A Lenten Resolution for Perfectionist Moms

How’s your Lent going? One of the things I love about Lent (no, it’s not the fasting) is that I get a second chance at that New Year’s resolution I have long since broken. Even better, I’m convinced that during Lent Our Lord gives us extra graces to persevere in our resolutions. Perhaps this is because during Lent our sacrifices are aimed at uniting ourselves more closely to His holy cross.

Last week Our Lord made it very clear what He wanted me to give up for Lent. You see, I love my kids, obviously. And I’m truly grateful to be able to stay at home with them. But sometimes, being home with them all day can be a real pain. On any given day, there are so many things my precious ones can do to annoy or frustrate me, not necessarily out of their own fault, but rather because I have the misfortune of being the perfectionist type.

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Discipline, Decision-Making, and the Four Cardinal Virtues

Do you ever feel as if there are days when your are too often taking disciplinary action with your kids? Do you ever feel as if you have morphed into The Punisher, doling out “consequences” to one child after another? Do you ever feel as if you are frequently scolding and reprimanding your children — and getting nowhere?

I’ve been there. With my younger ones sometimes I’m still there. But I have a little secret about discipline that I’d like to share:

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A Little Pro-Life Story

I wanted to go to the March for Life on Friday. I really did. My husband and my older kids went to D.C. ,  and marched amongst probably hundreds of thousands of youth, rallying for the dignity of the unborn child.  I’m missing the exhiliration and excitement of the March, the feeling of being a part of a tremendous movement that will one day put an end to history’s greatest atrocity, the legalization of abortion.

But sweet little Junior has had a rough past few weeks, as babies often do during the winter. Instead of Marching in the nation’s capital, I stayed at home playing peekaboo.

However, I thought I’d share this little pro-life story:

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“Do You Love Homeschooling? Or Do You Homeschool Because You Have to?”

That’s a question a friend asked me last spring. I think I gave her a most unsatisfactory answer, something along the lines of: Well, it depends on the day.  

It seems to me that more and more parents feel as if they have no choice but to home school. Some parents feel compelled to homeschool in order to provide religious and moral instruction. Others are concerned about the safety of school environments or the quality of education their children would otherwise be receiving. In any case, the number of homeschooled children has been increasing. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Education found that about 1, 096,000 children were homeschooled. By 2013, that number increased by over 60% to approximately 1,770,000, which is 3.4% of  school-aged children. So we know that many parents feel obliged to homeschool, but do they love homeschooling?

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Homeschooling the Large Family in a Small Space

Is it possible to homeschool a large family in a small home? How about homeschooling eleven kids in a three bedroom house? Today’s post is an interview with Helen Helmers, a homeschooling mom whom I have long admired. She shares with us her experiences and the valuable lessons she has learned as a homeschooling mother of a large family.

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Words to Welcome a Down Syndrome Baby

The moment I first held baby Junior, I looked into his eyes and I knew there was something different about him. “I wonder if he has Down Syndrome” I thought. But I quickly brushed the idea from my mind and revelled in the joy of holding our newborn.

The next day, the kids came to the hospital to see their long-awaited baby brother. They could barely contain their excitement. But they had to wait and wait and wait, since Junior was in the nursery with the pediatrician. He was taking an awfully long time. When my husband finally returned with the baby, the children were ecstatic. As they surrounded my daughter, who was holding little Junior, my husband whispered into my ear, “The doctor says the baby has Down Syndrome.”

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Sewing Easy All Saints Day Costumes

With one of our favorite Feast Days just around the corner, I thought I’d share with you some of our saint costumes. Mind you, these are not professionally made costumes. These are the “not perfect but good enough” projects of a busy mom who has to make four costumes in one weekend or so. After several years of making these, I’ve come up with a method to the maddness. Here are five tips for sewing All Saints Days costumes which I hope  you may find useful.

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When Homeschooling is Hard

How was your first month of homeschooling this year?

Here’s how ours began: at 4am in the morning of our first official day of school, Sparky came running into our room. “I’m sick!” he gasped. Then he rushed into the bathroom and threw up.

The rest of the day went downhill from there… or rather uphill, as in rolling a boulder up a hill. That’s how much effort it takes to begin a new routine and get the kids back into the school groove. That first day of school, I felt like a zombie trying to herd a pack of monkeys. As soon as one child would settle down to work, another would get up and wander off. Or one would complain that the work was too hard, or start drumming on his desk. All day long I found myself barking, “Sit down! You’re not done your work!”, “Stop talking and focus on your math!”, and “DON’T WAKE THE BABY!”

By the end of the day, I was in the doldrums of discouragement. And I was asking myself, Why is homeschooling so hard? What am I doing wrong?

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Story of Civilization Book List and Pictures

Have any of you used the new Story of Civilization curriculum from Tan? This year, our family will be delving into Ancient History. In past years, I was quite satisfied with using the popular Story of the World, vol. 1 for teaching Ancient History. This year, because I really like the audio CDs, we’ll be using the Catholic version, Story of Civilization.

Yes, I ordered the whole kit and kaboodle – activity book, test book, teacher’s guide, time line, CD’s, and text book. Everything except for the DVDs. When the books came in the mail, everything looked great… except for one thing: when I looked at the teacher’s guide, there was no book list of recommended reading for each chapter! Picture books and novels are really what makes history come alive. So….

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Our Homeschool Room

As promised, here is a tour of our homeschool room. When I first began homeschooling my two oldest, we lived in a town house. We turned our finished basement into a little school room with a table, cabinets, and a chalkboard. After a  year or two of that, I got tired of spending most of our waking hours in a basement that hardly had any natural light. We moved up to the dining room and kept the kids’ books in bins on the sideboard table. The toddlers played in the adjoining living room while the bigger kids studied at the dining room table. When our fifth baby was born, we began to feel a little crunched in our townhouse. So a few years ago, we moved into a house that allowed us to have a school room on the main floor:

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