Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.

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Subject Topic: 4Real Community Policies and Guidelines (Topic Closed Topic Closed) Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Forum Moderator
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Posted: Jan 12 2010 at 12:00am | IP Logged  


This is a public forum. Avoid giving too much information (TMI.) Protect your privacy and the privacy of others. Use the PM function prudently. Be a good steward of your money. Become informed about cyber safety.

Avoid detraction and controversy. Write kindly and respectfully about others, especially husbands, children, family members, priests, religious, the Church, and public figures. Political announcements need the help of a Moderator.

Avoid posting on unhappy impulse. Wait. Ask for moderator help. Posts should come from joyful experience, sincere curiosity, thoughtful reasoning, tender concern, and lessons learned.   

In the spirit of subsidiarity, members are encouraged to discuss with their spouses, concerns and decisions to be made related to or inspired by this board.

4Real provides family-to-family support for Catholic parent educators and friends who emphasize Living Books. The further away a topic moves from the focus of designing and adapting curriculum (see "Toward Educational Philosophy"), the more likely a moderator will take action to redirect the focus.

Use the !Report Button when a post breaks confidentiality, lacks courtesy, self promotes, or fundraises outside of our guidelines.

The written guidelines and intent of this ministry are to provide a safe haven for our members. If this environment is breached, Moderators will take action to reestablish safety.

Authority for decisions at 4Real lie with Board and Forum Moderators. Role of Board and Forum Moderators is to define membership, set policy and guidelines, edit and move posts for Search purposes, and communicate limits and expectations. Posts outside of the guidelines may be edited or deleted without prior notice. Discuss concerns privately with Moderators.

May our time spent at the 4Real message board be only a blessing!

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Posted: Jan 12 2010 at 12:04am | IP Logged  


Jane Austen wrote:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

It is also a truth less universally acknowledged, that a group of female moderators in possession of a good message board gathering, must be in want of guidelines for that board. We begin the story of our guidelines with our intent as well as the hope that you, our dear member, will find this story helpful and worth reading.

Picture yourself among a large gathering of women, complete with strong personalities and even stronger convictions. In our zeal to discuss important matters, from our favorite apple to the philosophy of education, we sometimes forget our manners. Yet, we hope we never forget that we are striving for holiness. We pray that pondering big ideas as well as tedium together, in a mysterious way, contributes to the salvation of our souls and the souls of our loved ones.

The intent of 4Real is to provide a safe haven for Catholic parent educators and friends, who emphasize Living Books and design or adapt curriculum to meet their family needs. We want to provide opportunity for respectful and courteous online discussion about Living Learning and Home as Haven topics that help us live our vocation fully and joyfully. We want to open our door each day and warmly welcome new, long-time, and returning members alike. Our intent is always to give benefit of doubt while never disregarding truth.

Online communication is full of opportunities for education, support, reassurance, and blessings. It can occasionally fall short of these goals when confidentiality is broken or common courtesy is disregarded. Often, loss of confidentiality and lack of courtesy happen without intent. They occur in the heat of the moment or when pain and fear take hold of our hearts. We want to prevent this type of loss of confidentiality and courtesy and have established boundaries (see below) to help members and moderators understand how best to share information and help each other through the daily struggles that mark our journeys toward holiness and Heaven. We pray that the intent of each member is to share their experience from a loving heart.

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Forum Moderator
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Posted: Jan 12 2010 at 12:07am | IP Logged  


The 4Real message board has over 1600 members, not including all the unregistered guests who stop in to read on any given day. We are searchable by Google and are readily accessible to friends and family outside of the board membership. If a member forgets to log off and close the 4Real message board window on the computer, posts may be read by anyone with access to the screen, including husbands, extended family, friends, and older children who can read.

Sometimes writing and visiting here feels very familiar, more like visiting over tea with friends, which adds to the welcoming tone here, but there are a few responsibilities to keep in mind as we visit in order to assist in maintaining safety on these boards.

Thoughts of internet safety should prompt reasonable caution. In sharing and participating words should be offered respectfully, kindly, in a way that shelters details, and guards the privacy of others on a public forum.
  • Don't share your email address or another member's private email address publicly. Private Messages (PM) are appropriate for sharing personal information, however members accept the responsibility and risk when sharing personal information in this way.
  • Don't include specific identifiers in your post that could compromise your safety.
  • Remember the legal adage, “Never put anything in writing.” Each post can potentially be “entered into record” of the legal system.
  • Be cautious when it comes to stewarding your family finances. Seek discernment through the Sacrament of Matrimony before exchanging any financial or material item through the board.
  • Communication here, whether public or through a Private Message, should never solicit financial assistance.
  • In listening to and receiving the thoughts of others here, PAUSE before posting in haste or out of emotion.
  • Respect the differences of personalities and family styles; intend charity when reading.
  • You are responsible for your words here. Allow them to reflect a spirit of charity, understanding and good will.

