Thursday, June 16, 2011

Art Lessons for Kids

If you are looking for art lessons to do with your children this summer, a friend sent this link to
Deep Space Sparkle

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Building an e-book Catholic library

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G, 6" Display, White - 2nd Generation A friend sent this link to building a Catholic e-book library. I know others who use other e-books as well.
Building a Catholic e-book Library. 

Another friend purchased the whole Summa for $.99.

God Bless,

Monday, June 13, 2011

New Face of Homeschooling

I am sure the Holy Father has many addresses encouraging people to use the internet and technology as a means of evangelization. Here is another talk.

Paul VI Audience Hall
Saturday, 24 April 2010  

Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
Dear Friends,
I am glad of this occasion to meet you and to conclude your Congress that has a particularly evocative title: "Digital Witnesses: Faces and Languages in the Cross-Media Age". I thank Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, for his cordial words of welcome with which, once again, he has wished to express the affection and closeness to my apostolic service of the Church in Italy. Your words, Your Eminence, mirror the faithful adherence to Peter of all the Catholics of this beloved nation and the esteem of so many men and women motivated by the desire to seek the truth.
The present time is experiencing an enormous expansion of the frontiers of communication, bringing about an unheard of convergence among the different media and making interactivity possible. The internet is therefore revealing a vocation that is open, basically egalitarian and pluralist but at the same time it is creating a new boundary: indeed, people are talking about the digital divide.
This divide separates the included from the excluded and adds to the other discrepancies that are already distancing nations from one another and dividing them from within. The dangers of standardization and control, of intellectual and moral relativism, already clearly recognizable in the erosion of the critical spirit, the subordination of truth to the play of opinions, the multiple forms of degradation and humiliation of the person's intimacy. We are therefore witnessing a "pollution of the spirit; it makes us smile less, makes our faces gloomier, less likely to greet each other or look each other in the eye" (Address for the Immaculate Conception, Piazza di Spagna, 8 December 2009). This Congress, on the other hand aims precisely to focus on faces, hence to surmount those collective dynamics that can cause us to lose our perception of the depths of the person by stopping at appearances. When this happens, people are left as bodies without a soul, objects of exchange and consumption.
How is it possible to focus anew on the face? I have also tried to point out the way in my third Encyclical. It passes through that caritas in veritate, which shines out in Christ's Face. Love of truth is "a great challenge for the Church in a world that is becoming progressively and pervasively globalized" (n. 9). The media can become factors of humanization, "not only when, thanks to their technological development, they increase the possibilities of communicating information, but above all when they are geared towards a vision of the person and the common good that reflects truly universal values" (n. 73). This requires that they "focus on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples, they need to be clearly inspired by charity and placed at the service of truth, of the good, and of natural and supernatural fraternity" (ibid.). Only on these conditions can the epochal change we are passing through be fruitful and rich in new opportunities. Let us set sail on the digital sea fearlessly, confronting open navigation with the same enthusiasm that has steered the Barque of the Church for 2,000 years. Rather than for technical resources, although these are necessary, let us also qualify ourselves by dwelling in this world with a believing heart that helps to give a soul to the ceaseless flow of communications that makes up the web.
This is our mission, the inalienable mission of the Church. Every believer who works in the media has a "special responsibility for opening the door to new forms of encounter, maintaining the quality of human interacti0n and showing concern for individuals and their genuine spiritual needs. They can thus help the men and women of our digital age to sense the Lord's presence" (Message for the 44th World Day of Social Communications, 16 May 2010). Dear friends, you are also called to post yourselves on the web as "leaders of communities", attentive to "preparing ways that lead to the word of God" and showing special sensitivity to "the disheartened and those who have a deep, unarticulated desire for enduring truth and the absolute" (ibid.). The web can thus become a sort of "Court of the Gentiles", "offering a space... for those who have not yet come to know God" (ibid.).
As leaders of the world of culture and communications, you are a vital sign that "Church communities have always used the modern media for fostering communication, engagement with society, and, increasingly, for encouraging dialogue at a wider level" (ibid.). In Italy, voices in this field are not lacking. It suffices here to recall the daily Avvenire, the television broadcasting station TV2000, the radiophonic circuit inBlu, and the press agency SIR, alongside the Catholic periodicals, the diocesan weeklies and the now numerous websites of Catholic inspiration.
I urge all professionals in communications never to tire of nourishing in their hearts that healthy passion for man which seeks to draw ever closer to his many languages and to his true face.
A sound theological training will help you in this and, especially, a profound and joyful passion for God, fostered by continuous exchanges with the Lord. The particular Churches and religious institutes, for their part, should not hesitate to make the most of the formation courses offered by the Pontifical universities, by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart and by the other Catholic and ecclesiastical universities, earmarking for them, with foresight, people and resources. The world of the media is fully part of pastoral planning.
As I thank you for the service you offer to the Church and thus to the human cause, I urge you, enlivened by the courage of the Holy Spirit, to set out on the highways of the digital continent. Our trust is not uncritically placed in any one technical instrument. Our efforts consist in being Church, a believing community that can witness to all to the perennial newness of the Risen One, with a life that flourishes in fullness to the extent that it is open, enters into relationships and is freely given.
I entrust you to the protection of Mary Most Holy and of the great Saints of communications and I cordially bless you all. 
Vatican Library

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Face of Homeschooling: Technology as a Tutor

Part 4 of my resource section on the New Face of Homeschooling.
Technology can act as a tutor in as

IV.Technology as a Tutor: CD-ROMs, DVDs,/CDs, Online Classes
sisting mom.

