Fun with the Orphans: Stories, Games, Crafts, and Recipes from Maria, Molly, Ming, and St. Frances Xavier Cabrini

Fun with the OrphansWritten and compiled by Joan Stromberg

Your favorite characters are back again! The author expands each character by backtracking their lives prior to their journey to America. We visit Mother Cabrini and Maria in Italy, Molly in County Roscommon, Ireland and Ming in her small Chinese village. You will learn how to make one of Mother’s favorite dishes and each girl shares crafts, games and foods from her homeland. You will have to be dragged out of the kitchen once you learn how to make raviolis, Cathedral Window Cookies and Italian Potato Pie from Maria, Dublin Coddle, Irish Stew and potatoes of course from Molly and Sweet & Sour Pork, Fried Rice and Chinese Chews from Ming! Your children will have hours of fun trying to make Chinese letters, play Fox and Rabbit or make Mosaic vases. This amazing book is chock full of history and heritage, you will enjoy every minute of it! (Ages 7-10 [with some adult supervision], 121 pages, PB, $)

Reclaim the Saints Series: St. Patrick Hands-on Learning

There is much written about this beloved saint and many saint anthologies contain a brief synopsis of his life. He is the patron saint of Ireland and is most notably responsible for its conversion to Christianity….making Ireland become the land of “Saints and Scholars.”

There are numerous legends surrounding his life but the best way to come to know the true saint is through his own writings and in particular his testimonial, “Confessio”. How marvelous and glorious it is to learn about this saint through his own words. In his “Confessio” we hear the voice of a truly humble servant of Christ. In addition your family will begin to understand about the beginnings of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, learn the chaplet prayer to St. Patrick, make cards to send to family and friends and so much more in this Hands-on Learning material.

Included in this kit:

  • Information on St. Patrick
  • How St. Patrick’s Day celebrations began
  • The meaning behind the symbols of St. Patrick’s Day
  • Directions and prayers for a St. Patrick chaplet
  • St. Patrick’s Confession (Autobiography) to have family print to read aloud together
  • 3 Coloring pages:  Saint Patrick, Page from Book of Kells, Celtic Cross
  • Mini book templates (2 different – three flap books horizontal and vertical)
  • Notebooking pages-2 versions with lovely images
  • Full-color Holy Cards with St. Patrick prayers
  • Holy Cards in outline versions to color in
  • St. Patrick’s Day cards to send (2 versions, with prayers and ones to practice handwriting)

Click here to order your kit and Reclaim St. Patrick’s Day!

Thank you for supporting our family business and respecting our copyright of this material for single family use. For classrooms or large groups email us.

The Saint Nicholas Chocolate Coins Do-it-Yourself Kit

The St. Nicholas coins are back but in a BRAND NEW DIY kit to help your family celebrate the Feast of St. Nicholas (December 6th), to give you “holy” treats for Stocking Stuffers on Christmas morning and to give you that special gift for friends, family and coworkers that keeps Christ in Christmas too!

St Nick DIY Kit spreadThe kit includes:

  • Licensed beautiful, classical Holy Family images that you just can’t copy from the internet
  • Includes instructions to make three different size kits EASILY and Cheaply*
  • A brief history of St. Nicholas and the tradition
  • An original coloring page
  • St. Nicholas Holy Cards
  • Memory game

These timely treats you make and give are a  fun  and practical way to reclaim our saints and holy-days! We hear that lots of kids like to peel off the stickers and decorate their books and personal belongings with them. In fact, our four year old daughter is in love with what she affectionately calls her “Mary” stickers. We think this is a great way for all of our little “evangelists” to spread the Good News this Christmas! Celebrate with your family the Feast of St. Nicholas with this Do It Yourself Kit. Share the beauty of our Church with those you love easily and economically!!

Buy it NOW and DOWNLOAD  it immediately…NO SHIPPING!!

*you provide the chocolate coins and bag!

(Email us for group use)

Taggerung – A Review

Jacques for blog_smTaggerung is the 14th novel in the famous Redwall series written by Brian Jacques. Jacques outdoes himself in the stunning tale of a young otter who was kidnapped as a babe by a vermin clan to be their legendary warrior, the Taggerung. One day Tagg deserts the clan because of their cruelty and teams up with a feisty mouse, Nimbalo, to find his true home. Throughout their journey, Tagg and Nimbalo are faced with many dangers which test their bravery and courage. This is a tale of treachery and betrayal, but also of loyalty and adventure. This story is so enjoyable whether read alone or aloud.

Crime and Punishment – A Review

Dostoyevsky for blog_smThis book is one of the most brilliant novels ever written, a true literary masterpiece. It is the story of a young Russian student, Raskolnikov, who commits a murder in order to prove his greatness to himself. However, after committing the crime, Raskolnikov is alternately overcome with arrogance and haunted with deep regret. This gripping narrative accurately portrays the destructive nature of sin, and the false philosophies and false loves that can lead us far away from God. Dostoevsky spins a tale of redemption, true love and the miracle of God’s grace. These themes continue to ring out their truth throughout the ages.

