Monthly Archives: September 2012

Curricula and books for Kindergarten (Year 1 UK)

Some of the books I want to read with Heleyna this coming academic year are:

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Fin M’Coul  Geography: Ireland

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland Geography and Faith: Ireland

The Lady of Guadalupe Faith, History, Geography: South America – Mexico

Clown of God Faith and Golden Legend

The Holy Twins Faith, Geography (Italy) and history (end of Rome)

The Story About Ping Geography: China

Old Befana Faith, Golden Legend – traditions and Geography: Italy.

Grandfather’s Journey Geography and culture; Japan and America.

Brother Jerome and the Angels in the Bakery  Just a lovely book

The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane illumination, ink making, art.

Brother William’s Year

Mozart music I want to collect this series of books with CDs as we go along.

Frog and Toad will make it’s regular appearance.

Alfie and Annie Rose stories and other stuff by Shirley Hughs.

Religion:  Faith & Life: Our Heavenly Father

Maths: We are using Math U See Primer with the manipulatives. Hands on works better for Heleyna.

Mathematical Reasoning A

Hands On Thinking Skills with the manipulatives – attribute blocks.

I’ve just spent a lot of the bank’s money on equipment from Absorbent Minds. If you live in the UK I think this is the cheapest place to get Montessori equipment. Of course our lovely Government who keep talking about the importance of education have slapped 20% VAT on all items – because they really don’t want children educated that much. Watch out for P&P, but other than that it’s great.

Draw Write Now Bk 1 – Heleyna’s hand-eye coordination is pretty good and she shows some talent in drawing. I think I might introduce this book to her as the year goes on. (Their website is here)

Montessori equipment and Montessori-like equipment for reading and maths. Also for visual spacial development, thinking skills and geometry.

A wedding.

I was going to wait until the ring situation was sorted,  but good news shouldn’t have to wait. Alex is engaged to Anna! He has designed her engagement ring and the first stage of the making process is done. I’ll post on that properly when the ring is finished and Anna has the chance to wear it. She’s being very patient, as the process is taking quite a while.

We had a lovely day with Anna’s family om Sunday. Alex is marrying into a lovely family, and poor Anna is marrying into ours and worse still, she is getting me as her mother-in-law!

There is a lot to organise and sort out. It will be a wedding on a shoestring budget but they have some great ideas for making it work with as little flash as possible. Anna is a gifted seamstress and will be making her own dress. That’s pretty impressive. Meanwhile Alex is making a pile of origami swallows; it seems to be very therapeutic for him.

Our PP is away but he is back this weekend so hopefully they will have a date booked by then. They have decided to get married in our church rather than Anna’s for the sake of space and the hall, where they will have their reception.

They are also looking for somewhere to live. Sadly the first place they found, which would be ideal, has fallen through. They are still looking.

I’ll post more when we know more – and I am looking forward to showing you all the ring Alex has designed.

In Loving Memory and future hope.

I’d like to thank Jody Smith for giving me permission to re-produce her lovely article about her friend Lynda who died recently having struggled with CFS/ME and other autoimmune diseases.

Please pray for the soul of Lynda and all the other people who have died of this disease. May I especially ask for prayers for a lady in her 40s who was found dead at home a couple of months ago. The daft newspaper report said medics were baffled by her sudden death as she was healthy, though she had a dx of Cfs! Please also pray for the families and friends who will miss them.

Please take the few minutes it will take to read this. I think it’s a story that needs to be heard.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Thief Steals Another Friend
By Jody Smith Created 09/13/2012 – 17:44


My friend just died. Lynda suffered from a number of autoimmune conditions, not the least of which was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CFS descended upon her two decades ago, after she was exposed to someone with a bad virus. They got better, and their life went on. Lynda didn’t recover, and her life did not. She lived with her two cats Oliver and Lilly.

She was fortunate to have some assistance in her home from personal support workers — many who are chronically ill don’t have any help — and Meals on Wheels. She was unfortunate in that all her old friendships had fallen away over the years and, unlike many of us chronics, she had no virtual life online. Lynda had a computer and used to know how to use it, but the cognitive thief CFS had stolen her ability to use a computer years ago.

She had a doctor who did not “believe in” Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This despite the fact that he stood by and watched her deteriorate over many years. He reinforced her fear that it was all in her head. Though he would not treat her condition, he also would not refer her to specialists who might have done her some good.