Institute for Excellence in Writing

 Online classes, lecture, interactive, webinars, streaming live, summer classes, podcasts
e.g. Interactive classes or lectures are available through Angelicum Academy, Homeschool Connections, Memoria Press, Mother of Divine Grace, , Regina Coeli Academy, , and others.
On-line syllabus and online testing and grading are available through Seton, with recorded audio lectures.
You need to inquire as to the type of online classes.

Private tutor: Many tutors offer services through the web.
Write Guide:
Mother of Divine Grace School has a teacher assisted option or a teacher directed option for the student to have contact with the teacher through regular scheduled phone and e-mail.

More Options:
Peaksmart: Online customized, adaptive math learning for kids
Pre-school through 8th grade, e-books, multi-media, and videos and worksheets
 Over 2,000 Free online instructional math and science videos

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Face of Homeschooling: Technology as a Teaching Tool

Technology as a Teaching Tool is the 3rd section of my resource section of my talk on the New Face of Homeschooling.

III Technology as a Teaching Tool

What are some of the ways in which we use technology as a teaching tool?

Computer: The uses of the computer are expanding.  Beside a word processor and a source of information though the internet, some computers can be used as tablets to write on, others have touch screens. 

Large Screen Board: Use TV Screen/Monitor as a whiteboard by using your computer and attaching it to your TV screen Monitor. Flat screens TVs/monitors have less radiation than cathode ray types of TVs.

The graphic pen: Another possibility is to use a graphic pen, which works in Acrobat (Acrobat Pro). The teacher writes as she normally would on a
"hard mouse pad," and it appears on the computer screen. MODG uses a
group board (virtual chalkboard), but a homeschool mom could connect the computer to a big screen TV and use a blank pdf and everyone in the room would see what she is writing(virtual chalkboard).

Internet to create Shared Documents: Several people can look at a document at the same time and/or you can access the document from multiple computers from the same home. You decide who can view the files, self, family, or friends or all, e.g. Goggle doc or Dropbox:
Jump drive/Memory Stick: Carry your documents anywhere.

*Audiobooks: A word about audiobooks.
Research indicates that watching TV uses a different area of the brain than active play, reading books, or listening to books being read aloud. In our family, we are surrounded by books (literally). My husband and I read to the kids and the older kids read to the younger children as well. But if you want to do triple duty—this is like secrets homeschoolers never tell you—get a book on tape/cd or mp3. The kids are actively listening to the story, while doing dishes or eating lunch or driving in the car and mom can enrich their academics by exposing them to books they would never pick up off the shelf to read. Some audio books have a cast of characters, others a single narrator, but even a good narrator can make a difference. Actually, this is more than triple duty. It frees up mom to do other things. The kids are content to do something they might otherwise find boring, like the dishes. It is nearly impossible for them to bicker because they are all quiet listening to the same story at the same time. If your child finds reading difficult, this is a marvelous way to augment his vocabulary. A child will always have a comprehension vocabulary far above his reading vocabulary. We get our audio books mainly through the library. But others have told me about Audible, Librivox and Readings for the Blind and Dyslectic. The child needs a diagnosis from a professional to use rfbd.
These are great sources for audio books.
Public Library,

The internet, MP3 players, tapes, CDs, apps. and DAISY are all tools for listening to audio books and classical music or poems or dictation recorded by the student.  

*E-books: Kindle To Kindle or Not to Kindle: Nook: that is the question.  Ignatius and others are now introducing e-books simultaneously with their hard covers and soft covers. Some publishers, however, are not happy about the push toward e-books. They fear the demise of the publishing industry. E-books are usually cheaper than hard covers and soft covers. If you use e-books, Kindle has some advantages over viewing them than on the computer. If you download free books in pdf format, it is cheaper to view them than to print them and it is easier to read them on a Kindle than a computer screen. Also, Kindles are not back lit so they are easier on your eyes. You can adjust the size of the print, which is good for people who are my age and have tri-focals or children with vision problems. In e-books (not pdf) the reader can check vocabulary and other linked information. A Kindle holds multiple books, including audio books, which are easier than lugging around a stack of books and it saves shelf space. Some kids/adults are attracted to gadgets and that also can be a means of encouraging a reluctant reader. You can share your Kindle library between multiple Kindles in the house, allowing several people to read the same book at the same time. It allows you to adjust text size, take notes, highlight and even has a text to speech feature, although some publishers disable that feature because of copyright. 

