Friday, August 11, 2017

7QT: Let's Get Planning Preschool

Linking up with Kelly to share my plans for next year. Be sure to check out my curriculum sale post if you haven't.

Last year, I shared my Great Books Preschool program for Little Man.  We did enjoy it but never made it through all the books with the new baby and all.  This year we will be continuing with the program, and soon I will be sharing the new additions to make up for the books we have already read 20,000 times.  Little Man surely had some favorites.

My new 4 year old want some school work like the big kids, so I have also chosen some fun workbooks for him to use.

We are also going to add a time for play dough, painting, and other hands on projects.  I hope to create a rotation to keep him occupied while I work with the older kids. Some ideas to include in this time:
  1. play dough
  2. watercolors
  3. wiki sticks
  4. tangrams
  5. beading
  6. Popsicle sticks and glue creations
  7. scissor projects
  8. stamp work
  9. coloring

I am still finalizing a schedule but one thing that will definitely be included is slots for Cowgirl and Buddy to work with Little Man one on one. This will free up time for me to get one on one time with each of the older children while still giving Little Man the attention he needs.

 Time with Cowgirl will be spent on simple handicrafts. She really enjoys crafting so this will be a diversion for both of them.  I plan on focusing on the following handicraft skills:
  1. loom knitting
  2. potholder weaving
  3. basic sewing--this is per Little Man's request
  4. cooking
All of these will require some guidance and supervision. I believe Cowgirl is up to the task.

Since I have adopted Mater Amabilis curriculum for Buddy, I hope to school the two younger ones in the Charlotte Mason style as well.  A large part of Charlotte Mason for the early years is Nature Study.  Mason advocates long hours spent outside in any weather and guided nature study.

This is where Buddy comes in.  He is a bit obsessed with nature.  So it is perfect for the boys to explore outside together.  My plan is to get each boy a nature journal to complete. I have a small block of time planned each week for me to provide some nature study guidance  and feedback.  I wish it could be every day but there are only so many hours.

When the weather is inhospitable to going out, as happens here in the northeast, there will be a basket of age appropriate nature books for the Buddy to read/explore with his brother.  I will share the basket's contents soon.  

The last part of preschool for Little Man is going to consist of learning to play games.  My older children and Hubby really enjoy board games. Little Man really wants to play along but is still learning how to participate. So, there will be a time each week to play a simple game that we can then play as a family once he has gained understanding of how it works. 

So, not too many bells and whistles, but there it is.  How do you do preschool?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Feature Thursday: Carmelite Scapulars

I have closely been considering what my shop needs and why it exists.  It is part of my business plan to further its development through careful planning.  In the end, it's mission is the same as this blog, to further God's Kingdom through promotion of vocations and service to the LORD.  This shop is for Jesus, more than for me.  I have fully given it over to Him.  Yes, the profit benefit my family, but I want it to benefit my soul more.

That is why I am so happy to feature our Carmelite nun made brown scapulars today.  These scapulars are lovingly made by hand by the sisters. They are selling the scapulars to earn money and build a special project.

The sisters are seeking to raise funds in order to build a modern convalescence home for patients with dementia. The home will also provide palliative care, rehabilitation, and assisted living. This home will serve 133 seniors.

At present, the sisters are in desperate need of funds to keep their current mother house open as well as to pursue this initiative.  All profits from the scapulars will be disbursed to the sisters.  I am donating all etsy fees incurred to give the sisters a bit more.

I ask you to please consider purchasing a scapular and supporting these beautiful brides of Christ.

Each scapular is hand made with reinforced stitching and pure wool backing.  Each scapular has a St Bendict medal sewn safely inside. We will include instructions of enrollment as well.

If anyone has any questions or would like to place a bulk order, please contact me for more information.

Thank you so much for supporting this effort and may God bless you!

Friday, August 4, 2017

#7QT: Let's Get Planning Tips and Curriculum Sale

Linking up with Kelly for some more getting started tips.

If you are discerning homeschooling or just getting started, you have no doubt seen the big catalogs full of curriculum and asked friends which curriculum you should choose.  Are you experiencing sticker shock?

Homeschooling can seem overwhelming enough, the the cost of a box curriculum can turn many away.  I am here to tell you that you don't need a fancy, expensive boxed curriculum.  If that is what works for your family, then that is fine.  However if money is an issue keep reading for some tips on saving money.

First, I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  You don't need textbooks to teach.  Gasp!  It's true.  Historical fiction, quality literature, well done non-fiction, and a good poetry book can give you excellent spines for your school.  Textbooks have their place, but if money is tight, especially if you are teaching 6th grade and below, opting for good books instead of textbooks is the way to go.

