Children

Children
"God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."
(1 Jn 4:16)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

May Day Baskets

May Day is almost here and the children can't wait to make these easy, cone-shaped May Day baskets again. They enjoy hanging them on our neighors' doors and running away. More ideas for May Day baskets can be found here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Poetry Friday

God’s Grandeur
by Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1918

THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Calling all Catholic Homeschoolers with Blogs

A Catholic Mom in Hawaii has put together a wonderful Catholic Homeschool Blog Directory. If your blog is not already part of the directory, please e-mail Esther and tell her about your blog.

It's a Sad Day for Mexico City

Lawmakers in Mexico City voted to legalize abortion on Tuesday. Please pray for the lawmakers, the residents of Mexico, and especially the babies. More information is available from Life News, www.lifenews.com/int264.html

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Father Goose

Last week, my husband and I watched Father Goose, starring Cary Grant and Leslie Caron. It is a delightful movie about a man, "Mother Goose" who is persuaded to live on a deserted island and spot aircraft for the Australians during World War II. When Mother Goose (a.k.a. the Filthy Beast) is sent to rescue another airplane spotter, he ends up rescuing a school teacher (Goody Two Shoes) and her students, instead. I would not mind watching this cute movie again.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Starfish

by Edith Thacher Hurd, illustrated by Robin Brickman

A couple of years ago, as I perused the children's Science section of our local library, my eyes alighted on Starfish and I scooped it from the shelf. Starfish, originally published in 1962 and read by children in Montessori schools, was republished in 2000 as part of the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. In simple, easy to understand language the reader learns that starfish have arms, but no legs; feet, but no toes; a mouth, but no eyes, ears, or nose. The author describes different kinds of starfish. Edith Hurd shares how a starfish grows, moves, and eats. She divulges where they live. An art project and tips on finding starfish are included at the end of the book.

Although Starfish is geared towards children in Preschool and Kindergarten, all of my children find the book interesting and informative. They especially liked learning that the ray of a starfish grows back. Little did I know, when I plucked this book from the shelf, that I had found a star of the sea. Little did I know, that this book would introduce me to what has become an integral part of our Science studies, the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series.

Poetry Friday

This week's poem can be found in Our Lady's Garden.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Child's Work

"Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants - doing nothing but living and walking about - came to know all things, to carry in their minds the whole of learning: would you not think I was romancing? Well, just this, which seems so fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child's way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learns everything without knowing he is learning it, and in doing so passes little from the unconscious to the conscious, treading always in the paths of
joy and love."

~ Maria Montessori ~

"In nomine Patris et Spiritus Sancti. Amen." These are the words that I heard coming from Patrick's mouth as he sat down for lunch, today. I was surprised. I knew that he knew how to make the sign of the cross in English, but I did not realize that he had been listening to his siblings say, "In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. Amen." God has blessed His little ones with an incredible ability to learn.


Shortly after lunch, Patrick got our Lauri Noah's Ark Puzzle, placed it on the coffee table, took all the pieces out, and started to do it. I remembered doing this puzzle with his eldest sister at a similar age, but I had no idea that Patrick could do the puzzle. Upon completing the puzzle, he went on to do it two more times. After finishing the puzzle for the third time, he said, "Please take a photo of me. I'm finished." We have not taught Patrick his manners (please, thank you, etc.), he has picked up on them by listening and observing.

One of the reasons I love homeschooling is because I get to observe my children learning. I have found that given a loving and nurturing environment, children (especially young children) will naturally learn. So, what does that loving and nurturing environment look like in our home in regards to Patrick? Our days are usually somewhat organized and fairly similar. When Patrick wakes up, I change his diaper. We go to the kitchen and I get bowls on the table, while Patrick gets spoons. I pour his cereal and he sometimes pours his milk into his bowl. After breakfast, he takes his bowl to the sink and then he gets dressed with some assistance from me.

