Homeschooling

"As it is the parents who have given life to their children, on them lies

the gravest obligation of educating their family. They must therefore be

recognized as being primarily and principally responsible for their education.

The role of parents is of such importance that it is almost impossible to

provide an adequate substitute… It is therefore above all in the Christian family,

inspired by the grace and responsibility of the sacrament of matrimony, that

children should be taught to know and worship God and to love their neighbor,

in accordance with the faith which they have received in earliest infancy in the

sacrament of Baptism."

Declaration on Education, Second Vatican Council




On this page I will share things related to our homeschooling.



June 15, 2010
Well, our school year is almost complete. My oldest is finishing her 9th grade year. My oldest son is finishing his 7th grade year. My 6 year old is finishing his Kindergarten year. My 3 year old is happily doing his "Preschool" each day. The baby is happy just hanging around the school tables.
We went to the Florida Home school Convention in Orlando again this year and purchased many books for next year. I still have several more books to order. That will happen once this year is finished. I just can't focus on too much at once because mistakes are made that way. I want to sit down, take a deep breath and plan the new year with a clear head knowing this past school year is completed!
I will post our plans for the new year soon. Hopefully I can find all of the awesome links I wanted to share also.
More to come......


July 2010
Lazy days of summer are here!! This actually is the first summer we have taken off of homeschooling. We usually take off in the fall and winter months when the weather is beautiful here in Florida. Summer is just too hot. But, because our oldest is in her high school years, we have to keep more of a traditional school schedule.
During the summer Madison will be studying her driving book and also taking a test on-line on drugs and alcohol and driving. She is not thrilled. I don't think she is in any way excited to drive. She just does not want to grow up, it is precious. She also will continue taking practice tests for the SAT and the PSAT. In the fall she will sit during an actual PSAT for practice and also a SAT. We want her to take as many practice tests as possible, preparing for the "real" ones. I really can't wrap my brain around her going off to college. I just am not ready for that. I have to trust in the Lord and know that He will be by her side!
We went to the Florida Home school Convention in May. I started buying some of our books for the new school year. I still have many more books to order and some lab supplies for Madison's science course.
Only 1/8 of what we need

I am not looking forward to writing out all of my lesson plans, but it is something that I need to get busy doing very soon. I don't want to wait till the last minute, then I start freaking out and get all stressed. Next year is going to be all about no stress and no worries. I just want to enjoy my time teaching these incredible and very smart children that we have.
More to come....

August 28, 2010

Well, our first full week back to school went really well considering I wasn't even ready to start. I was putting things off a bit because I was enjoying the summer break so much. This past week books were arriving, I was busy on the phone planning field trips, and we all were trying to settle into some type of routine. Once all of our books arrive I am going to post what we are using this year and a little bit about our goals for this school year.
The older two already had science experiments this week. Nothing like jumping right in with two feet.
Mitchell did a cool one involving atoms and molecules.


Here are the five shining stars at the beginning of the 2010-2011 home school year:



More to come once all of the books arrive. I also want to add some great homeschooling links.
Peace.

10/14/2010
Our school year is coming along great. We have gone on a few field trips already. Since I am our group's field trip coordinator we get to go on all of them. We have been to the Landfill and had a recycling presentation. We went to the fire station and EMS facility. All of the kids who attended loved going through each of the trucks and taking a tour of the fire station. Next week we go to Rookery Bay for some labs on oysters and plankton. For the month of November I have arranged a private kayak fossilising trip for our older home schoolers in our group. Then in December we head out to a hydroponic heirloom farm to learn about organic gardening and hydroponics. We also are trying to plan a field trip to a solar power company. So many other trips are in the works for the remainder of the school year; it is very exciting.
It has been so much fun watching our 6 year old improve his reading and learn his math skills. He is so into his school work and it is a joy teaching him. The two younger ones sit along side us and work intently on their "school work". Our 2 year old even decided to do an art project on our wall with a blue crayon. Yes we will be repainting. The older two are doing so good on all of their tough subjects and extra curricular activities. Both of them are on bowling league again and they are beginning archery with 4-H. Our daughter also has a high school home school art class that she goes to at our group's meeting center. She is really impressing me with her artistic abilities. For her volunteer hours she is on Teen Court. It is a  correctional program where volunteer teens judge their peers that have committed misdemeanor crimes. Her current position is on the jury. She is toying with the idea of being a Teen Court Lawyer. She'll have to shadow a Teen Court Lawyer for two cases and then she can do it on her own.  All in all we are doing great this year. I look forward to the exciting months ahead.

