O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph

O Most Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph
In you we place all our faith and all our trust.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Homemade Chinese Art Design by Muddee

+ JMJ +

Last April, my teen daughter decided to decorate her room with a theme.  Little brother, Muddee, loved the idea and wanted to do it as well.  Looking at the things we had in the house, they settled on an Asian theme.  Muddee got to work.  Following an Art History activity we had done in the past, he made the blue-and-white plates above with paper plates and blue Sharpie, after the famous Chinese blue-and-white porcelains. 

He displayed them on a bookshelf, then he decorated the edge of the shelf with a bar made of blocks from our Mahjong set.  :)   He enjoyed his work and showed his little display to everyone!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival # 4


Sunday Snippets is a blog hop hosted by RAnn at This, That, and The Other Thing.  Every week, Catholic bloggers gather to share their favorite posts.  It's a great way to support each other and spread the Catholic way of life.  Join us at RAnn’s!

I am sharing these posts:

1.   Good Friends Are Like Stars.  You don't Always see them.  But you know they're always there.

2.   Wordless Wednesday # 1

3.   V is for Virtues

Friday, June 18, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday # 3

+ JMJ +

1.  Now that I'm older, I notice how much I love silence. I used to always want to have music playing in the background. But now, I don't even miss that. The house gets noisy when the kids play or when hubby watches his sports shows or the news. Plus teen daughter loves to sing, while hubby has his background music playing when not watching TV. At least, I know I'm not hard of hearing. =) But I do relish the silence when we get back from the library, and the kids are quietly enjoying their reading, or when I stay up at night to return e-mails or blog. I guess the aging process opens up a whole new window on life .... =)

2.  We have been enjoying Rozanne Gold's award-winning 1-2-3 cookbooks, in which she features recipes that have only 3 ingredients, and most of the ones we've tried have been delicious!  These are the cookbooks we've used so far:

Recipes 1-2-3: Fabulous Food Using Only 3 IngredientsRecipes 1-2-3:  Fabulous Food Using Only 3 Ingredients

Little Meals : A Great New Way to Eat and CookLittle Meals:  A Great New way to Eat and Cook

Desserts 1-2-3: Deliciously Simple Three-Ingredient RecipesDesserts 1-2-3: Deliciously Simple Three-Ingredient Recipes  

3.  Wittman Mechanical is coming on Tuesday to take a look at the leak on our A.C. unit.  Not a good sign.  Hubby, who was laid off last January, but (THANK GOD!) found a new job late last April, is concerned about the expense.  So we're hoping it won't be a major repair.  (Dear Lord, please don't let it.)

4. Aside from the A.C. unit (our house is really getting old), our garbage disposal has been broken for, at least, a year now.  Hubby wanted us to save money by just using the plunger every time the kitchen sink clogged up.  It's worked all this time -- except that it's gotten harder and harder to unclog the sink these last couple of months.  Now, only hubby can do it because he's the strongest in the family.  But during the day, the sink easily clogs up again, and he has to unclog it every night when he comes home from work.  So he's finally decided to order a new garbage disposal and have it installed.  Thank You, Lord!

5.  We've always had no problem reciting the Chaplet of Divine Mercy everyday, either at 3:00 or at night with hubby.  But the Rosary never came easy to us -- until last month, when the whole family got tired of reciting our list of novenas for night prayers (one for each member of the family).  Hubby and kids asked if we could switch to the rosary, since it was the month of Our Lady.  I never thought I'd ever hear that!  It was like music to my ears, lol!  I'm happy to say that we've been going strong with it since.

6.  I am really enjoying this blogging thing!  Have been doing it now for 1 month and 4 days .  =)

7.  We've been relaxing and not running around in a whirl of activities like we usually do during the schoolyear.  I'm SO GLAD it's summer!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

V is for VIRTUES

+ JMJ +

Faith, Hope and Charity

This week, I am joining Jenny Matlock for some Alphabe-Thursday fun, where each participant writes a blog post using the letter of the day.  Today's post is brought to you by the venerable letter, V.  =)

At first, I tried to do a post on VICISSITUDES.  But nothing really interesting came out of that.  So then I thought of VIRTUES.  Years ago, I had read the book, A Year with the Saints by TAN Books and Publishers.  It contained inspiring (at least, to me!) episodes and sayings about common Christian virtues from the lives of the great Saints.

