Category Archives: catholic

Our Learning Plans Using Catholic Schoolhouse

Many families look at programs like Catholic Schoolhouse and because we have been programmed in the brick and mortar mentality of textbooks and workbooks, a program like CSH seems a bit foreign. When I first looked into CSH, I had just come back from a one room schoolhouse field trip so I could see beyond what most consider a normal classroom setting. You can read all about that field trip and my AHA moment when I realized I needed to group all of my children as much as possible in as many subjects as possible.

What stumps many families from using programs like CSH? Many of my friends thought I was nuts for going into a program, initially designed to be used in a co-op setting, where I would need to do a lot of the leg work. Well, I truly looked at this as an exciting opportunity to have the flexibility I wanted but also have a focus or guide with the Tour Guides that were already so nicely organized. It did mean I needed to do my own research on trade books we would use but that was no big deal for me, being a reading specialist and also because so many Catholic programs have their reading lists already available online, all I had to do was compile and select what I wanted to use with my own children. I knew I needed three things:

1. a Teaching Plan for me for Whole Group Learning

2. An Individualized Plan for each of the children to also contain whole group learning but include individualized subjects like spelling, Math, leveled reading, Composition, Religion, and Grammar).

Individualized Plans per student

3) l knew we need a uniform method of keeping track of papers and print outs, drawings, and maps. This is how my two plans and our notebook was born.

After completing two Tours of using Catholic Schoolhouse (CSH), I was able to get a feel for what we liked to work on on a daily and weekly basis, so I created a list of routines we used for each subject. This is how I was able to come up with Our Learning Guide which helps me plan for our whole group learning. If you are not familiar with CSH, it is a classical approach to education with memory songs to help children remember important basic facts and historical names and dates. This led me to create two organizers, one for me to write and organize what I will be using with all the children during our whole group lessons, and the second sheet are for the children to check off their daily work, have their spelling and geography terms in one location and also I added their daily chore routine at the bottom of the page. This helps me keep them accountable for what my husband and I require of the children as members of this family and our homeschooling students.

Individualized plans are in presentation folders with dividers.
Samples of filled out plans.
In this I also include our book list which is required in our portfolio, this also helps me keep track of the texts and trade books each child has read per school year.
At the bottom of my Individualized plans I list our daily chore routine as well to remind the children everything that needs to be done.
Additionally, I include the scope and Sequence for the year of CSH we are using.

Next we also use a binder to keep track of their whole group work. We use a three inch binder per child with dividers for each subject we work on together. This is the method we have been using all school year and it has worked wonderfully for my children in grades 6, 5, 3, and 1. The younger children have received additional support from myself or the older children. In keeping their notebooks up to date and organized where the older children are expected to maintain theirs on their own after guidance from me during first quarter. So the binder is like a portfolio which keeps their work nice and organized and in one location. For those of you in states that require portfolios, I highly recommend this teaching and record keeping method.

Interested in getting copies of my two files? Here is what to do (using the honor system):

1. Please make sure, if you are on social media, that you are following me either one or both: Facebook or InstaGram (@raisinglittlrsaints).

2. Leave me a comment, letting me know which method you follow me.

3. Click to view and save locally (so you can edit and personalize) the two documents:

A) Whole Group Plans/Routine

B) Individualized Plans/Routine

Thank you! Erika 🙂

{Catholic} Homeschooling through High School

Have you homeschooled through the high school years? My son is a senior this year and I have written an article of what I faced at the beginning and in retrospect, the successful experience he has had since we took on the challenge of homeschooling him through the high school years. This is our story. I would love to hear what you did different? What did you like from our experience? Please share with others as they too might be just as afraid of this journey as I was four years ago.

One of the scariest tasks I have had to endure is homeschooling our oldest child through high school.  He is currently a Senior and it is only early November and boy have we had a busy year!