01/03/2011
We started back to our homeschooling today after a much needed winter break. We enjoyed Advent and now are enjoying the last week of the Christmas season. Our decorations won't come down until January 9th, The Baptism of the Lord. I look forward to finally organizing the decorations this year as I pack them away so it will be a breeze pulling them out next season.
The older two slept in a little but still sat down after breakfast and jumped right in.
I did school with our six year at the dining room table next to the lit up tree. It is overcast today so we decided to plug in the trees and brighten up the house. Mason is studying Saxon 1 math this year and is slamming it! He is doing so well. Today he learned how to order containers by volume and how to identify one-cup liquid measure. He had a ball doing his hands on activity.


The youngest two were just enjoying life and playing with their toys all morning. Wow, I can't believe it they didn't even interrupt us once today during school, that is a first!!
Over our winter break I had to do my home school reporting and log grades. It went smoother than I had anticipated, so that is nice. I look forward to a great second half of the school year. I know that working on patience will help me a great deal. I am pleased with how the day went today, no real blow ups or melt downs. It is going to be good, I am confident! It will be so much easier teaching and learning with our six year old now that the baby is no longer breastfeeding and can entertain himself for long periods of time with toys or activities. Plus the fact that our four year old really enjoys helping his younger brother now with tasks is a great help.
The next three months we have field trips to Barnes and Noble that I planned for all of the various grade levels. I am our group's field trip coordinator this year. I have planned some really fun trips thus far and we have many more to come.
The older two will start back at bowling in their league now that break is over and their 4-H Archery will also resume. Our oldest daughter will be back to her drama class and continuing to get ready for their play production. She also is busy working on a stop motion animation movie. She hopes to showcase it next year at our home school group's talent production.
Our six year old will be back at Little League Baseball in the spring and has been patiently waiting for that. He has been trying to practice in the yard with Daddy as much as possible.
Loads of activity and learning going on here. Truly a blessing that I am thankful for, educating my own children and raising them to be soldiers for Christ.
Happy New Year!

August 15, 2011
The Assumption of The Blessed Virgin Mary


I have been busy preparing, planning and organizing for the new home school year. I began by taking a complete inventory of all our books. I simply went through all of our book shelves and wrote down the titles and authors of all the books we own. This helps me with lesson planning. I can see exactly what I have and what I need. This way I won't over buy materials that we don't really need. I am trying to utilize what we have to minimize the cost of new school books. I will be formally teaching all five kids this next school year so I really need to be creative and use what we have. Of course each year we always need to purchase the consumable work books but I am going to try and keep the overall cost down. Then I went through some of the school cupboards and organized and cleaned. I still have a lot to do but I feel like I have accomplished a great deal already. I am grateful for that!
One of the big decisions that needed to be made for the upcoming school year was foreign languages to take. Our oldest child has already completed two years of High School Latin and needed to decide what language she wants to study for her Junior and Senior years. I am requiring all of the children to take four years of foreign language. She is choosing between Chinese and Japanese. Our second oldest will be starting his Freshman year. He has decided to continue with Greek. He took one full year of Greek during his 7th grade year and really enjoyed it. He plans on doing four years of Greek during his high school years. The youngest three children will formally begin their study of Greek and Latin roots. We use a great program titled, "English from the Roots Up". I also have a program titled, "Roots and Fruits" that I will incorporate. It has fun games and activities to help make the roots stick in their memory.
Another difficult decision for me this year was whether or not to continue as Field Trip Coordinator for our local home school group. I really enjoyed planning all of the field trips for our group last school year and learned a great deal. But it took so much time and now that I'll be formally teaching all five kiddos I know it is not possible to continue with this position. I know my limits and only will take on a project if I know I can give it 100%. If I am going to do something I want to give it my all and right now I need to give 100% to home schooling the five children. Their education is my number one priority. I am at peace with my decision although I will miss coordinating the field trips :(
We took a break from the planning and organizing today to celebrate the Feast Day of Mary's Assumption. We began by renewing our consecration to Our Lady and then had some fun coloring some beautiful new book marks for the upcoming school year. Here are the three youngest boys having a great time coloring together and learning about The Blessed Mother.
 Aidan Joseph (2) and Mason Anthony (7)

