Monthly Archives: June 2012

Teaching teens NFP.

Parents need to have the various talks with their children on how their body is changing, and where babies come. It doesn’t just happen in “the talk” and it is a very bad idea to leave it to school (especially if your children don’t go to school).

So, you’ve got past the initial stage of body changes and hygiene and now (for girls) it’s how to monitor your cycle.It’s not uncommon for girl’s cycles to be irregular in the early years and there’s often other things going on that can make a girl’s life (and those who live with her) difficult.  So many crisis pregnancy workers (pro-life) mention that the young mothers know almost nothing about the way their own bodies work. As parents we carry a responsibility to ensure our children are properly prepared for adult life.

There are a number of initial symptoms a girl can look out for, spots, cramps, cravings, mood hair changes (getting greasy or dry) Then there are other things such as extra bleeding, long cycles, overly short cycles and so on that can be seen almost immediately. Many women say that just knowing to take a painkiller the day before a period is due can make managing serious cramps much easier.

Once the young lady is charting well enough she could introduce temperatures as well. Lots of people find the symto-thermal method really useful, especially if there are health problems going on. Temps are a sure way of spotting an underactive thyroid.

Pinpointing ovulation is not the main reason to chart, at this point, but knowing more or less so that the luteal phase can be seen is a good indicator of health. It’s astonishing what doctors will say to girls and women that is completely untrue. For example, having a bleed every month is NOT a sign that you are ovulating every month, or at all. Anovulatory bleeding is different from a period, but you need to have charted for a while to spot the difference.

I saw more than one friend have hormonal bloods taken at completely the wrong time in their cycle so the results were inconclusive. (I dx a friend’s PCOS more than 2 years before she finally got the medics to dx it).

There are ways of dealing with problems using vitamin regimes but these must be properly planned and researched. Just taking multi-vits is no help at all.

To begin with a girl can mark on her calendar when each period begins. She can then mark those days as  (H)eavy (M)edium (L)ight and (S)potting. Basic symptoms such as pain, mid-pain (if she notices this or has it), spots, hair and skin changes, mood changes, nausea, breast pain…and so on can be added and then basic mucus patterns. Finally she can learn to use a BBT thermometer.

Using the BBTT isn’t difficult especially if your daughter wakes up a regular time. She can sit up in bed and take her temp which shouldn’t be more than a couple of minutes and just note it down. It is less accurate if she works shifts or keeps irregular hours – but one might consider that a young lady should not be keeping irregular hours.

PCOS and endometriosis, along with thyroid problems, blocked tubes or other issues can be seen once you are used to the chart. So many women don’t get proper medical help because they don’t see for themselves what’s happening, and shamefully doctors will just prescribe the Pill for anything.

Some resources to help parents learn enough to pass it on;

Antonia who commented on my first post mentioned TeenSTAR which looks like a good set up.

The Billings Method

Fertility Friend  I highly recommend this site as a mine of useful information. I learned loads from here. You can also learn about the Symto thermal method from CCL

Taking Charge of your fertility (not Christian) excellent information with easy charting.

Creighton Model

Standard Days method (Don’t know much about this method but I’ve heard good things. Beads look helpful)

BOOKS I HAVE and have either read and used or intend to read.

The Art of Natural Family Planning This was our “bible” of NFP for a long time. It’s pretty complicated and these days I wouldn’t remember half the bit’n’pieces in it. It is very good and gives the whole kit’n’caboodle of the sympto-thermal model, including charting while breastfeeding and though perimenopause to menopause.

I have the NaPro book for us ordinary folk. The medical tome is very big and very expensive so I’m grateful this version has been published.

Patrick Coffin’s book Sex au Naturel is also on my “to read” list. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Coffin and so I am guessing this will be an excellent book.

When or should teens learn NFP? (pt I)

I’ve designed a very simple chart to teach my adult daughter the basics of NFP. If she finds it easy to use I will use the same chart to help a friend’s dd learn. My friend who is fighting breast cancer is very determined her daughter wont be taking what even the World Health Organisation (WHO) has as a Class 1 carcinogenic, chemical contraceptives. More and more women are becoming aware of the horrible side effects and serious repercussions of using any contraceptive, but especially the chemical ones. They want better for their daughters. Thankfully Catholic medical people have long ago come up with safe, effective methods of natural family planning.