Teaching High School Biology

We usually have our children study biology in the 11th grade, after we’ve spent a year doing Natural Science in 10th grade. After spending a year studying famous naturalists and doing our own questioning, observations, and coming to our own conclusions from our own nine week experiment we are now ready to study living things.  Currently, we have three options for doing the study of biology.  One could use a standard textbook, such as Mr. Wile’s, Exploring Creation with Biology.  This text covers the basics of living systems, but does not include any anatomy.  There is a MODG syllabus that includes a daily lesson plan for this text with tests and answers to the tests.  If you do not have the time to do a full year of Natural History in 10th grade, the second option offers the opportunity to do eight weeks of Natural History before using Mr. Wile’s text, Exploring Creation With Biology and the MODG syllabus for this option is titled Mother Of Divine Grace Biology and Natural History.  The third option, which happens to be our family’s personal favorite, is using the book All Creatures Great and Small as the framework text and rounding out the study of biology by using additional reference materials.  We utilize our family’s library of books for each topic, as well as searching the library and internet for source materials to add to the creation of a self-made Biology notebook.

On more than one occasion, we have come across a new textbook that we feel is an improvement over the current texts as well as a valued resource for our favorite Biology course option.  Biology, of the Self-Teaching Guide, is well organized, clearly structured book that covers all the major biological concepts and terms. The author’s experience teaching at several colleges, as well as working at several museums has obviously enabled him to write in an accessible style.  What we really appreciate most about this option is that it is closest to a more natural process of studying and understanding science.  The student is encouraged to ask questions and to research the answers.  We require our children to keep adding to their notebooks with illustrations that are detailed and include definitions to the new concepts they are learning.  Several of the chapters in the books All Creatures Great And Small and Biology, of the Self-Teaching Guide offer essay topics, which gives our students the opportunity to make clear in their mind the concepts they are learning. Both Larry and I worked for many years as scientists for the DuPont Co. where we had to keep our own research notebooks, research topics we were responsible for, as well as present papers and give lectures to fellow scientists.  It was often noticed, on more than one occasion, that scientists did not communicate their thoughts well.  Remember, one of the most important aspects of any science curriculum, especially for a child who is particularly fascinated with science, is to give them the time to explore their interests, raise questions, search for answers and have a true sense of wonder and awe for God’s world,  and to be able to communicate well.

As to communicating well, we have used Life Science Based Writing Lessons. You will find many of the topics you are studying in Biology as the very assignments used in this course to teach writing, such as cells, classification, botany, zoology, etc. It is an easy way to incorporate writing assignments into any Biology curriculum you are using and in our opinion it is a vital skill to teach your children especially those interested in pursuing science degrees in college.

Teaching Science: The Early Years

You will see an evident and deliberate lack of textbooks for the early years of science.  We encourage you to explore your very own backyard and neighborhood before you endeavor to study science in any formal way.  This way, we respect the dignity of the child by engaging him in age appropriate activities that draw them towards awe and wonder of the created world.  Each day can easily present new and wonderful opportunities, such as sketching in their own blank books a rainbow in the sky after a rainstorm.  On a brilliant, crisp, fall day, do leaf rubbings together after collecting as many different kinds of leaves split_compliment_leavesas you can find. The children can identify the caterpillar they gingerly carry home, that happened to crawl into their laps as they played in the garden.  Our home is filled with books on plants, birds, butterflies, insects, pond life, the seashore, the stars, and so much more of God’s glorious world. This is how we teach our own children.  Take time to explore, discuss and delight in these formative years and you will be laying the groundwork for higher level questioning and analyzing, by having had a rich and intimate experience with the natural world around them.

Here are a few of the must haves, rich in ideas we have used with our own children, just click on any title to see the full desriptions:

Handbook of Nature Study

North American Wildlife

Keeping a Nature Journal

Nature Portfolio (complete with notebooking pages, a parent’s guide, copy work and more!)

Giant Science Resource Book

The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families

Nature coloring books

Keep Things in Perspective

Throughout the school year, daily life becomes so congested with activity that at times, homeschooling can be overwhelming. To combat discouragement I find it necessary to remind myself WHY I homeschool and review my top priority.

On those days when a full school day is impossible, I mentally consider what I can do to work toward my final goal. For me, my final goal is to educate my children so they can live a well informed Catholic life that will lead them to heaven. During busy times, as long as some part of our day leads us towards this end result, I consider our school day a success.

Don’t Lose Your Place

At the beginning of the school year, I tape a ribbon in each of the children’s books, workbooks, and my teaching manuals to keep our places easily.  Use satin ribbon about 4 to 5 inches longer than the book.  Cut the ends of the ribbon diagonally to keep them from fraying.  Use clear box tape and tape on the inside cover close to the spine.  When I had several children using the Harp & Laurel Wreath, I put a different color for each child to mark the places of the poems they were working on.  The ribbons don’t fall out like bookmarks often do. For the workbooks, at the end of the year you can take the ribbons out and use in another book. I got the idea from a few of my books which had a ribbon marker.