Many home educating mothers have been welcomed to the 4Real Message Boards. Membership and participation here are a privilege, however, not a right. Membership privileges may be reviewed at any time by moderators, and termination of membership may occur with no explanation necessary. The moderators of this board are the final arbiters of these decisions.

Discussion here is centered around our mission. The further away a member's discussion moves from our mission, the more likely a moderator will step in to redirect the focus.

Sharing here
In the ideas and inspiration offered, we can test everything and take the choicest part, recognizing that there are a variety of beautiful and individual expressions of creativity when it comes to home education.

Assist us in maintaining a charitable and welcoming online Forum. Take responsibility for your words, guard details that should be guarded, respond in kindness and assume the best of other members.

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Forum Moderator
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Posted: Jan 12 2010 at 12:10am | IP Logged  


Our desire is that 4Real be a place of encouragement and support for members. This is accomplished through respectful and charitable communication on the boards when speaking to and about others. Please be aware of the following guidelines.

We must give special care when writing about our husbands and the Sacrament of Marriage.   By matrimony, therefore, the souls of the contracting parties are joined and knit together more directly and more intimately than are their bodies...and from this union of souls by God's decree, a sacred and inviolable bond arises.Casti Connubii #7

Concerns which reflect questionably on our husbands, or reveal sheltered details of a marriage should not be brought to the 4Real board. Our goal is to protect the Sacrament of Marriage, not to deny the difficulty and suffering that members face within their marriage.

General discussions of how husbands and wives can respectfully face the challenges of home education together can be discussed in Philosophy of Education. Prayer requests should be discreet, primarily calling upon the aid of St. Joseph and other heavenly intercessors. Moderators will delete posts that speak disrespectfully or might cause embarrassment to husbands. The intimate details of marriage should be kept safe in our hearts and homes. When an issue treads into the sacred realm of marriage, we should be deferential to different marital styles, always assuming the best of our husbands. Prudential decisions are best left between spouses.

We must give special care when writing about ordained clergy. The sacramental nature of Holy Orders requires we take care in regard to discussion, just as we do regarding marriage. Through the ordained ministry of the priests and bishops, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. This is not to say that a minister is preserved from all human weakness, the spirit of domination, error, even sin. But even the priest's sins cannot impede the fruit of grace of the Sacraments.

Legitimate concerns should be taken up within the appropriate channels within the parish or diocese. Prayers for our priests are always in order.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders and the office of the clergy are always to be respected, and disparaging or inflammatory discussion of clergy in general or any priest in particular will not be permitted on the board.

Avoid detraction. Our Church warns us against the danger of detraction, which means revealing true but damaging information about others without a necessity.   Fr. Hardon warns against the risk in revealing private information adding, "When the revelation of another person's fault is necessary or very useful, as in defense of self or of others, no injustice is done in revealing it. This would be the case when the failing or defect is made known...for the purpose of seeking counsel or help."

PMs are for constructive private conversation, not secret bullying. PMs are to be a positive way to communicate about private matters and build relationships. This tool should not be used to criticize a post or member. Any disagreements with public posts should be shared publicly after careful attention to the guidelines in this document. Forum moderators are available to help members compose public posts. If you are the recipient of a hurtful, thoughtless, or unwanted PM, please forward a copy of the PM to the forum moderator, who will clarify this policy with the sender if appropriate.

Please Consider Leaving Well. It is the nature of online communities for members to come and go and we respect this right of each member. It is also the nature of people to grow attached to fellow members. If you are an active and known member and know that you need to take a long break or a permanent leave from this community, please consider letting other members know. A simple "thank you" and "until we meet again" post at Tea and Conversation may be a blessing to members who have grown fond of you and want to thank you and bless you on your way. You may feel blessed in return! If you are leaving because of dissatisfaction with 4Real, please do not include this in your post but rather send these concerns to a board or forum moderator. Posts promoting dissatisfaction with 4Real will be deleted. It isn't that we don't appreciate you...those posts just are not appreciated. Thank you.

Additional Resources on the 4Real Board:
"On Matters of Faith"

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Forum Moderator
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Posted: Jan 12 2010 at 12:14am | IP Logged  


St. John Chrysostom wrote:
It is possible to offer fervent prayer even while walking in public or strolling alone, or seated in your shop, . . . while buying or selling, . . . or even while cooking.

...or while spending time online at 4Real.

Christian prayer is the greatest gift that we can give to each other as members. Love and grace flow when we pray. There is an intimacy, a connection, that is the Body of Christ.