One of the things that I worried most about was, ahem, the social issues.  I did not want him to miss out on Prom, and band, and any other great opportunity he might have had at the local public school.  So for the first time, my husband and I when finishing the eighth grade, offered him the opportunity to go to a brick and mortar school.  His reply was quick, short and to the point and completely convinced me that he was spot on.  He said, “why would I want to expose myself to things that would damage my soul?” and went on to list things that on a moral level, would not be healthy.  He was right and since we did give him this choice, we honored his very mature response.  I should add, at this point he had only been homeschooled for three years as he went to a Catholic School from Preschool until the fifth grade. So once I let it sink in that I had to figure out his high school curricula, I got started on researching what we wanted to do.  I had taught in the past for fifteen years but always avoided jobs at the high school level. 

Since he wanted to study music and I am not musically inclined, this was a bit of a daunting task.  In hindsight, I can tell you even an area where mom is not familiar with is definitely possible.  Through speaking with people and asking for help from those in our area we were able to supply him with ample opportunities to train, participate and perform in many areas of music he was interested in.  Here are the examples of what we did to make this happen for our son:

READ MORE

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Join the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival!

Are you feeling stressed over the “busy-ness” and “to-do lists” of our modern-day, mainstream Christmas? Do you feel like there’s a need to reconnect to the true Reason for the season? Do you want to share about how you and your family are preparing for the birthday of Someone very special? Then join us, Tina of Truly Rich Mom, Erika of Raising (& Teaching) Little Saints, and Monica of Equipping Catholic Families in the “Keeping Christ in Christmas” Carnival for 2012! 

This is a blog carnival that aims to share that — beyond the decor, the parties and the gifts — Christmas is a time for us to celebrate the birth of Jesus. A blog carnival is where we each write a blog post on the same theme. Everyone will get links to other bloggers’ posts to multiply your reach, and to help spread the message of keeping Christ in Christmas!

The carnival is open to all bloggers who agree with the carnival’s goal, particularly Catholics and Christians of all denominations. You may write about anything that pertains to the blog theme, e.g. share tips on how you and your family keep Christ in Christmas; stories to encourage others to do so; books and activities (even recipes!) that help keep Christ in Christmas, etc. 

To participate, please follow these steps:

1. Register by filling up the form at the end of this post or clicking here. (ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 13)
2. Write your blog post on the theme, “Keeping Christ in Christmas.” (ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 18, i.e. the post should be LIVE by December 18)

3. At the beginning of your blog carnival post, write the following as your introduction. 

“I’m participating in the Keeping Christ in Christmas Blog Carnival, hosted by Arma Dei/Equipping Catholic FamiliesRaising (& Teaching) Little Saints, Truly Rich Mom. We’ll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Christmas season. Please scroll down to the end of the post to see the list of carnival entries.”

The deadline for registration for the carnival is on December 13, 2012 (Thurs). Posting instructions and carnival rules will be e-mailed to all participants on December 14 (Fri) and the carnival will go live on December 18, 2012 (Tues). PLEASE POST YOUR CARNIVAL ENTRIES ON December 18, 2012, beginning 12MN (IMPORTANT: Please note that all dates/times are based on PHT or Philippine Time, i.e. UTC/GMT +8 hours).

PLEASE NOTE:

Kindly write about the theme provided. We do not moderate or screen posts but we do reserve the right to exclude your entry from the list of carnival participants should your post be offensive, irrelevant to the carnival theme, contain personal attacks, off-topic articles, articles that are anti-Christ or are articles aimed to market products or services.
Kindly note the deadlines and post your entries (i.e. make sure they are live online) on December 18. Please do not forget the deadline for registration, which is December 13.
Thank you very much! We’re excited to read your entries and help spread the word on how to keep Christ in Christmas!

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The Reconciliation Challenge

What does your Confession look like? How are you teaching your children to go through their own Sacraments of Reconciliation as time goes by? What do your habits on this particular sacrament say about you? Have you grown in your faith, but forgotten this corner of it?

