About homeschool

Mom and Dad in Oklahoma trying Catholic homeschooling for the 1st time. We are parents of 4 kids, ages 14, 12, 6, and 4. Our homeschool name is School of Divine Mercy which is very dear to us. Our 14yr old designed the logo and we will be having t-shirts made. So far it has been quite the adventure with many more trials and tribulations to come.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day!



 

I love holidays, as do a lot of people. I stopped by the store on the way home this morning from work and got my 5 Valentines flowers. Little did I know when I got home, I would have an even bigger surprise waiting for me. I presented my 4 kids with bright orange gerber daisies and presented my husband with a red rose. Cliche maybe, but endearing none the less. However, the rest of my family was much more creative than I. I had pink tulips, homemade cards, pictures, a balloon, and a PowerPoint presentation. A PowerPoint presentation you say? Yes. A very unique, unusual, and extremely creative gift from the heart. Of course, being an emotional person, I’m crying through the whole song/slide show. The last slide said, “Don’t forget who also loves you…” and up came a picture of Jesus. Words honestly can’t express how I felt at that moment. My kids got it. My husband got it. I got it. The true meaning of all of this. Love from our Lord who allows us  to freely love. I am still in awe of my kids. I am blessed beyond belief. God is truly good.

Happy Saint Valentine’s Day to all. May the love of God touch you each and bring you comfort. God Bless.

Snow Day



We finally had cold weather in OK! The kids were excited. They spent their recess building a small snowman since we only received about an inch or two of snow and most of it had melted by then.  We had all been praying for cold weather since it’s been unseasonably warm this year. We have even had crickets and moths in the middle of February! Blech!

So a fun recess, cold weather to help with bug control, and this season’s first and possibly only snowman. My kids thank you Lord for the brief snowstorm!

Hard times for teens



Excuse us for the long time passed since our last post. Homeschooling definitely isn’t an easy route and we have had difficulties getting back into the swing of things after Christmas break. We are finally settled in after a few bumpy weeks and a lot of issues the first weeks.
After school started back this year, our 2 oldest boys went through teen drama. For any parents of teens out there, you know what I mean. Their good friend lives at the other end of the cul de sac and was turning 13. (our boys are 14 and 12) They had been very excited about his birthday party for a long time. Their friend ate at our house on Thursday night and the party was on Saturday night. Their friend was talking about the party and what time the boys should be there. That Saturday, our two boys received their first Reconciliation. (yes they were older than most, and it was an Act of God that we have come this far.) Being older and not the usual 8 years old, they took it very seriously. (not to say 8 year olds don’t, but having a little more mature mind definitely helped and it couldn’t have happened on a better day.) After confession, they came home and went out to play with their friend. He had changed his tune somewhere down the line and said he didn’t want our boys to come to his party because they probably wouldn’t enjoy it and wouldn’t know anyone. This was literally like a smack to their face. My husband and I felt horrible for the boys. They were devastated and felt very betrayed. Our oldest came up to us and said, “I really want to say or do something right now, but I just had confession and I don’t want to ruin it. ” My husband and I were in awe. This all coming from a teenager. The level of maturity he displayed that day was rare. (he’s a teenager. He doesn’t always choose the best decision, as do most people, but it was reassuring to us as parents that he took confession seriously, at least for a moment.) My husband took all the kids out for dinner and had a long talk with the boys that night about their confessions and choices in life. They mentioned that dinner with family and then popcorn and movie night was so much more fun.
So a lesson to be learned from teenagers (who’d of thought?) about choices and thinking about things before you do them. I have never been as proud of them as that day. They took their confession seriously. They were using their faith and living the word of God. The Holy Spirit definitely touched their hearts that day, as did it ours. So for all you parents of teenagers, it is not unheard of or impossible for teens to be mature and live the word of God. Set a good example and live the word as parents and pray. Pray pray pray. We can’t do this enough.
Hope everyone has a great weekend coming up. God bless all.

