"Intellectual distinction is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for election to a Rhodes Scholarship. Selection committees are charged to seek excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead. The Rhodes Scholarships, in short, are investments in individuals rather than in project proposals..."

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Few Ideas to Keep the Little Ones at Bay

I frequently get questions about what to do with toddlers (or younger school aged children who are done with their school and bugging the older kids who are hard at work).

Check out this web post:

I am all for cheap, easy and what we have around the house.


Friday, November 1, 2013

No iPad needed to use the Providence eLearning Books!!!!

Providence eLearning has several of the books you normally can get for the iPad on iBooks available through udemy.com.  For $10 you can access the videos as well as the audio narration and footnotes, if they were available in the book, (iBook cost is $9.99) as often as you like with lifetime access.  So, if you don't want to make the hardware investment, you can enjoy the video lectures on your PC or laptop.


The Transmogrifier has been used at my house

"Words fail me."

© Universal Press Syndicate
The transmogrifier has been used at my house.  Somehow, my eight year old blond precocious boy has transformed and is carrying a stuffed tiger, wearing a red and blue striped shirt and spiking his hair.  Really.  I'm not kidding.  And you can imagine the things he is doing.  Hobbes even came to church with us and I had to hold his paw during the "Our Father."

He's taken to playing Calvin ball.

That's the problem with a homeschool education.  I think they sometimes go a little far.  He is convinced he's Calvin and is refusing to respond to his own name.  What's worse is he has decided that school is a waste of time because it's just a cruel way of making him remember stuff that doesn't matter to him.  He wants to go off and hunt more tigers in the woods and build robots out of cardboard boxes.

What's a mom to do?  Let him be Calvin for a little while.  I can't complain. He has read and reread every single comic in the COMPLETE CALVIN AND HOBBES 4 Volume set over and over again, repeatedly.  I will let him be Calvin for a while and then I can use the Transmogrifier to become Miss Wormwood a little later.  Where DID I put that green dress with purple polka-dots?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Julia's Guardian Angel

Dear Friends -

This is our daughter Julia.  She is 13 and has a life threatening allergy to peanuts.  1/100 of a peanut could and probably would kill her if she ingested it.  She could possibly die if she comes into contact with peanuts because her body sends blood rushing to the area touched by the allergen, causing blood to pool in the area (typically extremities) resulting in a drop in blood pressure and possible stroke.

She is one of the primary reasons we homeschool.  Going in to a school situation is risky for her.  Honestly, going anywhere is risky.

She recently met Bullet, an Australian Labradoodle that is a Peanut Detection Dog.  His job is, like a narcotics dog, to sniff out peanuts and peanut residue for people that have life threatening peanut allergies.

On Sunday we called 911 after arriving home from our Montana vacation. Julia had touched something with peanut residue at a restaurant on the way home. Within minutes, her fingers, knuckles and hands were swollen and covered with hives. She must have also brushed her lips because they were swelling up, too.

We've been contemplating getting a peanut detection dog for Julia for almost a year now, but there is just no way we can afford it.

Today we decided we just have to ask for help.

Please check out our fundraising site.

Thank you for taking a look and please pray that Julia will be able to raise the money for a guardian angel.

By the way, we are quite certain that the contact happened when she touched something in the bathroom at the restaurant, possibly the bathroom door.   Whatever it was, it was small enough to not be visible or smell-able because she is overly scrupulous about what she touches.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Double Review - Providence eLearning Digital Publications: Pride and Prejudice & Frankenstein

I'm behind in posting, but more importantly I am behind in my reviews. 

For the record, I am paid to review books from Providence eLearning.  However, I am under no obligation to review them here.  I do that for your benefit.  And, I think they are a valuable asset to the homeschool, high school teen. 

Being well-read means, to me, that you have read the Classics.  You know, those books that have been read over and over again, year in and year out - that's a classic. And, it you can tie technology into it, well then, I'm all in!

Last September, I had the privilege of reviewing Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  I think this story has a bad rap, thanks to the movie industry. The only movie close to the story is from 1931.  And it missed the mark.  Frankenstein is a monster (in size) book and it took a while to review.  While I was not thrilled with their choice of having a woman narrate (in the audio narration) this amazing story of a man, writing about a man found, in search of a man made, running from humanity.  This is a masculine story, and I will be honest, this was my ONLY disappointment about this book.  I learned so much, from a literary perspective - about the author, the time period in which this classic was written and literature itself.  Professor Lasseter has a great way of tying old literature in with the modern world.  The video production work was very well done, too.  I highly recommend that all BOYS read this.  Girls could learn a thing or two, too, like this girl did.