Does your Confession look like a checklist? I’ll freely confess I had planned on taking this format when I did my First Reconciliation a little less than a year ago. “Bless me Father for I have sinned. This is my first Confession. I’ve a, b, c, e, g, h, j, k, l, m, o, p, r, s, t, v, x, and y’d. For these and for all my other sins I am sorry.” Hold my breath until we get to the Act of Contrition and read that off a little card. Run for the door. Try to avoid ever having to do it again. Repeat as seldom as humanly possible.

I remembered sitting in the room with other parents of the children in my son’s Confirmation class the year before. We were preparing the children for their First Reconciliation and the teacher, Dianne, would for a portion of the class split us from the children and while they worked on a project without us, we would learn about the Sacraments, their origin, and all kinds of other amazing things. I loved the class. I was new to the Faith and like a sponge. I would stay after class and ask a million questions to Dianne who had the patience of a saint. She let me take home the videos we watched in class so I could review my notes and make certain I’d gotten everything out of them. I loved her. I still do.

The other parents and sponsors loathed it, deeply. They wanted to get in, get out, and get it over with.
One Monday when Dianne left us adults to our own devices after explaining to us what to expect on the day the children did their First Reconciliation, encouraging all the families and sponsors to participate as well. I was ecstatic. I was nervous. I was a wreck.

The other adults were terrified. Most started talking and comparing how long since they’d been to Confession. None had gone since their grade school years, high school at best. I was stunned. I’d just spent 8 weeks teaching my son that this was a beautiful Sacrament and that he should participate in it for the rest of his life! I mean, *I* didn’t want to go…but he should! He must! What on God’s green earth were we there for if he wasn’t going to participate in the Faith as soon as he got the excuse to stop?!?!

First Reconciliation for the children came. They were all nervous and rather intimidated. I was too! I’d planned my list (as stated above) and was ready to go in, just like the children, and do my First Reconciliation on the same day as my son. The children slowly went, one by one. I kept waiting for an adult or older sibling to go to the back of the aisle, but no one went. If I stood up I would look like an absolute fool. My son went last and held the door to the Confessional open for Father Joe afterward and they came forward. It was mixed emotions. Pride in my son, relief that I didn’t have to go, and sadness that I’d missed the opportunity.

After transferring to a new parish for a host of reasons, Father Dan assured me that everything was “all good” and offered to take care of my First Reconciliation at the first available opportunity when we came to worship at Mass the next time.

I got there late. On purpose. I figured if Confession ended at 4:30 and Mass started at 5:00 I should be good to squeak in at about 4:45. Or not. Father Dan was leaving the Confessional when he saw me sitting in the pew. He walked right over, smiled at those sitting next to me and said, “Susan, would you watch her son for a minute?” and marched my happy butt back to the Confessional. I’d been called out. Now I was a complete wreck. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have my list. I didn’t have my Act of Contrition card. If I hadn’t left my purse and car keys with my son I might have booked it for the exit.

As I walked through the door, he asked me if I wanted to sit face to face with him (oh the horror) or kneel on the other side. Seemed rather ridiculous to kneel and “hide” at that point, plus the chair looked infinitely more comfortable to a 5 month pregnant woman than the kneeler. Face to face it was.

I had nothing with me, but since he knew it was my first time he walked me through it. I started the way I knew I was supposed to, but when I got to the “listing my sins” part, my mind started to go blank. Where do you start when you were baptized at 1 month old and are in your (we won’t go there.)? I started to go backwards from the most recent issues I’d had with my struggles. Tears started rolling down my cheeks as I revealed things I wouldn’t even tell my closest friends. I just laid it all out there. No pretty words, no hiding. Just me spewing all the horrible things I’d done that I could remember in one sitting.

At the end I felt amazing. Truly, it was unbelievable.

