Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

School Days

The first box arrived today: Faith's books. Just like all seasons, it comes whether we are ready or not. I am telling myself I am ready, ready or not. This is a sort of landmark year for us. This is the last year Noah will be at home -- my last year with two students, whittled down from three. This is my last year with my second born in high school. Next year he makes a big leap. Big leaps for our family. When I began homeschooling, I said I would home school for as long as it worked for us. This is the eighth year it has worked for us. I cannot predict what will happen in the future, I can only live in the present. The present is third grade for Faith and eighth grade for Noah at home, twelfth grade for Joshua, and junior year in college for Geoffrey.

I have never really written about our school. I'm not a homeschooler at heart. It was never my dream, but it was an answer to a prayer. It is an answer to a prayer. It keeps my children close, safe, young. I pray that it provides them with a strong foundation for the days in which they will not be under my wing. I always wanted to give my children the education that I had, in the day when the pink Baltimore Catechism was in every child's desk. In the days when teachers in habits far outnumbered secular teachers. I never once had my knuckles smacked with a ruler by a sister. I was only ever treated with love and concern for the well-being of my body and my soul. There are no nun jokes in my repertoire, only good memories.

And so when we started homeschooling, that is what I sought -- an old-fashioned Catholic education. And by-and-large that's what we've had. This year I'm stepping away from my safety net just a bit, and I am using a different curriculum for Faith, though it will still be an old-fashioned Catholic education. I recognize that not all children are the same, even though it may have taken me eight years to recognize that. Faith is a wanderer, a dreamer, not so much a thinker. She would rather be outdoors -- on the swings, in the creek, flying up the street on her bicycle -- than sitting anywhere indoors. She asks me a hundred times a school day, "Can I be done?" She's always planning for her escape. I am switching her to Catholic Heritage Curricula this year. We have used Seton's full curriculum each year for all the children. I recognize Faith's need for some different and I hope that CHC will fill that need. Besides their core curriculum, I have added a few fun things to her list of books -- the box that arrived this morning:

Language Arts:
Little Apostle on Crutches
Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls 1, and 2
My Catholic Speller Level B
Language of God Level B
MCP Phonics Level C

MCP Level C

Behold and See Level C
My Body

Social Studies:
Map Skills Level C

Faith and Life
A Year with God

My Path to Heaven

Sewing with St. Anne
Tea and Cake with the Saints
Art with a Purpose
Catholic Heritage Handwriting

For Noah I am sticking with Seton. I have taught every year of Seton's curriculum K through 8 at least once, most twice. Some years are better than others and I love grade 8. I love their American history and I love their science in eighth grade. I supplement in a few areas, but mostly it's Seton, straight up.

Language Arts:
Wordly Wise Book 5
Seton Spelling for Young Catholics Grade 8
These Are Our Horizons
Book of Friendliness
Reading 8 for Young Catholics Comprehension
Reading 8 for Young Catholics Thinking Skills
The Yearling
The Hidden Treasure of Glaston
English for Young Catholics
Composition for Young Catholics

Algebra 1/2

St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism 2
The Story of the Church

American History for Young Catholics (just found out this is a different history book, so I'm not certain if we'll love this quite as much as the older one -- I may have a decision to make about which to use)
Atlas of American History
World Geography (I create my own reports and study guides using Country Reports. I think we'll cover Asia this year.)

Life Science

Latina Christiana (finishing up I ; starting and, hopefully, finishing II)

And because my daughter has begged me 100 times to please open her box of books, and I finally caved, I am off to go through her new shiny covers and start my lesson plans. Bon voyage to you in your new year.



  1. Okay, you know what's funny? In my opinion? I started reading this post, then scrolled down to the bottom of it to see how long it was (it's a "Do I have time to read this now?" kind of thing) and then as I was scrolling back up, I saw the link to Algebra 1/2 and thought, "Faith's doing Algebra?!!"

    It was one of my finer moments.

