Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fr. Baron Speaks at the Pallium Lecture

On September 20, 2012, Fr. Robert Barron of the famed "Word on Fire" series spoke at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Pallium Lecture series. I had the great joy to attend. You can find it here. Turn it on and listen. You will be greatly inspired. Let us all renew the world with the New Evangelization.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saving Money Using Mother of Divine Grace Curriculum

"Oh my, I have to buy ALL these books!" Yes, Mother of Divine Grace uses a lot of books in their curriculum, particularly for their history/literature. With a little ingenuity, you can save money.

Keep the Big Picture: Most of the books are non-consumable. Therefore, if you have a large family, you will be using the same books and syllabi again. This is a huge cost savings.

What about the Consumables: Some moms use page protectors and dry-erase markers.

Utilize Technology to Save Money: This year MODG is going digital. For those enrolled in the school, all MODG syllabi are available online. Go digital with your books. Many of the classics are available for free or very little cost for your e-reader (Kindle), i-Pad, or even computer screen. You can even read them on your phone! Famous Men of Greece and Famous Men of  Rome can be found at The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project ( More free books can be found at and via Kindle. Even e-books that are not free are almost always cheaper than print copies.

The Library is Your Friend: Borrow books through inter-library loan. You have instant access to thousands of books. If your library has it, you can read e-books or read books online. Listen to recorded books. Johnny Tremain and Rifles for Watie both offer wonderful recordings.

Oral Work is less Paper Work: Some subjects lend themselves to oral work, particularly, religion. Anything done orally is less paper. But more than just saving paper, you are knitting a lifelong relationship with your child and discovering the truths of the Catholic Faith together when you do religion together. Other subjects we have done together orally include 9th grade Grammar, math drills (multiplication tables x infinity), Henle Latin exercises, and more.

History Timeline Notebook: Since the history timeline covers multiple years, you are purchasing only one notebook.

Buy Used: Purchase used books through Yahoo Groups like Cathswap, Cathbooks, and MODGMaterialsSwap. Buy books through used book sites like Amazon, abebooks, and other similar used book sites. Buy through e-bay. Recently I found this textbook site which had several Concepts and Challenges books, Direct

What you really save on? Call your local Catholic school and inquire as to the cost of tuition. Hint! Hint! That doesn't include school supplies--12 glue sticks for kindergarten--I kid you not. It makes homeschooling a bargain. Do they have uniforms? You won't be spending money on those, either. You won't have to buy designer jeans or shoes--there is no one to impress. You won't have to contribute to the latest monthly (Gosh! Seems like weekly) fundraiser--public schools have those, too! And you won't be asked to volunteer for them either;) You won't have to worry about what food they threw out at lunch, because if they do, you know what it was and why. While you won't be spending money on school field trips, you do have other opportunities for activities and field trips. How far do you have to drive to school? That varies with each family. Most likely, since the kids are not sharing germs with 10, 15, 20 or even 30 kids or more, they will be more healthy.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Three Questions Every Person Should Ask Themselves

  • What will people say about me after I die?
  • Have I made the world a better place?
  • Have I sought to do my Heavenly Father's will?

Image: Hudson River School Painting.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hana in the Time of the Tulips

Sometimes I surprise myself. I was looking for something else when I found this past article in Faith and Family (now the magazine has been completely redone) online. You can find it in the archives

The article is base on the book Hana in the Time of the Tulips by Deborah Noyes, illus. by one of my favorite illustrators Bagram Ibatoulline. It is now out of print.

The Firefly Cure

Rembrandt Helps Win a Father's Heart
My children and I devour picture books. On rare occasions, we find a book that magically transports us into another world. Its breathtaking illustrations and captivating story steal our hearts and minds. Hana in the Time of the Tulips is one such book.

Although it is a story about a young girl growing up in the Netherlands long ago, it is a book that transcends time, as well as the borders of any country. It is al­ so a tribute to the genius of Rem­ brandt, reflected in the gorgeous illustrations of Bagram Ibatoulline.

As my daughter Kateri said, “It is a story about Hana and her father.”

On the cover, a sweet little Dutch girl stands in the midst of a vast field of red and gold tulips. She smiles shyly as she holds a bouquet of brightly colored tulips. The subheading emblazoned across the cover could easily be “Little Girl Conquers the World Through Her Beloved Father’s Heart.”

The story opens in the evening with Hana and Papa playing a familiar, favorite game of doctor and patient in the garden. Papa, the patient, has “fainted” once again on the bench and Hana, the illustrious doctor, bending over Papa and listening “anxiously to his heart,” prescribes a cure. It could be “a kiss. Or a race to the woodpile. Or a noseful of roses.”

Our first impression is the joy the little girl has in spending time with her father.

They don’t do anything elaborate. They simply spend time together enjoying one another’s company in a simple game. We also see a rather ordinary man, a bit portly and not so young anymore, like many of the people Rembrandt painted. While he is not ugly, her Papa is certainly not Prince Charming.

He is also not a same-age playmate; he is her Papa, her hero.

Catholic Coloring Books/Activity Books

My daughter was going through her "stuff" when she came upon these activity books that she enjoyed, but had grown out of. We particularly liked the activity books. You can find them at Holy Family Some are listed as temporarily out of stock, so hopefully they will be in stock soon.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Still More Marvelous Math

mater et magistra has created a pdf file of Lesley Payne's great article on math, "Poetic Math," found in a past issue of Heart and Mind Magazine. The issue date is not mentioned. You can find it here. For those who can't read enough books, there are books listed at the end of the article. This is not a complete list of books by Theoni Pappas.

Archimedes and the Door of Science (Living History Library)
Archimedes and the Door of Science (Living History Library) by Jeanne Bendick

The Joy of Mathematics: Discovering Mathematics All Around You The Joy of Mathematics: Discovering Mathematics All Around You by Theoni Pappas. 

More Joy of Mathematics: Exploring Mathematics All Around You More Joy of Mathematics: Exploring Mathematics All Around You by Theoni Pappas

The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical CatThe Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas

Further Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical CatFurther Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat by Theoni Pappas

Math For Kids and Other People TooMath For Kids and Other People Too by Theoni Pappas

Fractals, Googols, and Other Mathematical TalesFractals, Googols, and Other Mathematical Tales by Theoni Pappas

Mathematical Footprints: Discovering Mathematics EverywhereMathematical Footprints: Discovering Mathematics Everywhere by Theoni Pappas

Mathematics AppreciationMathematics Appreciation by Theoni Pappas

Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two VoicesMath Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices by Theoni Pappas

Math StuffThe Magic of Mathematics: Discovering the Spell of Mathematics by Theoni Pappas

The Year of Faith: Helpful Hints for Catholic Parents

Lay Witness magazine has devoted their September/October issue to the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict. If you go to page 18, you will find some "Helpful Hints for Catholic Parents" based on the writings of St. Teresa of Avila written by yours truly. If you would like to read the whole article, you can subscribe at Laywitness.

In her autobiography, St. Teresa of Avila attributed her parents to laying down the foundation of her faith through their pious example. What did they do? Can we imitate their example? Read the article to find out more.