Saturday, September 29, 2007

CE: HP and the Pope, Part Two

Part two of Nancy's Harry Potter article is up at Catholic Exchange. Go check it out! You may find an interesting comment or two at the end as well.

Prayer Update: Mom

Thank you everyone for your prayers. Mom's tests all came back negative, which is a very good thing. Now if you'll just offer up one more that she'll be able to implement some healthy life style changes, I'd sure appreciate it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Prayer Request - Mom

Please offer up a prayer for my mom, Marirose. She's having some tests done at the hospital today. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

CE: Harry Potter and the Pope, Part One

The first of Nancy Brown's 2-part series on Harry Potter is up at Catholic Exhange. Please leave her a nice comment -- register if you have to.
"When I first heard about Harry Potter, now many years ago, the one thing that stopped me from reading them was the pope's remark."

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Small World Big Family

My friend Lynne Cimorelli has been featured in an article that seems to be making the rounds in newspapers across the country. Read about her family of 13 HERE. And leave a nice comment, please.

BTW -- You may recognize Lynne as a contributing author to both A Catholic Homeschool Treasury and The Catholic Homeschool Companion.

National Punctuation Day

Oh no! I'm so totally bummed out! I missed National Punctuation Day yesterday! The celebrations, the speeches, the parades, the special National Punctuation Day meatloaf.

Oh well, I guess there's always next year.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Memphis Catholic Homeschooling Conference

If you live anywhere near Memphis, TN, then mark your calendar for the weekend of March 14 and 15, 2008. I don't have all the minute details yet, but I can tell you that I'll be speaking at their 9th Annual Catholic Homeschooling Conference. I'd love to meet some of you there!

CE: The Beauty of Eating Words

Mary Jo Thayer's first Confessions of a Homeschooler column is up at Catholic Exchange. This week's topic: The Beauty of Eating Words.

I admit it. I did not want to homeschool my kids. In fact, I said emphatically to my friend Anne one day, with my hands on my hips, at her announcement that she was going to homeschool, "I will never homeschool my kids!"

Mary Jo and I have been friends for a long time. She was one of the pioneering homeschoolers who first welcomed me into our local homeschool support group more than twelve years ago. I love Mary Jo's column, which will run for 20 weeks, because I've experienced some of those stories with her. But, I think you'll enjoy it too.

Friday, September 21, 2007

CE: A Student's View

The new and improved Homeschool Channel at Catholic Exchange is up and running. I decided to start with Teen Son's Heart and Mind column from a couple of years ago:
I love homeschooling; although I can't compare it to going to "real school," as my siblings call it, I'm sure I couldn't be more happy with any other form of education. With homeschooling there's no "hurry up and wait" like my non-homeschooling friends tell me there is at traditional school. I only have to walk the distance from my bedroom to the living room!
Monday will be the debut of Confessions of a Homeschooler by my good friend Mary Jo Thayer. Confessions will run every Monday for the next 20 weeks. Mary Jo's column is frank and yet so funny.

Wednesdays will alternate between my column and guest columnists. I will also run guest columnists on Fridays.

So, there you have it -- three days of homeschool reading at your fingertips each and every week.

If you don't want to miss any of the fun, I suggest going to Catholic Exchange's website and signing up for their daily digest. Just scroll down the sidebar on the left and look for Newsletter. The digest includes a list of all the CE articles for that day, plus the Words of Encouragement and Homily of the Day.

If you'd like to write a column, email me. I'd love to send the writers' guidelines to you.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Honey, Are We Pro-life or Pro-Choice?

"Hi! We're collecting pop cans to raise money for our trip to Washington, D.C. in January for the March for Life."
"That's a pro-life thing right?"
"Hold on. I need to ask my husband."
Turning to holler to her husband, "Honey! Are we pro-life or pro-choice?"

Turned out they were pro-choice and the teens from the Homeschoolers 4 Life didn't get any pop cans from that house. But they did manage to collect $101 in pop and beer cans (10 cents a can here in MI) and donations from the rest of the neighborhood.

Crazy thing how some people don't even know if they're pro-abort or not.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sons and Priests

One of the old gentlemen at church came up to me recently, put his arm around me, and told me, with complete certainty, "You'll have a priest for a son someday." Just out of the blue. He was so sure of himself that I find myself wondering which son it'll be.

