"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New School Year -- Decisions Made

“The attainment of heaven with the greatest possible sanctity is our ultimate goal for each of our children. That has been the fundamental, guiding principle in the education of our children. We measure and choose everything -- every book, every activity, every opportunity -- with that end in mind. After that, we’d like to see our children lead happy, productive adult lives, lives that in some way contribute to the building of a Christian culture. Confident that God has a plan beyond comparison for each of our children, we make every possible effort, fueled with much prayer, to provide enriching opportunities for forming gentle, humble hearts; disciplined wills; selfless, trusting attitudes; and enlightened minds. Whatever their chosen vocation might be, we hope that when they’re called, their hearts will be ready.”
Cynthia Blum "Character-Building and Academic Readiness: The Early Years"
I just finished putting together my plan for our new school year and ordering what I had left to order in the way of books and resources. (Yeah!)

The Girls are very. excited. to start this year. We are using this:

We really enjoyed doing another literature-based program for all of our language arts subjects last year, but The Prairie Primer will include not only our reading, comprehension, spelling, vocabulary, handwriting, and creative writing, but also our science, history, geography, art, music, and some religion and virtue study. What better way to start our new life on the prairie! And who doesn't love the "Little House" books?

The Prairie Primer does not include a formal grammar study, and learning and using proper grammar is important to me and to my husband in the education of our children. It is difficult (for me, too!) to speak correctly when few others seem concerned at the butchering of the English language. I am often appalled at the mistakes I notice in professional writing and correspondence and every day speech. And my husband often laments the poor writing quality of his college students. In order to reinforce good grammar skills, The Girls are going to spend a few minutes each day doing a Daily Language Review and some Daily Paragraph Editing.

We will also continue to use ShillerMath as we have the past two years. (I love this program because it's Montessori-based with lots of manipulatives, and it's also scripted!)

We'll supplement the Bible and virtue study in The Prairie Primer with some Catholic lapbooks and our normal liturgical year celebrations. We're also going to take a break from the Faith and Life series and focus on the saints this year. I've purchased a study guide from Race for Heaven for Mary Fabyan Windeatt's saint biographies and also the Once Upon a Time Saints books.

Speaking of lapbooks, we've never done any before, but I think it's something my kids will really enjoy. In addition to religion, we'll also supplement our geography and history with a North Dakota lapbook and a Lewis and Clark lapbook -- getting to know our new home.

The Girls, since moving, have each decided to get an e-mail address in order to stay in touch with their friends. Both are eager to learn to type faster, and so this year we are incorporating some keyboarding practice into their daily routine. I was very excited to find some on-line keyboarding games (and I only wasted half an hour trying them all out!).

Finally, we'll continue with our Latin studies, moving on to Latina Christiana I. We'll also start more seriously studying Italian (though I'm not sure how yet), in the hopes of an extended visit to Italy some time in the next couple of years.

The Boy will join The Girls for many subjects this year, but he'll do his own math (Shiller) and his own language arts program, which we sat down and looked at together yesterday. He wanted to start right away! That's a good sign, right?

To all you homeschooling mommies out there, you are in my prayers -- may your school year begin with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, may you find peace in the many decisions made, and may love and joy abound in your homes!


  1. Hello, there! Tell me how you were able to obtain e-mail addresses for your girls. I tried to sign Monica up with gmail & it stopped me because of her age. She needs a separate e-mail address than our primary family one for her online class. I ended up using an old e-mail address that I don't check as often, but it's getting a bit confusing.:(

  2. Grace, I ran into the same problem. After thinking about it for a couple of days, I just put in my birthdate. The girls are using my computer and I am monitoring their e-mail usage, so I felt comfortable doing that. They both have gmail accounts.

  3. Hi! Welcome to Catholic Mothers Online! You have a beautiful family of four. I'm a mom of four, homeschool, and love meeting these new blogspots!

    Best wishes for the new school year!


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