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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home Schooling High School

I often think about why I am homeschooling - especially this time of year, as I peruse curricula, buy books and prepare for the next school year. I think about teaching in general, as this is what I went to school to do, but there is a big difference in schooling your children and teaching in a school - whether public or private.

Many school teachers teach a particular grade, or in higher grades, a particular subject. Sometimes, after many years of teaching a grade or subject, they don't really have to think too much about curriculum choices, or manner of teaching, they do what they have learned to do and many are good at it. I've had several inspiring teachers in my childhood.

Homeschooling is a different ball of wax. With my oldest, each year brings new challenges and options. We are starting high school coursework, and in doing so, I want to make sure I give him the best possible education to meet his ambitions. He wants to be an architect or some sort of thing like that. Actually, his dream job is to plan, design, and construct Lego models. Even now, he spends a lot of time building and creating with them (and yes, he is 14!). And so, that means he will be college bound eventually, which means preparing him for college. It means upper level math courses, sciences, technical drawing (where do you find curriculum for that?) and a myriad of coursework that I haven't even heard of - - yet. With most curriculum I purchase, there is an intent to use it with the younger ones coming behind. Lately, though, I've thought about their goals, and how I need to tailor their education to what they wish to accomplish, perhaps in their life. This means that I may be pursuing curriculum for one child, without the intent of using it for the next. Isn't this one of the beauties of home schooling? Sure, he could get all this in public school, but not only can I tailor the education to meet his desires, but I can also tailor it to meet his abilities - - and that is one of the goals of our home school.

I also remind myself of why we home school. I've made lists of reasons, that I refer to often, if I get a little discouraged or frustrated. It is particularly helpful on those "bad" days, when much doesn't seem to go well for us. It helps keep me focused and reminds me that the destination is more important than the bumps in the road that life hands us. For my son, his goal is to be an architect. As his parents, our goal for him is to do what God wishes of him and to obtain happiness in heaven. And if he is meant to be an architect, then he will be. He has a talent for drawing and building, and so, we will help him to build on that talent.

During these times, I think of St. John Bosco and the myriad of jobs he held while paying for his education to become a priest. In hindsight, God was preparing him to take his knowledge of the various trades he worked at and to teach them to his "boys." In the same way, God helped prepare Mother Angelica to build up EWTN and her nuns for their mission by her early education. Perhaps in this same way, the talents that our kids show early in their lives help us to prepare them for their future, of doing God's will in building his Church. I have no idea where this education will lead my oldest son, but I do know that it will lead me looking for curriculum on technical drawing (which, by the way, I have found one called "Practical Drafting") and other courses that will aid him in discerning his vocation.

God Bless!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blanket, ball and stitches . . .

As promised, here is a picture of the baby blanket I crocheted this past week. It is a simple double stitch, with picot trim. The white really makes the yellow look very bright!
I made the ball with some multicolored cotton yarn my mom had given me, yellow from the picot and whatever white I had from the blanket. The pattern for the ball is on the website I previously noted.
Today, I was at the doctor's office crocheting granny squares while I waited. I was just about to finish a square when I noticed a serious flaw made several stitches ago. I contemplated allowing the flaw (it was really noticeable) or to rip it out and go back over. After a short consideration, I felt that it was too noticeable to just allow, so I started ripping out the stitches. Anyone who crochets, knows that in order to get to the mistake, sometimes you have to also rip out the good stitches. In the end, it was about 10 minutes of work that I had to redo, but it was worth it.
As I was ripping and starting over, I started to think about how I can be like that square. I, too, have flaws. I won't recount all of them here, as my vanity just won't allow for that, but, as an expectant mom of four children, there are times when I battle with impatience and temper. I am sure that is true of many of us. This is why I am so grateful for the Sacrament of Confession. When I first became fully Catholic, I didn't understand the vital role Confession has in a life of faith. It wasn't until I learned more about being Catholic that I have been able to embrace, and yes, even be thankful, for this Sacrament. It is like ripping out those stitches, even the ones that may be good, to get to the ones that are flawed, so that the whole can be good again.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In memorium . . .

Fellow home schoolers, and friends, lost their son to luekemia yesterday. The battle had been long, with every reason for hope. Throughout this battle, they remained constant in their faith and their love. My heart and prayers go out to them in this difficult time. May Jesus and Mary wrap them in their loving arms and comfort them in their grief. Please pray for them.

God Bless!

Free Crochet Patterns On-Line

I came across this website for some free crochet patterns:


Saturday, June 13, 2009

A word about crocheting . . .

As I mentioned, I learned how to crochet. I am in the midst of crocheting a bunch of granny squares to make a larger blanket and I have done a baby blanket in cotton yarn in double stitch. I think I am going to try to put a picot edging on the baby blanket to give it a more finished look.

Two resources I found that really helped are DVD's that I purchased at JoAnn's. One is called "I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting" and the other is called "Crochet Stitches in Motion". Both show how the stitches are done and have some projects you can try. Both were very helpful. Once I get the blankets completed, I will post pictures of them.

On a side note, I had previously purchased "The Art of Knitting 4 Kids". On this video, it starts out with a seven-year old teaching some basics. Needless to say, I couldn't get it. Perhaps I just didn't have enough patience at the time. I have shelved it for now and will try again later.

Bags and more bags!

How about these bags??? Before we went to the beach, I made bags for the kids to carry their beach towels and stuff in. These are simple drawstring backpack style bags. (Larger ones shown.) Today, with some left over fabric from the bags I made for the kids, I decided to make some lined tote bags. How cute did these turn out! Now I have a place to put my yarn and crochet hooks (Yes, I did learn how to do that, as well!). All of these took about an hour or less to make.

For the drawstring bags, I used a canvas or heavier weight of fabric, large eyelets, and cording. For trim on the pocket, I used some double-fold biased tape. You can purchase cording at the fabric store, but I would look at the clothes line stuff first. You get more and it is less expensive. In order to make it backpack style, you will need to make the casing for the cord twice as wide so that you can feed two pieces of cording in opposite directions. I can try to take some other pictures to show how it is done if anyone is more interested.

In order to make the lined totes, I cut the fabric the size I wished, sew the pocket on, and then surged the sides and bottoms, doing the same for the lining. If you wish to have an inside pocket, don't forget to sew one on there too. I sewed the handles on then put the lining, right side out, inside the tote, which was right side in. I sewed most of the way around leaving room to turn the bags right side out and stitched the opening close. I also stitched around the top of the bag and stitched the lining to the bottom of the bag to keep it in place. If you wish, you can also sew seams perpendicular to the bottom to give the bag a "standing" base. (I did that for the more girly of the two.)
It's amazing what can be done with scrap fabric!
God Bless