For this post, I decided to focus on the 3 theological virtues of  faith, hope, and charity.  I've highlighted some sayings and episodes from the book for me to refer to when the need arises -- mostly so I can try and grow in these virtues!  (I need constant reminders!) 

According to the Catechism, the theological virtues are gifts of grace from God.  Got the quick definitions below from Wikipedia:
  • Faith - steadfastness in belief
  • Hope - expectation of and desire of receiving; refraining from despair and capability of not giving up
  • Charity - selfless, unconditional, and voluntary loving-kindness such as helping one's neighbors
The language of the quotes below may sound a bit archaic, but in my humble opinion, they are gems of wisdom for all the ages!  Hope they may be of some help to you, too ....

God certainly desires our greatest good more than we ourselves desire it. He knows better than we by what way it can come to us; and the choice of ways is wholly in His hands, as it is He who governs and regulates all that occurs in the world. It is, then, most certain that in all chances that can befall, whatever may happen will always be best for us.----St. Augustine

St. Francis de Sales, knowing that all events succeed one another according to the disposal of Divine Providence, rested upon it more tranquilly than an infant upon its mother's bosom. 

Do you desire security? Here you have it. The Lord says to you, "I will never abandon you, I will always be with you!" If a good man made you such a promise, you would trust him. God makes it, and do you doubt? Do you seek a support more sure than the word of God, which is infallible? Surely, He has made the promise, He has written it, He has pledged His word for it, it is most certain.----St. Augustine

St. Francis de Sales was filled with so much confidence in God that he was in perfect tranquillity amid the greatest disasters; for he could not persuade himself, as he often said, that anyone who trusts in a Providence infinite in all respects, has not cause to hope for a good result from whatever it permits to happen to him.

When we find ourselves in any danger, even a grave one, we ought not to lose courage, but to trust much in the Lord; for where the peril is greater, there also is greater aid from Him who chooses to be called the Helper in dangers and tribulations.----St. Ambrose

St. Ignatius Loyola was once on board a ship in a severe storm when the mast was broken off and all were weeping and trembling in expectation of death. He alone was cheerful and fearless, remembering that the winds and sea obey God and that without His permission, tempests rise not, neither can they sink any ship, and choosing for himself whatever fate God might choose for him.

St. Vincent, King of Bohemia, was asked how he felt when his army had been routed and he himself had been taken prisoner. He replied: "I never felt more encouraged than I do now. When I was well provided with human aids, I had not time to think of God. Now that I am quite destitute of them all, I think only of God, and that He will not abandon me." 

Though one should fall into many and grievous sins and imperfections, he ought never to despair of his salvation nor lose confidence in God, for the Divine clemency is infinitely greater than human malice.----St. John Chrysostom

When St. Bernard was severely ill, he had a rapture in which he seemed to be led to judgment and there tempted to despair by the devil, to whom he gave this answer: "I confess that I do not deserve Paradise for my works, for I know that I am unworthy of so great a good. Nevertheless, my Lord has two claims to it----one, that He is the Son of God, the other, that He died upon the Cross. The first is sufficient for Him, and the other He gives to me. For this reason I have hope."

What could be more desperate than the situation of Susanna, accused, condemned and led out to death? Yet she trusted in the Lord and was set free.

The venerable Father Daponte said of himself that those things that frequently furnish a motive for dejection, such as human frailty, or one's own weakness and sins, rather produced in him a greater confidence, for he fixed his eyes upon the goodness and mercy of God, to Whom he had entirely committed himself and his interests.