St. Therese of Lisieux wrote:
For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.

We can best share our heart and embrace trial and joy together when we provide a safe haven for each other. Some of what makes 4Real a safe haven for prayer is mysterious. Some is very practical. When we write with the understanding that Mary is in our midst, this helps us to phrase difficulties with discretion, self-control, and love. We can minimize details in order to avoid giving too much information (TMI). We can leave out specifics such as names, dates, locations, and other identifiers that do not add to receiving help and may lead to escalating emotional involvement, controversy, or detraction. Topics concerning molestation, abuse, mental illness, AIDS, alcoholism, addictions, suicide and other sensitive problems, which sometimes, sadly, may still carry a social stigma among the uninformed, can violate privacy unless they are for the person making the request. Loved ones suffering with these problems may not want their afflictions known by others, and we must respect the right to privacy in such matters. When posting about oneself, please be careful to avoid sharing too much information.

But what if my heart is aching, or I'm frightened, or I'm panicking and I really can't think straight and write with these considerations in mind? If feedback is needed regarding a delicate situation and details are necessary to receive proper feedback, consider asking a moderator to post your request anonymously. If feedback is not needed and the subject is sensitive, consider posting a prayer request as “For a special intention.” Moderators are eager to help. We also invite you to visit Our Mother's Garden of Sorrow for additional consolation.

There are times when a prayer request turns into something more, something beyond what the 4Real board can offer. The We Pray to the Lord forum is not a venue for fundraising (see Our Boundaries below). Nor are we doctors or counselors. We are unable to discuss ongoing family difficulties or medical concerns. We recommend using a personal blog or Caring Bridge for this purpose. What we can do, and will do, is pray.
Our Lord tells us, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) We turn to Him in hope and confidence, knowing He will hear our prayers, and meet all our needs, even if we never voice them aloud.

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Posted: Jan 12 2010 at 12:18am | IP Logged  


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...a time to keep silence and a time to speak.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7

Here at 4Real, there are also seasons, times to speak and a time for silence. These are healthy boundaries that both promote and facilitate discussion within our mission and protect members and moderators from the near occasion of sin. Please make note of the boundaries in place here:

Be cautious when posting about political concerns.
Political action bulletins must be from a reliable source, be objective, avoid sensationalism and give due respect to elected officials. If in doubt, ask a moderator for help. Bulletins will be locked. We do not debate party politics because it is polarizing and beyond the focus of this ministry. Political decision-making is best based on the direction of our Bishops:

Faithful Citizenship: Official Bishops' Statements

Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to America
* * *

To foster good stewardship of our family finances and assist each other in stewarding money the following guidelines are offered:

Positive Ways This Board Can Assist Members:
1. If needed, members are encouraged to ask for prayers for general financial concerns at We Pray to the Lord. Prayer is the most powerful gift that we can share with each other.

2. If one chooses to do so, friend to friend communication can be shared through Private Message (PM) for the purposes of contact information for money and material exchanges as well as gratitude for them.

3. The Community Bulletin Board is available for selling and purchasing home education related materials. Material donations can be posted at the Community Bulletin Board. If a member wants this donation to be anonymous, a moderator needs to be contacted.

4. Topics that help members learn how to steward their money as home educators and homemakers can be posted at fitting forums. For example, topics about how to stretch a home education budget can be posted at Living Learning; topics on how to stretch a food budget can be posted at Our Lady's Loom, Larder, and Laundry.

Limitations of the Board:
1. Third party fund-raising efforts may be established off the board, such as at a private blog or other website. Third party fund-raisers can be linked at Tea and Conversation, and these announcements will be locked so that they may remain informational offerings only.

2. Please carefully avoid posting in a way that invites financial support from other members. Specific methods to meet this need are in place and have been listed above. This is a limitation of the board, and not a way to discourage fund-raising efforts.

The 4Real board moderators know well the struggles families face with regard to financial hardships. The focus of this ministry is to offer the above ways to reach out for help. It is beyond our ministry to sponsor fund-raising efforts, and moderators do not act as a third party through Private Messages.

The ownership and management of 4Real have protocol in place to discourage misuse of this board for personal financial gain through misinformation or manipulation. Misuse of this board in this manner will result in termination of membership.

No protocol is perfect and sadly, cyber crimes can happen, especially in a community that appears generous and trustful. Please proceed with prayer, objective discernment, and communication with your spouse prior to any exchange of money connected to this board.

If you have any questions about the above guidelines, moderators are available to help. Use the !Report button to notify moderators of any posts that violate these guidelines. Let us join together in prayer and fruitful discussion as we strive to be good stewards of our money.

