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Welcome to News from Catholic Homeschooling Resources. About every six weeks I plan on delivering to you Catholic Homeschooling tips and ideas, product and website updates and maybe even a few good bargains.

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Issue #6, July 21, 2010

In this Issue:

  • From Laura's Desk: I can't believe it is the middle of July!
  • Homeschooling Tips and Ideas: Thoughts on how to organize your classroom
  • Read Aloud Review: "Swiss Family Robinson"
  • The Saintly Corner: St. Ignatius
  • New Product Announcements: John Paul II Unit Study
  • Our Favorite Recipes: Blueberry Cheesecake
  • Used Curriculum Corner: Grammar and Spanish books!
  • From Laura's Desk

    Can you believe that it is almost August? A few weeks ago it dawned on me that we were spending way too much time running around and not enough time doing fun summer things. Then, with all the rain and hot, humid weather, it has been difficult to schedule things. Fortunately, we are starting to get out and do some fun stuff like swimming, baseball, blueberry picking and more. I hope your summer is a good balance between the necessary and the enjoyable.

    One of the things on my to do list falls more under the necessary than the enjoyable at this point...planning for the next school year. Don't get me wrong, I love homeschooling, but I'm just not ready to think about the new year yet. My brain seems to freeze up whenever I try to enter the word "school" into it!

    My goal for this upcoming year is to try and utilize many of the books that we already have and not have to buy many new things. It will require some planning and coordinating on my part, but there is a lot here that just hasn't gotten the use that it should have, so I'm looking forward to seeing what I can put together (just not quite yet :)

    Have a great rest of the summer and I'll see you again when August rolls around.

    Don't forget to check in at my website when you are 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

    Now that summer is in full swing, you might have some extra time to think about your schoolroom. I know, not exactly what you want to do right now, but taking the time now to go through and pack away last year's stuff and see what kinds of interesting things got shoved to the back of the shelves can make your planning and purchasing decisions a lot more efficient.

    If this is your first year of homeschooling, you might be tempted to get stuck on the "where in my house is the perfect place to homeschool my children?" question. I'd like for you not to get too stuck on that issue, because many times the place that you have picked out as the perfect place to homeschool is far from the spot that your kids will pick out. I've spent many a days in the past getting the schoolroom all organized and ready only to have my kids go sit on the couch or their beds and do all their schoolwork!

    You do have to give it some thought, however, as there will be times when you all need to gather together, and you'll need a spot to call command central, so check out this page to get some thoughts and ideas on how to organize your classroom before the school year begins!

    Read Aloud Review

    "The Swiss Family Robinson"
    by Johann Wyss
    A Review by Megan Dominick

    Have you ever been stranded in the middle of nowhere for three days and didn't know what to do? Well you could say that's what hapened to the Swiss Family Robinson when they were shipwrecked off the coast of an island essentially in the middle of nowhere. The surprising thing is that they lived on the island for a long time. Soon after being stranded, the Robinson's found a way to get off the ship and onto the island bringing with them the all the animals that Mrs. Robinson had found on board the ship. After getting onto the island they go exploring and find the perfect place to build a house in a group of trees where the animals couldn't reach them.

    Mr. Robinson takes care to make sure his family stays safe from any unknown dangers on the island. After their house is built, they are all given tasks to do and try to create a normal life for themselves. After many adventures they learn how to either make or grow the things that they need to live on the island.

    I recommend this book for the whole family. My family read it together and we all enjoyed it.

    To check out more information on this book, or to order yourself a copy, you can go here to my amazon e-store. Help me keep this site going by purchasing items through my store. Thanks :)

    The Saintly Corner

    One of my favorite saints is St. Ignatius so it seems only fitting that this corner of the newsletter should be devoted to him. (Just a heads up: my next unit study is going to be on him, too!)

    St. Ignatius of Loyola Feast Day July 31st

    In 1491 in the castle Loyola, a son was born to Don Beltran and Marina Saenz. The youngest of thirteen children, he was given the name Inigo. When he grew older, Inigo fell into worldly ways, attending the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and becoming a soldier in the Spanish army.

    His lax way of life came to an end during a battle with the French in 1521 when a cannonball shattered his leg. While recovering, Inigo was given books about the saints to read. These books changed his life and he determined to become a soldier of the Catholic Faith instead of a soldier of the Spanish army. He experienced visions after his conversions and also underwent a year of intense spiritual struggles. It was during this period in his life that he wrote "The Spiritual Exercises", a method of meditation that would later be followed by many saints and leaders of the Church.

    Inigo left Spain to travel and study in schools and universities. At the age of 43 he received a degree from a university in Paris. While studying at that university, Inigo had attracted followers to his simple and penitential way of life, among them Francis Xavier who would later become a missionary to the Orient and a canonized saint. Along with these followers, Inigo formed "The Society of Jesus", which was approved by the Pope in 1540 as a permanent union. Today they are often known as the "Jesuits". During this time, Inigo's name was changed to Ignatius.

    Ignatius spent the rest of his life as Father General of the Jesuits and wrote their constitutions, which were adopted in 1540. He oversaw the sending of many missionaries to foreign lands and the Jesuits played a major part in the Counter-Reformation, a Catholic response to the Protestant Reformation.

    St. Ignatius died on July 31st, 1556 in Rome. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XV on May 22nd, 1622. He is regarded as the patron of Spain, the Jesuit order and soldiers.

    St. Ignatius - Pray for us!

    New Product Announcements

    John Paul II is ready to come and join you for an exciting 4 week unit study! I finally got the necessary pages up on my website and I'm happy to announce that our first unit study is available for you to purchase.

    To order your copy just click here!

    If you'd like some general information about Catholic Unit Studies, just click here!

    If you'd like to keep up with all the latest info, you can always follow me on facebook!

    Our Favorite Recipes

    Since July is blueberry picking month here in Illinois, I decided to include a great blueberry recipe for you to try.

    Blueberry Cheesecake

    1 C graham cracker crumbs
    1 C plus 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
    3 Tbsp butter, melted
    4 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
    1 tsp vanilla
    1 C sour cream
    4 eggs
    2 C fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix crumbs, 3 Tbsp of the sugar and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake 10 minutes.

    Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, remaining 1 cup sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour over crust. Puree the blueberries in a blender or food processor. Gently drop spoonfuls of the pureed blueberries over batter; cut through batter several times with knife for marble effect.

    Bake at 325 for 45 minutes or until center is almost set; cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Makes 16 servings.

    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!