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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Angie Mc
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Posted: April 18 2009 at 11:49am | IP Logged Quote Angie Mc

I mentioned at this topic about not wanting/able to plan that I was talking with a dear friend recently, who "schools" differently than I do, about the principles that we share in common that help us to enjoy home educating over the long haul.   

Please, I don't want to debate these principles (although all are worthy of debate) but rather I'm curious to find out what principles help *you* to be happy in your work and help you to discern your course of action. Below are the off the cuff personal thoughts of 2 moms, but feel free to share favorites gleaned from your favorite educators and saints, too!

*********************************

*   God is in control of our family’s home education.

*   Home education is a portion of my full vocation as wife and mother. Keep it proportionate.

*   Home education, when done from love and humility, is a steady path to sanctity and heaven.

*   Home education is primarily a way of life, not an alternative to school.

*    My husband is objectively the spiritual head of our household, the spiritual director of our home education.

*    All home education decisions are prudential between husband, wife, and God. Leave the neighbors out of it.

*    Homeschooling is mostly joyful and right. It is also hard work worth doing and involves purposeful suffering.

*    Anxiety and worry are not an inevitable part of home education or an outward sign of hard work. They are signs to re-group.

*    Burn-out is preventable.    

*    There is no perfect curriculum (self-designed or prepackaged.) Perfect is the enemy of the good. Be content with good enough.   (Good enough does not justify sloth which is not good enough. Know when to realize that any additional effort toward improvement would result in a negligible improvement, especially in comparison to the effort required to gain it.)

*   Plan primarily based on the truth about Mom, playing to my strengths, secondarily on the needs of the family as a whole, thirdly on the individual needs of each child, playing to their strengths.

*   Emphasize character formation for all, especially formation that increases family harmony and independent decision-making.

*   Academic achievement is over-rated.

*   Focus on today.

*   Progress is not linear and best gauged over time.

*    We’re never behind. We’re exactly where God wants us. We entrust the past to God’s Divine Mercy and the future to His Divine Providence.

*   Saints do not compare themselves to their neighbors because they keep their eyes fixed upon God.

*   Delegate out of humility.

*   Know when to take a break to refresh and renew.

*   Know what I need to feel comfortable in my home. Prioritize maintaining a basic level of order.

*   Discussion counts as an invaluable learning and teaching tool.

*   Mastery takes time, for student and educator.

*   Laughter is good, even when it needs to be redirected.

*   Academic standards are arbitrary.

*   Time spent on curriculum planning is time not spent on other things.

*    Money spent on curriculum is money not spent on other things.

*   A sense of humor lightens our load.

*   Enthusiasm is contagious.

*   Enthusiasm enhances motivation and engagement.

*   Engagement and practice increases retention.

Love,



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Posted: April 18 2009 at 1:34pm | IP Logged Quote stellamaris

Here's one that always helps me when I heed it, and that I always suffer from when I disregard it:
When I take proper care of myself, I am taking care of my family.

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Posted: April 18 2009 at 1:49pm | IP Logged Quote Martha in VA

I go back to Laura Berquists's quote, which I actually wonder if she got form St. Ignatius:

Formation is more important than information.



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Posted: April 18 2009 at 3:42pm | IP Logged Quote 10 Bright Stars

Quote from Caroline: "Here's one that always helps me when I heed it, and that I always suffer from when I disregard it:
When I take proper care of myself, I am taking care of my family."


   I have finally realized this! I have been beating myself like an abused mule for years now, thinking that it was what I had to do as a mom of a large family, as a homeschool mom etc. to just get through the day and get things done. I tried to burn the candle at both ends, played the martyr and didn't ask for help or would stay up at night so husband could sleep etc. when the kids wouldn't. But, all that has a way of catching up with you and I finally realized that my health was something I was taking for granted and that,once gone, I could not neccesarily "fix" or purchase again like a pair of new socks! So, I have been much more gentle with myself lately. I have taken naps, I have let my husband take the baby, who wants to nurse ALL night, down to the couch with him so I can sleep. (I say baby, but she is 18 months old! ) I rest more, I say no to outside commitments more, and I try to let go of exhausting habits of thinking. I try to eat better now, finally made all the doc. appointments I have been putting off, and make sure I get some exercise each day. I won't do anyone any good broken! Even cars need tune-ups now and then, and God has seasons of rest built into everything. What made me think I could circumvent nature? I don't know.