Merry Christmas



I cannot believe Christmas is already here. It seems like we just celebrated Christmas and here we are again.
We have been busy baking and decorating, as has most if the world this time of year. The kids have really become quite the bakers in recent months. They helped make turtles (or as the little girl down the block calls them-alligators (:),cake balls, and chocolate covered pretzels. All good-for-you stuff of course.
We attended the children’s Mass at Church tonight and it was beautiful. I had to leave early to go to work, but the part I stayed for was wonderful. Kids everywhere, taking part in the Mass and doing things they usually don’t get to do. They have a huge tree every year on the alter that is undecorated. After the Gospel, Father invited all the children to decorate the tree with gloves, scarves, mittens, and socks to donate to the homeless shelter. A beautiful gesture. Santa Clause also made an appearance-a weird thing to see during Christmas Mass but he was getting “in line to see Jesus.” (if you haven’t heard the song, it is beautiful. You can YouTube it.) So all the kids got in line behind Santa to see Baby Jesus. (Thought provoking moment.)
Headed to work right after Communion, I hated to leave early but people don’t stop getting sick just because it’s the holidays. I got stopped in the parking lot by someone yelling, “Ma’am! Ma’am!” I turned around because they kept screaming. The man asked me if I had any Benadryl because someone inside the Church was having an allergic reaction. Amy, our education coordinator, sent him after me since I’m a nurse. “Surely she’ll have some!” You would think between 2 different first aid kits there would be one Benadryl, but no. Remind me to buy new ones this year! My husband said they stopped Mass to ask anyone for the medicine. I hope they found some.
My kids, and husband of course, stopped by to see me after Mass. I eventually got to go home since there were too many nurses for our census. What a Christmas blessing!
So, now as we are upon Christmas day, as we get together with all our families, I will pray for all those with no family, no food, and no shelter. I am blessed beyond belief, and have way more than I deserve, all given to me by our Savior. Happy birthday Jesus. Merry Christmas to all.

Lessons Learned



Sometimes the most important things you learn are not from a planned curriculum. My husband and I could definitely not have taught a lesson any better than this.
On Saturday night, the same night as “A Night in Bethlehem,” as we were cleaning up and getting ready to leave Church, a lady and her 1 year old baby entered our Church. She was asking for food and a scarf for her baby. Both her and her baby had jackets on, but they were not thick and had holes in them. The baby had a runny nose. This was an especially cold night. One of the ladies from our Church gave her all of our leftovers, bread, cheese, apples, and juice, and I offered my little girl’s scarf. The baby was a boy, and I mentioned that the scarf had sequins all over it, but the mom didn’t seem to care, she just wanted something warm for her baby to wear. She wrapped it around him and he started walking around. Our little girl walked up to him (she had not heard the conversation) and said, “that’s my scarf, but you can wear it for now.” She clearly wanted it back, and I had to tell her the baby was going to keep it because he did not have warm clothes like her. Our two oldest had witnessed her coming in to Church and couldn’t believe what was happening. Now we don’t shelter our kids and let them believe that life is just great everywhere. In fact, we are constanly preaching how much we have in comparison to a lot. But, they have never really been around much of it. The lady received a whole bag of food, the scarf, and I gave her 2 bags of clothes that we were going to take to the goodwill store.
When we got in the car that night to go home, our little girl was still upset about her scarf. Our two oldest had a lot of questions also. We explained about sharing and helping those less fortunate. It was quiet in the car for awhile as the kids all pondered what had gone on that night. They had seen the need for food and necessities first hand and realized how much they had in comparison to many. It was a good lesson learned, not just for the kids, but a fresh reminder for us as parents, too.
So as we get wrapped up in gift giving and parties, let us not forget the real meaning of Advent and Christmas. Helping those less fortunate as our Savior did. This is the best present we could give Christ, our kids, and ourselves.
Merry Christmas to everyone. God bless.

A Night in Bethlehem



This past Saturday was our Church’s annual “A Night in Bethlehem.” We attended Mass before and then attended the festivities afterwards. This was the first year we went, since I usually work Saturday nights. The kids, even the teenagers, really enjoyed themselves. The little ones really enjoyed painting sugar cookies and the oldest 2 really like learning “string” games such as cat’s cradle. My husband and I danced, the kids ate apples, bread, and cheese curds, and we made bracelets, and sewed bags to hold our gold.
All these activities could have been things going on in Bethlehem the night of Jesus’ birth. We followed the star into the Church to a Nativity scene. There was Mary and Joseph holding Jesus. All of the little ones got closer for peek.
We were amazed how much the kids enjoyed simple things instead of gameboys and movies.
With the lighting of the pink candle, I hope all of us can follow the light. Happy 3rd week of Advent to all.