Other general practitioners would not take her on as a patient because she had so much wrong with her. Something wrong with this picture? Lynda was a prisoner of her frail body and her faltering mental capacities, trapped within her home. One of her personal support workers had contacted me through my website, where I talked about my experience with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When she told me that Lynda couldn’t use her computer, I knew from my own past isolation that this is a brutal loneliness. For that reason, I did something that I never do. I phoned Lynda. Phone conversations tend to exhaust me but I needed to do it, remembering what it’s like to be so helpless and needing someone to respond. We never actually met but we spoke often on the phone over the last year and a half. It was a blessing for me to get to know her. It was a heartbreak to know that there was so little I could do for. We talked about our lives, our thoughts, our feelings. We told each other stupid jokes, and laughed like loons. I had thought Lynda was getting just a bit healthier in the last few months. We talked about having her come to visit. She was only a four hour drive away from me, but it might as well have been the other side of the world. I can’t travel that far, and certainly neither could she. But talking about that future visit was something to put some hope into. And we did. And then she disappeared. She had talked several times about believing she didn’t have much time left, and really she didn’t want to be around much longer. Life was full of grief for Lynda. I could only hope that it was just her supreme discouragement talking. But a few weeks ago, I called her number and nobody answered. I called often, and the sense of foreboding grew with each unanswered call. I emailed someone who might know what was happening — I hoped maybe it was yet another hospital stay, or perhaps she was feeling better and was just out when I phoned. I received an email that confirmed the worst. Lynda had passed away.

We would never talk on the phone again, never have her over for a backyard barbecue. She would never rest in my spare room. Lynda was afraid that she would die and nobody would notice. I’m doing what I can to make sure that doesn’t happen. I know that life was a heavy burden for her, and had been for years without let-up. I know that she had been wishing to die and now the pain and isolation was over for her. I’m trying to accept that. But mostly I feel bad for me. Because my friend is gone. Visit Jody’s website and blog at http://www.ncubator.caand

(originally published here) I have bolded the bold parts.

There are so many more stories like this one about Lynda. A young man aged 21 died in the same month. It’s well past time for a genuine response from medics on this. Thank God for the number of researchers and medics who are willing to do the work, often at risk to their careers, to find an answer for us.

At last the FDA are recognising the seriousness of this disease and even recognising that it is life-threatening.

Feast of the Seven Sorrows of Our Blessed Mother.

The Seven Sorrows (this painting has a slight variation)

1. The prophecy of Simeon that a sword would piece her soul.

2. The flight to Egypt

3. Losing of Christ in the Temple.

4. Meeting of her Beloved Son as He carried His cross.

5. Standing at the foot of the cross.

6. Christ is taken down from the cross and laid in her arms.

7. She sees her Son laid in the tomb.

(The variation puts the nailing to the cross in and removes the laying in the tomb).

The Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows.

Lift High the Cross

It’s the feast of the Exultation of the Cross.

It’s amazing to see through Scripture the types of the cross. At the beginning there is the Tree of Life in the Garden. The Tree of Life has stayed in the human pysche since the Fall to such a degree that most cultures have a tree of life myth of some sort.

Adam was supposed to take his bride and cling to the tree of life when Satan came, but he ate the other fruit instead.

In the desert the people of Israel sinned, putting God to the test and were punished with the poison of snake bites. To heal them Moses obeyed the command to make a bronze serpent and put on a stick so that all the people could look on it and be healed.

Finally the prophecies are fulfilled when Christ makes the cross the Tree of Life and He if lifted up with all our sins, like the bronze serpent, so that when we look on Him in His tortured body, we know we can be saved.

From Divine Office today:

Hail, O cross, consecrated by the Body of Christ, whose limbs, like precious jewels adorn your wooden timbers. Through you the world is redeemed by the blood of the Lord.

Montessori free resources, lessons, cards, books and more.

As I embark on the great Montessori Experiment with my all too willing children I have searched for the information I need. A friend has already assured me that mixing a Montessori approach with a Charlotte Mason one works well. The more I read of Maria Montessori, the more I see how she and Charlotte Mason were on the same page. It’s a shame they never met, as I am sure they would have understood one another even with the language barrier. The very foundation of both their philosophies was the child as person.

Getting Started with Montessori – links of interest and usefulness

Cultivating Dharma – the most amazing array of free lessons and resources you can imagine. Thank God for people willing to do this sort of work and provide it for those of us embarking on the steep learning curve of a new approach to our children’s education.

Free Montessori Resources – a site that does what it says. There’s a lot here too. I haven’t explored it all yet.

Moteacho offers a range of albums that cover ages from 3 to 9 – just right for me. I love the story work offered from Dr. Montessori’s son Mario; God who has no hands.

