Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Some of what we do; and, who does what...

We love Catholic Heritage Curricula's motto: "Educating for Eternity". Like all Catholic home educators, we think in terms of the "Four Rs". We begin each day with the first "R", religion. Mom prays with her Magnificat, all of us make a Morning Offering, then we have a morning meeting after breakfast, where we read aloud from the Pauline series on the saints and feast days. We alternate the household chores and do some gardening. We make a Holy Hour every week. Catholic Mosaic and similar picture books (like Jan Brett over Christmas) inspire all of us. We study and read Sacred Scripture, the Catechism, history and literature together and separately. We all keep notebooks and enjoy decorating them with stickers, drawings and photos. This fall we worked through Ancient Greece and Rome (some on Egypt). This winter we are going back to U.S., concentrating on our states and capitols, the Colonial Period, the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. We love Geography and are always looking at maps, atlases and globes. We read some poetry and would like to fit some Latin in to our week.

The whole of our day encompasses this first "R" as well as the traditional "Three Rs": "reading, writing and 'rithmetic." We love science, history and geography and often study these subjects as they relate to the feasts and seasons of our liturgical year. Here is some of what each child does:

Maggie is my math and science student. She also knows her faith as I wish I did at her age. At 11, she is, and has been for some time, a "tidal learner". She whizzed through Saxon Math up to Algebra and now is working with Teaching Textbooks, the book and DVD. She likes Dr. Jay Wile for science, taking nature walks and going to TORCH coop classes. She is doing K-12 for 7th grade language arts, along with lots of "extracurricular" reading. She has read extensively from the lives of the saints and about Catholic scientists. She read Catherine and Bernard Scherrer's The Joyful Mysteries of Life. She has gained a good understanding of what it means to be human and a practicing Catholic. She plays the clarinet and the guitar and is frequently in the kitchen cooking and cleaning. She is a blessing to her family.

Joy-Beth is 10 and loves to read and write and we begin with My Catholic Speller and various approaches to math and science, including coop classes, some worksheets and homemade flashcards and games. Joy-Beth has collected almost all of the Pauline series on the saints. She writes creatively and shares the family passion for history. She listens to music, watches some t.v. on her computer, and sings and plays the guitar. She has fun collecting Webkinz. She can be found blogging here. She is a blessing to her family. She works hard in the house and the garden. This fall she attended a babysitting seminar at our regional hospital.

Jay is 6 and loves to draw and notebook. He plays with his Legos, is not at all interested in reading alone, but loves to listen to mom read (Grimm's fairy tales is a favorite.) His favorite subjects are art and history ("studying war is fun," he says...) He and Joy-Beth play Webkinz. He works hard in the house and garden. He is a blessing to his family.

We love to discuss life and learning and often use the Internet, the local library and our library and computers here at home to research various topics, from hermit crabs to Alexander the Great. The girls kept journals over Christmas, and I hope to spend more time this winter fine-tuning age-appropriate writing skills. Dad is very involved with faith formation, caregiving and education. He also mows the lawn and takes all the animals (5: Tanner, Tyler, Trouble, Kittie and Tabby) to the vet! Did I mention that he makes all the money and then turns around and pays all the bills! Without his encouragement, Mom would not be able to juggle all the balls that make up an environment rich in prayer, learning, work and fun! Without Him who is Love, none of this would be possible.

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