I love all of those insights, Angie, thanks for posting them. They are a good shot in the arm this time of year when the finish line is within site, but too far for a sprint!!!

       



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Posted: April 18 2009 at 9:06pm | IP Logged Quote JuliaT

My principle for this year is Simple is better.

We have ditched curriculum for most subjects, except for math (for the two oldest,) reading and writing(for the oldest.) I am making the rest up myself and I feel like a burden has been lifted from me.   

When I first read Real Learning, I knew that this was how I wanted to educate my children but I didn't know how to start. I recently read Ruth Beechick's You CAN Teach Your Child Successfully. This book gave me the confidence to take the path that I had yearned for two years ago.

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dawn2006
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Posted: April 20 2009 at 9:59pm | IP Logged Quote dawn2006

Quote:
Home education is primarily a way of life, not an alternative to school.

Plan primarily based on the truth about Mom, playing to my strengths, secondarily on the needs of the family as a whole, thirdly on the individual needs of each child, playing to their strengths.

Progress is not linear and best gauged over time.

Know what I need to feel comfortable in my home. Prioritize maintaining a basic level of order.

Time spent on curriculum planning is time not spent on other things.


These things most resonated with me. The biggest realization I've had this year is accepting the methods we choose AS A COUPLE. I've been happily plugging along for a while and a recent casual conversation with my dh quickly turned heated. Ultimately, I realized he is more traditional. Sooooooooo, I've met him there, and am still meeting him there, and have had to put away my most cherished go-to homeschooling books while learning to embrace more structured learning. The lesson I took away is that since I TRULY believe that different types of homeschooling will result in happy, educated, God-loving children, than I also believe that for my own house.

(I'm sorry, but I couldn't figure out a way to condense all of that into one sentence! LOL! probably cuz it's still so fresh and am still working through it...)



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Posted: April 21 2009 at 5:39am | IP Logged Quote Mary G

Angie -- can't add much to the list other than to say -- EXACTLY!

I particularly like the "leave the neighbors out" -- whenever I try to compare my home to someone else's it's never very attractive ! But then, my kids and my home and my schooling are not theirs -- so it should look different!

Another thought is "use the library and get to know the librarians" ... saves time, money and building a relationship with the librarians helps get really good books on the shelves!

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Posted: April 21 2009 at 6:39am | IP Logged Quote LLMom

dawn2006 wrote:
These things most resonated with me. The biggest realization I've had this year is accepting the methods we choose AS A COUPLE. I've been happily plugging along for a while and a recent casual conversation with my dh quickly turned heated. Ultimately, I realized he is more traditional. Sooooooooo, I've met him there, and am still meeting him there, and have had to put away my most cherished go-to homeschooling books while learning to embrace more structured learning. The lesson I took away is that since I TRULY believe that different types of homeschooling will result in happy, educated, God-loving children, than I also believe that for my own house.

(I'm sorry, but I couldn't figure out a way to condense all of that into one sentence! LOL! probably cuz it's still so fresh and am still working through it...)



Dawn,

I think you are correct. Our dh opinions are very important. He wants to be proud of his children. I know my dh keeps me balanced. I can become very emotional and worry when the kids don't like something or I don't make something as creative as possible and he reminds me that something else can be good enough at times. Most men have that no-nonsense approach that can balance creative, emotion driven women. (speaking for myself, at least )

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Posted: April 21 2009 at 10:16am | IP Logged Quote Bookswithtea

Angie, this is a great list. I think I might print it out to remind myself while planning for the next year.

Burnout is Preventable and Know when to take a break/refresh.

These two particularly resonate with me as I plan for the Fall. Per dh's orders : he says I am going to burn out if I don't take a break and I am not to home design anything this year. When I thought about it, I realized he is right. He is always the one to warn me not to over do things.

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Posted: April 21 2009 at 2:45pm | IP Logged Quote Jenn Sal

BE NOT AFRAID! Some people may not have this problem, but being someone who often doubts my abilities/decisions, repeating this quote and having a true understadning of it has been a blessing!

Don't be afraid that you're using the wrong curriculum.
Don't be afraid you're not doing what's best for your child/family.
Don't be afraid if you can't do the lesson today...etc.

BE NOT AFRAID! It sounds so simple, yet once that fear creeps in....you and your family CAN'T be happy!

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Posted: April 21 2009 at 2:52pm | IP Logged Quote Willa

You know, Angie, that is almost an outline for a book

I think I'll try to think your points through one at a time for a sort of summer retreat. Thanks!



