thanks to the number of families who work so hard and offer free reseouces to other people.

So, as we are back from holiday and heading back towards term I thought I would offer an Award to a few folks who have been so useful to our family in the freebies they have offered.

Use the award and pass it on to whomever you know you offers freebies.

I offer this thank you award to

Kalei at That Resource Site

To those who run the Homeschool Freebie site

and to those who run the astonishing useful Heritage History Site

There are many other ordinary families out there offering their time and expertise for the rest of us. So, let’s say a quick thank you.

We’re back!

We are home again after two and a half weeks away. I can’t remember the last time we had two weeks away let alone nearly three! Wow! It was a lovely, refreshing, strength gathering time.

For two weeks we stayed in a friend’s Manse (presbytery). The next door neighbour was Good and as His house was open all the time Al and I made the most of it and were able to do night prayer there every evening. Wonderful. We also went to Mass there of course. (This photo is the view from the children’s bedroom window).

We learned a bit about St. Ninian and his mission to the Picts of Scotland and saw the ruined Cathedral that has once been such a vibrant centre of prayer and pilgrimage. It was all destroyed by Henry VIII of course, as he tried to make a church in his own image.

There were some amazing carved stones from the school St. Ninian and his future bishops set up and ran.

We headed off to Edinburgh for the half week and stayed in Al’s cousin’s house. From there we met up with family and had a great time.

We’re back and I am almost on top of the washing, sorting and clearing.

Leibster Blog Award

I am honoured and quite touched to have received this award from Sanabitur Anima Mea. She writes an amazing blog which openly expresses the battle with eating disorders and how Faith is the rope to climb out of the pit. One thing about the internet and especially many blogs that I believe are a wonderful place for genuine help, support and information for people with all sorts of struggles in life. It’s a brave thing to do – to expose those painful areas of life that so many people turn their noses up at, or whisper about in darkened rooms.

I pass the award onto:

1) Nonna and her Neuropoetry; another blog that offers hope for those in constant pain from CSF/ME and Fibro amongst other things. She’s an amazing homeschooling mother and wife and lover of God.

2) ‘Gwen’ and ‘Elinor’ with their tea and buscuit lives over at Life, The Universe, and Would you Pass the Custard Creams. I would like to add Inspector Crocodile Binoculars, who, while she herself is blogless, has given rise to blogging. It is a joy to know that “young people” can make a decent pot of tea and a rather lovely cup of Lady Grey when asked by Dearest Mother.

3) Become What You Are – a homeschooling mother and grandmother who fights the good fight and is the mother of heroes.

4) Therese at he Aussie Coffee Shop who homeschools in the heat of winter and the cool of summer and is the mother of two children with type 1 diabetes. Her blog often covers information on the subject that can be of great help to us mothers of children and adults with type 1. She also helps show that t1d is different to type 2.

5) Rita swimming through her Tigerish Waters; a woman of Faith and science and who is just beginning the life of widowhood.

I don’t think I’ll be blogging for about three weeks now – but I would leave y’all with a request for prayers. Please pray for friends of mine where the dad of the little home ed family is just being made redundant. It is a very scary time for them all as I am sure you can imagine.

Please also pray for the situation I mentioned before. It cannot be made public but I know I can count on your prayers for this.

God bless

Kindle- how to get Universalis Divine Office.

Universalis offer three months free download of their translation of Divine Office. After that, if you still want to use the Office on your Kindle or other device you spent £20 or so and get the code and it’s yours forever or until He comes again.

For Kindle – go to their DOWNLOAD PAGE and click on “e-book format” a lionk near the top of the page. That will take you to ABOUT E-BOOKs scroll down a little and you will see About Samples

Click on “kindle format” and save.

An icon will appear on your desk top.

Double click the icon and Univsersalis will appear.