Will it be the one who I just scolded for making fart noises with his armpits? Or maybe the one who, just an hour ago, was sent to his room for kicking his sister. Or, perhaps that little guy who insists he can't sleep in his own bed and climbs in with Mommy and Daddy every night. Or, maybe even, the one who has been discerning the priesthood since he was six but these days feels called to the married life.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Helping Mark Pay the Dental Bills

Speaking of worthy causes, Mark Shea is on Day One of his Quarterly Pledge drive over at Catholic and Enjoying It! If you have money burning a hole in your pocket, then hop on over to Mark's blog and give him some.
If you like what you read here, please help keep an emphatically lower middle class writer solvent so he can keep bringing you the weird combination of offbeat humor, theological ramblings, ecclesial and civil politics, and various cultural ephemera that you've come to realize you can't live without.

Leaving for College

Super Boy: Did Christian leave for college already today?
Me: Yes, honey he did.
SB: I miss him a lot. A whole lot.
Me: He'll be home in 4 hours.
SB: Oh no! That's such a long time.

How will SB ever be able to handle it when his big brother goes away to college for months at a time! I guess I better start looking for a good shrink now.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Catholic Exchange: Homeschooling Channel

I was on the phone with my editor at Catholic Exchange to let her know I'm ready to get back to writing my regular column after a summer break. Somehow, before hanging up, I found myself the new content editor for the homeschool channel.

The pay is right in line with my other writing jobs -- free. Hey, at least I didn't take a pay cut. And I'm very happy to have the opportunity to bring the good news of homeschooling to a larger audience.

I have lots of ideas about expanding the focus of CE's homeschooling channel. However, it will have to wait until I can get high speed Internet. That's okay though, because I'd like to take baby steps. We'll start with regular articles by a variety of authors. Later we'll add podcasts, videos, and other fancy stuff.

In the meantime, if you're looking to donate a little cashola to a good nonprofit group, Catholic Exchange is the place to donate! It isn't cheap bringing Catholic news to the world, even when your writers work pro bono.

Charlotte Mason Primer

I'm doing a series of posts on Charlotte Mason education over at the Thrifty Homeschooler blog. Sort of a CM primer. I plan on continuing the posts well into next week. Any ideas or comments are more than welcomed!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Prayer and Lit Book Update

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that Joan's son, John, is doing well and continuing to recover from brain surgery. Though, I ask that you please continue to pray for the Strombergs.

The bad news is that this means the release of For the Love of Literature will be pushed back. We're now looking at a Christmas release.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Soon-to-Be Mother of a Man Child

In just a few short days, I'll be the mother of an adult. Teen Son will be turning 18. I want the day to be special for him and have some ideas in mind, but I won't mention them at this time in case he reads my blog.

What are your ideas? What have you done for your children on their 18th birthday?

Gosh, where did the time go?

Forcing Kids Into Schools

Sometime ago, a gentleman wrote to our local newspaper expressing his concern over homeschooling and the supposed need for more regulations. He suggested that all homeschooled children who test below the 50 percentile should be forced to go to public schools.

I wonder if he would be open to the suggestion that all public school children who test below the 50 percentile should be forced to be homeschooled.

I wonder too if he realizes that 50% of kids test at or below the 50 percentile.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Never Mind

My sister Chrissy found CHSNA! Their new website is HERE. It's still under construction. You can read about the change HERE.

My non-Catholic, non-homeschooling sister found the Catholic homeschooling group. Too funny. Thanks Sis!


Anybody know what happened to CHSNA (Catholic Home Study Network of America)? Their website is no longer up.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Latin Road

Also getting an award this week for expediency is Schola Publications. I ordered The Latin Road on Thursday and it got here Saturday morning. Whew, good thing since Teen Daughter Two's Latin club starts on Monday morning!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ordering From CHC

CHC rocks! I placed an order on Wednesday and it came Friday morning. I've been buying from Catholic Heritage Curricula since the olden days when they were Catholic Heritage Games. One thing that's always impressed me, alongside their products, has been their professionalism in the way they run their business.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Update on John

From Joan:
Thanks so much for all your prayers for my son, John. He came home from the hospital yesterday. He has a benign tumor in on his brain stem that was blocking the brain fluid from circulating. He had a permenant shunt inserted to divert the fluid to his abdomen. He is having a rough recovery, having lived with the pressure on the brain for so long. He is offering up his suffering for a friend's vocational discernment (wow!). He hasn't complained once. He'll have to go to therapy to regain his balance and head movement. We are looking at a four to six week recovery period.

