Monthly Archives: January 2013

Classical Academic Press stuff; a home education review.

This morning as I was sitting with a cuppa awaiting the arrival of friends for a home ed day, Avila brought me a story she had written. How sweet. The story was written mostly in Latin! Is that a home educated child or what?!!

I love the fact that she has taken so well to learning languages. I don’t want to live vicariously through my children, but I do wish I had been given the opportunity to learn languages when I was her age.  It’s something that fascinates me. If I had lived a different life I might have done linguistics…anywhere I digress.

We are using the lovely stuff produced at Classical Academic Press  It seems pretty good value for money and the shipping costs don’t scare me too much. I do wish they’d produce more ebook versions and pdfs, but in fact the hard copy is good for the children so I don’t mind the shipping too much.

sslbundle_new_LRGWe started off with SongSchool Latin. You know it’s working when the children are skipping up the road singing, “Quid est tuum praenomen?” on top of their little voices.

The flash cards and the songs worked well and although we’ve finished the workbook we go back over the songs quite often as vocab reminders.

We have followed this with the Latin for Children Primer A which we are working through at the moment. The DVDs are great and as they are aimed at the children they are interesting and no beige in sight. I like the way Dr Perrin teaches and like all good DVD teachers he will repeat himself as often as you like and never get impatient.

Heleyna isn’t taking part in these lessons yet, but she does tend to be around when the other two are learning and I’ve noticed she is picking things up. I hope this will mean she finds Latin easier when her turn comes.

To help us further we have this (awful but good) Youtube song for doing the first and second declensions. We just substitute the words we are declining.

I think it’s very easy to make Latin hard grinding and boring, but the children are enjoying this. There’s some good grammar and they build their English vocab through the pages on derivatives.

We’ve been using the Montessori grammar symbols to label simple Latin sentences as well which they enjoy.

I’ve invested in the Mastery Bundle for Level B. I think I’ll probably do the samelfcBmastery_LRG when it comes to Level C.

There’s a good lot of research showing that learning Latin helps children in all sorts of language development areas. It’s a great introduction to history and of course it’s useful if you want to read the Scriptures in Latin.

Not only do I think Classical Academic Press are pretty reasonable in their prices they also have the goodness to offer some substantial freebies.

We haven’t actually spent a lot of time on Headadventure Land because of time constraints but it is a great free resource for practising any of the languages on offer.

CAP also has it’s own freebie page including some audio resources in which Dr. Perrin quotes Chesterton. Well, that has me sold 😉

The children like their little story videos they have for practice as well.

Finally I wanted to mention on a non Latin note that they have launched some children’s ebooks.  I bought the first Sheepford and Oxley book which Heleyna loves.

March for Life more and more people standing up for the sanctity of life!

The March for Life in the America has been an amazing sight. Thousands upon thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand a respect for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.  The Crescat has some great photos and all over the net there are reports from those who were there and those who wished they could be.

march-for-life-2013One of the great things about the internet is it can easily bypass the silence and self censorship of the mainstream media. They are losing the battle on life. Pretending the marches aren’t attended or ignoring them as they happen will no longer count for much. I get the sense the mainstream media’s influence is shrinking fast.

Forty years ago (a generation in Biblical terms) two court cases opened the floodgates to the wholesale slaughter of unborn people. This in turn blunted the sense of life so much that it is now fine to deny elderly people basic care and medication such as antibiotics; to starve and dehydrate people to death and to leave seriously ill people without basic care so that they and their families become so desperate they ask for assisted suicide.

We live in a world where health insurance companies in America will refuse tomarch-for-life-2013b pay for treatment but offer to pay for assisted suicide, because they deem it cheaper.

One of the wonderful things about the American people marching for life is that they still care enough, over the pond, to do this. I can’t imagine such a thing happening in dark apathetic Britain. Tiny embers still glow here, but those embers are tiny.

A new generation is emerging in America who are willing to stand up for what is right.


Abby Johnson has left the abortion industry and become pro-life. Her charity is to help others who wish to follow. It’s a brave step because those ex-workers 486064_559719124038165_2085612879_nlose their employment and are often less than welcomed into the pro-life community, who like the apostles after the conversion of Paul, are somewhat wary.

