I wanted to create a way for my family to remember to pray for those who have gone before us for the month of November. I thought that leaves falling from the trees would help us to think of souls falling into purgatory and be a good meditation point for the older children...
I found a bag of leaves at the dollar store that worked out perfectly. Then, when we all gathered for our nightly Rosary, we made a list of all of our friends and relatives who have passed away; remembering them and telling stories about them. We ended up with about 25 names, some of them even famous people.
With our list of names, I gathered the leaves, a marker, and about two yards of 1/4 inch ribbon. I wrote the names on the leaves with the marker.
Then I punched holes in the top corners of the leaves with a hole punch being careful not to get to close to the edge of (most of) the leaves.
Here the leaves are getting strung onto the ribbon.
And here is the completed garland hanging in our living room/dining room archway. I just used scotch tape to fasten it to the wall as it is very lightweight.
I thought that a little something else was needed, so I wrote the beginning of the Eternal rest prayer on a 2 foot piece of inch-and-a-half wide ribbon (on the wrong side so it wasn't shiny) and taped it above the garland of souls.
This was a very simple and inexpensive way to help the kids to honor the souls of the faithful departed and to remember to pray for them to be freed from purgatory. And it only took me about 20 minutes to make :)
After a month of three square meals of Craigslist daily (and plenty of prayers ;), and time running out (to the day :/), We found, probably the hardest thing to find; A 12 seater van!
Yeah, there are conversion vans all over the place, and 15 passenger ones aren't rare, but try to find a Decent dozen seater and you might as well be looking for a miracle! (which we ended up getting :)
We did have to go to the bay area to get it. We looked in the Craigslist ads from Oregon to Vegas. Yes, we were getting pretty desperate, LOL. 99% of the vans were white (I'm a bit tired of white cars). Then, as Dad was taking a last peruse around his haunts on CL to see what Suburban we would go to look at (seeing that we weren't finding a van), he saw this one in Watsonville.
It was less than we were preparing to pay, owned by a mechanic who took good care of it, had a small block engine, a heavy tow package, only 121,00mi, AND WASN'T WHITE!!! Suffice it to say we were dancing inside :) We called the man that owned it, and told him to consider it sold! Then he said that he would meet us in Pleasant Hill, cutting a good 4 hours off of our driving time. The little ones that went with us were as good as gold (without much whining). The day couldn't have gone better :)
Now, as soon as it's registered, I have to take to boys to see their friend, Jack:)
It is hard to trust sometimes. When you work and pray and yet things seem at a standstill. Thoughts of not being good enough, or being too insignificant, fill your mind, and you think that you're not worth the trouble, which you really are not. You don't want to fall into pride and think that you deserve the things for which you seek, but deep down you believe that you really do need them. And knowing this need, and watching it grow, you ask,
"What have I left undone that my need is not yet met?!"
That is the secret.
As a mother I have denied my children something they thought they 'needed'. I have even given to one and not the other. I had my reasons and they have thought me unfair at times. They can ask me why and I'll explain it the best that I can, but sometimes thay still cry because they don't really understand. And the next day they are O.K. and rarely, if ever, remember it.
So it goes with me. I get so anxious about things and worked up, and then I remember, as has been explained to my by My Beloved, that I am loved. Not just taken care of, or watched out for, or even though well of; but LOVED. As I love my children, nay, MORE than I love my children, I am loved. And not by just anyone; but by The One who made me, The One who makes the Sun to rise and to set for me, The One who has the power to do anything for me.
Can I know what is best for me? I'll think back to my children. If I am a child of God, then I can't really know what I truely need more than He does. I must trust Him. If He can do ANYTHING for me, I must know that He is doing that right now. His goal for me is not to land a certain job, or to gain a certain posession, or even to be happy. His goal for me is much higher. It is to posess Him in my heart so that He can reward me for my service with a never ending happiness in eternity. Everything else is meerly the equiptment that helps me to achieve the goal. All the honors, the posessions, the relationships; they are the tools with which I will work out my salvation.
But, sometimes, I still cry, because there are moments when, even when it's explained to me, I still don't understand.
College Professor Critiques Homeschoolers copyright by Greg Landry - written in 2009
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I teach sophomore through senior level college students - most of them are "pre-professional" students. They are preparing to go to medical school, dental school, physical therapy school, etc.
As a generalization, I've noticed certain characteristics common in my students who were homeschooled. Some of these are desirable, some not.
1. Homeschooled students are independent learners and do a great job of taking initiative and being responsible for learning. They don't have to be "spoon fed" as many students do. This gives them an advantage at two specific points in their education; early in college and in graduate education.
2. They handle classroom social situations (interactions with their peers and professors) very well. In general, my homeschooled students are a pleasure to have in class. They greet me when they enter the class, initiate conversations when appropriate, and they don't hesitate to ask good questions in class. Most of my students do none of these.
3. They are serious about their education and that's very obvious in their attitude, preparedness, and grades.
Areas where homeschooled students can improve:
1. They come to college less prepared in the sciences than their schooled counterparts - sometimes far less prepared. This can be especially troublesome for pre-professional students who need to maintain a high grade point average from the very beginning.
2. They come to college without sufficient test-taking experience, particularly with timed tests. Many homeschooled students have a high level of anxiety when it comes to taking timed tests.
3. Many homeschooled students have problems meeting deadlines and have to adjust to that in college. That adjustment time in their freshman year can be costly in terms of the way it affects their grades.
My advice to homeschooling parents:
1. If your child is even possibly college bound and interested in the sciences, make sure that they have a solid foundation of science in the high school years.
2. Begin giving timed tests by 7th or 8th grade. I'm referring to all tests that students take, not just national, standardized tests.
I think it is a disservice to not give students timed tests. Students tend to focus better and score higher on timed tests, and, they are far better prepared for college and graduate education if they've taken timed tests throughout the high school years.
In the earlier years the timed tests should allow ample time to complete the test as long as the student is working steadily. The objective is for them to know it's timed yet not to feel a time pressure. This helps students to be comfortable taking timed tests and develops confidence in their test-taking abilities.
3. Give your students real deadlines to meet in the high school years. If it's difficult for students to meet these deadlines because they're coming from mom or dad, have them take "outside" classes; online, co-op, or community college.
Build on the strengths that homeschooling offers and send your students to college fully prepared and a step ahead of most other students.
Greg Landry is a 15 year veteran homeschool dad and former college professor. He is founder and director of www.LandryAcademy.com