St. Teresa once said: "I am very sure that there is no safety in relying upon men; for they are all like so many stalks of dried rosemary----they break under the least weight of disappointment or contradiction. The true friend in whom alone we can trust is Jesus Christ. When I rely upon Him, I am conscious of such power that I feel able to resist the whole world, were it opposed to me."

The Lord once appeared to St. Gertrude and said to her: "When anyone has complete confidence in Me and believes that I have the power, the wisdom, and the desire to aid him on all occasions, this ravishes My heart, and does Me such violence that I cannot help favoring such a soul, on account of the pleasure I experience in seeing it so dependent upon Me, and to satisfy the great love I bear to it." 

St. Hugo, the Bishop, said that it was his experience that the more he attended to performing well and diligently all that pertained to the worship of God, the more God provided for him in all necessary things. 

When this Saint Vincent de Paul was once told by his house-steward that he had not a sou for daily expenses without considering the special ones for approaching ordinations, he replied with a tranquil heart and cheerful face, full of confidence in God: "What good news! Blessed be God! Now is the time to show whether we trust in Him. Oh, how infinite are the treasures of Divine Providence, which we dishonor by our want of trust!"  


It should be observed that perfect love of God consists not in those delights, tears, and sentiments of devotion that we generally seek, but in a strong determination and keen desire to please God in all things, and to take care, as far as possible, not to offend Him, and to promote His glory.----St. Teresa

The love of God is acquired by resolving to labor and suffer for Him, and to abstain from all that displeases Him, and by carrying this resolution into practice as occasion arises. But to be able to do it well in great things, it is necessary to attend to it in small.----St. Teresa 

St. John of the Cross proved how firmly he was persuaded of this. When Jesus Christ appeared to him one day and asked him what reward he desired for the many trials and labors he had borne for love of Him, "No other, O Lord," he replied, "but to suffer and be despised."  

God loves our neighbors so much that He gave His life for them; and He is glad even to have us leave Him to do them good. How grateful to Him, then, may we believe the services we render them! Ah, if we understood well how important is this virtue of the love of our neighbor, we should give ourselves entirely to the pursuit of it.----St. Teresa 

St. Teresa was accustomed to redouble her charity towards those who offended her. St. Francis Borgia used to call those who brought upon him any mortification or trial his assistants and friends.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday # 1

+ JMJ +

A Little Prayer Retreat:  My teen daughter at our prayer table during family rosary. 

See the Wordless Wednesday group here.

A Thankful Woman's List of Blessings # 1

+ JMJ +


Judy at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings hosts this wonderful meme every Wednesdays. I am glad to be joining her for the first time.  We are invited to list five things for which we have been thankful this week!  It's perfect for me because I have a family of 5.  So I will list something I am thankful for each one of us in the family.  Thanks for hosting this, Judy!

1.  Dear Lord, thank you for the e-mail hubby received a few days ago from his former boss, asking him if he would like to go back and work for the company.  The commute would make things so much easier for him, compared to his current commute to work.  Please guide him as he makes his decision and let him know what You think would be best for our family.

2.  I am very thankful, Lord, for the wonderful conversations I had with my mother- and sister-in-law during their visit here.  It was such a blessing to be able to share our thoughts about our faith and family with each other and have them support us in our homeschooling journey.

3. Honey enjoyed the talks that were organized for teens at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Homeschool Conference last Friday.  And she had fun being there with Abby, bumping into Dominic and talking with Jonathan about the Victorian Dance.  Thank you, God, for the marvelous time she had with good friends and the inspiring talks that were given by faithful priests.

4.  Thank you, Lord, for the enjoyment SLED gets out of writing almost everyday on his blog!  More than that, I am just amazed at how his writing has developed -- his grammar and spelling are good and his entries, even though they are short, are often funny and interesting!  And to think that we haven't used any formal writing program since we started unschooling a few years ago, just family read-alouds and a steady diet of great books for the kids.  I am so grateful to You, Lord, for leading us to this wonderful and natural way of learning that is so respectful of our children and supportive of their strengths and interests!

