Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ignatian Methods in Homeschooling

It occurred to my very tired brain that someone just might need a boost in their homeschool, a fresh idea. Old is the new... new. Here's an old idea to consider: Ignatian education. It's fabulous. It stresses self-activity and mastery of content. It's not easy, that's for sure... but it does feel very natural.

A fantastic curriculum based on Ignatian principles can be found at Kolbe Academy. For anyone who wants to know a little more about Ignatian methods, this site has well written ideas and summaries from a homeschooling mom who really knows her stuff.

I'd love to make a better case for Ignatian education, but honestly I can't this evening. My lone brain cell is screaming for sleep. It's been a day of starting to do one thing, forgetting what I was doing, then starting something else and forgetting about that as well. Every room I walk displays the aftermath of my Reign of Confusion: pullups on the bread counter, a ball of lint on the piano, laundry left in the dryer, something resembling lunch in the dining room corner. As I pick up my daily disasters, I pray that my efforts were enough today: I told the kids what I hoped they'd learn today, I prayed with them, I listened to their efforts and tried to guide them in their studies. Tomorrow we'll start anew and I'll ask what they remember from today, I'll tell them what the learning goal is, we'll pray, and on we'll go.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Boy and a Quart of Strawberries

There will probably be a story about this later. For now... the 8yo ate a quart of strawberries. Alone. Read that: without help. (Ok. I admit I cut one strawberry up and put it in Wonder Boy's yogurt. I also sacrificed another for the Ailing Miss M - she ate two bites and called it done.)

Now, while I am quite happy to have children that like fresh fruit and are satisfied with said fruit as the sole snack option, I am a bit concerned when they eat a hefty quantity. Fruit is a food of movement, ya know? I haven't been to Costco lately. I'm not sure my t.p. supplies are adequate.

I should put Costco on my "to do" list.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Keeping Promises

It's important to keep promises, especially the ones you make to yourself. You either build yourself up by being trustworthy or you tear yourself down by not being so. You can fool other people. You can make it look like you did a bang up job when you know you cut more corners than a poorly trained carpenter. You can over-commit and look like the person who does it all for everyone. But YOU know if you keep your promises. You know when you don't.

We don't tend to like people who fail time after time to keep promises. Failing ourselves leads to self-hate. And if we are hating ourselves, we cannot love God. How, if we are filled with self-loathing and hatred, can we fulfill the greatest commandments? (So you don't have to look it up: Mt. 22:37-40 he said to him, "you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.") Someone who is full of hate cannot truly love and someone full of self-hatred cannot love their neighbor. There's also that pesky business of what we do to the least of our brethren (aka neighbors), we've done unto Jesus. If you are so small, dare I say "the least," and you hate yourself, have you not hated Jesus Himself?

Something to ponder today. What will you promise yourself today. Make it something small and something that you WILL do. Will you get up on time for a week instead of hitting the snooze button? Will you plan and cook one week's worth of dinners? Will you read just one story to your kids every day for two weeks, no matter how busy you seem to be? Will you grade just one paper every day for a week? Will you open every piece of mail that comes in your house today? It doesn't have to be "organize a new food pantry for the homeless" huge... it just needs to be something you promise and deliver to yourself. If you do that, you've done it for Jesus.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's Considered Torture in Some Places


We do it to our kids (read that: Time Out).

We do it to each other (read that: The Silent Treatment).

We do it to ourselves (read that: Hide in Work, Hide Online, Hide in Hobbies, Hide in Busyness).

The truth is, we need each other. No one is sufficient to themselves. But where are we hiding our real selves? Are we hiding behind doctrine? Are we hiding behind our children? Are we hiding behind our work? Are we building walls out of those things and people to keep the world out of our hearts?

Sometimes a time apart is good and necessary. Children need to learn that hurting others separates them from the community they need. Heck, I can think of quite a few adults who need to learn this. Silent retreats are good for the soul, too. Taking care of our obligations is right and good. But there comes a point when isolation becomes Isolation and renders our interiors desolate.

Let's not go there.