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The End is Here...Graduation Time!

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Issue #5, June 9, 2010

In this Issue:

  • From Laura's Desk: Some thoughts on graduation
  • Homeschooling Tips and Ideas: Our Graduation and End of the Year Mass
  • Read Aloud Review: "Taking Chance"
  • The Saintly Corner: St. Ephrem
  • New Product Announcements: Our First Unit Study
  • Our Favorite Recipes: No Bake Peanut Butter Balls
  • Used Curriculum Corner: Grammar and Spanish books!
  • From Laura's Desk

    This newsletter is a bit later than I would have liked. About a year ago we planned a vacation for this May, not thinking of how it would impact trying to finish up our school year with two of our daughters graduating. (So there is my hot tip of the day: Don't plan a vacation when you are almost finished with the school year! You'll have a hard time actually finishing!)

    Which brings me to the ominous title at the top of this newsletter...the end is here...it is graduation time for us and we have our oldest daughter graduating from home school high school. It is so hard to believe that this time has come.

    I remember when we started homeschooling her when she was 5. I had people asking me then what I was going to do about high school. I laughed - that was light years away, the world would be a different place by then, I didn't need to think about it.

    Well, we made it there faster than I could have imagined and the world is a different place, just not quite what I was envisioning. Thank you, God, for giving me the grace that I've needed to get her through to this day. It is true that without the grace of God, neither one of us would be looking at this day when she is finishing up her education at home!

    In a way I'm glad I have six other kids to think about educating. I don't have time to dwell on the fact that things are going to be changing a lot around here as she heads off to college. I won't have time to anticipate; it will be like everything else, I'll just face it day by day as we race through life.

    Lest my other daughter get upset that I didn't mention her, we have our third oldest graduating from 8th grade and moving on into the challenges of high school. Way to go girls! Your father and I are very proud of your achievements and how hard you've worked over all these years.

    I hope your school year is coming to a successful end (if in fact it is ending :) Don't forget to check in at my website when you are considering ordering curriculum for next year.

    Check out my How You Can Help Me page to see which companies I am affiliated with. Help keep my website going by ordering curriculum here!

    Homeschooling Tips and Ideas

    This month we celebrated our annual End of the Year Mass and Graduation Ceremony. We like to encourage all of the homeschool families to come and participate in this Mass because it is a great way to gather and celebrate the end of the school year (for most people, anyway) and to celebrate the achievements of our homeschool graduates.

    Just click here to get an idea of the things that we usually include in our Mass and Graduation. It is great to come together with fellow homeschoolers and celebrate the hard work that we've all put in during the past year.

    Congratulations to our four 8th Grade Graduates and our nine High School Graduates! May God Bless you in your future endeavors.

    Read Aloud Review

    This time around we decided to include a movie review. While we watched this movie quite a few months ago, it seemed an appropriate movie to talk about since we have just passed Memorial Day. Here is my daughter's review of:

    "Taking Chance" A review by Amanda Dominick

    Two men, both soldiers. A journey, side by side, across America. One went home; the other brought him there. Their story is told in "Taking Chance", an HBO Films movie and a story of honor, heroism and gratitude.

    PFC Chance Phelps was a 19 year old Marine fighting in Iraq. Lieutenant Colonel Mike Strobl was a seventeen year member of the Marines on an office your. When Chance - a one time native of Strobl's hometown - was killed in action, Colonel Strobl volunteered to be his escort home.

    The film itself is a work of art. Images and music make up the bulk of the story-telling; dialogue is kept to a minimum. The first fifteen minutes are nearly silent, using just a few lines of dialogue and action to set the stage. The directors pull this technique off very well; never once does the story drag.

    Watching this story unfold, you cannot help being moved to tears and filled with pride for our servicemen. You wish you could have been there, among all the civilians who gave honor to Chance on his way home. You feel thankful to the people who were there to honor Chance. In one particularly moving scene, Colonel Strobl and Chance are making the final leg of the journey. The flag-draped coffin is clearly visible in the back of the funeral director's van. As they travel down the highway, other drivers begin to fall in behind and in front of the van, turning on their lights and forming a funeral escort for the fallen hero.

