Sunday, February 27, 2011
"You know well enough that Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love at which we do them." St Therese of the Child Jesus.
Unschooling, sharing our lives with our children, living our lives as an open book, is education with love.
We may not be doing great things but we are educating our children, in little ways, about the world, in skills, in the Faith...we are learning ourselves, as parents.
Catholic unschooling. The Little Way of Homeschooling.
And the title of a new book. Thirteen families share their discovery of St Therese's little way . Thirteen families share their discovery of Catholic unschooling.
My family included.
Yes, I am one of the contributors to this book.
Catholic unschooling has shaped and formed me, the kids, our family.
Friday, February 18, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
A discussion centred on how we, as members of a parish community, as individuals , can encourage vocations to prosper.
" ‘Every Christian community, every member of the Church, needs consciously to feel responsibility for promoting vocations.’ What are we doing in our local area, our parish, our deanery, our school, to promote vocations?"
Last year, our parish women's group devoted each first Thursday and each first Sunday to prayer for vocations.
And that is good.
However, I also think that we need to look at our actions and how these may help to prosper vocations.
There are a number of things I could discuss here but I will, instead , bring up a recent conversation between myself, my sons and a friend.
On why a priest only uses extraordinary ministers rarely, that is to say, in extraordinary circumstances, when needed.
Well, apart from the obvious statement re extraordinary , we talked about valuing and devaluing the role of the priest, of the religious.
You know, if the extraordinary minister (usually a woman ) serves at the time of communion of the faithful, instead of a religious, say, a Brother , who is also present at mass, what message does that send?
If the acolyte cleans the sacred vessels after Holy Communion and holds the relic for veneration and serves at communion, always, what message does that send?
I am not underplaying the role of the laity here. I understand the concept of the priesthood of believers.
However, it remains to be said that over use of laity and under use of religious, especially in the public liturgy of the Church, does tend to devalue the role of priests and religious. Young men in particular are less likely to look towards vocations ... Not because they are not called but because they can serve in the Church, in ministries, in many instances undertaking that which the priest and religious can and should undertake, but without that final commitment.
It seems to me that one way to prosper vocations then, is to fully understand the role of priests and religious in our communities and in the liturgy, in the Church. To fully appreciate and value this role. To fully understand the contribution of lay people.
And to avoid the clericalization of the laity, to paraphrase Pope Benedict XVI.
Monday, February 14, 2011
This living with the saints has developed gradually...I started by reading about the saints with my kids, then celebrating their feast days, then delving further for my own interest...Was St Therese really as sickly sweet as she seemed? The only way to find out was to read her own words...and. boy, I certainly found out why she is a Doctor of the Church! Strong. Loving. Not sickly sweet.
Living with the saints doesn't mean that I am a saint..no, way too tarnished for that.
It does mean, however, that just as I used to peruse self help books and popular psychology ( Thirty Days to A Better Life; Three Steps to a Super Marriage, Ten Ways Not To Fail As A Mum...) so now I perusue the writings of the saints.
As a booky person, reading and writing are givens for me when faced with life and its dilemmas.
Yet now it is reading of the saints and words by the saints. Asking the saints for prayers.
Living wiih the saints.
So my year with the saints becomes my life with the saints as friends to whom I turn.
Tonight I turned to Mother Teresa.
She was good at dying to self. I am not. I am good at building barriers around myself.
No matter. The saints words give me solace. Give me advice. My own twelve step programme.
My year with the saints is exemplified in my reading with Mother Teresa tonight.
How did she make it through?
With God's grace. And with her own determination and strength of character. Mother Teresa lived the joy that she did not always feel.
"You know how much Jesus loves you...Be good, be holy - Pull yourself up. Don't let the devil have the best from you - You know what Jesus and Mother expect from you - Just be cheerful - Radiate Christ..."
Radiate Christ. Thank you, Mother.
And this is why I live with the saints, remembering them, celebrating their feast days, asking for their intercession.
To learn. To love. To be better.
God knows how much I need it.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
I don't have to go to school, I'm home schooled.
That book, Nim's Island. A great adventure story. Totally believable yet unbelievable.
A bit like unschooling.
Your kids don't go to school?
To many, that is an unbelievable concept.
But the learning is believable. The reading. The discussions. The self discipline.
Yes, because while we don't have school structure, we do have family and life and work structure.
So, I hear a son say " I will come to play Band Hero, in half an hour, another half hour of writing."
Or I see a son reading Mathematician's Delight during his university holidays.
Or practice the piano, several times a day, without a reminder.
That unbelievable concept of unschooliing, lived out, as Nim lived her life, learning in freedom, in that book and movie.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
The liturgy of the Church is her public act of worship, her prayers, Holy Mass, the sacraments, the Divine Office.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Well, yes, tonight I did. A veil. Head covering.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
This week, when Australian schools and homeschools are "heading back to school" for the 2011 school year...Anthony is not.
This fifteen year old, my last official unschooler, is reading and watching Noel Steatfeild's Ballet Shoes...not buying school shoes.
This unschooler is doing Kumon Maths and looking for his brother's Saxon Physics book, to work through this year...not buying textbooks.
This unschooler is lying on the sofa reading history books and Calvin and Hobbes...not in a classroom reading.
This unschooler is going to Borders, having frozen cokes at McDonald's, working at Kumon, serving at mass, talking to a friar, watering the garden, playing the piano, talking about the liturgical year, going to the movies with brothers and friends, having friends over for games...not travelling to and from school in the sweltering heat.
It's a hard life...but someone has to do it!
Where everything counts.