Sunday, August 28, 2011

A "holy" start to the new school year

Homaygash!!! ;-) September is already HERE next week (in a few days!!) Waaaah. Thank God for this E-newsletter from CHC!

Time to get our routine and schedules in order! Dear St. Monica, pray for us!

+ August 27, 2011
St. Monica, pray for us!

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints….
-- Col. 1:11-12

With what eager anticipation we begin the school year, knowing His presence in our homes; we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  Our happiness is not based on the ups and downs of one day, but rather on the quiet certitude that He Who revealed to us this great gift of homeschooling will also guide us on the Way.  

Ideas for beginning the school year with a 'holy start':
~ Surely, begin with Holy Mass; you may even inaugurate the school year with a celebratory dinner or party, inviting your parish priest and asking his blessing on your school room/area.

~If you haven't already done so, choose a name for your school.  Is there a saint whom you admire?  St. Thomas Aquinas is the patron of students, as are Bede the Venerable, Brigid, and Catherine of Alexandria.  Post the saint's picture, alongside a prayer of intercession and blessing for your school day.

~Could anyone in the family benefit from a refresher course in 'cheerful obedience and self-discipline'?  [With these traits, assignments have a greater chance of being completed well.]  If a refresher course seems wise, it is best to practice, before school begins, with non-academics such as simple chores.  If your child has learned to complete brief chores rapidly and well, there is a better chance that he will also complete his school work well.  The reverse is also true:  if he can't complete a simple, five-minute chore without drama, he is unlikely to leap enthusiastically into his school work.  [If you have a 'resistant' child,  
Dr. Guarendi
 can help!]

~Start school a week after public school begins; visit a science museum, the state capitol, Catholic shrine, or point of historical interest that might be included in the upcoming school year's studies.  With public school in session, you may find these attractions nearly empty and docents eager to provide tours for such well-mannered children.

~Hold 'homeschool orientation' a day or two before school begins.  Let the children 'browse' their new books; present and discuss expectations and also the school schedule, giving particular attention to any changes since the previous year.  Announce specific field trips and special events planned for the upcoming year.  Children who are prepared and in happy anticipation will be eager to begin.

~If you haven't already made contact with other homeschoolers in your area, this is a great time to introduce yourselves.  If you belong to a large parish, ask Father if he knows of other homeschooling families in the parish.  Call the chancery office to see if there is a support system for Catholic homeschoolers in your area.  Because libraries tend to be frequented by homeschoolers, librarians often know of contact people.  In fact, by simply visiting during school hours, you may well meet other homeschooling families at the library.

~Visit Grandma and Grandpa [or a shut-in].  Bring 'fixings' for banana splits, along with the children's favorites among their new schoolbooks.  Letting them share their enthusiasm over their upcoming studies not only can 'win over' dubious relatives, but build the children's anticipation as well.

As lessons begin, we offer Holy Mass for each and every member of your family.  May God bless you abundantly this school year.

Theresa Johnson

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