5.  Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful time we had at Muddee's end-of-the-schoolyear Cello Recital last Sunday.  It was really awesome to have Mom Ameling, Miriam and nephew, John, attend the recital with us during their visit.  Muddee played an expressive rendition of Handel Bourree' and Lully Gavotte, and they very much appreciated his musicality.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good Friends are like Stars. You don't always see them. But You know they're always there ....

+ JMJ +


I was driving to Mass this morning.  Something distressing happened yesterday.  I kept praying to Jesus about it.  I kept giving him the sadness I felt.  But I had to talk to someone.  I thought of my dear friend, Cathy.  Cathy and I don't see each other as often anymore because her kids go to school and I homeschool mine.  We have opposite schedules.  I miss our times together.  I was hoping she'd be at Mass this morning.  Dear Lord, I just need to talk to someone.

Mass had already started when we arrived.  So we stayed at the back.  It was a comfort to know that I was going to receive You, Lord.  As I was waiting towards the end of the Communion line, someone tapped me from the side.  It was CATHY!  It was so comforting to see her sweet, warm smile!  You are so good, Lord!  Thank you for sending my dear friend to me at this time of need.  Even though You allowed last night to happen, You have provided for me.  Thank you for showing me Your Love, for taking care of me during this time of need through my dear friend, Cathy.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Snippets - A Catholic Carnival # 3

+ JMJ +


Sunday Snippets is a blog hop hosted by RAnn at This, That, and The Other Thing.  Every week, Catholic bloggers gather to share their favorite posts.  It's a great way to support each other and spread the Catholic way of life.  Join us at RAnn’s blog to share a blog post or two from last week! 

Here are my posts:

1.  A Poem in Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Blessings to all!


A Poem in Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

+ JMJ +

I'd like to share a poem that I found at Heart to Heart Website, an Apostolic Mission for the Renewal of the Devotion to The Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Here's what it says at the site:

Since many of the poems, are ... beautiful prayers of love to Him, it is highly recommended that those who wish to advance in their spiritual closeness and unity with His Divine Heart, recite those that most speak your feelings daily.

Two of His 12 Promises to those who practice the devotion faithfully with great love ... are that: "tepid souls shall become fervent" and that "fervent souls shall quickly mount to high perfection." After you read them, slowly, as prayers, we believe these poems will present His love ... to you in a way you have never before ... experienced Him and the enormity of His love and sacrifice for us all. Feeling this, we are confident that you will reach a higher level of unity with His Heart ....

This is the poem that spoke most to me ....  Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place my trust in You!


As Your hand reaches for mine,
I see Your scars,
A remembrance of my past,
An acknowledgement of my present.
I cringe at the sight,
Knowing full well my part
In your pain.

In Your Mercy, still,
You offer Your hand
Inviting my love,
Forgiving my ignorance,
Dissolving my arrogance,
Giving strength to my weakness.

As I take Your hand in mine.
Your warm, strong touch of love
Dissolves the bars on my heart.
My heart seeks Yours and
Like the sinful woman
My tears wash Your wounds,
My love seeking to heal.

You, in Your infinite kindness,
Wipe away my tears.
Drawing my eyes to Yours
You betray no accusations, no bitterness,
As Your gaze floods through my soul
Making all things new.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Celebration We'll Never Forget: Our Parish's First Corpus Christi Procession

+ JMJ +

Last Sunday, our parish held its first Corpus Christi procession after the 12:15 pm Mass for the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.  It was a beautiful and solemn procession, in which Muddee, our youngest son, assisted as one of the many altar boys.  After the first stop for adoration and prayers in the church garden,our Pastor proceeded to carry the Blessed Sacrament around the church block when thunder and lightning began to appear and rain came pelting down almost in torrents.

Father still proceeded to walk calmly around the block under the canopy carried by 4 altar servers, with the retinue of assisting altar boys, the Knights of Columbus and the throng of parishioners following close behind.  Then suddenly, a gust of wind blew off the canopy, and the rain came down even stronger.