Powerpoint: Teachers (or teachers as parents) use Power point presentations at co-op classes and teachers ask students to create Powerpoint presentations. Our violin teacher is also a university professor and he primarily uses powerpoint because it allows him to use music scores, mp3 files of music and more.

Exercise: Wii Fit/ treadmills/exercise DVDs/programs. When there is miserable weather, these are ways moms/kids have exercised.

Recorder: Memorize poem, narrations, lists of facts, listen to yourself for music, record teacher.

Apps., ADD-ons: Really depends on what you are looking for: read the newspaper, Wall Street Journal, GPS, games, educational apps, organizational apps. etc. Confession, Calendar app,
Home Routines ( works well with Fly Lady)

calendar app, Memorize Famous Poems,  Memorize Now, Smart Recorder (Smart Recorder), Montessori apps,

Montessori app:

Bobs books now has interactive reading apps:

Many other educational apps.
iPad educational apps with the kids, the organizational apps for mom, check e-mails and access to all Kindle books and audible books.
Learning and Teaching with iPads

Technology: Online Information Resources

Technology in the Homeschool Classroom

Looking for ways to enhance your homeschool experience, you might want to try this.

Discovery Education

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Face of Homeschooling: Technology as a source of information

 Sorry this is a "bit" of a mess. But I never said I was technologically savy! What can I say! I should own a Mac. Maybe I wouldn't have the problems of word. Lots of information.

III. Technology as sources of information. Some of these resources also overlap with Catholic Homeschool Support

A.    Homeschool conference talks on CDs or mp3

B.     Catholic CDs/DVDs, e.g.
C.     Catholic Radio:

D.    TV (Educational or Catholic programming)
            Catholic TV and internet: You can watch programs through the internet if you do not subscribe to cable.
            Educational shows on TV: Discovery Channel, History Channel, etc.

E.     Internet as Information and Research Resource
For information, it depends on what you are looking for. For answers to general questions, you can goggle your questions and see what pops up. If you are looking for answers to particular questions, then usually people have their favorite websites.  For instant access to information, the internet is a plus. On the con side, not all sites are reliable and the information may not be as in-depth as needed. Some moms sit down with their children to instruct them in how to navigate the web, how to identify good information or a phony site.
Catholic Homeschool Vendors/Schools/Curriculums—(e.g. CHC is not a school)
Emmanuel Books for example,
Virtual Catalogs: Some are better than others to navigate and view
More Homeschool Vendors (Not specifically Catholic)
Catholic Homeschool Conferences
Catholic Homeschool Periodicals:
e.g. mater et magistra magazine
Faith and Family online:
National Catholic Register online
Online Current Catholic News,
New Advent:, current news, Catholic Encyclopedia, Summa, Church Fathers, and Bible
Primary Source Documents
Favorite websites: history, social issues, politics, science, Catholic apologetics, Catholic Evangelization, Life Issues, homeschool, etc.
Catholic Education Resource Center:
Catholic Answers:
Web Gallery of Art:
Cottage Blessings
Catholic Gifts: Monastery Greetings:
Products from Abbeys, Convents, Monasteries, and Hermitages
Online Book/Movie/Product Reviews: Includes other homeschool info. Caveat* They are not always reliable because anyone can write a review, except the author of the book.
National Catholic Register reviews both books and movies
Some publishers let you peek into their books, viewing the table of contents and the first few pages before you buy them. This is the same for music.
Online Educational Videos: You Tube and others, e.g. TED, Ideas worth spreading, “Gever Tulley 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do
One of our favorites for little kids is the Slippery Fish song.
Discovery Education Streaming: A great source for educational videos
Online Catholic movies and Educational movies/programs:
Online Book Lists: You can find people’s favorites, lists of your favorite author, or series, e.g. Landmarks, good books for kids to read, , Complete listing of Newbery Honor or Caldecott Honor books, Amazon has “Listmania,” suggestions for further reading,  “Customers who bought this item also bought”, the our library system has something similar, “You may also like” or subject search at the library.
Downloadable files, such as small books, answer keys, coloring pages, clip art, e. g.
Online Free E-books:
Google Free ebooks. You can specialize to request Kindle format or iphone format or some simply come in another format such as pdf.
Gutenberg Project (audio books)
Others: Literature page
Translator: Very helpful when receiving documents in another language 
Graphic Calculator
Maps/GPS/Google Earth
Paying bills and banking online
Checking weather, checking traffic
Purchase car/clothing/just about anything/American made
Recipes and Meal Planning: Google the type of recipe, e.g. All Recipes:
Catholic Food like you have never seen it before! Catholic Cuisine For the truly patient and artistic chef