Transformed by “The Hidden Power of Kindness”

Have courage and be kindLast Mother’s Day I received a lovely necklace from my children that had a hand stamped medal with the inscription “have courage and be kind,” the words and theme from the recent Cinderella movie.  The kids know how much kindness means in this world and in our families.  They know how I hold it to be preeminent in all their words and actions. Long ago I was introduced to the prolific writer, Fr. Lawrence Lovask. The same priest who wrote the dear little children’s booklets, St. Joseph Picture Books, that we all know and love, wrote with clarity and a mind to the practical for adults too!

kindness-1Transform yourself — and the world — through kindness! Kindness counts. If you have trouble acting with the consistent kindness our Lord expects, your relationships with God and those you love may be suffering. Probably you just can’t find the time — and can’t ever seem to develop the patience — that you need in order to be consistently kind amid the irritations that afflict you daily. That’s why this book is such a godsend. You’ll learn how to be kinder, even in difficult circumstances.

kindness-boys-on-path

There’s nothing complicated or magical about learning to be kinder; it just takes greater attention to the things that you do and how you do them. The Hidden Power of Kindness shows you how to become more aware of even your most offhand daily actions. You’ll find simple, step-by-step, and spiritually crucial directions for how to overcome the habitual unkindness that creeps — undetected — into the behavior of even the most careful souls. You will grow towards holiness with these beautiful and practical step-by-step instructions for overcoming all forms of unkindness and meanness.

You’ll learn:

Four ways you can become more considerate . . . immediately!

Sympathy: why it’s your spiritual responsibility to show it to others — and five ways you can start doing so.

Three things to do — and three things you must not do — in order to grow kinder quickly.

Four surprising reasons why it’s spiritually dangerous to criticize others.

Three sure-fire remedies to eliminate sinful anger from your life.

Seven ways you can turn to your own spiritual benefit the wrongs that others do to you.

Six ways you can find and root out the hidden envy that may be choking your spirit right now.

And much more to help you grow kinder — and holier!

Also includes a 67-question self-examination you can use to monitor your progress in growing kinder and holier! (.epub, 256 pages, high school+)


“This work cannot fail to influence for the good all who are indirectly or directly touched by it.” – Most Rev. Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln “This wonderful book increases our insights into the wonders of the message that speaks so powerfully to us: ‘Love is patient, love is kind . . .’ ” – Sr. Mary Rose McGeady, Covenant House

Speaks passionately about the nature of true kindness.” – Publishers Weekly

Fr. Lovasik’s book on kindness clearly shows that kindness is love put into practice, and traces how kindness must begin in our thoughts, be communicated in our words, and reach its fullest expression in our daily actions. This book is made to order for anyone seriously wanting to respond to the present movement of the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth for Christ!” – Rev. Andrew Apostoli

Seven Lies About Catholic History

9630480by Diane Moczar

The author takes a close look at seven lies perpetuated by the culture and academia about the Catholic Church. She does not sugar coat any of the situations or deny corruption in the Church when it did, unfortunately, occur. In every age, but especially in our modern day, historians and political powers have distorted the facts about her past to make the Church, and the civilization it fostered, seem corrupt, backward, or simply evil. You will read about how the Inquisition was not a bloodthirsty but a merciful and necessary institution. Galileo’s trial : why moderns invented a myth around it to make science appear incompatible with the Catholic faith (it’s not), The Reformation: why the 16th-century Church was not totally corrupt (as even some Catholics wrongly believe), and more. Here you will find the lessons that every Catholic needs in order to defend and explain, not just apologize for the Church’s rich and complex history. This would be especially great for students preparing to enter a secular college.

Questions for the Thinker Study Guides

By Fran Rutherford

Truly this is an answer to a prayer. Ordinarily I eschew study guides for they tend to limit discussion and understanding by providing ready answers! However, Questions for Thinkers Study Guides are very DIFFERENT simply because of the wonderful idea of listing questions for the student to answer as they read through key classical texts.

Questions for Thinkers Study Guides questions too are different in that they are thought provoking and lead the student to a deeper understanding of these difficult readings. The readings are ones they will encounter for the first time in high school, if they use a classical curriculum and then later explore at an even deeper level at college. Use of each guide  ultimately provides the student with their very own wonderful resource to take with them to college. The written answers also provide the necessary material needed to develop essays and papers on each of the books as well as guiding a student in the process of HOW to ask questions as they read, an important aspect of true understanding!

