Monday, June 30, 2008

Rave Review for LOL

The Michigan Catholic Home-Educators ran a lovely review of For the Love of Literature in their quarterly newsletter, Opus Gloria:

New Book From Michigan Author

Maureen Wittmann’s new book For the Love of Literature! is a real treasure for home schooling parents! Maureen calls her book a “glorified booklist” but it is much more than that. She has done extensive research so that you can have at your finger tips a list of 950 books pertaining to any subject at any grade level including high school.  She has mapped out a lifetime reading plan that will be useful to all ages. In addition, her book shows how literature can be used to teach and reinforce values that lie at the heart of a truly Catholic education. 
Although this book is designed especially for Catholic home schooling parents, it would be useful to any parent.  The guide can be used to teach core subjects using literature, to supplement curriculum, or just to find great books to nourish a child’s love for reading. The book lists are extensive and up-to-date and feature biographies, historical fiction, beautiful books, etc. to study any subject area of interest. A synopsis of each  book’s plot and usefulness is given. There are also chapters on implementing literature in your home school, using your library, unit studies, classical education, and more.

Maureen, who is from Howell, Michigan, is a home schooling mother of seven children and frequent speaker at home schooling conference across the country  She is also the co-editor of The Catholic Homeschool Companion, a collection of articles written by 45 home schooling parents who share their tips, tricks, and techniques to make home schooling a happier, holier, and more productive learning environment.
For the Love of Literature can be ordered from Ecce Homo Press at or call 866-305-8362. The Catholic Homeschool Companion can be ordered from Sophia Institute Press  or call  800-888-9343.  Both books will be available at the MCH book tables at the conference.

For those of you unfamiliar with the MI Catholic Home-Educators, they do a great deal to help their fellow homeschoolers through their annual conference in Lansing, the Father Hardon Scholarship Fund, and so much more. Thank you MCH!

The books can also be ordered directly from me if you'd like them signed. Just check the sidebar of this blog.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

American Twaddle

Hey Mom!
You oughta put American Chillers in your next book!
Yeah sure. Right alongside the Goosebump and Magic Treehouse series, because I just love promoting children's books with short choppy sentences and lame story lines.
Cool, I knew you would!


Mall Walkers in Church

We moved on a Saturday, so I thought I'd be smart and put all of our Sunday clothes together in a safe spot so we could dress easily for Mass the next morning. My plan was to forgo any last minute rummaging through mounds of unpacked boxes.

Well, my plan worked. Sort of. We had our clothes laid out okay, but I forgot about shoes. Most everyone was able to find their Sunday shoes. But me.

I went to Mass in a lovely dress with tennis shoes and bobby socks. I looked like one of those little old ladies who walk the mall before opening hours.

Yep, I went to Mass looking like a mall walker. I'm sure I impressed my new fellow parishioners. Thankfully, Jesus doesn't mind and loves me in tennies as much as in proper black pumps.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

St. Jude Rocks!

St. Jude has answered our prayers once again. You may recall the desperate prayer to him on closing day, well he came through again. In a big way. At least I think so.

First a little back story. As you already know, Teen Son is planning on attending Franciscan University Steubenville in August and you may also recall that he is my severely dyslexic child. Through proper instruction (Orton Gillingham) he learned to read and through our special read aloud time together he learned to love reading. However, it takes him longer than most to accomplish the task. (It also helps if he listens to a BOT as he reads.)

So, when he took his ACT he was unable to finish the test. Even so, he still had a pretty good score, landing him an academic scholarship. But FUS is very expensive and we've been struggling to find more financial aid. We were told that in order to get a higher academic scholarship, he needed to bring up his ACT by four points.

Four points is big. St. Jude is bigger.

Teen Son felt confident he would get the score up, if he could just finish the test. Fortunately for dyslexics ACT allows them time and a half to finish the test. However, ACT is very strict about who gets such an accommodation (and rightfully so). Accordingly, Teen Son spent a day in the office of a neuropsychologist for evaluation. It cost a boatload of money, but we knew it would be worth it if it meant getting the extra scholarship.

The doctor came back with a 15-page report. In a nutshell, Teen Son is in fact severely dyslexic (in the one percentile of the population). The bad news, believe it or not, is that he has a superior intelligence. The doctor explained that according to the American Disability Act, accommodations are for those with average or below average intelligence. This made no sense to me: The ACT is an intelligence test. How could his intelligence be properly assessed if he can't finish the test because it takes him longer to read?

This is where St. Jude comes in.

We decided to send the report into ACT anyway. The doctor helped when he summarized his report, noting it would be a great disservice, not only to Teen Son, but to society to deny him this accommodation. After all, we should encourage young adults like him to perform to their fullest potential.

Teen Son and I did our part by praying. Prayers of desperation to St. Jude. We started with a novena and kept praying everyday after the nine days were up.