One of the older altar boys was able to retrieve the canopy from the street, while an elderly lady lent her big umbrella to the Knights so that Father and Our Lord would not get wet.  We, however, were already soaked, and halfway around the block, we saw a few of the Knights heading back to the Church.  So half of us, with the children and elderly, decided to follow suit.

Father, our parochial vicar, the altar servers, the rest of the Knights and about half of the crowd solemnly completed the procession around the block, while the rest of us waited for them at the narthex.  By the time they returned to the main entrance, the rain had stopped.  Everyone was wet, but joyful.  We did not let the sudden downpour dampen our celebration of the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

It was a wonderful sight, seeing everyone with dishevelled hair with smiles on their faces. We then entered the church where Father gave us Benediction.  He thanked all of us afterwards and marvelled at our testimony of faith.  He said he was certain it was a celebration we'd never forget.  We sure won't, Father!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Catholic Unschooling Quote from St. Therese

+ JMJ +

Hands of a Priest Holy Card kept by St Therese of Lisieux

 Here is a quote from St. Therese of Lisieux that supports our work as Catholic Unschooling parents:

"Trying to do good to people (in the case of home education, our children) without God's help is no easier than making the sun shine at midnight. You discover that you've got to abandon all your own preferences, your own bright ideas, and guide souls along the road our Lord has marked out for them. You mustn't coerce them into some path of your own choosing."
Great for child-led and interest-led learning, ie. following our children's interests and connecting with them, even though we may not have the same interests.  The work of Catholic Unschooling parents can be part of the royal road to sanctification.


John Holt's Quotes on True Learning

+ JMJ +


To learn more about John Holt's educational philosophy, I've posted a number of his quotes below.  In my opinion, it's so much better to hear from the master himself!

“Birds fly, fish swim, man thinks and learns.  Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do, and all we need to do, is bring as much of the world as we can (to them); give children as much help and guidance as they ask for; listen respectfully when they feel like talking; and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest."

~  John Holt in How Children Learn                                                                               

The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.

~  John Holt

"Teaching does not make learning…organized education operates on the assumption that children learn only when and only what and only because we teach them. This is not true. It is very close to 100% false. Learners make learning.”

~  John Holt

“If I had to make a general rule for living and working with children, it might be this: be wary of saying or doing anything to a child that you would not do to another adult, whose good opinion and affection you valued.”

~  John Holt

There is no difference between living and learning.

~  John Holt

“Any child who can spend an hour or two a day, or more if he wants, with adults that he likes, who are interested in the world and like to talk about it, will on most days learn far more from their talk than he would learn in a week of school.”

~ John Holt

“Most of us are tactful enough with other adults not to point out their errors, but not many of us are ready to extend this courtesy to children.”

~   John Holt

Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them. If we attempt to control, manipulate, or divert this process...the independent scientist in the child disappears.

~   John Holt

Since we can't know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.

~   John Holt

The anxiety children feel at constantly being tested, their fear of failure... severely reduces their ability both to perceive and to remember, and drives them away from the material being studied.

~   John Holt 

Education... now seems to me perhaps the most authoritarian and dangerous of all the social inventions of mankind. It is the deepest foundation of the modern slave state, in which most people feel themselves to be nothing but producers, consumers, spectators, and 'fans,' driven more and more, in all parts of their lives, by greed, envy, and fear. My concern is not to improve 'education' but to do away with it, to end the ugly and antihuman business of people-shaping and to allow and help people to shape themselves.

