Sunday, December 30, 2012

Home Education VS Public Education

















While evaluating our children's education, we discussed it with THEM. These are the answers THEY came up with, and what we discussed as being positives and negatives of a Home Education versus a Public Education.


Home Education VS Public Education p1Home Education VS Public Education p2



What I DO Like About Home School

Wake up when we are ready, and can stay up later at night. There is no line for the bus, bathroom, lunch line... We’re home!

What I DON’T Like About Public School

I wake up early to catch the bus, and never stay up late. At school, I wait in line for everything. I’m not at home.

What I DON’T Like About Home School

There is no specific schedule. [I can make one! While we need a schedule, it's great to be flexible.]

What I DO Like About Public School

I rely on a schedule. [But we have to stick to it. If I miss a day or week, it can be hard to catch up.]



What I DO Like About Home School

Pajama days! Not worrying about what we look like, what we wear, or what others might think about us.

What I DON’T Like About Public School

I worry if I have the right clothes, if my hairstyle is okay, and what others think about me. I can’t always be myself.

What I DON’T Like About Home School

Is it normal?  [Amongst my friends it is! People have been homeschooled and tutored for centuries! It should be normal to focus on the individual student’s education and a strong family lifestyle.]

What I DO Like About Public School

It’s normal.  [Is it normal to work so hard to be average? Is it normal to send your children to be taken care of by someone else? Mandatory public school has only been available in the USA for one century. It was rooted in homeschool style, then became streamlined. It was designed to care for the mass population of children, at a time when mothers joined the workforce while the fathers went off to war.]



What I DO Like About Home School

Teacher makes sure we make good friendships that are grown with guidance of faith and morality. We learn how to be a good friend. No bullies allowed.

What I DON’T Like About Public School

My classmates aren’t always good friends, there are bullies, and no one shares or learns about their faith. The teacher is there to teach us world knowledge, not to help us make friends.

What I DON’T Like About Home School

I don’t get to see my friends every day. [But it allows me to concentrate on my school work. I do see them every week at gym, lessons, club… I also spend lots of time with my family!]

What I DO Like About Public School

I see my friends every day. [But we’re not allowed to talk and play together until recess. They usually don’t include my siblings.]



What I DO Like About Home School

We like having our Mother as our teacher! She always takes time to encourage us, help us, discipline us, and hug us when needed.

What I DON’T Like About Public School

My teacher cannot discipline me, love me, hug me, or constantly check if my life is going well. My teacher is not my parent.

What I DON’T Like About Home School

My mom is always watching me. [But she’s here to help me, and cares that I succeed.]

What I DO Like About Public School

My teacher doesn’t watch everything I do. [But I wish I could have more of his/her attention.]



What I DO Like About Home School

We are graded based on our efforts. When I don’t understand, we stop on that problem until I do. I ask questions all the time and learn so much more!

What I DON’T Like About Public School

We are graded based on our paperwork. When I don’t understand, my work is marked wrong and the class moves on. I am embarrassed to say and admit that “I don’t get it.”

What I DON’T Like About Home School

I wish I didn't have to do bookwork. [But books and reading are an essential to learning. Perhaps I could switch it up and visit the library, go online, or watch a video for similar information?] 

What I DO Like About Public School

I like all the resources the public school has. [But these resources are available to everyone, including homeschoolers, when needed. Many schools don't have any more resources than the average homeschooler.]



What I DO Like About Home School

We like Life Learning. Though we have book lessons, we also learn in the car, at the store, and more. I share my ideas and we do those too!

What I DON’T Like About Public School

I Book Learn. The government and school chooses my books and activities. It is limited learning. My faith is not included or considered.

What I DON’T Like About Home School

It’s hard to do group activities. [But it’s a great reason to call up my friends to come over! We meet new people all the time, and have time to chit chat and develop new friendships.]

What I DO Like About Public School

We can do group activities! [While I don’t get paired up with my friends, it is nice to meet new people. But we can only talk about the project, so it is hard to develop long-lasting friendships.]



What I DO Like About Home School

We have lots of adventures. Field trips, games, movies, nature walks, vacations, errands, and visits. We sit in the kitchen, on the couch, on the deck, in the grass - or walk around if we want.

What I DON’T Like About Public School

I have long hours of class time. I cannot just decide to do something else, or leave on an adventure. I feel trapped. I am sore from sitting in my hard desk all day, every day.

What I DON’T Like About Home School

I can be easily distracted by little children and toys I would like to play with. [But I could go to another room to study.]

