Our school year is beginning to wind down. Yay! So this is also the time when I begin to think about the coming school year. And while my homeschooled kids take standardized tests to help me assess their overall progress, I also take time to think of the big picture.
After all, a real education is much more than just academics. Indeed, a real education entails educating the whole child. There are many great thinkers who ascribe to the idea that a real education is more than book learning:
- Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he has learned in school. – Albert Einstein
- Intelligence plus character, that is the goal of true education. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
- The primary goal in the education of children is to teach and give an example of a virtuous life. – St. John Chrysostem
- A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all of its students to become saints. – Pope Benedict XVI
While that all sounds good and true, what does it actually mean to educate the whole person, and how do we go about doing that?
Sitting in a rocking chair and musing over this while waiting for Junior to get sleepy, I envisioned this little diagram (Thank you, Holy Spirit!):
Continue reading “Educating the Whole Child” →
Last post, I shared with you St. Don Bosco’s secret to discipline. Did you read how he could get 500 boys to sit in a hall and study quietly and diligently, without threats or punishment? If you have boys, St. Don Bosco is the saint for you! He is a shining example for parents and teachers. Today I share with you some of his own words of wisdom on education and discipline:
Continue reading “St. Don Bosco on the Education and Discipline of Youth” →
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.
Continue reading “Homeschooling in the USA: Yesterday and Today” →
How was your first month of homeschooling this year?
Here’s how ours began: at 4am in the morning of our first official day of school, Sparky came running into our room. “I’m sick!” he gasped. Then he rushed into the bathroom and threw up.
The rest of the day went downhill from there… or rather uphill, as in rolling a boulder up a hill. That’s how much effort it takes to begin a new routine and get the kids back into the school groove. That first day of school, I felt like a zombie trying to herd a pack of monkeys. As soon as one child would settle down to work, another would get up and wander off. Or one would complain that the work was too hard, or start drumming on his desk. All day long I found myself barking, “Sit down! You’re not done your work!”, “Stop talking and focus on your math!”, and “DON’T WAKE THE BABY!”
By the end of the day, I was in the doldrums of discouragement. And I was asking myself, Why is homeschooling so hard? What am I doing wrong?
Continue reading “When Homeschooling is Hard” →
I hope you enjoyed last week’s post, Screwtape Letter for a Homeschool Mom. I wanted to write an Angelic letter as well, because as Lewis put it:
Ideally, Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood should have been balanced by archangelical advice to the patient’s guardian angel. Without this the picture of human life is lop-sided. But who could supply the deficiency? Even if a man – and he would have to be a far better man than I – could scale the spiritual heights required, what ‘answerable style’ could he use?
Of course, there is no way I can scale the spiritual heights required, and I have no ‘answerable style’. But since this is just between friends and just for fun and encouragement, I thought I’d give it a try. Here it is:
Continue reading “Screwtape Intercepted: An Angelic Letter for a Homeschool Mom” →
This summer I have been reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. This satirical work, in which Screwtape, a devil of high, rank advises Wormwood, a junior tempter, is both a delight and a challenge. It’s a delight because of Lewis’ wit and humor. It’s a challenge because I often have to think twice and backwards to get to the real message of each letter.
I remembered that a few years ago A Screwtape Letter for the Unappreciated Mom ended up in my e-mail, and I just loved it. And so, since imitation is the highest form of flattery as well as a great technique for developing one’s writing, I thought I’d try my hand at writing a diabolical letter regarding a homeschool mom.
Continue reading “Screwtape Letter for a Homeschool Mom” →