If you need help assembling your books into a year's curriculum, I am happy to answer questions.

Invest in good, hard covered books and texts that can be used multiple times with all your children.  This may be a little more expensive in the beginning but in the long run will save you so much money, especially since these can usually be bought used and resold.  Workbooks are expensive and consumable.  You will need to repurchase them every year for every child.  While I do use some workbooks, my main focus is durable books.

Check out your library!  Your library may already have a number of books you can use.  If you don't see what you need, request an interlibrary loan.  I have even hear of libraries specially ordering books that have been requested.  While that is not a given, it never hurts to ask.  I have found at least 10 books that Buddy is using for next year available at the local library.  That is saving my close to $100!

Find printables, downloads, ebooks, and audiobooks online.  I'm not a fan of ebooks, but there are some desirable ones available, often for free.  Public domain books are available as ebooks and audiobooks on several websites.  For example Grammar Land by Nesbit, a vintage grammar books that is on Buddy's school list this year, is available free via ebook, audiobook, and I found worksheets to compliment the book which I had printed for less than $1.

Do a little searching and you will be amazed at what you find.

I have written before about the importance of a community.  Find a homeschool buddy or two and split the cost of some bigger curriculum purchases.  For instance, my friend, Mary, and I have built a library of Apologia Exploring Creation books.  By buying them a little at a time and taking turns, we now own all of the books.  We are currently working on purchasing the audio versions.  These have and will continue to be used by all of our children. A little joint investment can go a long way!

Shop used curriculum sales, such as the one that Jessica sponsors every year.  Her sale is actually what got me blogging so this is an anniversary of sorts for Veils and Vocations.  Below are my items for sale.  Please comment if you would like to purchase one or more.  Shipping is $4 the first book, $1 each additional.  Any questions, please ask.  Thank you for looking and helping to support my homeschool. Be sure to check out all the other books available on Jessica's bloghop!
Wii game, like new, used twice. $3
Homemade recipes from Amish country, new $2 shipped
Seton readers, good condition, shelf wear, $3 each
These Are Our Horizons--Sold

Mysteries of Ancient America, HC, DJ, some wear, GC $2
How People Lived in the Middle Ages, HC, GC, $1

Problem Solving, sc, gc, no writing $1
Mental Math, sc, gc, $1

Easy Grammar, Like New, no writing, EC, retails $23, asking $10--Sold

Set of New Cathedral Readers, from 1950s.  
Bindings are worn, some more than others. A couple of books have writing on the covers, and a couple of the title pages are damaged. I tried to show this in the pictures.  However, all of the story pages are in excellent condition.  I went through every book, no marks or damage to actual reading pages.  These were in a friend's family for 3 generations, she has decided to pass them on.
Asking $65 for entire set, some of these sell for $20 each!

New Arabian Nights, SC, GC, $1

Lenten Adventure workbook from Holy Heroes, SC, LN, no writing, $3

BJU Spelling grade 1, LN, no writing. Text and workbook. Given to us but we aren't going to use it. Asking $3 for set

Concepts and Challenges set, 2nd edition, EC, minimal shelf wear, asking $20 for set --Sold

Thanks and God bless!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Feature Thursday: Printable Stationery

Did you miss Beauty Tuesday?  If so, please check it out.

Today is another Feature Thursday where I tell you more about the items in our etsy shop.  Have you seen our new line of printable stationery?  These were designed by Cowgirl. She has been taking graphic design classes and so enjoying them.

A few months ago, she asked if she could design something for the shop.  After a bit of brainstorming and so intense computer time, she showed me her first set of designs.

These are currently available at the shop and I will soon be adding another batch that she just finished.

Single design downloads are $2.99.  Muli-design packs are $5.99.

If you have not joined our Facebook page, please do.  We post secret sales, coupon codes, and more.  In a couple of weeks we will be hosting a giveaway package of several of the stationery downloads.  Please join in on the fun!

Also, we really enjoy custom orders and the opportunity to serve our customers in that way.  If there is a particular design you would like for stationery, please just drop us a line.  For only $1 more, you can have a personalized download of your very own.  Thank you so much.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Beauty Tuesday: Children in Church

I'm pretty late getting this up.  To be honest I have been a bit discouraged with the blog.  My time is so short all the time and the whispers of doubt keep making me toy with quitting.  Is there anyone out there that wants me to continue?  If you do, please comment so I know these words are reaching somebody.