Again, thanks for your patience and prayers.

DK Eyewitness and Copywork

We are getting some formal schoolwork done around here. I sat down with Buster and Sparky yesterday to do some copywork. I gave Buster a book on cell biology (hey, he loves science). And I let Sparky go to the bookshelf and pick any DK Eyewitness book he wanted. I wasn't too surprised when he came back with Pirate -- it's such a boy thing to do.

I love the DK Eyewitness books for copywork and dictation. They're filled with simple, little vignettes. Okay, they're not great literature but, hey, they do the job I need. The kids get some handwriting practice and I can check on their punctuation, capitalization, spelling, etc. Plus, they may just retain some cool facts.

For those of you on a budget, the Eyewitness books are easily found at the library. You should keep in mind that DK is a secular publisher and so pre-read before handing them over to the kids. You may have to make a verbal correction or two.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Planning the School Year . . . Finally

If you've yet to plan your school year and are feeling horribly guilty about it, I'm here to make you feel better.

September 4th arrived and I had not so much as thought about planning the school year, except to enroll Teen Son at the community college. A busy summer and unforeseen life changing events just put that school stuff to the back burner.

Admittedly, I'm an unschooler at heart. Teach them to read and they can take it from there. (Real books, real books, real books!) But, alas, I'm married to an academic who sees things differently. So, we throw in a textbook here and there and even plan out the school year. I do have to admit, it's nice to have our goals written out and to have a plan to fall back on. (You can find my official planning forms at my website -- click on Downloads.)

So, a planning I shall go. Fortunately, I have my old friend Laura Berquist to help me out. Her syllabi are a life saver. I don't follow everything in each syllabus, but it's a great place to start.

First I sat down with Teen Daughters 1 and 2 along with their syllabi. We discussed their goals for the year and how to go about achieving them. We went through our bookshelves to see what resources we already have on hand, went to the library's website to place 20 or so holds, and ordered the rest from Emmanuel Books.

The next day, I sat down with each of the littles. Again, the bookshelves were searched, library holds were placed, and this time a big fat order went to Catholic Heritage Curricula.

Not to worry, we're not sitting around twiddling our thumbs here. Education is taking place all the time, even without the appropriate MCP math workbook. While we wait for the UPS man to bring our new books, library trips, snuggling on the couch to read together, exploring the woods, and so much more is going on.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Picture This

If you accidentally put your $200 digital camera through the washer AND dryer, it will not work. It will be broken.

However, the memory stick with 469 pictures will be a-okay. Thank you Lord!

And, if you're really blessed, your husband won't kill you. He'll just heave a heavy sigh and bite his tongue.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Prayer Request Update

Joan writes:
Thanks so much for the prayers! John is still in the hospital. He has a tumor that is blocking the fluid drainage and is having trouble adjusting to the shunt. We are looking forward to have him home. God bless, Joan

Catholic Mom: Socrates Cafe

The September column is up over at
However, if I engage them in conversation and ask probing questions they make connections, come up with insightful conclusions, and retain their lessons. This is known as the Socratic Method.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Emergency Prayer Request

Joan Stromberg (Ecce Homo publisher) writes:
I'd like to ask for prayers for my 12 year old son, John, who was rushed to the emergency room this week with hydrocephalus. There is a lot of pressure on his skull, loss of vision, stumbling and loss of depth perception. He has about three times the amount of fluid in his brain than he is supposed to have. He will have to have brain surgery to have a shunt inserted tomorrow.

Since I've been spending most of my days at the hospital, I haven't been able to fill orders. Please be patient with me and we'll get to your order as soon as possible. Any prayers you could send our way would be greatly appreciated.

This note is from yesterday, so John's surgery is today.
Prayer Before Surgery

Loving Father, we entrust John to your care this day; guide with wisdom and skill the minds and hands of the medical people who minister in your Name, and grant that every cause of illness be removed, John may be restored to soundness of health and learn to live in more perfect harmony with You and with those around him. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.