We say our morning prayers and then I give all of the children a short Latin lesson (Patrick plays in the living room). Patrick and Theresa are then free to decide what they want to do. Popular choices include drawing, working with the Lauri Shape and Color Sorter, designing with our Pattern Blocks, playing with Theresa's Playmobil Noah's Ark, driving his trains or cars, building with blocks or duplos, etc. At some point during the morning, I usually find that my three eldest are all working independently on something and I take this opportunity to read books to Patrick and Theresa. Patrick's favorite books are The Poky Little PuppyThe Boy with a Drum, and Angus and the Ducks.

We eat lunch together and then I read to all of the children. Patrick occasionally sits next to me and listens, but he usually occupies himself with something in the living room. After our read-aloud, the children play outside. Some days, Patrick runs, climbs, slides, and swings. Other days, he finds enjoyment working with our child-size garden tools. When he comes inside, he is usually ready for a nap and enjoys snuggling with me and listening to a story before he falls asleep. If he is not ready for a nap, then I have learned that I am going to be busy.




Our day ends with dinner, baths, bible, the Rosary, and listening to more stories. Patrick enjoys participating in all of these activities with varying degrees of interest. Regardless of his degree of interest, I know that he is usually listening and always learning.

Sharing

I am 3 months old.

I like to sleep on someone.


I also like sticking my tongue out.

My mommy still needs to get a photo of me rolling over, but she never has a camera when I do.

I have Patrick to thank for my latest milestone. Yesterday, I started blowing "raspberries" in the air. I can't wait to a blow a "raspberry" on Patrick's cheek.

Book Deals

Yesterday, as I looked at the companies that are members of the affiliate program to which I belong, I discovered a dangerous (to me) website. Why is it dangerous? It is dangerous because it is like an online Half Price Books, only better. Book Closeouts offers thousands of new books at 50% to 90% off the cover price. The only down side to this company is that their stock is limited. I purchased a lot of books that are recommended by Mother of Divine Grace and Seton from Book Closeouts which had only one copy in stock.

Some of the authors whose worthwhile books are available on Book Closeouts are:

Aliki
Jim Arnosky
Franklyn M. Branley (and other Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series authors)
Margaret Wise Brown
Robert Clyde Bulla
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Tomie DePaola
Eleanor Estes
Rumer Godden (The Story of Holly and Ivy)
Steven Kellogg
Rudyard Kipling
Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy books)
Robert McCloskey
Edith Nesbit
Mary Norton
Beatrix Potter
Alice and Martin Provensen
Tasha Tudor
Mark Twain
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Melissa Wiley
Maria Wilkes

I am sorry that I am not providing direct links to these authors, but Blogger kept altering the necessary html. There are other authors' books at Book Closeouts, but these are the ones that come to mind.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Our First Communicant

Today, after Mass, my friend Marlene came up to me and said, "I have to share with you what Bernadette told me last week. It was so sweet that it brought tears to my eyes." Marlene shared that she had asked Bernadette if she was excited to receive her First Communion and Bernadette had responded, "Yes, everyday I tell Jesus, 'I am coming, Jesus! I am coming, Jesus!'"

Dear Jesus, thank you for placing a true desire for you in Bernadette's heart.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Anthony Benkovic

Please pray for the repose of Johnnette Benkovic's husband's soul. Anthony Benkovic died on Wednesday, April 11, 2007. May he rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon him.

Johnnette Benkovic is the founder of Living His Life Abundantly and Women of Grace.

Poetry Friday

Loveliest of Trees, The Cherry Now
by A.E. Housman

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Humiliation

What do you do when you send an e-mail to almost 200 people urging them to contact their "legislatures"? Do you point out your error and let them know that they should actually contact their legislators?

I am simply trying to accept my humiliation quietly. At least I did not invite the same e-mail recipients to a closed function. Oh wait, I did do the latter and it wasn't that long ago.

Thank you, God, for keeping me humble.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Urbi et Orbi

In case you did not hear it or haven't had a chance to read it, Pope Benedict XVI's Urbi et Orbi Message can be read here.