Click on the little downarrow in the corner and then click on “create Kindle (mobi pocket) e-book. You can choose to download a day, week, month or year. Save the copy. I save into a folder I have made in My Documents for My Kindle Content. It will look something like this:

Now contect your Kindle to the computer with the USB cable. Open folders and it will give you the choice of DOCUMENTS, AUDIBLE and MUSIC. Drag and drop the Universalis book into the docs of Kindle and it’s all yours.

If you like it (and I love it) you can buy the registration code. Go back to the Univseralis home page. Just above where it says downloads it says “buying a single registration code.” Click on that.

When you have redownloaded and payed etc. you simply type the code in and you can have the whole year. I’ve now downloaded 2011 onto my Kindle.

The introductory prayers have sermons from the Church Fathers, so you might want to buy Jimmy Akin’s The Father’s Know Best to go with it. 🙂


home education book basket and kindle

I’m sorting out some holiday read alouds and self-reading books for the children, as well as some audio books for long journey’s ans days out.

Light up Your Brain has some lovely tales such as The Velveteen Rabbit and The Emperors New Clothes. There are a couple of Beatrix Potter stories too – but I really don’t like her stuff so can’t face it on long journey’s. (Yes I am a very bad home eductor).

Heleyna has asked for Dinosaurs Love Underpants and Chicken Lickin’ She is reading Can You See Me and some Starfall books

Avila is reading Danny’s Secret Fox and The Twelve Dancing Princesses.

Ronan is finishing off Detectives in Togas with me reading some and him reading some so we can finish before the end of term.  He is also reading a tatty old copy of Usborne’s Mysteries of the Unknown.

Finally, what is on my Kindle? Lots of stuff.

If you plug the Kindle into your computer and open the files you will see you have three files folders; documents where all the books go, music where apparently you can store and listen to music while you read. I haven’t tried that. I’m not sure I can read that well with something like that going on- but if it works for you, it’s a nice little feature.

Finally there’s a folder marked audible. This is where you can put mp3s and audio books. The speakers on the Kindle are pretty good considering and there’s an audio jack hole at the bottom.

Jimmy Akin has started his own podcasting which you can get with itunes. You can also download Catholic Answers with lots of Akin wisdom and knowledge.

The first Outline of Sanity podcast is available. The Distributist Review also has a list of distributist authors and their books, some of which are free.

I am not 100% sure of what I think of The Distributist Review, but there are some good articles.

And I have tons of  Cath Lab to listen to so that I can get my head around Science and Ethics and all that jazz.

Book wise I have just finished reading The Necromancers by R H Benson and I am reading his biography titled “Hugh” written by his brother. It’s a gentle story but it is clear that the brothers did not really understand each other. They come across as a loving but strangely separate family. Their father became Archbishop of Cambury in 1883 and was succeeded by the famous Archbishop Temple.

I enjoyed the Necromancers. It’s an easier read than “Come Rack, Come Rope,” which was the first of his books I ever read.

The Necromancers delves into the world of spiritualism that was so fashioable among certain people in those days. I think it was spiritualism that caused poor old Conan Doyle to loose his way somewhat (the Cottingely Fairies springs to mind.) Benson looks hard at the underbelly of this “light entertainment” and shows the very real damage that messing with that sort of stuff can cause. It’s a ghost story with a strangely even handed approach, treating the psychology od the situation, rather than ecto-plasm.

I recommend Lord of the World by Benson which is a piece of disturbingly accurate prophecy of the ‘future’.

Flash mob in Lancashire –

Tim Drake links the event HERE and took the time to transcribe the words of the other Friar showing how Jesus is in every book of the Bible.

I know this has caused some controversy, but I am touched by the Presence out there in the streets with the people- in a shopping centre. Back in “the day” Lancashire and Yorkshire was the centre of recusancy and famous saints such as Martgaret Clitherow hailed from there. It seems fitting that this should have taken place there.

update – thanks to Part Time Pilgrim I have corrected an error (and hopefully avoided a small rose war :)) )