Organizing My Non Traditional Catholic Homeschool


 In the past I've written quite a bit about how I plan and organize our intentional Montessori-Charlotte Mason-Unschoolie- Catholic Homeschool.  We school year round, but build in regular breaks throughout our year and I only plan 1 term (6-8 weeks) at a time.  One thing I love about this approach is that we can do anything we don't enjoy or skip anything we need to for 6-8 weeks guilt free.  That said I have to balance the big-picture with the term by term needs of seven kiddos.

Last year I didn't stay on top of keeping track of who was where very well and the big picture was kind of lost.  As were a lot of daily details, including knowing just where anyone was on a regular basis.

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On Junk Food and Education

Junk Food & Education 

 Earlier this month I had the opportunity to once again attend the Minnesota Catholic Home Education Conference**.  Going into the weekend, I was quite excited to see Jennifer MacKintosh of Wildflowers & Marbles speaking on Charlotte Mason education.  Non-traditional homeschoolers are quite under represented in Catholic homeschool circles.  I find people look at me like I've sprouted an extra head when I say anything about Montessori, Charlotte Mason, or *gasp* intentional unschooling/life schooling for certain subject areas.  The internet says we are out there, but finding us is a little more tricky than I would like!  I enjoyed Jen's wisdom every bit as much as I expected too, but overall I felt a little off-kilter this year at the conference (and not just because I missed the Blogger's Gathering for the first time in.....ever?).

As I was driving home I realized what it was.

Junk food is invading the homeschool community and it's been happening in the same way that junk has invaded our food supply- slowly and without anyone standing up to it.  This junk education has made it nearly impossible to know what is really in the products that you are spending your money on.

Mini-Farm Tour!


 We have lived on our little homestead for two months now, so I figured it was time to give a little tour!  We have put in a lot of labor but not a lot of dollars towards fixing things up.  As much as possible we are borrowing from the junk piles, moving things around, and using what was left behind or that we already had.  This means our fence posts are mismatched and we are using a few things in unusual ways.  The only purchase (other than seeds, trees, feed) we made is gravel (after I got stuck in the driveway twice in the same week) and straw for mulching and dealing with mud.   It's become a little bit of a challenge for me now to see how long I can keep that up!

Please Don't: Speaking Compassionately & Respectfully To Kids With Medical Special Needs


 A few nights ago, I was sitting near Lucie as she fell asleep and she told me that she wishes she was born like the rest of us.  That she hates that she has epilepsy.  With a chronic medical condition, she endures a lot of necessary pokes, pills, and procedures.  They wear on her and make her feel different from everyone else.  Somedays are better than others.

As a parent this can be a stressful thing for both me and my child.  I can accept (if not always understand) that this cross is one that Lucie and I (along with the rest of our family) have been asked to bear and can integrate that with my worldly understandings.  At only five, it is much harder for her.

The way that staff interact with us can make or break each hospital and clinic experience, and she will always be back soon enough to remember the last visit.  Here are three subtle things that I've noticed can make a big difference in how she responds to situations, how she feels about her medical condition in general, and why they matter.

Cloth Diaper HELP!!


I have a half dozen posts updating you on all the big and little happenings around our new little homestead, but today I'm crowdsourcing.  I've been cloth diapering almost continually for the last 14 years and since we moved to our new property with well water my diapers are just not fresh-  I need your ideas!

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Will You Leave Room For God?


 I'm quite certain that at this point, nothing I can say will shock you.

Make you shake your head, probably.

Shock you, nope.

So here's the thing.  Last year we felt strongly called to sell our house and buy a small farm, with the goal of radically transforming our lifestyle and food supply.  We've probably always been so-called-urban-homesteaders with our gardens, herbs, cloth diapers, laundry lines etc- just not really thinking much about the terminology.  This past fall, however, we just felt like maybe it was time for more.  Like God wanted our family life to be more family and more life and abundant in a new way.

And then epilepsy reared its ugly head and it became seriously clear that selling our house while Lucie was unstable was not going to happen.  It hurt to pull back, but it needed to be done.

Soup- It's What's for Dinner!

Soup For Lent

It has been two weeks since Ash Wednesday, and our now-annual family Lenten soup fast is off to an interesting start.   We've had some highlights (see recipe below) and also some very low nights (a soup that somehow went rancid in the freezer leaving us with nothing but a loaf of bread for dinner).  In some ways this year has been easier than last, but it has also had it's on challenges.

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