The Great Lessons from Barabra Dubinsky look like quite a find too.

Now for your kindle or other reader: Beginning with books by Dr. Maria Montessori herself: NB: free books from Internet Archive are not often formatted and therefore you’ll get more weird and wonderful typos. Some books are better than others.

Dr. Montessori’s own handbook

Spontaneous Activity in Education

The Advanced Montessori Method

The Absorbent Mind

The Montessori Elementary Material

The Erdkinder and Functions of the University

Peace and Education

Books by other authors about Montessori and her methods.

A Montessori Mother (1913). The account of an American mother who went to Rome and met Dr Montessori and visited the Casa Bambini.

Montessori Children.

The Montessori System examined

A Guide to the Montessori Method.

Got a bit of money left over after buying the equipment? Or perhaps the overdraft isn’t close enough to the wire?

Montessori on a Shoestring offers good ideas for home made resources for younger children.

I would love to get Montessori; the Science Behind the Genius at some point.

This book Montessori Learning in the 21st Century is one I’d like to borrow and read, should our library ever have such books.

My free Montessori resources curtesy of Kalei at That ResourceSite.

While I’m here, I would like to draw your attention to the eStore at That ResourceSite where the DVD set is now for sale. I know that both Kalei and her husband has put a huge amount of work and dedication into this package. It’s well worth you having a look at it.

my little freebies;

Montessori pink, blue and green boxes and train template

Montessori grammar shapes

Math rods (red and blue) 1oo square, inch squares and tower templates. These are a good stop-gap while you’re saving up for the real deal. I am not that convinced they are good enough a full time replacements – but you can give them a go.

100s Board

The Sun, it’s parts, state and gases involved

Random freebies:

Science Jim videos

Study Jams

Not a bad little collection I’m sure there’ll be more.

Home Education; Montessori pink tower exercises (with the natural tower).

I bought the natural tower rather than the pink tower. Heleyna is 5 and so she already has the skills in building from largest to smallest in the tower and we have used other objects in her early years so that she can differentiate between heavy and light, big and small and so on.

She did build the tower first and used the correct words such as “biggest” and “smallest” and “cube”.  She then spent some time with the two 1 cm² cubes. She has already done some measuring in 2 dimensions so understands length and breadth. With the cubes I am starting to teach her the third dimension (and I suppose I will do some work on the 4th dimension with Ronan and Avila).

After she had built the tower upright, she set about making the “houses” as we called them from smallest to largest with the cubes lying along the floor. There are two ways for her to build this. First of all she built it with each cube centred and then rebuilt it with one straight edge and the front “stepped” inwards. Using the 1 cm² cube she measured the gap seeing that each cube was 1 cm wider than the next.

The Helpful Garden has free downloads including some cut’n’paste pink tower sheets.

Here are some great photo’s of pink tower and brown stair extension exercises. I don’t have a brown stair at this point.

There are patterns that can be tried out too. Language words are “biggest” and “smallest” and beginning ordinal numbers “first”, “second” etc.

Mixing sizes and angles for different patterns work well. There are places around the net with ideas for different patterns. Heleyna built the tower with the blocks set to a corner so there was a 1cm rim around two sides of each block that the 1 cm block can step down.

Heleyna was particularly pleased with her spiral shape.

The next exercise was to have Heleyna build the blocks into patterns from the pink-square patterns I had made.

This was much harder to do. It involves visual spacial as well as hand eye coordination. She did pretty well.

Avila came to join us after she had finished some of her work and she had a go with the blocks too. I have to admit it would not have occurred to me to offer the exercises to Avila as I assumed she would not be interested – but she did some of them just for fun.

Some of you may remember that Avila struggled to learn to read. She showed a lot of dyslexic tendencies; letter reversals, using any letter in a word to work it out, reading from the wrong direction, not seeing word patterns and so on. There was a lot for her to overcome. She is now a fluent reader and her writing rarely shows letter reversals. In maths however she still reads numbers in a higgley way and reverses order and shape of her numbers.

With the cubes she found copying the patters from the pink square sheets very difficult to do. She did self correct, as Dr. Montessori would like, but she needed feedback on whether her correction was correct – which it often wasn’t. I can’t help wondering if this is a dyslexic thing. Visual perception problems in dyslexia is still hotly contended. As with many areas of interest the research is patchy and sometimes not very well done. But that’s immaterial to Avila. I think I will encourage her to use the cubes and do the extension exercises once I have a brown stair.