What I DO Like About Public School

There are no little kids or toys to distract me. [But sometimes there are kids in my class that are distracting.]



What I DO Like About Home School

My curriculum is chosen just for me. My books and activities are chosen for my learning style and level of understanding. I don’t belong to a “Grade.”

What I DON’T Like About Public School

I am in grade #. I learn what everyone else my age learns. Everyone has the same level books for every subject, whether I am an average, slow or advanced learner.

What I DO Like About Home School

There is no “homework.” When our school day is done, so are we. We pick up where we left off the next day. We can also “skip ahead” if we need to be challenged.

What I DON’T Like About Public School

I always have homework. After school I have one to four hours worth. My family can’t always help me. If I don’t get it done, I fall behind at school or score poorly. It’s a big challenge to keep up.



What I DO Like About Home School

We have more family time. We take “good weather days” off. Our family is close and we are good at being friends with kids of ALL ages. We often learn by helping each other.

What I DON’T Like About Public School

When I get home, family time limited because of afterschool activities, chores, homework, errands and going to bed early. It’s hard spending so much time apart and being busy all the time.

What I DON’T Like About Home School

We have to do chores and help with the little ones. [But I like being a helper and not spending a whole evening doing chores instead of having family time. When I’m older I can babysit during the day to make money, and it’s fun especially if I don’t have any siblings younger than me.]

What I DO Like About Public School

We don’t do chores or take care of little ones at school. [But I still have chores when I get home. I would also like to have time to play with little kids, especially if I don’t have siblings of my own.]


After a long time evaluating the pros and cons of education, there was no reason to choose the public school system for our children, and they had no desire to attend it. All we could find were the abundant reasons we decided to home educate our children in the first place.


I encourage you to make a list of your own, or print this list  - and post it on your homeschool room wall as a reminder for those tough days when we need reminding! :)

Home Education VS Public Education p1Home Education VS Public Education p2

Friday, December 14, 2012

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

Is this the real birth?
Is it nativity?
Caught a census in the town of his ancestry
Open your eyes
Look up the skies and see
He’s just a poor boy
foretold by prophecy
’cause the wise men come, wise men go
Angels high, shepherds low
This is how God’s love shows
It’s a wondrous story to me…

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe

  Dec 12th this year is 12-12-2012!  It is also the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Today I'm writing about some of the projects I hope to do with my children tomorrow between the chaos that is our life. Below is a picture of me outside the shrine that hosts the tilma worn by Juan Diego. That pilgrimage to Mexico was 27 years ago and I was just a little girl, but I remember it with much detail. Thanks to my parents for the many pilgrimages we've been on. I hope to share the photos and perhaps another trip with them someday soon!



10 Family-Friendly Projects to Celebrate!

1. OLG PENDANT: Trace OLG onto shrinydink paper, color and shrink for a necklace pendant.

2. OLG SHRINE: Buy a small, wood box w/ attached lid at craft store. Fit a OLG prayer card or image inside bottom. Decorate like a shrine with glitter, silk flowers, gems, etc inside and out. Display open like a frame/shrine.

3. OLG FINGERPUPPET: Cut out felt - 3" circle of gold, red dress, blue veil w/ embroidered stars, peach/tan face and hands, brown hair. Layer and attach with tacky glue. [Or buy one at Sanctus Stitches]

4. READ ABOUT OLG: Online by KofC.

5. JUAN A SOMBRERO?: Make a sombrero! Directions by  OR

6. ROSES FROM OLG: Hand out roses to people in the Adoration Chapel or anywhere in town. You might include a holy card.

7. OLG TILMAS: Print out an image of OLG and color it. Take a paper grocery bag, cut off the narrow sides, cut a hole in the bottom for your head, and glue on the image you colored. Extra: Curl up the bottom edge and glue on fake (or real) rose petals. [detailed directions link]

8. FELIZ NAVIDAD: Celebrate with Mexican Food, or visit for OLG themed ideas like the tilma tortilla with ham roses, sombrero cookies, crescent cookies or croissants, etc. Shower of Roses also put together ideas for a Tea with OLG. We might simplify by making our favorite Taco Salad (Taco Ground Beef, Crushed Doritos, Western Dressing, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green Onions, Olives, Shredded Cheese all mixed together).

9. JUAN A PINATA?: Want to get messy? Make your own piƱata and stuff it with OLG's stars (star shaped candies), blue mantles (blue taffy), and roses (red foil wrapped chocolate kisses).