She has posted this picture of a tool used to grip the baby’s head and then pierce his/her skull. The grips stop the head floating free once it has been cut from the body. The fact that such tools are made is beyond vile; that they are used is not so much crying out to God but screaming out.

I am sure Dr Bernard Nathanson is praying for us all. He was a founding member of NARAL and the lies he told back then are still repeated in the media today. He has told the truth since then and spent the rest of his life fighting for life. He became a Catholic in 1996 and stood firm for life until his death in 2011.

As Christians we are not allowed to remain silent. It is laid on us as an obligation to speak out for justice and life.  Adam’s silence in the face of Satan’s attack on the woman brought about his own downfall. We will answer for silence.

You may be saying; I can’t march, what can I do?

For a lot of us it’s a matter of donating money, clothes, equipment and food to the crisis pregnancy centres and local parishes who do quiet outreach. Food donations for the elderly and sick. You might be able to help with respite or visiting someone. There are many families who offer a place to stay for girls in a terrible crisis pregnancy.

Something as simple as helping  a sick or disabled person navigate the dreadful benefits system by helping them fill out forms.

Join the St. Vincent dePaul (SVP) Society.

Do anything, so long as it’s not nothing.

Montessori Lesson of the growing a seed into a plant.

I bought this download on the seed to plant from Montessori Printshop.

I also have the wonderful free botany nomenclature cards from the Helpful Garden. I’ve been using these with Heleyna, but it was coincidental that Avila had reached some work on the same subject in her science book (Behold and see 3) So Avila and Heleyna worked together on this.

We gathered some dried beans; mung, black eye, haricot and pinto. We soaked them overnight.

The next day I took a couple of cloths and wet them and got a couple of sealable sandwich bags.

We laid the soaked beans on the cloth and sealed them into the bags and left them to grow.


A few days later We set them up to have a good look at them.

As it happened some of the beans had made more progress than others so the process could be easily seen.

P1020005I started the line with a dry bean and then we had a soaked one and then the root and thankfully one of the beans had moved on so far that little leaves had started to grow and the “jacket” had been shed.

We made up the booklet and we’ll repeat that and go through the parts of a bean seed.

Went to see Les Miserables and met someone I think must have seen it. ;)

Last night Al and I went to see the film operetta Les Miserables.  I had obeyed Iona and kept the day very quiet so I would cope and today I am working through the household jobs very slowly, as I recover, but believe me it was worth the effort.

Al had to dig the car out of the snow, so he made quite a bit of effort!

When we got there he managed to negotiate the snow with the wheelchair which was quite a feat as well.

les_miserables_ver11At the desk we ordered tickets and then….Al had forgotten his wallet. We hadn’t a penny between us. I shrugged and said we had better go home. The ticket lady said we couldn’t possibly just go home having come out through the snow. She wasn’t going to allow it and we must see the film. She was busy tapping into the machine. “You can have my tickets,” she said. I assume she had some kind of ticket system with the cinema as she worked there. So she gave us her tickets!

It was the first time I’d been to the cinema in my wheelchair so it was interesting to see if the “crip corner” was going to work out. It was fine.

The film is great. We both loved it. I was pleased how close to the book it is and it didn’t try and ditch the heart of the story for political correctness. Jean Valjean’s journey of redemption while poor Jevert is tied to his law is well told and beautifully sung.

If you haven’t read the book go and get it FREE here. There are things in the book that will help you understand parts of the film that aren’t completely fleshed out such as the hair and teeth business. (I am avoiding spoilers by being vague).

I have some vague memories of singing the following song in choir, back when I still had a voice for singing.

I don’t think there’s a dud song in the whole thing, which is quite an achievement for the composers.

De Profundus…

I admit it; I’m a sucker for conversion stories.  I love the story of a man who sits down with an elderly Catholic priest and hears the story of a marriage where the wife is a good and holy woman, but the husband is an athiest. Every day the wife prays for her husband but throughout their marriage he remained atheist. Felix Lesseur was set in his ways and the prayers of his wife did not move him. When she died he discovered her diary and the love and pain and prayer that she had poured out to God.

“Did he come to you this Felix?” asks the man of the priest and the priest smiles and says, “I am Father Felix Lesseur.”

