Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Survey: Your Input on Catholic College Information

I need your input. Remember a few days ago I mentioned Catholic College Month? Well, the response has been terrific. I've been notified by a large number of good Catholic colleges and universities over the past few days who would like to participate.

Here's how you can help: I need to know what topics and what colleges you want to hear about. Please take a couple of minutes to complete this survey: Catholic College Webinars. There are only four questions to complete, but I can't tell you how much that would help everyone involved in this ever growing project. Please tell all your friends!

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PSN5: The Rosary

When I received this little book in the mail I thought to myself, "Sigh. Yet another book on the rosary." I know that sounds terrible, but in my defense I do have a whole shelf full of rosary books. However, it was written by fellow blogger Karen Edmisten, and being a fan I gave it a read. And I'm glad I did. It was fresh and I loved it.

Not only did I love it, but my teen daughter loved it. During a long drive one afternoon, just the two of us with her driving, she asked me to read it aloud to her. As side note I have to interject here that I love homeschooling. I don't know many, if any, non-homeschooled students who would ask their mom to please, please read a book on the rosary to them.

Anyway, back to my mini review, Karen not only taught my daughter and me about the history and the beauty of the rosary but she touched our emotion. I found myself at moments, when Karen talks of her fallen past, with tears welling up in my eyes. Being a recovering heathen myself, I was quite moved by Karen's discovery of the Church and the rosary after years of atheism.

So, with all that said, I've decided to recommend Karen's book on the Pope St. Nicholas V list. I think it belongs not only on your bookshelf but on the library's shelf as well. It is a short easy read yet packed full of vital information -- perfect for today's reader.

To read past library recommendations, or to join the email list, visit: Pope Saint Nicholas V.

Check to see if this title is already in your library's catalog. If it is, put a hold on it and check it out. If not, fill out a patron request form right away. This can usually be done online at your library's website.

Title: The Rosary: Keeping Company With Jesus and Mary
Author: Karen Edmisten
Publisher: Saint Anthony Messenger Press
Date Published: May 2009
ISBN-10: 0867168757
ISBN-14: 978-0867168754
Price: 8.99, softcover
Conversion Diary
Danielle Bean
Nancy Carpentier Brown
Links to many, many more positive reviews can be found at Karen's blog.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Relevant Interview

I have an interview later today on Relevant Radio to talk homeschooling and to take questions. They're giving me a whole hour from 2:00 to 3:00 PM Eastern. I hope you all will tune in and maybe even call in with a question or two.

If Relevant Radio isn't in your town, you can listen online.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Catholic College Month Coming Up In October

One of the things I'm working on at Homeschool Connections (and keeping me from blogging) has been Catholic College Month. We're going to dedicate the month of October to free webinars to help Catholic parents and students with that ever scary topic of college. Well, scary for me at least. But I'm sure I'll be comfortable with it by the time I get to child five or six. Or, perhaps, after I attend all these wonderful free webinars!

I'm really excited to tell you that the very first college to sign up is Franciscan University in Steubenville. As you all know, I'm a bit partial to Steuby since my oldest son is an FUS student (Studying in Austria this year).

We also have Katherine O'Brien scheduled to give a webinar on navigating the financial waters. Now, this is THE scary topic for me but after talking to Katherine I understand the process better and am relieved to know there are people out there like her to help me. If you don't know Katherine, she owns a company called Celtic College Consultants in addition to being a Catholic homeschool mom. Very cool!

We have a number of Catholic colleges lining up to participate in Catholic College Month but we don't have dates set in stone yet. Until then, here are links and information on the FUS and Katherine webinars:

How to Pay for College Without Going Broke
Monday, Oct. 5, 2009, 8:30 PM Eastern
Presented by: Katherine O'Brien of Celtic College Consultants

Franciscan University of Steubenville Catholic? Absolutely! Typical? Not Even Close!
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2009, 3:00 PM Eastern
Presented by
Margaret Weber and Joel Recznik of the Admissions Dept.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

What's the Best Preschool or Kindergarten Curriculum

"I need your help. I'm at my wits end looking for just the right curriculum for my girls!"

"How old are they?"

"3 and 5."

I can't tell you how many times I've had this discussion with new homeschoolers. The best homeschool wisdom I ever heard was from my friend Becky when she told me 15 or so years ago, "I don't do kindergarten."

Since those early years, I've grown more and more fond of the Better Late than Early philosophy. As a homeschooler, I do not strive to imitate school. Instead I strive to instill a love of learning in my children that will live well into their adult years.

With that in mind, I try to keep learning as natural as possible in those early years. My experience has been that putting a 3 or 4 year old down at a table with formal lessons backfires in the long run. Oh, they may learn to read at an early age but are you killing their natural desire to explore and learn on their own? I think so.

It's been a lot of years since I read the Moores' book on this subject but, if I recall correctly, studies show that early learning does not translate into academic success later on. They maintain that it is better to wait until 8 or even 10 to begin formal studies. It is enough that they are in a loving and supportive home.

That doesn't mean that you chuck education and watch TV all day. Instead, I think, it means creating an educational yet inviting environment in your home. In those preschool and kindergarten years we just play and explore leaving formal schooling for later. We focus on the joy of discovery.

For example, instead of formal reading lessons I might naturally introduce letter sounds when sitting on the floor building blocks with my littles. "Oh, look! An "M" that says mmm like Mommy." Or we might count/add/subtract blocks in place of a math book. Instead of a science program, walks in the woods or park and observing animal and plant life.

I read aloud a lot so that when we do get around to formal phonics lessons, they are so in love with the written word that they are excited about reading lessons so they can read their own books. Think Charlotte Mason and living books.

I try to make learning an enjoyable and natural process. For preschool that means lots of play at our house. And kids do learn a lot at play. They learn to share, follow rules, logic, small & large motor skills and more.

Does it work? There have been times over the years when I've wondered whether my pedagogical approach was too off the wall. But now that I have adult children, I doubt it far less. Look at my oldest son. I didn't begin formal science lessons with him until high school. Up until then science was real books, exploring, nature studies, etc. Yet, he scored a perfect ACT score in science. A 36 out of 36. He is definitely an example of a Better Late than Early child. He did not take off reading until he was 10. And yet again he did great on his ACT -- a 35 out of 36 in reading.

So, if you're totally stressing over just the right curriculum for your 6-year old, take a deep breath, grab a ball and head out to the park to play with her.