Unfortunately NFP is too often advertised as being 98% effective (or more depending on the study and which method of NFP) in spacing pregnancies, as though that’s the only reason to use it. It’s true that all methods are good at avoiding pregnancy if that is what a couple needs to do, but there’s far more to NFP than that.

And that raises the question of when or whether to teach our teenage daughters how to chart and whether unmarried women should bother. Most women who use NFP will agree that learning to chart before you are married is way easier and better than learning while breastfeeding or when a crisis has hit the family.

The number one reason I want my daughters to learn in their late teens, is health reasons. Not that long ago a young wife saved her own life when her chart picked up she had cancer. Many of the methods will identify basic fertility problems or hormone imbalances, but a complete symptom chart such as Creighton or even basic symto-thermal methods will show all sorts of health problems up front so they can be fixed.

I have self-solved two major problems that showed up clearly in charts. While the hospital staff insisted that miscarriages can “just happen” I was aware that mine were a result of luteul phase defect. This means that the time after ovulation was too short, meaning there wasn’t enough progesterone in my system. High doses of Evening Primrose Oil for the first half of my cycle along with a large fresh carrot a day for just the right amount of Vit A kicked everything back into gear and Heleyna came along. All NFP methods are just as good for catching that twinkle from God’s eye as in postponing pregnancy.

Not long after that my temps nose dived to below 96.7 F. all the time. This is a sure sign of thyroid problems (hypo not hyper) so I took a load of sea kelp which is rich in iodine and kicked those temps back up to healthy levels.

Spend any time on Fertility Friend studying other people’s charts and you’ll soon spot all sorts of health patterns that if you see on your chart you can learn to deal with, or find a doctor who will help (In the UK where even midwives have NO IDEA about charting this is a massive challenge).

I want my daughters to know their own bodies, respect themselves and be on the ball for health and fertility.  Simcha Fisher has just written on this (mentioning that a friend of hers has done what I have done and made a simple chart) a day after a friend and I were discussing it with my oldest daughter.

My next question on this issue is which method to teach first? My simple chart is essentially the Billings Method with room for some basic symptoms such as cramping, but as Simcha mentions spot break out and mood are also important for girls to recognise.

There are a couple of downsides in charting. The number one problem is that there are next to no doctors or midwives who have any clue about it. That wouldn’t be so bad if they would listen to the person who does know about it, but most of the time they refuse to accept the mere patient has any knowledge. Now I’ve come across two professionals who were not like this. I spoke to a GP about my luteul phase defect and he actually listened and said he was really interested in learning more about NFP as he could see it would help women’s help. God bless him.

The second person was a midwife. I was in hospital after having a baby (can’t remember which one) and it had obviously been a conversation point at the nurses station that I used NFP. One of the midwives came to ask my advice. She admitted that in all her training not one day was spent on NFP and yet a friend of hers desperately trying to get pregnant kept sending her charts, begging for help.

So, learning NFP can pinpoint all sort of things, but when should a teenage girl start to learn, and what should she be taught?

Book Review: Unbridled Grace – the astonishing dangers of being a chiropractor.

Qualifying as a chiropractor should be a straightforward way to get to earn a living and take care of  your family. Dr. Norman answered a tiny little ad. in a newspaper looking for a part time chiropractor at a little Spanish speaking medical practice and he applied. He got the interview and he got the job. Wonderful.

Or not.

Unbridled Grace is the “you couldn’t make it up” story of an ordinary person finding themselves working for the Russian Mafia.  If that isn’t bad enough, he soon finds his family life under attack, his daughter’s well-being threatened and his life about to be seriously penned in, not because of the Mafia, who barely seem to be bothered with him, but because of the police and the FBI. It’s the Government agents with no soul who come out of this looking truly evil. Fabricated evidence and social-climbing with emotional manipulations and threats make up their action against Dr. Norman.

The most astounding part of the story, where surely the agent should have received some sort of serious disciplinary action, but didn’t, was the over dramatic arrest of the doctor in front of his then 5 year old daughter. It took her many years before she could hear the doorbell ring and not run for cover.

In the midst of this 8 year battle to get back to the life he had worked so hard for and to prove his innocence (so much for innocent until proven guilty) Dr. Norman finds God in his foxhole and of course God (who has a great sense of humour) produced some quiet, but moving, miracles.

For those of us feeling a bit like victims, or footballs, being kicked around a system of uncaring but powerful “professionals” and I use that word loosely, this is a book of hope and promise. It’s a quick and easy read and I recommend it.