Sunday is a workout.  Getting everyone up, dressed, and out the door is a Herculean effort every week.  It shouldn't be, we get dressed every day.  Why is it so hard to even just find socks and underwear on Sunday?  Why are the same dress shoes that you have tripped over three times during the week now no where to be found? Why?  Why is it so hard?

Then there is making it through Mass.  I regret to say that as much as I love the Mass and thrive on its nourishment, I am often just surviving it until the final blessing.  Sweaty and tired, I silently rejoice when the priest extols us to "go in peace." Alleluia, no more wrangling little ones in the pew praying no one sees the antics that are going on.  How it would hurt my heart to think my little ones are disrupting others' Mass prayers as well.  Gospel?  I think there was one.  Homily?  Oh, did I miss it.  Consecration? There must have been, it's a Mass, but honestly for me it's just a blur.

This Sunday was particularly rough.  We got to the van and the gas light was on, I promise you there had been a quarter tank the night before or I would have stopped.  Little Man was irritable and uncooperative.  Lovie-Lu was clingy and easily upset.  I was tired going in, praying for a good soul quenching Mass. I needed it so badly.  I think I heard the Second Reading, the Gospel I apparently missed because when the Homily began and our priest began to preach on the Gospel I had to figure out which one he was even referencing.

Then Lovie-Lu lost it.  She cried and screamed.  I attempted to nurse her but she couldn't settle and Little Man was suddenly so intrigued by my nursing cover that I use practically every day!  I quickly exited just before consecration. Discouraged that I am not better at managing this.  Fatigued by the lack of quiet in my life.  Standing just outside the baptistry where there are windows to look in on the altar.  I swayed and rocked the baby for the rest of Mass.  At the final blessing, I sighed a breath of resignation and relief at the same time.

That is when it happened.  Our priest hushed the choir from beginning the recessional and spoke to the parish. He acknowledged that there were a lot of children who had not been happy and had been very noisy through Mass.  (Oh dear, the screaming had been one of mine.) He invited all the children who had struggled through Mass to come up to the altar for a minute. 

Fr R proceeded to grant them a special blessing.  He turned to the full church and praised the beautiful sounds of the vocal children.  He thanked God for the blessings of each little one who had come to Mass, and he asked all the parishioners to pray for the parents who had brought them because they were working so hard to just be there each week. Fr R said, "Parents, please, bring your children to church.  This is your home.  Do not ever be ashamed to be here with these little ones.  You belong here and we welcome you always.  Jesus said, 'Let the children come to me!' You are bringing your children to Jesus and you deserve our deep appreciate and love.  Always bring your children to church. We want them here and so does God."

Thunderous applause arose throughout the church.  Those few moments were such balm to my soul, I don't know that Fr R will ever know just how much. After the Mass, I approached Father and thanked him.  I admitted that my little girl was the screamer and he blessed her so tenderly. He looked at me, said he loved hearing her beautiful voice and thanked me for coming.

Children are beautiful. They are little snips of heaven. Each is a gift, a glorious gift from our LORD.  They are His, and we owe it to them to bring them to Jesus at every opportunity. I will most likely miss a good portion of Mass this week again due to distraction and the need to discipline a very active little boy.  However, I know that my fellow parishioners, my brothers and sisters in Christ, love me and applaud my effort.  How sad it must be to have a church with no children.  They are our future and our primary mission in this life to is lead the little one to heaven.  How can we do that apart from the Mass? Let the little children come to Me....

Today is Beauty Tuesday as we have been doing this summer on Veils and Vocations.   If you have a blog post you would like to share, please add it in the comments.  Thanks.

Friday, July 28, 2017

#7QT: Let's Get Planning--the First Steps

The summer is passing more quickly than I care to admit.  Today, I am actually at an IHM conference.  If any of you plan on stopping by, please find me and say hello. Linking up with Kelly who I wish were going to be at the conference, too!  We need to find another conference to meet up at, Kelly!

Wherever you are in your homeschooling journey there are always those nagging questions and worries.  Admit it!  I have them, too.  I wanted to write this post to give you a little boost as you plan, particularly if you are a new homeschooler or still discerning.

Homeschooling is a year by year commitment.  Although I never stop planning and often think ahead to get the whole picture, I never commit to more than one year.  If you begin homeschooling kindergarten, you will invariably be met with numerous people asking you how you expect to teach Algebra, Calculus, and Chemistry.

The answer is simple, you don't, because what kind of a kindergarten curriculum would that be?  

Referring back to number 1, homeschooling does not mean that you have to be the only teacher your child ever has for every subject.  I don't know a single homeschooler who operates that way. Your child will encounter other teachers/adult leaders in activities, camps, enrichment classes, and co-ops.  Do not feel that you must take it all on.