~   John Holt

"I choose to define it here as most people do, something that some people do to others for their own good, molding and shaping them, and trying to make them learn what they think they ought to know. Today, everywhere in the world, that is what "education" has become, and I am wholly against it. People spend a great deal of time—as for years I did myself—talking about how to make "education" more effective and efficient, or how to do it or give it to more people, or how to reform or humanize it. But to make it more effective and efficient will only be to make it worse, and to help it do even more harm. It cannot be reformed, cannot be carried out wisely or humanely, because its purpose is neither wise nor humane. "

~  John Holt

"To parents I say, above all else, don't let your home become some terrible miniature copy of the school. No lesson plans! No quizzes! No tests! No report cards! Even leaving your kids alone would be better; at least they could figure out some things on their own. Live together, as well as you can; enjoy life together, as much as you can."

~   John Holt

"Children do not need to be made to learn to be better, told what to do or shown how. If they are given access to enough of the world, they will see clearly enough what things are truly important to themselves and to others, and they will make for themselves a better path into that world then anyone else could make for them."

~   John Holt in How Children Fail

Next to the right to life itself, the most fundamental of all human rights is the right to control our own minds and thoughts. That means, the right to decide for ourselves how we will explore the world around us, think about our own and other persons' experiences, and find and make the meaning of our own lives. Whoever takes that right away from us, as the educators do, attacks the very center of our being and does us a most profound and lasting injury. He tells us, in effect, that we cannot be trusted even to think, that for all our lives we must depend on others to tell us the meaning of our world and our lives, and that any meaning we may make for ourselves, out of our own experience, has no value."

~  John Holt in Instead of Education

Let me sum up what I have been saying about learning. I believe that we learn best when we, not others, are deciding what we are going to try to learn, and when, and how, and for what reasons or purposes; when we, not others, are in the end choosing the people, materials, and experiences from which and with which we will be learning; when we, not others, are judging how easily or quickly or well we are learning, and when we have learned enough; and above all when we feel the wholeness and opennesss of the world around us, and our own freedom and power and competence in it. When then can we do about it? How can we create or help create these conditions for learning?

~  John Holt in What Do I Do Monday?


Unschooling Quotes

                      Almond Blossoms (1890) by Vincent Van Gogh

Here are some wonderful quotes from both famous and lesser-known men and women, who recognized the value of unschooling and natural learning.

All I am saying in this book can be summed up in two words:  Trust Children.  Nothing could be more simple, or more difficult.  Difficult because to trust children we must first learn to trust ourselves, and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.

~ John Holt, in "How Children Learn"

"Children don’t need to be taught how to learn; they are born learners. They come out of the womb interacting with and exploring their surroundings. Babies are active learners, their burning curiosity motivating them to learn how the world works. And if they are given a safe, supportive environment, they will continue to learn hungrily and naturally – in the manner and at the speed that suits them best."

~  Wendy Priesnitz

I know of nothing more inspiring than that of making discoveries for one’s self.

~  George Washington Carver

“We learn because we want to learn, because it’s important to us, because it’s natural, and because it’s impossible to live in the world and not learn. Then along comes school to mess up a beautiful thing.”

~  Peggy Pirro

The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.  
~  Plutarch

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.   
~  William Butler Yeats 

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work but rather, teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.  

~  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"The teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron." 

~  Horace Mann

"Childhood has it's own way of seeing, thinking, and feeling, and nothing is more foolish than to try to substitute ours for theirs."

~  Jean Jacques Rousseau 

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

~  Rachel Carson

Love does not dominate; it cultivates.   

~   Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Children require guidance and sympathy far more than instruction."

~   Anne Sullivan
"Children need models rather than critics."

~   Joseph Joubert (1754-1824), French Philosopher

When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is,
and respect for what he may become.

~    Louis Pasteur 

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

~  Frederick Douglass

It is easier for a teacher to command than to teach." 

~  John Locke

"It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated."

~  Alec Bourne

Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

~  Albert Einstein

"It is absurd and anti-life to be a part of a system that compels you to listen to a stranger reading poetry when you want to learn to construct buildings, or to sit with a stranger discussing the construction of buildings when you want to read poetry."

~  John Taylor Gatto

"Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind." 