    You will love CHC, by the way--so similar to Seton, and yet (from the sounds of it) perfect for Miss Faith's needs.

  2. I enjoy hearing about how you homeschool and I have considered doing that with my children, but I have a few concerns. First, I fear my children need to interact with other kids their age - they just don't have the social skils coming naturally. Secondly, I have four children ages 5, 3.5, 2, & 3 months and I just don't think I can find the necessary time to work intensively with my 5 and 3-year-old. Right now I can barely get the meals cooked and house somewhat clean - around keeping the baby happy.

    Anyhow, what I want to say is - I really enjoyed your links to the books you use. They make me want to homeschool just to read such fun materials. Maybe some day once all the kids are older. . . Who knows. In any case, thank you for sharing.

  3. Miss Minnesota,
    What makes you doubt my daughter's ability to do pre-algebra? Such a judgment! ;-) Love that YOU make mistakes! Gave me a giggle.

    Mary Elizabeth,
    Homeschooling is not for everyone. There was a time I would have said (and did!) that it was not for me. Like I said, it was an answer to prayers. If you truly have the desire but fear you have not the ability, pray. God will answer -- in one way or another. He is good.

  4. I love home schooling, to be honest. I don't feel "called" to it, as I do it out of love and necessity - to fill the need. And, I'm not sorry. It has stretched me as only God can allow it to. There are days and then there are DAYS. It's all a blessing to me. Even when I'm nearly pulling my hair out!
    You'll have a good time - keep asking God for the good times!
    Christian is whizzing through Saxon 76, as his goal is to complete it by 1st quarter end, then start and finish Algebra 1/2 by the end of this school year. He is AMBITIOUS and I pray I can keep up!
    God bless your every effort and sprinkles of love!

  5. I have just started my 6th year of home schooling and often feel like you- that I am not REALLY a home schooler. But I am a mom who loves to be with her kids and wants to raise them with a strong Catholic education and foundation. I guess that is enough for God to work with...we are doing okay despite my weaknesses. It sounds like you are doing a beautiful job, I pray you and your children will have a great year together.

  6. I only wish I had known about home schooling when our children were growing up. I believe a lot of heartbreak could have been avoided, both for them and for me. No one except God knows your children better than you do! Keep up the good work: you have my prayers as well for a blessed year. ... Rosemary

  7. You and your wonderful family will be in my prayers as you begin this new year! I'm loving CHC so far!
    Thank you for sharing your plans, Barbara. Blessings to you!

  8. this post really touched my heart, barb. you saw a need, and though you didn't feel "qualified", you answered Our Lord's call. so beautiful and brave of you!

    and it is a hard lesson to learn that not all of our kids fit into a packaged curriculum! hooray for faith, the sweet little dreamer! she may not always be that way, but so glad she can be that. as long as she needs to. at home with you.

    ps. although, i am still a dreamer....that's ok too, isn't it?
    happy homeschooling you dear, sweet mama. many changes are happening here too. and they PIERCE my heart.

  9. I don't think I am a born homeschooler too. There are day where I love it and days I hate it. We needed a long summer this year just to refresh. I know it works for us and it is the right decision (like you it was a major answer to many many prayers).
    CHC is a very lovely program and your daughter will love it I am sure. I usually do a combo of Seton and CHC, with some misc thrown in there too, lol.

  10. Barb:

    "Not a homeschooler at heart..."

    Wow...same here. I love every minute of my life with my children, every minute of having them home...safe...nurtured...the preservation of their innocence...but I was pulled, literally, kicking and screaming into home education. Shocking? I'm a huge proponent and want to encourage everyone who wishes to undertake this monumental task, but, as you said...it's not for everyone. I see it as a mission...a calling...a way to build the Kingdom of God one brick at a time.

    Faith will love CHC. I've pretty much done it all: Seton, Aquinas, CHC...the "box" can be good place! Praying for all your homeschooling efforts. Peace, joy and lots of coffee my friend...


I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!