How We Use FaceTime to Improve Writing and Reading

A little background….Mary and I met over 15 years ago in Tempe, Arizona when our husbands were in graduate school at Arizona State.  We have been great friends for such a long time.  God has blessed our families with kids who are the same age and sex and obviously, the call to homeschool.   We now live in different states but try to get together several times per year.  The kids disappear for the weekend, the husbands work on research, and Mary and I laugh, serve meals, and talk about all kinds of great stuff!

A few years ago we decided to meet weekly via FaceTime to work on writing.   We wanted our oldest daughters especially to have more time together.  What we didn’t realize was how effective our weekly meetings would be.

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Church Closings: The Real Tragedy

Here’s a post by my husband:

The cacophony of blaring sirens, honking horns, and loud profanities is the deafening backdrop as you make your way through the sea of intoxication and into your destined oasis.  The Holy of Holies stands before you.  You genuflect and the cloud of sin in the air that you waded through drops at your feet. You now stand before God.  After that brief moment of peace, you feel a strange state of euphoria and desolation as you realize you are surrounded by your friends posing in stain glass windows amidst a dilapidated building in desperate need of repair if only to plug the dripping holes in the vaulted ceiling.  You wonder how long before her doors are padlocked like her friends’ down the street.

It’s a sight only too familiar for those stepping into an inner-city church in the Northeast. The Northeast has seen almost a 19% decline in the number of churches since 1965, and this past September, the diocese of Pittsburgh announced that they may reduce the number of Churches from 188 to 48. (The final decision is expected this month). The reasons cited for these closings are a shortage of priests, lack of attendance, and “money problems.”

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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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Help for Mean, Moody Mamas

Do you ever have those days when a dark cloud seems to be hanging over you? Perhaps you didn’t sleep well the night before or health problems are gnawing away at your energy and patience. Maybe your kids are particularly ornery and you can’t get them to stop squabbling, let alone get them to do their school work. Or maybe you had a marital disagreement which has left you feeling deflated and depressed. It sure is hard to be joyful and kind on such days, isn’t it?

Here’s an excerpt from Evangelizing Our Children with Joy that describes the importance of being joyful even in the face of tribulations.

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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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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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