~  Plato

"During the school day, there should be extended time for play. Research has shown unequivocally that children learn best when they are interested in the material or activity they are learning. Play — from building contraptions to enacting stories to inventing games — can allow children to satisfy their curiosity about the things that interest them in their own way. It can also help them acquire higher-order thinking skills, like generating testable hypotheses, imagining situations from someone else’s perspective and thinking of alternate solutions."

Susan Engel

"There can be no education without leisure; and without leisure, education is worthless."

~  Sarah Josepha Hale 

“Because schools suffocate children’s hunger to learn, learning appears to be difficult and we assume that children must be externally motivated to do it.”

~  Wendy Priesnitz
My education was interrupted only by my schooling.

~  Winston Churchill

"A child educated only at school is an uneducated child." 

~  George Santayana

"We're drowning in information and starving for knowledge." 

~  Rutherford Rogers

"It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education." 

~  Albert Einstein 

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
~  Mark Twain

"Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned." 

~  Mark Twain

“Where is the wisdom lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge lost in information?”

~  T. S. Eliot

"I can't give you a brain, but I can give you a diploma." 
~  L. Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz

“Four years was enough of Harvard. I still had a lot to learn, but had been given the liberating notion that now I could teach myself.”

~  John Updike

“What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch out of a free, meandering brook.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

“Artificial learning takes what is simple and natural and turns it into a complex array of objectives, goals, measurements, administrators, supervisors, counselors, and transportation experts. Natural education requires only a guide providing direction, and a learner ready to discover and create goals and values that are personally meaningful.”

~  Linda Dobson

“My job is not to teach at all, but to find the opportunities for my kids to learn. NOT knowing something can be an advantage, as it reminds me of the wealth of resources out there in the community and world, if only we are willing to go look for them.”

~  David Albert

When you are genuinely interested in one thing, it will always lead to something else.

~  Eleanor Roosevelt

A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.

~  Samuel Johnson

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.

~  Thomas A. Edison

Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn.

~  Winston Churchill

As a child lives today, he will live tomorrow.

~  John Dewey

Education is not a preparation for life; education is life itself.
~  John Dewey

“Education is a process of living and not a preparation for future living.” 

~  John Dewey

Unschooling doesn't mean not learning - it means learning without the trappings of school. It is not unlearning or uneducating. Its only unschooling - it points out a contrast in approaches to learning. My unschooled kids are learning as much or more than their schooled friends. 

~  Pam Sorooshian

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

Which quote resonated with you the most? 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Inspirations from John Holt & Our Catholic Faith: Learning Lifestyle # 1

+ JMJ +


One of the learning lifestyles we've incorporated in our home is from the educational philosophy of John Holt.  We've taken aspects of his philosophy that are compatible with the Magisterium of the Church and are joyfully practicing Natural Home Learning in the context of our Catholic Faith.  Ah, the benefits of Catholicizing a secular, but otherwise respectful and child-centered educational philosophy ....

As I had written in my post on Eclectic Home Learning, ever since we've embraced these natural, healthier, respectful, pro-child, pro-family and pro-life learning lifestyles, we no longer experience the stress of fast-food education and rat-race schooling in our home!


We give You thanks, O Lord, for enlightening us to Your Ways and leading us to this natural and beautiful path of learning together, all for Your greater Glory, Amen!

John Holt (1923 - 1985)

(From the Wikipedia entry on him, which has more biography and links than you'll usually find.)

Holt  was an American author and educator, one of the best known proponents of homeschooling.

After many years of working within the school system, Holt became disillusioned with it.  He became convinced that reform of the school system was not possible because it was fundamentally flawed, and began to advocate homeschooling.  However, it would be pointless to simply remove children from the school environment, if parents simply recreated that environment at home. Holt believed that children did not need to be coerced into learning; they would do so naturally if given the freedom to follow their own interests and a rich assortment of resources. This line of thought came to be called unschooling.

Holt's Growing Without Schooling (GWS), founded in 1977, was the nation's first home education newsletter.

What is Unschooling?