10. PRAY TO OLG: Take time to pray the Rosary, or head over to your church for Mass. Ours will be a Spanish Mass which would be an interesting experience for the children!


Our Lady of Guadalupe Image


Homegrown Catholic's FAVORITE LINKS

Catholic Heritage Curricula's How to Draw Our Lady of Guadalupe

Loyola Press' OLG Coloring Sheet

Homeschool Goodies O+L+G Feast Day LinkUp 2010

Catholic Mom's OLG Lesson Plans

Catholic Icing's Juan Diego and OLG Feast Day Ideas

Joy Filled Family's OLG Resources

Yahoo Voices OLG Lesson Plans

Blossoming Joy's OLG Links & Activities

Modest Mommies Etsy Treasury: Mary, Mother of God has a few items for sale that are Our Lady of Guadalupe inspired. I will also be sewing lap blankets with Our Lady of Guadalupe fleece, for sale by request (limited number). I like the "Guada-Loopy" Blankee for little toddlers!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day


Some call him Santa Claus, which is Santa=Saint and Claus is short for Nicklaus. Today (Dec 6th) Saint Nicholas, a Bishop of Myra, visits families around the world with the spirit of giving. He fills your shoes or stockings with delightful goodies, which may include chocolate, oranges and coins. He comes today, because Christmas Day is reserved for celebrating Jesus' Birthday! He comes from up north, in the realms of Heaven! Bearing gifts for the children who believe in him so dearly and follow in his footsteps of kindness and charity.


Saint Nicholas Day


He tiptoes where the stockings are hung, when all are sleeping.

Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day

Saint Nicholas Day


What can you do on Saint Nicholas Day?

* The night before, be sure to set out your shoes, or hang up your stockings!

* Mini Stocking Directions for activities, advent calendar, etc

* That morning, open your stockings and have a breakfast with orange juice, and strawberry miter hats in cocoa krispie cereal. [Catholic Cuisine ideas here]

*Make St. Nicholas Crafts like this one:


[Directions for making Pocket Friends]


* Read more online or in a book about St. Nicholas

* Watch Veggie Tales St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving


Saint Nicholas Day

Read old posts about our traditions

* Homegrown Catholics: St. Nicholas Day Traditions

* Homegrown Catholics: Feast of St. Nicholas

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Our Lady of Lourdes - Bernadette

Dec 8th marks the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This is not the conception of Jesus, it is the conception of Mary to St. Anne & Joachim. She was conceived without sin! This is a big deal, because this doctrine recognizes the fact that Mary was born pure, without original sin, a perfect vessel for the Christ Child. Here are some simple activities you can do with your family this weekend to celebrate!


Read this article on American Catholic about how this teaching came about. I find it interesting that it took some time for the faithful to agree upon her conception without sin, while it now seems so obvious to us now. This is a great example of how the Fathers of our Church have brought forth the teachings of the Catholic Faith with such care.


Embroider St. Anne and Mary on a dishcloth for your kitchen.

saint anne stitched

Print pattern and read more about Faith in Embroidery at Modest Mommies



1st Wk Dec Gingerbread Cookies

Catholic has an article about "Celebrating the Feast… in the home." It hints at making Gingerbread cookies to recall the sweet fragrance of Mary. I'd say this is a good day to do all the cookie baking! Visit Catholic Cuisine for the St. Nick Gingerbread Men (feast Dec 6th) and more Catholic kitchen ideas!

*Catholic Cuisine: Immaculate Conception

*Catholic Cuisine: Saint Nicholas


Make a paper Mary statue.

2010 03 11_Lent-Easter_0006

Directions and Free Printables here: Homegrown Catholics - Mary's Little Crowns


Read Immaculate Mary in your free Catholic ABCs book

Immaculate Mary

Find this free printable and more at Homegrown Catholics - Quiet in the Pew


This is also a great opportunity to talk to your children about modesty, chastity and being pure.

> What Would Mary Wear (WWMW)??

Little girls would enjoy making a Modest Mandy (Directions @ Modest Mommies)

Modest Mandy

*For those who live near me, you can buy a "Pocket Friends" kit for $5. Makes 10 dolls. Great stocking stuffer!