Vocabulary development, research topics and frequent “Questions for Further Thought” are some of the hallmarks of Fran Rutherford’s Questions for Thinkers Study Guides, and are included throughout. Each study guides contain every question found within the Student Book along with a complete answer key for mom. We encourage you to try at least one of these wonderful individual title study guides. This is a great way to see how remarkable Mrs. Rutherford’s guides are and how invaluable they will be to your student in helping them read for deeper understanding. (High School, .epub)

The available titles are as follows:††Confessions††Early History of Rome††The Aeneid††Anabasis††The Iliad††The Odyssey††The Histories††The Inferno††Purgatorio

Click here to obtain copies: Questions for Thinkers Study Guides

The Ireland of Our Ancestors: A Collection of Discovery Activities

by Maryanne Patterson

What better way to begin the study of history or enhance your current history program than to study our ancestors. The Ireland of Our Ancestors packet contains a wealth of information and activities that could be used with a variety of ages too! Within the download are various sections and all the necessary craft materials and instruction sheets together, with each in its own envelope, so everything is literally right there and ready to go. For each section, there is a summary of the main points you may want to cover with your children, with several online references for further study. (All ages, 43 pages, PDF

Download contains the following sections:
• Alphabet and Language• Apparitions of Mary (with stories)• Agriculture & Economy• Blessings, Prayers and Proverbs• Calligraphy and Penmanship Practice• Currency• Flags of Ireland; • History• Maps• Music• Patron Saint and Other Saints• National Landmarks and Other Attractions• Recipes• Crafts (Celtic Cross Christmas Ornaments, St. Bridget’s Cross, Claddagh Friendship Note Cards, and an Emerald Isle Plastic Canvas Needle Craft).

Click here to obtain a copy: The Ireland of Our Ancestors 

Family of God: A Study of History Through Genealogy for Catholic Homeschooling Families

by Maryanne Patterson

When Family of God arrived, I knew it was something really special just from the title alone. The author has put together an outstanding resource from which all families would benefit in their study of history. The greatest feature of this program is that children are able to connect to history on a very personal basis in a way that makes it more meaningful and memorable to them. Families are given an increased appreciation for the past—and the real people, including their own family members, who lived in the past—in such a way that their perspective on the present and the future is changed for the better. All ages from little ones to adults are able to participate in individual or whole-family projects which benefit each member, no matter the children’s ages or ability levels. Faith and family are truly the centerpieces of this unique history program.

What is probably the best thing about Family of God is how it brings to light the importance of praying for the Holy Souls, and to especially pray for the souls of the departed in our own families. That is why this book comes with its own prayer companion.

In the author’s own words, “I believe the direct aims of this study are as follows:

  • To give children a chance to connect with history on a personal basis in a way that makes it more meaningful and memorable to them
  • To give families a chance to participate in a whole family project that is fun and which benefits each member, no matter the age or ability level
  • To increase in families an appreciation for the past-and the people who lived in the past – in such a way that their perspective on both the present and the future is changed for the better
  • To plant seeds of love in the hearts of families for all the holy souls in purgatory, especially the souls of their ancestors, so that there will be a greater outpouring of prayers on their behalf as God wishes.”

Family of God is flexible, economical (just download and go), and easy-to-use, this year-long unit study is well-organized with a 32 week suggested lesson plan chock full of resources, hands-on projects, and most importantly, tons of photographed examples from the author’s own family study for your reference.

I especially loved the idea of developing a questionnaire with your kids involvement that they then ask their grandparents and/or relatives of their grandparents generation. These questions then can be mailed to the relatives or done as a phone interview. Then they can be collected and shared with the extended family. This comes as an additional kits if you want to sample just a portion of the program, in  the Family of God: Grandparent Interview Activity Kit eBook.

Other ideas from Family of God include a Family Coat of Arms, the Family History Scrapbook, the Family Mobile, and the Family History Timeline, finding out when your relatives celebrated sacraments, searching to find is there were any in religious life or perhaps family Blesseds or saints, finding out the occupations of your relatives, mapping out where all your relatives moved to when they came to America (if they were Irish you there is the  the The Ireland of Our Ancestors: A Collection of Discovery Activities eBook) and tons more. Any part of this program you do together then becomes keepsakes of their year of study. Even if your family completes only one week’s worth of ideas you will have given them a gift of a lifetime!