I don’t recommend working for the Mafia … or the FBI…

Home Education Literature plans for grades k to 4

Here is a list of some of the books we have read or intend to read. I’ve marked the ones I read to them as read alouds. Many of those will be personal reading books for the children in the future. Audio is marked as audio. Read alouds and audio are for a mixed age audience. I’ll undoubtedly be writing more about what we read as the next academic year goes on.


All these books are read aloud books as most K aged children can’t read at this level yet. They are important for teaching listening skills and building vocabulary and reasoning skills. All the more reason for avoiding the disneyfied versions of things like Winnie the Pooh

Trawl second hand bookshops and charity shops, unless you are lucky enough to have easy acess to Wigtown. Get the old Postman Pat books. The new ones are so badly written, that they could make your eyes bleed! Children are nowhere near as dim as some of the “new” adapted versions would have us believe. Charlotte Mason warned against twaddle and I’ve come across some really sugary stuff form her day, but even those don’t quite plumb the depths of grammatical horribleness as the new versions of Postman Pat and Winnie the Pooh.

Winnie The Pooh The real ones by A A Milne.

Alfie and Annie Rose Shirley Hughes is a wonderful writer and illustrator.

The Dairy of a Wombat (activities)

Little Pear (I don’t have this yet, but intend to get it)

The Blue Fairy Book Andrew Lang audio Lit2Go

All things Amy Steedman here as well

Aesop’s fables and audio Lit2Go

Brother William’s Year A beautiful little book on the life of a monastary.

Granfather’s Journey

All things Tomie DePaola.

For Heleyna to read herself we will be using the printed up and online version of the Starfall books, the Oxford Reading Tree books (not as phonic based as the newer ones I believe) and Step Into Reading Books I’ve accumulated over the years as well as the free online Oxford Owl books.

(Ignore the grades for these books. Even Avila who has some mild dyslexic tenancies was reading Step into Reading level 5 books like the Trojan Horse by grade 1.  And the ORT years and ages are not very useful as guides either). Having said that the grades I have put books into are just a basic guide. Your children will be different and their interests may be different.

GRADE 1 (yr 2)

26 Fairmount Ave series by T DePaola (self read)

The Secret Garden  (read aloud) (free ebook)

The Pheonix and the Carpet   (read aloud) (free ebook)

Stranger Moon  audio

The Chronicles of Narnia read along with audio

The Happy Prince and other Stories which includes my favourite The Selfish Giant. We have a hardcopy of this. (self read)

Martin’s Mice and the Hodgeheg by Dick King Smith (self read)

the Little Ships; A story of the Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk.

GRADE 2 (yr 3)

Wise Guy; the Life and Philosophy of Socrates Good intro for children.

The Arabian Nights Andrew Lang

Little House in the Big Wood Laura Ingalls Wilder (copywrite free if you live in  Canada)

Mr. Popper’s Penguins (no we wont be watching the movie which I hear is nothing like the book). (self read)

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis. and sharing with her brother the other Narnia stories following them from Readings From Under the Grapevine.

The Little Duke Charlotte Yonge (free ebook)

Mary Poppins

Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz

GRADE 3 (yr 4)

Emil and the Detectives

St Ignatius and the Company of Jesus

Tom’s Midnight Garden

The Sword in the Stone

Francis of the Seven Seas (I know Seton has it down as G 6 but Ronan wanted to read it now so he is)

Gregor Mendel, The Friar who grew peas Good science picture book with the story of Fr Mendel and his genetic discovery and experiementation with peas.

Usborne Classics (adaption) Don Quixote

Adolphus Tips Michael Morpurgo (An Iona find in a charity shop)

GRADE 4 (yr 5)

Captain’s Courageous Rudyard Kipling

Around the World in 80 Days Jules Verne audio from Lit2Go

The Call of the Wild Jack London audio from Lit2Go

The Children of the New Forest Frederick Marryat

Famous Men of Greece Charles Haaren (I have the mobi version as I bought the Yesterday’s Classics set a last year)

The Cat of Bubastes G. A. Henty

On Henty – I-ve read he should be treated with caution. He wrote fiction more than he wrote “historical” apparently, and the place I found the info did a short overview of his book on the fall of Jerusalem showing the problems. He is also well known as writing some anti-Catholic anhistorical stuff too – so I am going to either pre-read (God give me a 28 hr day) or avoid. There’s plenty of other stuff out there.