Likewise, do not be afraid to outsource teaching when you need to and it would serve your family better.  There is a bevy of resources out there including courses on the Internet, recorded on DVD or CD, and through your local library or homeschool co-op.  Do what works for you and your students.

Make sure to build a community. Homeschooling never means having to go it alone!  This is much easier now with Facebook groups.  When I began homeschooling, having an email loop was a novel idea.  Finding those email loops to find your community was very hard.

Having a local community is optimum, but not always possible.  If you don't know anyone who homeschools, find like minded parents online and start asking questions. Share your frustrations and triumphs, believe me, your struggles are not as unique as you think.  None of us have super powers, we are all just moms doing the best we can.  Seek the support you need!  If you want some guidance, email me and I can point you to some very good groups that have helped in the past. and continue to help me in this journey.

Socialization is always the number one concern of every naysayer you will meet.  The irony is that these same people want traditionally schooled children to have less downtime and shorter recess, so how are they socializing?

Anyway, socialization is very important, I will not lie.  You need socialization, and so do your children. However, school is not the only way to achieve this, in fact it is probably the worse way to do so.  As you build your community, you will find homeschool friends and opportunities to get out and be with others.  Please understand that unless you are locking your family into a bomb shelter and never seeing the light of day, you are socializing.  Even if you were to be locked underground for decades, it would not be ideal, but your children would have each other to play and converse.  Siblings and parents are a part of social networks, and that is a good thing!

You do not need a very fancy, very expensive boxed curriculum to homeschool.  If that is what you want, have at it by all means, but don't cave to pressure.  You can do this without experts picking every book for you.  Even if you chose to use a box curriculum, feel free to change it up for a subject or two.  Homeschooling puts you in charge.  The flip side to not having to teach every class is that homeschooling means you make the decisions for your child.  History too boring? Try something different.  Math book not working?  Try something different.

Also, do not be afraid to just follow your gut and make courses up yourself--or steal some of mine!  Call it unschooling, call it fun-schooling, call it whatever you want.  Take a semester or a year and discover what your family needs and what you want to give them. I promise you, their lives will not be ruined and they will still learn something.

As a piggy back to number 5, never be afraid to give up on a program that isn't working.  Perhaps it is December and you realize this super-amazing-must-have-everyone-loves curriculum just isn't working for your family.  You didn't fail, you just are choosing a different path.

Do your homework,  research, and review; but ultimately the proof is in the pudding.  Do not bang your head against the wall lamenting that you can't make it work like the reviews said, or feeling defeated because a blogger has lovely pictures and all her children are smiling.  I assure you that bloggers are not experts and those pictures are only a snapshot in time. Every homeschool family has struggles and is working so very hard.

The real expert is you!  You are the expert in your children and in your family needs. You can do this!

Write down your plans and formulate a "Why" for your homeschool. You will need a solid reason when the days get long and the dreariness of winter sets in.  Even unschoolers need a bit of a road map.  Having plans written down is not a binding contract but it will go a long way in getting you to where you want to be.

I really struggle with daily lesson plans, however as the children are getting older, I realize that I need them.  I will be doing a post about planning very soon. Particularly planning when you cannot afford the fancy, pricey planners.

Is there anything you would add?  Any questions you have?  Drop me a line, any time! God bless.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Spotlight:European Veils

Welcome to a new feature here on the blog, Thursday Spotlight.  If you missed Beauty Tuesday, there's still time to link up!

I wanted to highlight our European veils because we have two great specials running right now.
First, all the European veils are on sale!  Some are discounted $15!!  Please do just check them out and let me know what you think.

Then there is this lovely opportunity:
I joked that I may have to order a veil from myself just to get the icon!  Isn't that icon beautiful?  St Anne is actually my patron, as well as Lovie-Lu's.

Now for the fun part, let's learn more about our veils.  When you order one of the European veils, you don't just get a veil.  The long veils come in a Fatima Anniversary gift pack which includes a clip, to keep the veil on, a Fatima prayer card, a booklet about veiling, a Carmelite nun made brown scapular, and reusable pouch to keep your veil safe and clean.

Short veils come with a Carmelite nun made brown scapular, clip, and pouch. You see the veil is the main feature, but we are offering so much more!

These veils are crafted in the traditional ways in Italy, Spain, and France.  We have a assembled an inviting gift pack to bring the Old World charm to you at a reasonable price.

Look at all the possibilities:

So what do you think?  Aren't they gorgeous?

If you would like to know more or be in the loop for secret sales and coupons, like us on Facebook!
God bless!