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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In my last post, I talked about the importance of virtues and how they enable us to love fully and freely. The foundational virtue, the one that sets the stage for the development of all others, is obedience.
In addition to obedience, we want our children to develop the four cardinal virtues: justice, temperance, prudence, and fortitude. These are called the cardinal virtues because cardo means “hinge” in Latin and all other virtues hinge from these four. For example, honesty and responsibility stem from justice. Chastity stems from temperance. Patience comes from fortitude.
Virtues are like the muscles in our body. When you exercise one muscle, you also exercise the others around it. The cardinal virtues are like the core muscles of our body. Athletes need strong core muscles. Spiritual athletes are those who are striving for holiness and the ability to love fully and freely. And they need the cardinal virtues.
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Last month, I had the privilege of speaking at a family conference near State College, PA. My topic was Raising Virtuous Children – a topic so broad one could write a whole book about it. I think I over-loaded the audience with too much info, so I promised one mom that I would post the talk on this blog. I’ll post it as a three-part series. Here is Part I of the talk on Raising Virtuous Children:
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It takes a village to raise a child — so goes the African proverb. But what if that village, including schools, peers, media, and the culture at large, goes strongly and blatantly against your principles? What’s a parent to do?
In her newly released book, Don’t Let the Culture Raise your Kids, journalist Marcia Segelstein gives parents a highly researched and in-depth look at today’s culture. She describes how it undermines parental influence and challenges traditional family values. More importantly, she offers excellent solutions, tips, and tools for parents who are fighting to protect their children from gender ideology, social media and gaming addiction, sex-ed in schools, pornography, and consumerism. In this interview for Mercatornet, Marcia Segelstein shares some of her research findings and advice.
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Here’s a special treat for you! I recently read a newly-released book, Be a Happier Parent or Laugh Trying. The author, Betsy Kerekes, happens to be a homeschooling mom who has learned, (and I quote her) “If you don’t laugh, you cry, but laughing is more fun.” Isn’t that the truth! Here’s the interview I had with her for Mercatornet. I’m sure you’ll appreciate her stories, humor, and her great perspective on dealing with parenting calamities.
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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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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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1 Corinthians 13. It’s probably St. Paul’s most famous letter – the one we often hear at weddings. Listening to it in church a few weeks ago, I realized that St. Paul could have written it (with a few tweaks) specifically for teachers and homeschoolers. In imitation of St. Paul then, here’s St. Paul’s Letter to the Homeschoolers:
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Earlier this week, the NY Times published an interesting article: A Dark Consensus About Screens and Kids Begins to Emerge in Silicon Valley. Essentially, there is a growing movement among the technical gurus of Silicon Valley to seriously restrict their children’s use of cell phones and tablets. Interesting, but not surprising. As my husband says, it’s pretty obvious that smart phones and tablets are not good for kids, especially when you see them so sedate and glued to the screen. Normal heathy kids should be running around, playing outside, and using their imaginations. Most parents would agree that we need to limit the amount of time our children spend in front of the screen; many parents struggle to do so.
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I hope you enjoyed last week’s Screwtape Letter for a Homeschool Mom #2. Screwtape is a nasty one, isn’t he? You’ll be glad to know that Bitterwench never did get the letter because, just like last time, Martha’s vigilant Guardian Angel intercepted it. Here is Archangel Gabriel’s advice to Angel Fairlight:
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