In the "Homeschooling Handbook," Mary Griffith writes:

"... unschooling now generally refers to a specific style of homeschooling, in which learning is not separated from living, and children learn mainly by following their own interests.  Children learn best, (Holt) argued, not by being taught, but by being a part of the world, free to explore what most interests them, by having their questions answered as they ask them, and by being treated with respect rather than condescension."

Suzie Andres, author of the book, "Homeschooling with Gentleness: A Catholic Discovers Unschooling," also writes:

"Unschooling is a form of education in which the child is trusted to be the primary agent in learning what he needs to know to lead him to happiness.  The emphasis on trusting the child to be the primary agent of his education distinguishes unschooling from other methods of homeschooling.  While other approaches tend to focus on the teaching done by the parent, unschooling concentrates on the learning done by the student."

Unschooling is not directed by a teacher, parent or curriculum.  Parents do not set up artificial structure for their kids, but they allow their children's natural interests to provide the structure for their learning. To foster a love of learning through interests, parents provide a rich environment for their children to learn in.  This environment consists of a wide range of resources and learning opportunities in the real world so that learning is not artificial or cut-off from real life.  In fact, parents believe that learning happens naturally all the time and does not require coercion.  Unschooling isn't a method, it is a way of looking at children and at life.

Catholic Unschooling

From the Catholic point of view, parents believe that everything God created is good -- including man's innate and fundamental desire to learn.  Aristotle wrote, "All men by nature desire to know." From the beginning, God created human beings to learn. 

In his book, "How Children Learn," John Holt wrote:

"Birds fly, fish swim, man thinks and learns. Therefore, we do not need to motivate children into learning by wheedling, bribing or bullying. We do not need to keep picking away at their minds to make sure they are learning. What we need to do, and all we need to do, is bring as much of the world as we can into the school and classroom (in our case, into their lives); give children as much help and guidance as they ask for; listen respectfully when they feel like talking; and then get out of the way. We can trust them to do the rest."

Home educator and author, Linda Dobson, also wrote:

"Birds (one of God's creatures) don’t go to flight school."

And French philosopher, Simone Weil, wrote: 

“The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running.” 

That is what God meant learning to be -- a joy for every human being.  John Holt was very wise when he advised parents to trust their children.  From the Catholic standpoint, we believe that man was made in God's Image and Likeness.  Therefore, we can trust God's Handiwork by allowing children the freedom to learn according to their interests and strengths.  

As Catholics, we also believe, however, that man is fallen and affected by original sin.  Therefore, the freedom to learn must be tempered with limits -- limits in the form of morals and the teachings of the Church.  Maria Montessori, educator and devout Catholic, recognized the need to achieve a fine balance between these 2 realities, and so she coined the phrase, "freedom within limits."  Catholic Unschooling, therefore, is based on:

1.  The parents' trust in God's Work and, for this reason, in their children, because of the natural desire to learn that God placed in them.

2.  The parents' trust in themselves and in their God-given role as the primary educators of their children, especially since they know their children best and consequently, are the ones most capable to guide -- more than teach -- their children in finding their path to happiness and ultimate union with God.

3.  The parents' trust in God's Loving Care and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit to lead the way in their children's education and in family life.

Traditional schooling and other homeschooling methods that spoonfeed the child and only see his mind as a bucket to be filled, not a fire to be kindled (Plutarch), do not trust the child (God's Handiwork) to be the primary agent of his education because of fear and anxiety.  These methods, along with traditional parenting, were developed as a result of fear and a profound lack of respect for the child.  Though well-intentioned, they are ultimately damaging, since they are not based on love and serve only to bruise a child's spirit and kill his natural love of learning.

We would do well to remember what Jesus said:  "Fear is useless; what is needed is trust!"  (Luke 8:50, Mark 5:36)  Catholic Unschooling gives parents and children daily opportunities to trust in God's Providence and Love, and to focus on their relationship with God and family because that is what matters most in life.

Jesus, I trust in You!

                                                             ... below.  Thanks!


Related Posts with Thumbnails