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Posted: April 22 2009 at 6:48am | IP Logged Quote Marcia

This thread caught my attention as I plan for my desert day....Back when Mother's Rule of Life came out I had a little baby and thought I could never be away a whole day.

Now with little ones and middles sized ones, I am seeing the benefit in going away without an agenda to just be with Jesus for an afternoon. (I still can't do that whole day thing) But I am planning no spiritual books, no homeschoolig books, no rosaries, just spending time at Liturgy, Adoration and quiet.   I think I will take my Bible. So how to say that in a sentence?

Spend time with Jesus.
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Posted: April 22 2009 at 8:13am | IP Logged Quote JennGM

Great thread. Your list, Angie, is fabulous.

Dawn2006 wrote:
These things most resonated with me. The biggest realization I've had this year is accepting the methods we choose AS A COUPLE.


I have been struck by similar thoughts this year, too.

My personal mottoes right now would be:

**Research, do initial planning, then discuss with dh to get his input. Keep communicating throughout the year to get feedback and his balanced view.

**Don't overanalyze. Simplicity is key, and makes everyone happy.

And inspired by my friend Rachel,

**Don't keep rethinking and entertain other things once the plan is set. Stay the course.

(This applies to purchased curriculum and books. Sometimes I need to rethink presentation and attitude, instead of trying something new.)

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Posted: April 22 2009 at 8:47am | IP Logged Quote dawn2006

Quote:
**Don't keep rethinking and entertain other things once the plan is set. Stay the course.

(This applies to purchased curriculum and books. Sometimes I need to rethink presentation and attitude, instead of trying something new)


Me too, me too!! My motto has become "make it work". Even if, just like you said, I have to change the presentation or take time for review or games and then get back on track. For example, we're doing Singapore with ds. If he's having a hard time learning the concepts my mind starts 2nd-guessing the entire program.

I stop and remind myself that
a) this program makes dh happy (he picked it) and I want him on board with hs-ing
b) no program is perfect, anyway
c) ds's mind probably just needs time to marinate the concepts.
d) we already bought it and I don't want to complicate our schooling, or clutter up our bookshelves - of which I don't have enough anyway- by buying more curriculum.

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Posted: April 23 2009 at 3:51am | IP Logged Quote Donna

These are beautiful principles, Angie.

I'm printing this off as I begin to prepare for next year.

Thank you!

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Posted: April 23 2009 at 6:14am | IP Logged Quote aneliese

Thank you for this wonderful thread! It's just what I needed as I discern what is the best course for our family for the next years. (not that I was panicking and praying the entire night with co-op enrollment deadlines looming...) Be not afraid!
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Posted: April 23 2009 at 8:39am | IP Logged Quote MarilynW

Angie - what beautiful thoughts! And everyone else too. I try to surround my self with such whilst I am planning for next year - to remind myself of my goals.

Here are a few things I am reading whilst planning:

Catholic Homeschooling: Living the Heroic Life

Homily for homeschoolers

Keep it Simple

Why homeschool

Reviewing our learning goals for the year

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Posted: April 24 2009 at 8:40pm | IP Logged Quote TxTrish

Ladies,
You are brilliant - one and all.
Many thanks for all I have learned from you over the years.


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Posted: Jan 17 2011 at 10:36pm | IP Logged Quote Mary Fifer

I found this through a link on another forum today and am glad I did, even though this is an old thread. This is what I love about a forum, good information resides for those of us who arrive late.

I can add a few of my favorites.

*Do good and avoid evil.

If I'm busy doing my best at the good before me, the rest is in God's hands....

*Do whatever Daddy wants.

I have a very good and nice husband and have tried to live the spirit of sweet obedience to what he wants. He is always great to listen to me when I think of something different, but I try to never disagree in front of the children. We live a very happy family life because I do not fuss for what I would have done. Many times I have a better result than I had first wanted!

He and I have both LIVED by La Leche League's thought:

*People first.

If nursing, teething, fevers, fussiness, illness are the distraction from dishes, laundry and such I do my best to forget the chores that drive the choleric/melancholy in me nuts. This has been a giant relief to me and has kept me from character faults that would have bulldozed our family. It has also helped me to condense some chores - like never fold cloth diapers, lay them flat :-)

*Each child is different and changes every year!

I marvel at this one. Our oldest is 21 and our youngest 7 and so far this maxim has proven true!

Mary

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