Learning



It’s hard to believe we are already into our third week of Advent.  Preparation for the coming of our Savior is not just a time to prepare our homes to welcome Him.  Even more so, it is a time for reflecting over the things that we need to work on in our own personal lives to better allow us to welcome Him into our hearts. 

With our first semester of homeschooling almost behind us, I’ve been mentally scanning over the activities and daily doings that we have done as a family.  As hard as it can be, I have tried to look over the past few months and see the things that I need to improve on, especially those involving my family. 

I’ve learned that I worry too much about them not learning the right thing at the right time.  Trying to make sure that they “know everything” causes the exact opposite to occur.  Letting each child learn at their own pace and style, with a gentle nudge now and then, has much better and more retentive power than cramming down as much information as possible.

I’ve also learned that I am not nearly as patient as I thought I was.  This is a daily struggle for me, especially with four children (and a loving wife) wanting my attention all at once! 

I’ve have learned that there is still much to the Bible that I am not aware of.  This was probably one of the biggest surprises to me.  I know I am not as well versed in the Bible as I should be, but in the back of my mind I thought I knew more than what I actually do know!  They have asked me many questions that I have had to look up or ask someone else.  They have also told me little quips from the Bible that they found interesting, and to my surprise, I had never noticed them before.  Having my children ask me questions about Jesus and the Bible has taught me to see things from a more child-like perspective, even though a lot of their questions and statements are so very grown up!    

I am looking forward to many more years of our family growing to love Christ more, and in turn, loving each other.  I hope in the coming years that we can all say that we have learned something from each other, and even ourselves.

Full Schedule



The last couple weeks of school is always a busy time. Especially during the Advent season. There are finals, band concerts, kid breakfasts, and other things. My husband is finishing up his class today and the two oldest boys are studying for finals.
The kids made ornaments last night that will go on our tree on Christmas Eve. We decided this year to put the tree up on Christmas Eve. I read on another Catholic blog that was old tradition, so we are trying it this year. I’m hoping that the kids can make all the ornaments for the tree. It would be a very special tree with all children’s ornaments.
Next week will be a week of baking, concerts, and parties.
In all the hustle and bustle of the season, we need to remember why we have this Advent season in the first place. It took me a long time to come to terms with this. We have grown as a family and as Catholics a lot this year, especially since we started homeschooling. As I mentioned before, our kids are a lot closer to each other, as are we to each other and to our kids. We are spending more time together not just during school hours, but after school also. We focus more time on praying together and learning about God. We always prayed, but never focused much time outside of Church or nighttime prayers. Now we try to incorporate everything we do through Christ. Sometimes it’s very difficult to do this, we are just like any other person. But we are trying to make a conscious effort to do better.
so for this Advent season, take a little extra time to focus on the important things. Take extra care in preparing for the coming of our Savior.
have a wonderful weekend. God bless.

Busy Week



Last week was an incredibly busy week with band, gymnastics, Daddy daughter dance, baking/cooking, soap making, and gardening. Our garden was somewhat of a disappointment this summer since many days were 100 degrees or more. However, we had a pretty decent harvest of potatoes and jalapenos just last week. Surprising since we had already had 2 freezes. The kids had a ton of fun digging in the dirt and getting all the potatoes out.
Last week, also being the first week of Advent, we started some new traditions, which I mentioned in our last blog. We have had fun bringing out one item at a time and saying prayers and singing around the Advent wreath.
We are wrapping up our last 2 weeks of school and are looking forward to a little vacation time. We have learned so much this 1st semester and are continuing to trust in God that we are doing the right thing for our kids.
Have a good week and God bless.

Daddy Daughter Dance 2011

Advent Prayers



We received 3 very nice Advent booklets from our Church this past Sunday. They have made it very easy to pray and include our kids in the prayers. After each daily prayer, it asks questions geared more towards kids so they feel more involved with the prayers. One thing homeschooling has taught us thus far is the more involved the kids are, the better they learn and the more they want to learn and participate. They have taken extremely well to catechism, apologetics, and reading the Bible daily.
We decided this year to start a new tradition. We usually put everything for Christmas up the day after Thanksgiving. This year, we decided to take one item out per day. Then on Christmas Eve, we will put up the tree. The kids are very excited with this idea. We are only on day 2, but so far so good. This year will be extra special since we are doing so many projects together. I thank God for my kids’ enthusiasm and good hearts.
We hope everyone has had a wonderful start to this Advent season. God bless.