>Recommended Books:

AGES 4-12

The Princess & The Kiss, The Squire & The Scroll books & guide by Jennie Bishop

His Little Princess, His Mighty Warrior books by Sheri Rose Shepherd

Tea & Cake with the Saints, Sewing with St. Anne, and Tin Cups & Tinder by Alice Cantrell

AGES 9-14

All Things Girl series & guide, or All Things Guy by Teresa Tomeo

Olivia's Gift by Nancy C Belanger

AGES 13-25

Theology of the Body by Evert OR West

Real Love by Mary Beth Bonacci

Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, not Conformed to the World by Teresa Tomeo

Monday, November 26, 2012

Advent Stocking Tree

Counting down to Christmas Day is a holiday tradition for many families, including mine! Below is the perfect family craft to hold your countdown treasures!

Advent Stockings

Many of you have seen our countdown wall lovingly called Our Forever Tree. I create something to hang on our tree every month, and in December we have 25 stockings! Each one is numbered and filled with a candy cane treat and a mini village piece. Each day in December, a child will have a turn opening a stocking then adding to our Christmas village.  But on Dec 25th, they will open the last stocking to find Baby Jesus to lay in the manger scene!

Each stocking will also hold an activity to do. See list at the bottom of this post! (Thanks Jamie for the inspiration) You could also add Jesse Tree items to each stocking, or the bible verses for it.

Advent Stockings

To Make the Stockings You Will Need:
Colored & White Felt
Stocking Pattern
Tacky Glue
Sewing Machine (or use glue)
Fabric Paint
Safety Pins (25 med. sized)

Stocking to Trace
Advent StockingsAdvent Stockings
1. Cut 25 stockings from colored felt. Cut another 25 from white or matching color. My 25th stocking I used multi colors, and added a felt Star of Bethlehem. *If you plan to embroider numbers or images, do it now.
Advent Stockings
2. Stich or glue together. Trim close to stitched line (no need to turn inside out).
3. Cut rectangles and glue on top edge of stockings.
4. On backside add safety pin to back layer, with loop on top to hang from hook or string through.
5. *Use fabric paint to add numbers. You could also use stickers, but paint will last best year after year.
6. Hang from a Forever Tree of your own, add magnets for the fridge, or string them up on the fireplace!

Things to add to the stockings:
Mini Candy Canes fit perfectly in each stocking.
Advent Stockings

On Dec 6th, Feast of St. Nicholas, I added mini Santa chocolates, with one peeking out the top!

Advent StockingsAdvent Stockings
I found these villages and miniatures at the Dollar Tree!



*JESSE TREE workbook by Sanctus Simplicitus
*JESSE TREE no-sew felt pattern by Shower of Roses
*JESSE TEA PARTY at The Michalek Kitchen

  1. Read the Bible Story about The Annunciation. Begin Jesse Tree activities.
  2. Light the 1st Advent candle. Pray for another family. Mail Christmas Cards.
  3. Write a letter to Saint Nicholas, and mail it!
  4. Find items in your cupboards to donate to the food shelf.
  5. Hang up your stockings, St. Nicholas is coming tonight!
  6. Dec 6: St. Nicholas Day - Open stockings & celebrate with chocolate and oranges!
  7. Practice songs to go Caroling!
  8. Dec 8: Solemnity of Immaculate Conception Mass- Bake Gingerbread Cookies & more
  9. Light the 2nd Advent Candle. Put up the Christmas Tree!
  10. Festival of Lights: Light the Christmas Tree! Talk about Jewish and other holiday traditions.
  11. Donate “extra” toys and books to a charity, or new ones to Toys for Tots.
  12. Dec 12: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe! Let's do Mexican food!
  13. Set up play tent with Christmas lights!
  14. Make a new ornament or a snowflake craft. Talk about being unique.
  15. Bake more Christmas cookies and treats!
  16. Light the 3rd Advent Candle. Feast of St Lucy! Make a St. Lucia Peg Doll
  17. Fill mini stockings and go caroling at great-grandparents/nursing home.
  18. Have a family movie night with popcorn! (Could string some for the tree)
  19. Wrap presents!
  20. Have a hot cocoa tea party with cookies! or Jesse Tea Party.
  21. Sing and dance to Christmas music!
  22. Walk/Drive around to see Christmas lights in the neighborhood.
  23. Light the 4th Advent Candle. Pray the Joyful Mysteries (for homeschoolers)
  24. Family Christmas Celebration. Bake a cake for Jesus’ Birthday tomorrow!
  25. Happy Birthday Jesus! Christmas Day Mass & Family Celebration.
12 Days of Christmas Activities:

Friday, November 16, 2012

November Display of Thanks

  Our Forever Tree is a place on our living room wall where we hang reminders of our faith each month. You might try our idea of a tree wall decal with wall hooks in the branches. Or perhaps you have a magnet board or other space reserved for countdowns and displays.