Many people, including me, have asked why God will work in one person’s life by knocking them off a horse, while others seem to have to search for Him over years, sometimes seemingly in vain.

In all the conversion stories I have read, watched or listened to there is a great sense of peace, of having come home at last. For those who have come from protestant backgrounds there is always a great sense of gratitude that they had that early Christian foundation, even from those who grew up with anti-Catholic rhetoric ringing in their ears.

On the opposite side there is always some anger and hatred when people abandon the Church for a Christian-light version of religion so that they are no longer constrained by Christ’s moral law. Immoral sexual practice is almost always at the root of this whether it’s divorce and “remarriage” or some other form of adultery or  they walk away from Christ because of some Judas they have come across.

The real shameful thing about those who walk away from the Faith is those who do so because, despite being baptised they have never been taught. When we, as parents, take our children to be baptised we make a solemn oath to bring them up in the Faith. If we don’t even try we are breaking the Second Commandment for no one should stand in the Name of God and take an oath in vain.

But those who walk back or find Him are always so full of peace.

written on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul in the Year of Faith.

Book Basket

P1010995This weeks book basket has the following books:

Frog and Toad books. There’s a great story about frog and toad going sledging in the snow. Just right for all the snow we have here at the moment.

Diary of a Wombat This is a simple and funny little tale for the younger ones. Heleyna loves it and Avila often reads it to her.

Charlie Needs a Cloak. Another good winter story for Heleyna. It’s by the children’s favourite author Tomie DePaola.

Brother Jerome and the Angels in the Bakery Just a lovely story with beautiful illustrations about a monk who has a bakery to help make the monastery make ends meet. Rona loves this story as he wants to be a baker.

Paintings First Discovery/Art

The 5000 Year old Puzzle

feature-prime._V386282737_I have given Avila my old Kindle, and have a Paperwhite for me now which is brilliant in all sorts of light from dark to bright sunlight. It’s a touch screen which I was unsure about at first because of my peripheral neuropathy. I wasn’t sure the screen would recognise my fingers but it’s been fine most of the time.

Keeping secrets in our house is nigh on impossible – (which I suppose is ok really because I don’t approve of secrets; they always end with biting someone) – but anyway, dear old Ronan has found out that he is getting a Kindle for his birthday.

At the moment he and Avila are sharing my old one.

She is reading E.Nesbit’s(opens list)  The Phoenix and the Carpet which I read to them as a read aloud some time ago. She also has Tom’s Midnight Garden for quick reading. She read it to me ages ago now.

Ronan is reading L. Frank Baum (opens list)  The Tin Woodman of Oz

What the adults are reading:

I am reading Les Miserables  which I read years ago and can’t remember well. Iona has seen the film and thinks we should go too.

I am also reading The Silmarillion which, like Les Mis I haven’t read for many years. Nice to go back to these things.

Al is reading Dorothy Sayers Strong Poison on the train as he goes to and from work.

Iona is reading Daphne du Maurier’s The King’s General. She’s a big Daphne Du Maurier fan.

getting a heart monitorg

Yesterday after delays caused by the snow my new heart monitor arrived. It’s a watch with a chest strap. I bought one of the cheaper ones thinking it would do. It doesn’t work. The watch doesn’t recognise the chest strap. So I am sending it back.

Now I wonder whether to try again and get one of the expensive ones. On the lists people tend to recommend the

ideally I would like a simple heart rate monitor that will monitor my heart rate all day and with an alarm so that if I go above a certain rate it tells me to stop it.

I had set my personal limit at 125 and was using the finger pulse and oxy to check. However I can’t wear it so I tend to have it there and check my heart rate once I start feeling rough. But this often means I don’t check until it’s up around 128 to 134ish. I would then sit down until it reduced to under 125 and then get on with whatever I was doing. This hasn’t been working. I am still crashing each day and feeling horrible quite often.

So the new plan was I would stop at 120 to see if keeping my HR under 120 would reduce symptoms. But for this I need a good reliable HR monitor so I can sit down or lie down as soon as my HR hits 120.

As I am not going to see the cardiologist any time soon, I thought I would try and do something to improve things myself. It’s a shot in the dark really but it seemed worth a try.

So. I need to rethink the monitor. If anyone can recommend one that’s reliable let me know.