The Lost World Arthur Conan Doyle

Swallows and Amazons (which I bought in Wigtown the Book Town of Scotland)

Mystery of the Roman Ransom

The Children’s Homer (I picked up a lovely hardcopy of this in Wigtown).

The Canterville Ghost Oscar Wilde

More Narnia books.


Frog and Toad

The Ink Garden of Br Theophane along with Magic in the Margins and Marguerite Makes a Book are beautiful ways to get children interested in manuscript and book making before printing. There are basic recipes for the inks and the books themselves are so well illustrated you’ll have plenty of inspiration. Activity sheet (opens pdf)

What’s Your Angle Pythagoras?

I love just about all the Picture books I’ve ever bought and have a lot that I hope to buy eventually. They are books for relaxing with and suit all three of them pretty well. Avila is lovely at sitting with younger children and reading to them and these books are ideal for that.

Brother Jerome and the Angels in the Bakery

Other books I might think of getting for free reading>

Inkheart                                                                   The Hundred and One Dalmations

The Borrowers

READ ALOUDS (if I have voice – audio if not)

The Secret Garden (I’ve read this to them before but Avila has requested it again) Also by Frances Hodgeson Burnett Little Lord Fauntleroy and A Little Princess

E.Nesbit books

Fortnight for Freedom

Information and prayers HERE to join the Catholic Church and other people of goodwill in America as they fight to keep their freedom and basic rights.


Nativity of St. John the Baptist.

Blessed be the God of Israel, He has visited His people and redeemed them.

He had raised up for us a Saviour in the house of David His servant, as promised on the lips of holy men, of those who were His prophets from of old…

As for you little child, you shall be the prophet of the most High God, you will go before the face of the Lord and make straight His paths…” (and then I forget the words unless I look them up).

This prayer is said every morning in Divine Office and is the blessing given by Zachariah the father of John the Baptist on the day John’s naming and circumcision, the 8th day after his nativity. Zachariah had been high priest nine months earlier at Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, but he had been struck dumb by the Angel of the Lord because of his lack of faith. He had not been able to bless Israel when he emerged from the Holy of Holies, but eight days after his promised son arrives he proclaims a beautiful blessing. He does this over his son and in the presence of the New Ark of the Lord who like the first Ark is spending three months in the Hill Country of Judea with the Presence of God in her, a three month embryo.

Mary is carrying the Bridegroom and John will preach firmly on the sanctity of marriage even before his cousin Jesus raises it to a Sacrament.

We celebrated the feasts of St Thomas More and St. John Fisher who were martyred for Christ, for standing firm on the sanctity of marriage. Now we celebrate the nativity of St. John the Baptist. He is the last prophet of the Old Covenant, carrying the spirit of Elijah to announce the coming of the Messiah. His preaching against the illicit marriage of Herod Antipas will get him martyred. He will be beheaded and St. Thomas will be beheaded 1500 years later. He is a priest standing for the High Priest Jesus, and St. John Fisher was the only bishop to be martyred for the truth at that time.

At a time when so many Christians have betrayed marriage, these three saints stand as a sign to guide us. (I read somewhere a long time ago that the reason St. John Fisher was the only bishop to be martyred by Henry VIII was because all the other bishops caved on account of most of them having mistresses. Don’t know if this is true.)

Our Parish Priest preached a couragous pro-life serman today.  There are good, brave priests out there, and we are blessed to have one of them.

pre-school book list

Charlie Needs a Cloak,

Peace At Last by Jill Murphy I also recommend Whatever Next and the Large Family books.

Dear Zoo

Owl Babies

We’re going on a bear hunt

Patrick Patron saint of Ireland

Fin McCoul and just about anything simple by Tomie DePaola.

The Gruffalo and The Gruffolo’s Child

Alfie and Annie Rose books by Shirley Hughes

Mog and the Granny Judith Kerr

The Story About Ping

Frog and Toad

Winnie the Pooh stories, and poem books like Now We Are Six and For the Very Young (the real ones by A A Milne – the others are awful) Also I advise you shop around as some of the stories and poem can be found free online. We are fortunate that we have some very old copies from my dim and distant past. You can also get Kindle versions.

Dinosaurs Love Underpants just for fun. Although Scholastic Press have some activities to go with it!

Usborne Fairy Tales (these are not the traditional ones but updated versions. The girls like them and they are a fairly good introduction)

The Wemmicks stories – You are Special and other stories You Are Spec Audio

Audio; The Queen and the Cats about St. Helena