Next, in March, I had the glorious pleasure of rereading and reviewing one of my very favorite books, Pride and Prejudice.  The audio narration was SPLENDID!!!  The narrator dramatized the reading, changing voices for the various characters and had an English accent, just as I would have expected.  It felt like Jane Austen was reading the book to me as she would have read it.  Again, Professor Lasseter did a most excellent job of bringing to the surface much of what is not spoken in the book.  Really, after reading this book as many times as I had in the past, you would think I had it all figured out.  He brought several things to bear I had missed in the past.  All I can say is Bravo!

I really wish there was more material available of this caliber.  I just finished reviewing Le Morte d'Arthur, my husband's very favorite book.  It was spectacular.  They abridged the book, in way very pleasing to this homeschool mom.  I will follow up later with a review of that...stay tuned.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

CVBS 2013

It is finished.  It was great and I can't believe how much fun it was!

On Saturday,  April 13th, after obtaining the blessing of my husband, I approached our priest about Catholic Vacation Bible School. You see, Catholic Vacation Bible School is a big deal at our house.  My kids think it's cool to go to "school" at the Catholic school building for a week.  And, what's not to love about our Catholic Vacation Bible School?  Ours is so beautifully Catholic.  For as long as we've been parishioners, CVBS was run by a truly beautiful woman.  Jean became ill last year and went on permanent disability, much to everyone's sadness.  She.was.AMAZING!  A beautiful woman filled in for her managing the Religious Education program at church, but when I asked her, "What about CVBS?"  She said they would need to find someone else.  She wouldn't be able to do it...then she asked, "What about you?"

She said this within earshot of someone who knew I loved the program and she chimed in, "Yeah, Cathie, what about you?"  I said my husband would never let me...So, I went home.  I didn't ask. I simply said, "They have no one to run CVBS this year!"  His reply, "Why don't you do it?" 

I was floored.  I did not expect him to authorize it, let alone suggest it!  So, I asked Father if they had anyone to run it.  He said they did not and asked me to call the parish office and let them know and someone would be getting back to me.  Without Jean there was a big, big hole there, not just for CVBS, but for Religious Ed, Sacraments and Special Events. 

So, I called.  And I waited.  And waited. And waited.  Finally, I got a call back on April 25th from the principal of the Catholic school.  She had offered to manage the CVBS position, whomever filled it.  I went in for an interview on May 1st and on May 8th, I became a temporary employee of the church. 

That is when the ball got rolling.  I had 6 1/2 weeks to put together a curriculum (using a curriculum that really didn't have a workbook or full teacher's manual), plan art, music, snacks, and well, the entire program based on the fact that Father had arranged for a traveling relics exposition to be shown to the children at 1pm on the last day of CVBS.  Someone else had decorations, which was a blessing, considering I'm not a highly visual person.  However, I had details Jean had never had to deal with before, like serving lunch and going past noon on Friday.  So, I picked a curriculum that was based on the martyrs and persecution in the early Church (I had two from which to choose).  It seemed fitting, considering what our country is doing right now and how our religious freedoms are being taken away left and right.

So, fast forward five weeks...the curriculum and workbook are done, the teacher's manual is done, all the supplies for art had arrived.  However, my decorating person wasn't able to help, so I ended up taking that, too, but in the end it ended alright.  We managed to make it look festive, but not too campy.  I did teacher training, I had no less than 50 people help me set up classrooms, stuff confirmation letters, assemble manuals, put together art kits, assemble teacher's supplies and decorate.  Did I mention I have the very best friends in the whole wide world????  One of them blogged about CVBS the week it happened because I was a little busy.
CVBS 2013 II
This is Margaret's beautiful bunch of kids in front of our "Communion of Saints."  She ran my nursery, which meant she took care of my beloved 4 year old who wasn't quite ready for the 4 year old class.  By the way, her eldest two took on the 4 year old class and lived to tell about it!  See, they are even smiling? And this was toward the end!

I had the time of my life.  It was truly a wonderful experience, filled with graces I never expected and some difficulties I never expected.  But the blessings and graces outweighed the difficulties easily 2 to 1...

I may post more details as the week goes on, but I wanted to let you all know I survived and loved to tell about it!!! (Spelling error totally intended there...)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Live Blogging at the MN Catholic Home Educators Conference

We are  at the blogger's chat at Minnesota Catholic Home Educator's Conference.  What a great turn out!