* * *

Topics that are known to, or have the potential to, bring heat are delicate, requiring careful wording, a focus on the topic, and charity in assuming the best of others. Most of these fall within prudential areas, in other words, they are those for which the Church gives general principles and guidelines to base decisions upon but does not give specific obligations or directives and leaves the decision-making to the individual or married couple to discern, ideally based on a well-formed conscience and through prayer. These conversations usually only step outside a boundary when discussion becomes circular, heated, pointed, or polarizing. Moderators will intervene in that case. Examples of these topics include, but are not limited to:
  • Use of Natural Family Planning and family spacing
  • The Death Penalty
  • Discipline of children/spanking
  • Harry Potter and other similar series
  • Issues on the interpretation of modesty - skirt wearing, pants, shorts, length, dyeing hair, makeup, swimsuits.
  • Head covering/veiling
  • Mother working outside the home
  • Vaccines and approaches to health/medicine
  • Altar Girls
  • Communion in the hand

Exercise caution when approaching these topics here, if at all.

Do you need to ask a practical living question about a potentially heated topic? These questions may be phrased in a specific way to avoid inviting heat. An example might be: "I enjoy wearing skirts exclusively, but I'm challenged in the winter with keeping warm. Can you share practical tips?" If you would like to ask a question, but feel it might approach the limits of the boundaries here, contact a moderator for help.

Stepping outside the confines of the healthy boundaries in place here will result in appropriate moderator action which could include, but are not limited to:
  • Private suggestion via moderator to a member to assist in bringing a post back within healthy boundaries
  • Moderator editing of a post. Communication with a member is not necessary for this step, but may be offered.
  • Moderator note on a thread offering a warning that a thread comes close to an area of potential conflict, polarization, or is known to bring heat. In this case, moderators will redirect on topic as needed and a thread may be locked if discussions step outside healthy boundaries.
  • In very serious situations, termination of membership may be necessary. Membership and participation on these boards is a privilege, not a right. No explanation is necessary for this step.

Occasionally, situations will arise for which no written boundaries have been set. In those instances, we have agreed as members to entrust the 4Real moderators with the ability to work with individual members to reestablish an atmosphere of trust and Christian gentleness.

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Posted: Jan 12 2010 at 12:23am | IP Logged  


Pope John XXIII, in his Mater et Magistra encyclical, paragraph 53, quotes from Pope Pius XI's Quadraqesimo Anno:
It is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they [individuals] can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry, so too it is an injustice, a grave evil and a disturbance of right order, for a larger and higher association to arrogate to itself functions which can be performed efficiently by smaller and lower societies. Of its very nature the true aim of all social activity should be to help members of the social body, but never to destroy or absorb them.

The spirit of subsidiarity shows itself in this community in different ways. Moderators serve members as fellow parent educators, not as experts on home education. Members are supported to make "Prudential Decisions" that will work for their families. Different families make different decisions. Members let Moderators know when there has been a breach of courtesy in posting.

In regard to privacy and financial considerations that may come up, you are cautioned to remember this is the internet and the choice to share information or financial resources is yours alone. Verification of members and their stories, beyond what is reasonable and applies to supporting a community of home educators, is the responsibility of members and their spouses. We would like to share one thought that might help in this discernment process:

Willa wrote:
I was just reading something by Augustine yesterday that made this point. Since we can't do good to the whole world, we have to choose who to do good to, and so really it is determined by God by who is in closest proximity to us -- by locality, time and also special circumstance. The farther we get away from who we are set among, the riskier it is that we won't do good, but harm.


Be a helpful member of the community, in service to other members. Our goal here as members is to support and serve each other in living out this home education lifestyle. Members benefit most when they "Get Involved" and participate. It is not appropriate to self-promote as your purpose for being a member here. If you are an author, publisher or company owner, it is okay to mention products when they relate to a discussion in progress or if asked a specific question, but please refrain from blatant advertising. Products and businesses can be mentioned in the Community Bulletin Board Business Card section of the forum.

The authority of moderators and management is intended to provide a safe and supportive haven/environment. This authority shows itself, mainly through defining membership, setting policy and guidelines, communicating limits and expectations, and following up as needed. The role of moderators in doing that is described in "How We Moderate." New policies and guidelines may be added from time to time to clarify the vision of this forum and to better serve the community.   

Our responsibility to protect is within the boundaries of our environment. The management and moderators of 4Real are not responsible for contact you have outside this message board.

The moderators are the final arbitrators in interpreting guidelines and policies. If it is determined by the management that the good order and fruitful participation of 4Real require it, a member's access can be limited with or without prior notice. This policy covers exigencies not easily specified by other policies. Any grievances should be addressed to the 4Real Board Moderators. Concerns or complaints about moderators or management decisions are to be addressed privately. Publicly posted complaints or questioning will be deleted.

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