Eric James Junior (5)


Sept. 22, 2011

We formally started back to school on the 14th of this month. Books and supplies arrive almost daily and we are getting settled into our new routine. I am happy with all of the books this year and have been busy developing lesson plans for our three youngest. For the most part I order lesson plans for the highschoolers from a Catholic satelite school. They are extremely rigorous, but that is what I need for these smartie pants!!
As far as the foreign language decisions, our oldest decided to stick with Latin and will do two more years of that. So she will have a total of 4 years high school Latin. Our second oldest decided to do 4 years of Greek.
Here are the youngest three using some math manipulatives. They just love messing around with these, little do they know they are actually developing their math skills.
Our 3 year old with Linking Cubes


Our five year old so proud of his tanagram people.

EJ's People






Our 7 year old learning attributes.


November 1st and November 2nd, 2011
ALL SAINTS DAY was a beautiful day here in SW FL. We went to morning Mass and then came home for lunch and the Litany of the Saints. The remainder of the afternoon was spent outside, we take most Feast Days off from school and just enjoy God's gifts.
 Today we celebrate ALL SOULS DAY. We worked on our project for the month of November, which is dedicated to the souls in Purgatory. Each day we will offer up prayers and sacrifices for someone on our poster and pray the prayer given to St. Gertrude for the souls in purgatory.

August 8, 2012
Wow, I cannot believe our summer is almost over. We have still been doing very small amounts of "school" this summer just to keep the kids minds busy, but it has also been a summer filled with loads of fun. Trips out of town, bowling, put-put golf, beach time, pool time, playing in the yard till they are so hot and sweaty it hurts to watch, weekly library trips, cuddling up with good books, coloring, creating with Legos and plenty of just plain fun.
I ordered our books early this year so when our first day of school rolls around we will be ready to jump right in. Hard to believe that our oldest, Madison, will be a senior, Mitch will be a Sophomore, Mason in 3rd grade, Eric Jr in kindergarten and Aidan in Pre-school. Of course we have also been so busy with college tours, paper work and loads of other things not so happy. But all is good and we have been learning how to survive things we never thought possible. GOd gives us strength to move forward if only we ask for the help.
Some snap shots to show how everyone has grown:









+JMJ+ Today I am grateful for my family and a fun filled 2011-2012.



