Story of Civilization Vol. 2: The Middle Ages – Book List, Literature Guides, and History Dates

This year we are once again delving into the Middle Ages. This is my favorite time period in history because we witness the blossoming of Christendom despite barbarian invasions, the spread of heresies, the Crusades, a devastating plague, and division in the Church. Indeed, we can see the hand of God guiding the Church through all of this turmoil, raising up great saints to spread the Gospel. I just looove the Middle Ages.

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How Catholic Parents Can Reform the Church

It’s been a tough summer for Catholics this year, and I would not be surprised if by now you’re tired of hearing and reading about church scandals, church politics, and maybe even church in general. As we wait for our bishops, cardinals, and the Pope to shed light on how they will address these problems and “clean house”, we lay people can feel rather helpless. Especially as we watch our beloved Church get attacked from the outside and ripped apart from within.

But I have news for you… well not quite news, but an important reminder:

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Teaching Your Child to Read with Short Vowel Stories… and a free give-away!

When my oldest was a kindergartener, I wrote some super short stories to help her learn to read. I then used them to teach all my other kids to read, along with a variety of other phonics books. Variety is the spice of life, so it is good to give your emerging readers a mixture of books  with which they can learn to read.

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Church Scandals – What’s a Parent to Do?

How have you been coping with all the recent news of church scandals and clergy abuse of minors? All this news makes me sick to my stomach. Part of me doesn’t want to think about it, much less talk about it. But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? The silence, the covering-up, the pretense that sexual abuse by clergy isn’t really real.

But it is.

And while church officials talk about accountability and processes to protect youth and reform the system, we parents need to take the bull by the horns and talk about it with our kids (at least middle schoolers and older). If we don’t, they will catch wind of it somewhere else and feel confused and scandalized (as they should), and their faith may be seriously compromised. Here are three points to think about and possibly talk about with your kids:

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12 Down Syndrome Baby Shower Gifts

Hi! It’s me, Junior! And yep, I hacked into my Mommy’s blog. I want to tell you about my favorite things, just in case you happen to know a mommy who is having a  baby with an extra chromosome, like me. Of course, this stuff is great for babies who only have 46 chromosomes, too. So go ahead and take a look: my favorite things that make great baby shower gifts.

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Helping Your Child to Practice Piano Effectively

Here’s a question that came in as a comment: How do you deal with piano practice? I find that if I let my children (8, 5) practise themselves, they’ll skip some scales and end up doing really shoddy work on their pieces. I find myself having to sit down with them every time in order to get good progress, and it’s really frustrating because I can’t do chores or help/play with/read to the younger ones. I’d really appreciate your advice, thanks.

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Protecting our Kids from the Dangers of the Internet, Part I

With two teenagers in the house (how did that happen so fast?), I have become increasingly concerned about the dangers and effects of the internet and social media on our young people. I’m particularly worried about pornography, although internet, video game and social media addictions are also a concern. Have you seen any of the latest statistics on children/teens and the internet?

Here are some stats from Covenanteyes.com

  • 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography online before the age of 18.
  • The first exposure to pornography among boys is 12 years old, on average.
  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls are exposed to group sex online.
  • 71% of teens have done something to hide their online activity from their parents.
  • 28% of 16-17-year-olds have unintentionally been exposed to pornography online.

These stats are unsettling, aren’t they? We need  to protect our kids from the dangers of the internet. But with smart phones and iPads being ubiquitous, the task seems almost impossible. Of course, we need to use parental controls and put filters on our routers. (Here is a great list of resources.) However, even if we have the most sophisticated parental controls and filter systems, our kids are still in danger. After all, our children have friends, and their friends (will) have smart phones, apple watches, iPads, and laptops. And who knows how protected their gadgets are?

Parental controls,  filters, and monitoring tools.  They are a no brainer.

But we can’t stop there.

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