  This summer, our tree blossomed with family activities. In September, we hung fruits on the tree - The Fruits of the Spirit. In October we hung pumpkins with facts about Saints. This November, we want to cover our tree with positive reminders of all our blessings. Thanksgiving is just a week away.


Thanksgiving Tree

We started by adding turkey's to the landscape!

- Using foam sheets, trace and cut out each family member's hand. From another color, cut out a peanut shape or an odd-shaped "S" for the turkey head. Add googly eyes and a beak!

- We also hung decorative acorns from the tree.


Then we're writing what we are thankful for on cutouts of leaves on paper.

-If you don't have die cuts or a good freehand for leaves, look online for images of leaf shapes to make a template to trace and cut.


Another great idea a mom shared with me…

  Have a journal, and each year have your guests write what they are thankful for in it. It's fun to look back on over the years.


2011 Teaching Children About Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Giving Our Christmas Away


National Collection Week Nov 12-19th!

Our family is giving our Christmas away! We've done this in years past, and wanted to share how we are doing it this year. This week is a huge opportunity for you to pack a shoe box, bring a smile to a child somewhere across the world, and bring them the message that Jesus is the greatest gift! Consider spending some or all of your gift money towards gifts for a needy child or family. Whether you support Operation Christmas Child (Samaritan's Purse) or take a name of your church's giving tree - just make the effort to GIVE this year! The blessings to a giving heart bring more joy than any present under your tree.



Veggie Tales pack a shoe box:

Kids Can Make A Difference video


How to pack a box: Click Here

Operation Christmas Child 

We found many items at the Dollar Tree/Target $1/Walmart $1, including crafting items, toothbrushes and toothpaste, toys, hair accessories, candy, sunglasses and more. I wrapped toy animals in mini fleece blankets for something to cuddle. They'd also like socks, hats, sandals, etc. The OCC website has many ideas, but just consider a child and what would be fun to get if you'd never opened a Christmas gift before and had so little!?



Use "All About Me" coloring pages to include in the box, or a personal letter and photo. Our children had a wonderful time filling out this sheet. We also included a Christmas Card and Family Photo.

OCC About Me LetterOCC About Me Letter


Don't forget the Label & Rubber Band!



Drop off boxes at a local drop off center. Locations listed on the website. All boxes will be inspected.


"Give this Christmas Away" Music Video


For children participating, this is an excellent reward for their efforts…


For certificate and other printables click here.


Please comment on how you are giving this Christmas!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Our Little Pumpkins

Pumpkin Patch Kids

Our kids love autumn as much as we do. The cold air, and even a day of snowflakes, has already made its way into Minnesota, so we know it's not here for much longer. Today, we got a surprise visit from my parents who brought pumpkins from my aunt and uncle's farm. So we spent some special time together, carving pumpkins for the family carving contest! This is a great way to stay in the autumn mood.

Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

The carvings are inspirations from many websites. I personally enjoyed the Saint-O-Lantern's shared at Shower of Roses' blog, a great place for Catholic carving ideas. I took the templates my kids liked the best and hand drew them to fit each pumpkin before carving. It was so nice in the evening sunlight, which shown through our pumpkins like candlelight.

Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

We're amazed how something like this

Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

Turns into this, when the lights go out!

Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

Would you believe we had a hard time getting THE BOYS to touch the pumpkin guts. But Papa was very eager to dig in, and helped bake 3 trays full of pumpkin seeds! (Thanks Dad, grandma would be proud.) He grabbed his galaxy tablet and looked up the recipe, and Grandma used it to admire other pumpkins online with the kids. I'm sure she has a handful of great pictures from our time together too. It made for such a fun day, and we hope it becomes a new family tradition as our kids and their cousins grow!

Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma


Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

God Bless the USA by Tom & Melissa


Pumpkins with Papa and GrandmaPumpkins with Papa and Grandma

Hero up Iron Man by Jonathan who considers himself a super hero.


Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

Snow White by Mikayla who's new fav TV show is "Once Upon A Time."


Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

Pinky Pie - My Little Pony by Sabrina who's as perky as Pinky


Pumpkins with Papa and Grandma

Wall-E by Stanley who's trying to master the Wall-E Wii game


THANKS Tom & Vickie for the pumpkins!


Also - the other half of our front steps hosts another family of pumpkins we bought from the Knights of Columbus. We used foam face stickers, which was just as fun to create!



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