Weeks passed and we didn't hear from ACT. No denial, but no acceptance either. It wasn't until Teen Son reported to the local high school to retake the test did he learn ACT's decision. He got the extra time!

But that's not the end of the story. He finished the test and then we waited some more. And prayed some more. Now we needed four points.

The letter came yesterday. His score didn't go up four points. It went up five points! And he got a perfect score on science as well as one point shy of perfect in reading! How cool is that! St. Jude totally rocks and so does my kid!

Now, we've got to start doing some research to see who wants to give scholarships to nursing students (he changed his major again) with a perfect ACT score in science. I hope it's not too late. Oh gosh, what am I saying -- I've got a friend in St. Jude to help!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Catholic Company Contest & Reviews

On Monday I have an interview scheduled with The Catholic Company. It'll be uploaded to their website as a podcast. I'll make sure to let you all know when it's available. In the meantime, The Catholic Company is offering a contest and a reviewer program you may be interested in:

Win $250 for the cutest First Communion Photo
The Catholic Company, the market leader for online Catholic books and gifts, has just announced a First Communion Photo Contest. What a great excuse to pull those photos out of the photo book and show them off again. Bloggers, podcasters, and webmasters can also win a $100 gift certificate for referring the winning entry to the contest, so be sure to spread the word. Winners will be featured on View From a Pew, The Catholic Company blog.

And, if you're a blogger who would like to participate in their new reviewer program, listen up ... they're talking to you:
Bloggers, podcasters, and other webmasters can get free review copies of new Catholic products by joining the Catholic Company reviewer program. Participants receive free products in exchange for an honest review posted on their blog or website. Visit the review program page for more details.

I've Got Girl Cooties

Last night, after I gave Rob a kiss goodnight and turned to leave the room, I overhead:
Yes, Sparky?
How can you stand the girl cooties?
Oh, it's not so bad when you get older.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

World History Encyclopedia?

I received the following email recently. With my limited time on the library computer (still no internet at home) I haven't been able to give the writer my proper attention. What advice do you have for her? Leave a comment please.

I just bought your new book at the North GA Catholic HS Conference. I am enjoying it so much -- thank you for publishing such a useful book!

Can you give me some advice? --

I am searching for a world history encyclopedia for my jr-high-aged son (7th grade). The Usborne and Kingfisher books don't have enough "meat" --they are practically outlines, with large graphics. I'd like something with a little more substance, more detailed information for reference. I really would like a book (as opposed to an online resource) although I would enjoy a book that came with a CD ROM! I would rather not purchase an entire encyclopedia set, btw.

I looked at a few books at Amazon and found several books: Encyclopedia of World History by Peter Sterns, one by Oxford, one called "A Concise Atlas of World History," a National Geographic Concise History and a "Facts on File World History."

Do you have any of these books, or one to recommend?

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've seen more roadkill in the past three weeks of living here than I've seen in my whole entire life.

Ah, the joys of country living.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Brief Update

I'm sitting on my back patio with Teen Son's laptop watching the turkey walk through the backyard. How cool is that!

I'm still working on the Internet and phone situation here. It's a long story, but it should be resolved in the next week. Rob has a wireless gadget through his cell phone, but it only works half the time at our home. Our cell service here is pretty hit and miss. (Hope I don't get kicked off before publishing this post!)

Lots has happened since I last blogged. We're still not completely unpacked and the kids are sleeping on mattresses in the study and living room. It's actually fun -- kinda like camping.

Prayerfully, I'll be back to blogging soon. You all are in my prayers!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Moving and Purging

The husband was overheard saying, as he walked past the stacks and stacks of books on the floor of the study, "She really needs to purge some of these books!" Then he went out to the moving truck to get his 10 years worth of Hockey News and his 30 plus neckties (you never know when they'll come back in style).

PS We don't have internet service yet, so blogging and email will be spotty for a while. Meanwhile, I'll be unpacking and painting and unpacking and organizing and unpacking and making minor repairs and . . .

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Goodbye Holy Cross

My poor pastor. Today he got the full effect of overly-emotional, middle-aged women.

You see, we moved most of our worldly possessions yesterday to the new house. The new city. We made the hour drive this morning for one last Mass at our parish of 14 years.

Just after Mass, I went up to say goodbye to friends in the choir. I never got the "goodbye" out. I was blubbering too hard.

As I went downstairs for Donut Hour, I figured that I got all the tears out and I'd be a sensible person the rest of the morning. Then it happened. My pastor walked up and just as I was about to say, "I'm going to miss you and your wonderful homilies," I started sobbing. Again. He put his arms around me, trying to comfort me. Then, my friend Monie came up and started sobbing too! We were a mess.

The funny thing was that Father had no idea what was going on! He'd forgotten this was our last week. He just comforted away, until Monie and I were sane enough again to explain our tears.

He's promised to come to the new house for a House Blessing Party and we'll invite all our friends from church. I should have all my tears done by then.

I think.