Wow, what a busy 2012-2013 school year we had at home this year! So busy in fact I was not even thinking about posting updates--sad!
For good reasons though. We had some major situations to deal with and we were so focused on getting our oldest ready for college. She is there now, adjusting and getting use to the whole idea. It is a day that I never thought would become a reality. I just was NOT going to let go of my "baby". I use to joke that I was going to go with her and live in the dorm. Well I did stay for her first 10 days just to help unpack, shop, buy books, help her add/drop courses the first week and have some fun exploring her new town.
So now here I am faced with a new school year educating only 4 children. I am still ordering books and getting us prepared to adjust to a full schedule. Right now we are doing about half of our courses as we wait for the rest of our text books to arrive. I had some time to reflect on the reason why I home educate our children and it is best summed up by these beautiful words of Father Parker:
Homeschooling and the Beatitudes                                
"The Beatitudes are worthy of our study. The first Beatitude, from the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus, encourages us to be poor in spirit. To be poor in spirit, we must empty ourselves of anything and everything that tends to displace Jesus Christ in our lives. Jesus must be first in our lives. He can’t be in second place. He must always be front and center. Material goods are gifts from God and are meant to be utilized to assist us as stepping stones on the journey to Heaven. We must not allow material goods to become stumbling blocks on our path to Heaven. You need to teach your children at a very early age that Jesus Christ must be at the absolute center of our lives. If you do this, you should feel confident to be teachers of your children, to be able to pass on the Faith. You should never feel that you are not up-to-snuff; with the first Beatitude, you are validated, you are an authentic teacher of the Gospel of Christ to your children. Will There Be Setbacks? You will have setbacks. You will have opposition, sometimes from those you least expect it. You will, in a real sense, mourn. Yet you will become genuinely meek to those who oppose you. You will become merciful and forgiving. We are living in the worst of times and the best of times. When I was young, everything in the society supported my Faith, everything in the culture supported my Faith. Today your children must be counter-cultural. It takes courage. In teaching your children holiness, you will pass on to them the light to see and behold the face of God. St. Paul wrote that a multitude of saints washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. They answered God’s call to holiness. The saints freely chose to walk in the light of Christ. Only Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We are also called to holiness. If we are to enter Heaven, we must become holy as our Heavenly Father is holy. Holiness is a Person, Jesus Christ. How do we wash our robes white in the blood of the Lamb? By the constant pursuit of holiness in the sacraments, especially in the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. You homeschooling parents are courageously choosing not to expose your children to the darkness, or to the latest fads among educators. Rather, you want to expose them to the light, to the truth, to the Faith, and to everything revealed by God and all His Church teaches. I know about the subtle forms of persecution of you and of your children. I know that many of your neighbors look upon you with disdain. Many of your neighbors think you are un-American or anti-social. But you must be courageous. Don’t give up! These are man-made roadblocks. Take heart! Rejoice and be glad! Your reward in Heaven will be great! When that great day comes, when you will be in the Kingdom and behold the face of God, you will look back and say, “What a marvelous bargain!” Being called to holiness involves taking up the cross! It is a daily requirement of holiness to take up our cross. We are not called to be comfortable. We are called to holiness and to take up our cross. Many voices are calling us to the darkness and to avoid the cross. But you homeschooling parents have ignored those voices, you have ignored the invitation to step into the darkness. You have clearly recognized that it is better to be a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, with Christ as the Head, and we and our children are members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Do you remember the answer we memorized from the Baltimore Catechism? God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be eternally happy with Him in Heaven. Why We Homeschool You are homeschooling your children precisely because you do know Him, you do love Him, and you are serving Him through homeschooling your children. You are teaching your children in a chaotic world to know, to love, and to serve Jesus Christ. What greater gift could you give them? You are giving them the faith and the courage to avoid and reject the darkness. You are giving them the courage to walk in the light of Christ. Continue your work as very special disciples of Jesus Christ, no matter what the man-made obstacles, no matter what the personal cost, no matter what ridicule or insults or subtle persecutions. Don’t let these deter you from teaching your children. “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.” One day, as a result of what you are doing, you will hear the words of our Blessed Lord. “Come, Blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you since before the foundation of the world.” It is the best of times precisely because it is the worst of times out there. You and your children have a chance to exercise your discipleship in a much more dramatic way than our parents or grandparents. In doing that, you are walking in the light of Christ, and you will one day see God. My brothers and sisters, praised be Jesus Christ. Father Parker passed away a few years ago. He was an active pro-life priest, and spoke at a Seton homeschooling conference."                                                      
Published on Sep 7, 2013 under Seton Magazine
 See more at:
 http://www.setonhome.org/4126/homeschooling-and-the-beatitudes/#sthash.ZVvmgjUd.dpuf

2013-2014
This was  a very busy year to say the least. And we are still plugging along as we finish up our studies for this year. We will continue to do a light schedule throughout the summer. The basics like math, reading and writing will be enough to keep our minds sharp. I have already picked out our curriculum/books for the next school year so hopefully my ordering will be a snap.
Our oldest has finished her first year of college, Our 16 year old will have completed his11th grade year, our 10 year old is completing his 4th grade year, our 7 year old is completing his 2nd grade year and our 5 year old is completing  kindergarten.
 

New School Year 2014-2015

This year our oldest child, our daughter, is in her Sophomore year of college and our oldest son will be completing his 12th grade year of high school. The younger 3 boys are in grades 5, 3, and K this year. It is going to be an exciting and busy year. I am looking forward to a fun year of learning, playing, exploring, and loving life. I have my year planned out as far as curriculum and books but we are finishing up our summer study first and then I'll be ordering the rest of our new books soon. Once I get those delivered I'll post what we are using and what we'll be studying this year. Peace.