Great care has been taken to provide a strong framework of helpful support and guidance while, at the same time, you are able to create your own individualized family masterpiece of history study, beginning with your family’s countries of origin and continuing through the generations to the present day. Important events and significant people in both World and US history are covered, but from a customized perspective so that your study of history connects to your own family’s past. This is what makes it so much more enjoyable and memorable for everyone, including you as teacher! (All ages, 171 pages, PDF)

Click here to obtain a copy: Family of God

History Worth Remembering Timeline Figures™

Teaching history to children today is imperative.  After all history often repeats itself and we learn important and essential truths from our past. Giving them the perspective of what happened when is critical.  Laying the foundation by making a timeline each year gives you a framework,  perspective.  However, for years we had searched high and low for timeline figures that included a balanced Catholic perspective on history, where the contributions of Catholics throughout time are fairly represented in the context of other events. No creature existed, so we embarked on our own venture . With the aid of balanced resources, we worked for many years as a family pooling together our collective interests and talents to create a set of historical timeline figures.  In fact we made six complete sets and a FREE set of printed lines with dates to make this vital element to any history curriculum possible and EASY!

We named the History Worth Remembering Timeline Figures™ as  I recalled so long ago an article written by Laura Berquist that spoke of 3286the importance of studying history and incorporating timelines with your study.  You can begin as a family making one altogether and make one day a week “Timeline Day”.  Some families have found it helpful to have each child make their own and build on it each year as they study through the major time periods of civilization.

The figures now come in a digital version, to make it affordable for families, buy it once and print up as you need them when you need them as often as you need them for your entire family.  They can be printed on sticky back paper so your child can color them, cut them out and place them in appropriate places on their very own personal timelines. We recommend using durable and sturdy blank books.  either in a landscape or portrait orientation.  Using colored pencils give it a personal touch and work easily for even your little guys.

HWR spread

They can also be placed on index cards or laminated to be used for a history trivia game or on a large bulletin board in your family school room showing the complete span of history. One family told us the kids made colored borders for each figure, each color highlighting those that are saints in the Catholic Church, another color for places, another for events, etc. You too will find many uses for these timeline figures on your own, especially as you let your children guide the way!

HWR Timeline Art

Click here to see Samples of ALL SIX sets:

 

The Office of Assertion by Scott F. Crider

office of assertion

I wish I had picked up this book years ago. It is a must-have for parents who want to teach their children how to write an academic essay. This is meant for the parent to study and employ in their written assignments for their high school students. Using Mr. Crider’s guidance you will ensure that your college bound high school student will be amply prepared to handle essay writing and longer persuasive academic papers. He breaks down the process in logical stages, carefully explaining the purpose of each stage. He offers a variety of approaches and explains too what college professors are looking for. He defends the adage, “clarity is not boring”, to help the student realize that planning, organizing, writing and rewriting serve a valuable purpose to which ends is a persuasive essay or paper that draws the reader towards truth. Buy one for yourself to mark up and make notes and one for your student to take to college! It is a treasure.

Parent as Teacher: Religion

Catechism of the Catholic Church_dropWhen my days are not going as planned, we make certain that this is the one subject taking priority.  Now, it may be occurring in our history lesson, in that we are discussing the Catholic perspective of the Reformation or the Spanish Inquisition, or the heroic deeds of our country’s forefathers. But most often, it is in our daily religion lessons, such as in, our discussions on the lives of the Saints, our sacrament preparation, our daily review and discussions on catechism, or our Scripture study.  We often use Bible readings as a time to ask the children to read aloud, a skill worth developing. Even for your proficient readers, reading aloud develops and strengthens their language development by seeing more sophisticated language patterns. For our little guys, the early Bibles for ChildrenBibles are great first readers.  We can also use the stories as narrations lessons, developing their ability to remember events in sequence.  By retelling some of the most beautiful Bible stories they begin the process of exposing them to the Divine, His Word of love and mercy. For the middle grade kids, the language of the Bible can be challenging, so we take time to pause and define difficult words. We reflect on particularly beautiful passages, or reflect on very, familiar passages but perhaps see them in a new light by reading and discussing them together.

The following items are our must-haves for the “Parent as Teacher.” These items can help your religion discussions or sacrament preparation.  They are solid, reliable resources in which to seek out answers. By doing so for yourself, you are modeling for your child a way to gather, and choose appropriate “tools of learning”.

Saints-books email2Catechism of the Catholic Church

Ignatius Catholic Bible

Beginning Apologetics Series

Lives of the Saints (age appropriate anthologies and chapter books)

And don’t forget a good Spiritual Director or Parish Priest…