Weird. I'm not sure that I have a song running through my head this morning.
|Gus and Ria at Mirror Lake in Yosemite|
Homeschooling. No, it's not perfect. Nor are any of the other options. And I question myself all the time about it. But the answer keeps coming up that it's been very good for us in many ways and my kids have always thrived with it and been pretty happy with it.
I love the closeness and camaraderie and interconnectedness it allows for.
|Frank, Terri and Kate do science|
|Ria and Gus in college together!|
|Frank and a little cousin|
|Michelangelo puzzle success with our friend, Joe.|
I also love how much space it gives the kids for creativity and developing deep interests and talents.
|They love making Halloween costumes!|
|Easter Cake by Terri, Bernie and Ria (with some help from Tolkien!)|
|Gus singing with an acapella group in college.|
I love the ability to take the family on a three or four week road trip and see a bunch of amazing things in person, like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the Pacific Ocean and Meteor Crater. I love that we can pick some of the sites based on the Percy Jackson stories and Pixar's Cars.
We love our homeschool community in which we have found many fast friends and kindred spirits over the years and with whom we have enjoyed many activities, such as singing, group classes, park days, dramatic performances, spiritual activities and lots of just plain fun.
And we love our parish community, with whom we have many close connections, especially because of how they have welcomed us as homeschoolers and fellow Catholics. Besides Mass and the Sacraments and many friendships, we have done lots and lots of choirs and sports (mostly basketball and track) alongside our wonderful parish family. God has blessed us in so many ways!
|Kate and her wonderful parish basketball team|
Everything Keeps Coming Up...
Theology of the Body. Our youngest two are just finishing up the Theology of the Body for Middle School, which is being taught by my brother-in-law at our local parish. One of the incentives I've given my kids for taking this class (which is eight Friday nights in a row - not the most fun option in the world) is that there are certain movies they are allowed to watch with us after they take the class. Not ones with lurid sex scenes, of course, but certainly ones that get into complex issues relating to marriage and family, such as living together before marriage. The Theology of the Body background plus the opportunities for discussion brought about by some of these movies (which we really like, by the way) help us provide the kids with a wholistic understanding of the Catholic Church's teachings on marriage and the family without a judgmental attitude towards those who make decisions that we would disagree with.
For example, we watched Steve Martin's Cheaper by the Dozen this past week. One of themes present in the story is the oldest daughter living with her boyfriend, against the wishes of her parents. We had a great discussion about why the Church teaches against this partly because of the way they value marriage - to the point that they want each person to enter it in complete freedom, which is compromised by the commitments already present in cohabitation. It bears some similarities to why the Church won't let you get married while you are pregnant - because the expected baby can put extra pressure on the decision to get married. We also talked about how many couples who live together before marriage do so because they came from families that suffered from divorce and believe it will help prevent that kind of relationship (and how, unfortunately, the statistics indicate that this is in fact unhelpful).
Still lots of Scrabble around here, of course, but I a great deal of our playing of late has been with the dogs. Did I mention that we have a puppy? Zita is her name (named after Ben Hatke's Zita the Space Girl series, which my kids love). She is a black lab mix and about four months old. She really keeps us hopping but (and perhaps partly because of that) we have no regrets. We had to put our cat down last fall and our older dog is 11 and we have a LOT of energetic kid years left, so we decided it was time for another pet. We got her from our local humane society and were very impressed with the services offered there.
I am working my way through the 33 Days to Morning Glory Marian Consecration for my second time. I will be finishing up on May 13th, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, which also happens to be the anniversary of my first communion.
I just started reading a new book by Bishop Barron called Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism. It's a lovely book so far and I particularly enjoy that the essays are substantial, but short.
And after almost ten years (here is my last post on it from our previous reading) we are once again reading Pope Benedict's Sacramentum Caritatis with our homeschool high school catechism class. It an apostholic exhortation on the Eucharist and it is wonderful. It seems like the perfect way to wrap up our year of studying the Mass (we used Ascension Press's Altarations program, which we enjoyed very much).
Quote I'm Pondering:
"Mary, lend us your Heart. Bring us the Spirit. Pray that our hardened hearts would burn with love for Jesus. Help set our hearts on fire with love for him." (from 33 Days to Morning Glory)