Today I went to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time in months. I’d found a million excuses before, but I was at the end of my rope and knew I needed to do it. I’d only gone to Confession that one time before. I’d planned that this would be different. I would be anonymous. I would kneel. I would go through my list and get out of there at the speed of light. And then I fell in the door of the Confessional and went sprawling with the baby onto the floor and he came running to help me up…and it was useless to try and hide again. So I began my second Confession while nursing a 6 month old in front of a priest who could see me. I’d planned on just getting it over and getting out of there. Instead I ended up a pile of tears again, and then cracking jokes as we talked about the fact that I’m not crazy. I left relieved. I was a normal mom with normal fears…who knew?

After getting the exact same feeling as the first time I couldn’t help but think how impossible it would be to feel the same way if I’d hidden and used my x, y, z list of pretty words as a checklist. I wouldn’t have had that unmistakable personal connection with Father Dan. I certainly wouldn’t have been laughing.
What about you? Has your Confession life grown or are you like those adults in the Confirmation class – too scared or too busy to be bothered? Have you seen the inside of a Confessional in the past month? How about the past year? The past decade? Are your children learning to follow you in the Faith? What does your fear or nonchalance teach them?

We’re about to start a new Church year and are just around the corner from Advent. I’m reaching out to you. I’m asking you let’s make this a new start together. In case you didn’t know, you don’t have to break one of the 10 Commandments to go to Confession. While it is a requirement to confess any mortal sins there is nothing wrong with confessing your other sins, especially if it is something you are struggling with and could use the value of spiritual guidance. Can’t we all use God’s hand more in our lives?

I’m going to ask you to make the Sacrament of Reconciliation available to your family at least once every other week. I don’t believe in nagging to Confession. I do believe in making the option available to those you love. It’s very hard for a child under the age of 16 to get to Confession without your help and summoning the courage to say “Mom, I need to go to Confession” might be too much for your children, no matter how much they know you love them no matter what. Make sure you make that option available as often as you can.

Since you’re already going to be there for your family, I’m asking you to join me. Until Easter I am going to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once every other week. Join me. Take the plunge. The Sacrament of Reconciliation takes less than 15 minutes out of your week. Take the time. Go to Confession with me. Then come back and tell me how much better you feel. Tell me how much your life is changing…and I’ll tell you about mine.

USCCB Resources for the Sacrament of Reconciliation: http://usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments/penance/

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Homeschool Conference Survival Kit {Printables}

Are you going to a homeschool conference?  I FINALLY am going to the National Catholic Conference in Virginia and I’m so excited!  

So I organized my conference weekend and created this little survival kit for myself and, of course, I’m sharing it with my friends.  I created three important pages:

1.  Conference Survival Checklist

ITEMS NEEDED:

  • notebook—to take notes or jot things down, one with pockets or staple your print outs within the notebook 
  • Pens/pencils 
  • Highlighters 
  • Print out of Conference schedule 
  • Print outs of this kit especially the Curriculum Research & Notes 
  • A bag to carry items. 
  • Rolling tote in case you plan on buying books 
  • Clothing– dress nice but comfy (especially shoes), don’t forget a sweater just in case the conference rooms are cold 
  • Mommy First Aide Kit: band aides, chap stick, lotion, hand sanitizer, eye-drops, pain reliever & mints. Also a bottle of water, dried fruits/nuts, and a protein bar (most placed don’t allow outside food) 
  • Budget: if you plan on buying, have a budget in mind to avoid overspending. (Use the Curriculum Research sheet).

      
    2. Curriculum Research Sheet (so you can check if the vendors have good deals)
    3.  Speaker Notes Sheet (with space for questions, Bible passages, and Encyclicals/Catechism references)


    Suggestions:
    1. Print and preview talks so that you can circle or highlight those that you would love to attend ahead of time.  If you are going with friends, share each other’s lists so you can either go together or separate and then share notes.  If there is a *special* speaker at the Conference, find him/her first and work around that time.

    2. Look at the list of vendors (these are usually mailed to you if you’ve signed up ahead of time or available on Conference’s website.  Circle (if you have a map) booth locations to make sure you don’t miss those.
    3. Print the schedule so you know what to expect.
    4. Print Curriculum Research sheets and write out all books ahead of time.  Take sometime to look up online how much the retail price of the book is.  This way you know when you spot a good deal or not.  (one per child or as needed).
    5. Print the Speaker Notes sheet (one per talk).



