More Poems for Copywork and Memorization

Having a repertoire of memorized poetry is something my kids secretly enjoy… although some would never admit it.  Sometimes when the younger ones are reciting their poetry, the older ones jump right in, remembering the same poems they had learned in earlier years.

There are many good reasons for copying and memorizing poetry: The rhythm and rhyme of poetry is catchy and fun. As they get older, the kids learn to appreciate the imagery and the way poets play with words, rhyme, and meter. More importantly, it is an excellent way to fill our children’s minds with beautiful imagery and rich vocabulary. In a world so devoid of culture and beauty, memorizing poetry is one way to help our children appreciate that which is true, beautiful, and good.

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What to Look for when Choosing Curricula

It is usually about this time of year when the homeschooling catalogs start coming in the mail. I gather them into a big pile and, like a kid in a candy shop, I pore over the pages.  I love browsing homeschooling curricula. There is so much promise and potential in new school books.

But I have learned that beyond glossy pages and full-color pictures,  there are certain things that make for effective curricula. There are good books, and then there are great books. Here are ten criteria to think about when shopping for next year’s school books:

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Homeschooling in the USA: Yesterday and Today

Do you ever have doubts if what you’re doing as a homeschool mom is working or making a difference? Here’s an article I wrote for Mercatornet:

George Washington, first President of the United States, was homeschooled. So were Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the 3rd and 4th Presidents of the United States. Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing, novelist Louisa May Alcott, and inventor Alexander Graham Bell were also educated at home, as were Laura Ingalls Wilder, Thomas Edison,  Robert Frost,  32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt (in fact 14 American presidents were home educated), scientists Edith and Agnes Claypole, and geneticist Francis Collins.

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Our Favorite Homeschool Curricula this Year

For those of you  living in the North East, how did you  like all that snow on Easter Monday? It’s hard to believe that spring is here, but it really is here! Princess brought me some daffodils she picked from our front lawn – happy proof that warm weather is on its way and our school year will be winding down.

I always think about the next year’s curriculum in April. Planning curriculum in the early spring keeps things realistic. I’m still vividly aware of what we are doing well and what keeps getting pushed to the side. When I’m tempted to throw extra curriculum into the plan, the reality of this year’s juggling act keeps me in check. Spring planning also gives me a chance to create a shopping list so I don’t impulse shop at home school conferences (the curse of the curriculum junkie!)

Just in case any of you are doing some spring planning, I thought I’d share some of our favorite curriculum from this year.

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The Truth about Down Syndrome

Today is World Down Syndrome Day! To commemorate, I wrote this article for MercatorNet. Please read and share to raise awareness about Down Syndrome.

Recent efforts in Ohio and Utah to protect the life and rights of unborn babies with Down Syndrome have many pro-abortionists up in arms. They are terrified that women might be forced to carry and deliver an intellectually disabled child they do not want.

As a mother of a baby with Down Syndrome, I am saddened by their outrage. While some of these people admit they are selfish,  most are terribly misled. Many people just don’t know the truth about Down Syndrome. They have no idea what a gift children and adults with Down Syndrome are.

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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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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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