    "Taking Chance" is arguably one of the best war films of recent times. The screenplay was written by Colonel Strobl himself - thus keeping the film safely away from added dramatics, adventures and unnecessary subplots that would mar the telling of the tale. Instead, the viewer is treated to a simple but beautiful story of dignity, bravery and the gratitude of a nation. This is a story well worth watching. "Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn't know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him." - Lieutenant Colonel Mike Strobl.

    While I don't have this movie in my amazon e-store, you can go here if you're interested in any of the read aloud books we've read. Help me keep this site going by purchasing items through my store. Thanks :)

    The Saintly Corner

    This month's saint is St. Ephrem of Syria. He was a Deacon and Doctor of the Church who lived during the 2nd century in what is now considered Turkey.

    St. Ephrem was born into a Christian family. When he was a young man he was ordained a deacon. Although the local Bishop wanted him to become a priest, he begged to remain a deacon because he felt he was unworthy of the priesthood. While he never became a priest, he did eventually become a monk.

    During his time, the Persian army invaded his homeland, causing him to flee into the mountains where he lived in solitude in a cave. After awhile, however, the people of a nearby city discovered him and were moved by his holiness and his wisdom.

    He wrote many things and his homilies and poetry were very popular with the people. He also liked to write hymns and was known as the "Harp of the Holy Spirit".

    Sometimes we tend to think that saints were perfect when they lived on earth. St. Ephrem was known to have quite a temper when he was young, but with the help of God, he learned how to control it. He died in June of 373 and his feast day is celebrated on June 9th.

    St. Ephrem, Doctor of the Church, pray for us!

    New Product Announcements

    It is finally here...well, sort of. I'm talking about our unit study on Pope John Paul II. My oldest three daughters are part of a Little Flower Girls' Club and, once they reach a certain level in the club, they are required to perform a major work in each of the these three areas: faith, hope and love.

    For their major work in faith, they decided to produce a unit study on Pope John Paul II that we will be selling on my website. The plan is that this is the first in a series of Catholic unit studies called "Saints Through the Centuries".

    I plan on producing unit studies on various saints utilizing the Vision Book Series by Ignatius Press. If there are particular things that you would like to see as part of a Catholic unit study, then please contact me and let me know. After all, I'd like to produce a product that will benefit those that will be buying it :)

    So what I meant by "sort of" is that we have a hard copy of the unit study, but I still need to build the page, upload the file and determine the prices. Not too much :) Please pray that I can do this in a timely fashion while "classes" are not in session!

    As soon as I have the unit study up and ready for sale, I'll let you all know.

    If you'd like to know as soon as possible, you can always follow me on facebook!

    Our Favorite Recipes

    This recipe was given to us by a friend to put in a cookbook my daughter made a few years back. We picked it this month because of the graduation theme. It is so easy to make, they taste good, and we took it to the graduation reception we had! Hope you enjoy it, too.

    No Bake Peanut Butter Balls

    1/3 C honey
    1/3 C peanut butter
    2/3 C powdered milk
    1/3 C chocolate chips or raisins
    1/3 C nuts
    Shredded coconut

    Mix the first five ingredients together. Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls. Roll the balls in the shredded coconut. Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Used Curriculum Corner

    Here are some items that I have in my own home that are used but still in good shape. If you are interested in purchasing them, you can contact me and we can arrange the shipping. The price I have listed is what they will sell for PLUS shipping charges. Of course, shipping will depend on how fast you want the items and where you live in relation to me. We can work all the details out through email. Hopefully this will be a win-win situation for both of us!

    If this goes well, I might consider listing curriculum that other people would like to sell. I'm not sure what the details will be yet, so stay tuned. For now, here are the items I currently have for sale:

  • Easy Grammar: Grades 4 and 5 copyright 1996 - Used price $12 plus shipping. Other than a bit of a bent cover, this book is in very good condition. No writing inside.
  • Easy Grammar Plus Copyright 1995 - Used price $12 plus shipping. Same as above, very good condition.
  • Power Glide - Spanish Junior Adventure Pack: 4 books plus 9 audio CDs - Used price: $30 plus shipping
  • If you are interested in any of the above titles, just contact me with your name, email address and which book(s) you are interested in and we will arrange for shipping.

    Remember, you are purchasing used materials. To the best of my ability, I have fairly represented the above mentioned products. All sales are final.

    Comments, Feedback, Questions?

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    If you would like to see something in an upcoming issue, please feel free to let me know.

    Until next time, may God Bless you abundantly!