    Enjoy!

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    Christians: The Most Persecuted Religious Group in the World, Part 2

    Part 1

    Why Are Our Elites Silent?

    Mr. A. M. Rosenthal of The New York Times unfortunately is dead and cannot explain to us why Christians are being killed with impunity and many of our elites, particularly in the media, remain silent about the “ethnocide” of Christians taking place in Islamic countries. And yet it must be made clear that fortunately not all Muslims are involved.  However, perhaps some reasons can be offered for this silence:
    • American elites, especially those in academia and in the media, are engaged in a war to extinguish Christianity from the “public square” in the United States, and to spread anti-Christian and eugenic practices worldwide, and therefore have very little sympathy for Christians suffering persecution.
    • American businesses and foreign policy leaders need the support of some Islamic countries to have their interests succeed in the Muslim world, and they find the protection of Christians to be a distraction and an embarrassing point in their diplomatic discussions with Islamic states, and so they abandon the Christians.
    • Americans have an infatuation with the United Nations and want to work with it to achieve their goals, but the biggest voting bloc in this organization is the Islamic Conference (53 countries), whose objective is to promote Islam throughout the world, so no policy to help the Christians will pass these United Nations, even though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the UN advocates religious freedom. 
    • The Islamic Conference bloc of Muslim countries has even rejected the right which appeared in the original Universal Declaration of Human Rights for people, including Muslims, to change their religion.
    • Christians, for the most part, have totally abandoned their brothers and sisters in the faith through their ignorance, sloth, indifference and fear, and their loss of Christian identity and solidarity, among other factors.
    • There might be good people among our political leadership and even in the United Nations trying to help the persecuted, but the obstacles they face are very difficult and they tend to be isolated.
    How Can Christians Be Protected?
    Christians need to hurry and find ways of helping persecuted Christians in Africa and Asia before they disappear like they did from many areas which were Christian before they turned Islamic by the “sword”, by excessive taxation, by forced conversion, by religious discrimination, and by unwanted emigration.
    The proposals to help Christians must avoid negative unintended consequences for “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  Whatever is implemented to help persecuted Christians must not make their lives more difficult.  The following includes some ideas for discussion:
    • Immediate suspension of immigration from Islamic countries whose governments either engage in religious discrimination and violence, or permit their people to engage in these activities.
    • End of American financial assistance to any Islamic country which does not permit religious freedom.
    • Termination of all American military nation-building activities in the Islamic world, which have, for whatever reasons, led to so many deaths, financial debt, the rise of governments which deny religious freedom, and have put the Christians at risk, such as in Egypt, in Iraq, in Lebanon, and in Pakistan, among other places.
    • Creation of a temporary “wall of separation” between the Muslim world and the United States, until Muslims themselves have been able to reform Islam, so that it can permit both democracy and freedom, especially freedom of religion which is the most important civil liberty, and until much of Islam ceases to be a political movement in search of political power to control everyone.
    • American energy independence from the Muslim world so that our governments do not have to get involved with dysfunctional countries in that region, and the Christians can survive “under the radar”.
    • Increase in immigration to the United States of Christians persecuted by Muslims, and of a limited number of Muslims persecuted for advocating religious freedom and non-political Islam.
    • Awareness by Americans that many Muslims want to enter the United States not to make Islam equal in rights to other religions but to make it the dominant faith, as they have done in their countries of origin.
    • Donations to organizations which help Christians in need worldwide.
    Conclusion
    Christians are being discriminated, persecuted and murdered like no other group in the world.  Our elites do not care.  Even fellow Christians have failed to come to the rescue of these desperate people.  A partial reason is that Christians in the West have lost much of their Christian identity and a sense of the Mystical Body of Christ which is the Church. 
    The time has come to help/ our fellow Christians worldwide.  This effort will have miraculous powers as it revives in us what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, which requires us to come to the help of our neighbor.  This battle involves also helping those non-Christians who are being persecuted.
    The world mobilized to help South Africans get rid of racial apartheid practiced against blacks.  Many supported helping Russian Jews leave the oppressive Soviet Union.  And the United States has also gone to the rescue of Muslims in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Serbia, among other places.
    How about the Christians?




