St. Don Bosco’s Secret to Discipline

One of my favorite saints is Don Bosco. Whenever my boys are particularly unruly, I think of him who dedicated his life to the care and education of the street boys of Turin. Beloved by his pupils, he transformed the lives of countless youth, giving them a Christian education and helping them to grow in holiness. For me, St. Don Bosco is a powerful intercessor. After all, if he was able to work wonders for the derelict raggamuffins of 18th c. Turin, surely he can do something for my well-meaning, but rambunctious boys.

Furthermore, St. Don Bosco is a shining example to parents and teachers. Researching his writings, I came upon this wonderful anecdote, which he himself wrote. I just had to share with you — St. Don Bosco’s Secret to Discipline:

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Developing Critical Thinking Skills Through Literature

Last week, my teenage daughter said to me, “I love talking about books.” I couldn’t agree more. And the popularity of book clubs is evidence that we’re not alone. What a pleasure it is to read a good book and then talk about it!

Thankfully, doing these two simple things is an effective way of developing critical thinking skills — provided you ask and discuss the right questions. So, as I promised in my last post, here is a list of questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy that you can ask your children/teens to help them think critically about the books they are reading.

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Helping our Children Develop Critical Thinking Skills

Happy September! Since we’re at the beginning of a new school year, I thought I’d share a little pedagogy with you. Specifically, I would like to draw your attention to the importance of developing critical thinking skills in our children. In fact, one of our goals as educators should be to help our students become critical thinkers. It’s not enough for our students to be able to memorize and regurgitate information. It’s not even enough for them to be able to understand and explain the information they have learned. Once students begin middle school, they need to develop even higher thinking skills.

Enter Bloom’s Taxonomy, a hierarchy of critical thinking skills laid out by educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom in 1956. For decades educators have been using these six objectives to help students develop critical thinking skills. So it’s something homeschoolers need to know about. Here’s what it looks like:

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Why I Choose to Homeschool

With the days of summer coming to an end, I am sure some of you (myself included) are bracing yourselves for another year of homeschooling. Every August I find myself wondering how I will ever teach multiple subjects to multiple kids, juggle the piles of grading and laundry, get my kids to their many activities, cook decent meals, pay the bills, etc., etc., all with a very active, curious toddler in tow. No wonder the end of summer is always accompanied with apprehension!

How timely, then, is this post by Amy Arrowsmith, a recent Catholic convert and new-comer to the world of homeschooling. You know what I love about converts and newbies? Their idealism and fervour, their newly-opened eyes to God’s incredible love, and their high hopes. If you’ve been homeschooling for a year or two or five or more, your spiritual vision might be dulled and your enthusiasm jaded by the daily grind of educating your kids. Still nursing the scars of last-year’s battle wounds, you might have a lot of misgivings about another year of homeschooling. I encourage you to read Amy’s post, which I hope you will find refreshing and inspiring. Educating our children at home is truly a noble calling and an amazing privilege. May you begin this year with hope and anticipation for all the good that God will do with us and through us!

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Our Favorite Homeschool Curricula This Year (2018 – 2019)

It’s spring! Time to start planning for the coming school year. In years past, I used to spend hours browsing home school curricula. This year, with our second teen heading to highschool in the fall, there isn’t that much browsing to do. We’re pretty much sticking to the stuff that we know has worked for us in the past. For those of you who are deciding on curricula, here is a list of our favorite books from this year:

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What St. Ignatius Would Say to a Homeschooling Mom who Wants to Quit

March can be a tough month. Winter seems to drag on, colds and sniffles drag on,  and my kids get cabin fever. For most of the year, I have a strong enthusiasm for homeschooling. But during the winter months, that enthusiasm sometimes dwindles. And there are days I just want to quit.

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Helping Children Overcome Frustration

Question: How do you prevent frustration on your child’s part when you home school?

One challenging thing about homeschooling is that children do not hold back their emotions from their parents as they would (usually) do with their school teachers. In the absence of peer pressure, children feel less compelled to keep their emotions in check. Thus, in a home school, children are more likely to burst into tears or go into a fit of rage over a difficult math problem. This can pose a considerable problem for us parents, one that can cause us to feel inadequate and frustrated ourselves.

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Frustration-Free Homeschooling? … Not Quite

Here’s a question that came into one of the comment boxes:

How do you prevent frustration (on your part and your child’s) when homeschooling? What do you do when you get frustrated? We’re thinking of homeschooling and I’m very worried about my lack of patience especially with an easily frustrated child. Please advise, thanks.

Frustration is a part of parenting, whether or not you home school. We all get frustrated with our children. We can minimize our frustrations, though, and doing so often has to do with managing expectations. 

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Should I Homeschool? One Mom’s Discernment

Last spring I met a young mom, Elizabeth,  at a homeschooling conference.  Her oldest was not yet of school age, but she was thinking about homeschooling.  Here Elizabeth shares her insights on the prospect of homeschooling:

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