This year's message had increased meaning for me, as our pastor has renewed the practice of saying "My Lord and my God" or "Dominus meus et Deus meus" during the consecration.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

On Holy Saturday, the three oldest attended the Easter Vigil with their dad. They experienced the same awe that I always felt at this Mass. They arrived home, shortly before 11:00 pm, telling me all about it. They were very happy to tell me that four people entered the Church. They also liked holding the "lit" candles. I was delighted to hear and see their enthusiasm.

After attending Easter Sunday Mass, we spent a quiet Easter at home, enjoying the company of the children's grandparents.

I pray that everyone has a Happy Easter Week!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday


Stabat Mater

At the cross her station keeping
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing
now at lenght the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother highly blessed,
of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying, glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O sweet Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ, my Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all our sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live.

By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;

Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;

While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

Doing What is Possible

Yesterday, I was lamenting the fact that aside from our crown of thorns, our family did not observe our usual Lenten traditions this year. Our Last Supper was not displayed. Patrick and Finnian fussed most of the day. Our house was a mess. Catherine was late for her piano lesson. We ate scrambled eggs for dinner (yes, dinner). I still have a lot to do before Easter. My list went on and on.

At eight o'clock, we attended Mass and my lamentations were washed away. I was thankful to be in the presence of our Lord. I was thankful to be doing the most important thing that I could be doing as a human being, attending Mass. At the end of Mass, Patrick started screaming. I gave Finnian to my husband, picked Patrick up and went to the vestibule. As I stood in the vestibule, holding Patrick, I was thankful that on Holy Thursday, we had done what was necessary and possible.

This morning, I am grateful to Love2learn Mom for sharing St. Francis of Assisi's wise words, "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

/A/,/B/,/C/

I have often wondered what one of my children's pediatricians thought when he wrote the letter "B" on a piece of paper and asked 4-year-old Bernadette, "What is this letter?" I know that he was surprised when she responded, "/b/". He automatically replied, "It's b."

I smiled when Brendan told me that one of his friends had told him that you don't spell God "/G//ŏ//d/". I then explained to him that spelling God, "G-o-d" is the same as spelling it, "/G//ŏ//d/".

Several years ago, I read Ruth Beechick's An Easy Start in Arithmetic (now included in her book, The Three R's) and I immediately implemented some of her ideas into our home learning. Last night, I started to read A Home Start in Reading and the above memories came rushing back to me. I found someone who understands why you teach a child to read when they show signs that they are ready to read. I found someone who understands why it is necessary to teach a child the letter sounds, not the names of the letters, when starting him on his lifelong reading journey.

I haven't taught my children the traditional alphabet song. Somehow, they have learned that on their own. I have, when they showed me they were ready to learn to read, taught my children the sounds that letters make. Teaching my children the sounds that letters make has enabled them to start reading easily and without much effort from me.

Hmmm

As we were making dinner the other night, Catherine said to me, "Mommy, I learn more from reading books than I do from anything else."

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Remembering Il Papa

April 2, 2005, my dad phoned and quietly told me, "Pope John Paul II has died." I remember going to Mass the next day and our pastor, Fr. Piotr Dzikowski (who had visited Pope John Paul II on numerous occasions), giving a beautiful homily, reminding us in Pope John Paul II's own words, "Be not afraid!" I remember the days which followed, the funeral we watched, the magazines we looked at, the e-mails we received, and the links we followed. Those links, plus some new ones, are still readily accessible on our computer. A few of them are below:
John Paul II: With These Hands
Rome's Repose
We Remember

Pope John Paul II died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. A feast which he had established and which I hold close to my heart. His death came eight days after Good Friday. It came eight days after Pope John Paul II handed the crucifix that he was carrying to then Cardinal Ratzinger. He and our pastor said, "Be not afraid!" and they were so right.

Today, I am thankful to be a parishioner at a Polish parish, where, after each Mass, we kneel and pray the Angelus for the beatification of John Paul II.

The Angelus

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

Hail Mary...

V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

Hail Mary...

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

LET US PRAY

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts,
that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known
by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.
Through the same Christ Our Lord.
Amen.
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