    About the Guest BloggerDr.Germán Muñoz was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, on July 13, 1950. He attended the Jesuit Colegio Dolores. Upon emigrating to the United States, he studied at the Salesian orphanage Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa, Florida, and at the Belen Jesuit Preparatory High School in Miami, Florida. Dr. Muñoz earned a B.S. in Psychology at the Jesuit Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, a Masters of Arts in International Relations, and a Doctorate in Political History at the University of Miami, Coral Gables in May 1981.
              He is the producer of the award-winning Social Science Lecture Series, of the Faculty Forum and of The Public Affairs Forum. He is the author of Background Lessons on Global Affairs (1997), of The Social Environment: A Primer on World Civics, 11th Edition, 2008, and International Relations: a Primer on Global Affairs (2004).          Dr. Germán Muñoz is the recipient of the following awards: “John Barret Prize for Best Dissertation on Hispanic and Latin American Affairs,”, “Excellence in Curriculum and Instruction Award,” 1987, by the Florida Association of Community Colleges, “The Times Teaching Excellence Award,” 1990, by the National-American Association of Community Colleges, “The Reverend Glen C. James Endowed Teaching Chair,” 1992-1994, “The Award for Outstanding Community College Chairs Who Encourage Teaching Excellence,” 1993, by the National Community College Academy, “The David Pierce Department Chair Quality Leadership Award,” 1995, “The National Initiative for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness,” by North Carolina State University, “The First Union Endowed Teaching Chair,” 1996-1998,  “The Excellence in the Social Sciences Award 1854-2004”, by Belen Jesuit Preparatory in 2004, The Collinfontanum Award for Professional Achievement 1831-2006, by Spring Hill College in 2006.            Dr. Germàn Muñoz has served in the following boards: St. Kevin’s Catholic School Advisory Board; Miami Archbishop John C. Favalora’s Board of Catholic Education; the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, Inc., and the Socio-Economic Development Council of Miami Dade County.              Dr. German Muñoz worked at Miami Dade College, the largest college in the United States, from August 1976 through August 2011. He was the Chairperson of the Department of Social Sciences from 1983-2011. Dr. Muñoz retired on August 2011 due to ALS. The College awarded him Professor Emeritus status and has created the Dr. German Muñoz endowed teaching chair.
    Contact Dr. Muñoz:  Via E-Mail  or on the Web

    Reposted with permission given to Raising {& Teaching} Little Saints.

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    Christians: The Most Persecuted Religious Group in the World, Part 1

    Freedom of Worship Is Not Freedom of Religion 
    Being a Christian, in my case a Catholic, has been a wonderful gift.  This is why it was a nightmare when the communist government of Cuba began to discriminate, persecute and murder Christians.

    The regime even banned Christmas and kicked out of the island most of the Cuban priests and religious.  Catholic schools and seminaries were closed. Christians attending religious services were discriminated in jobs, professions, and other categories.

    Many Cubans died by firing squads, shouting “Long Lives Christ the King”.  This type of violence against religious people is a characteristic of Communism, which has been manifested in many places, including France, Russia, China, Mexico, Vietnam, and North Korea, among other countries.
    As a result of experiencing persecution for being Christian, religious freedom has become the most important civil liberty for many of us. However, this is not to be confused with freedom of religious worship, that is, the right to attend religious services only inside churches.

    In other words, we want instead freedom of religion, the right to express our faith not only inside our religious buildings, but also throughout the entire society. Christians and others deserve the freedom to live their faith everywhere, including in the streets, in the media, in the schools and in the political life.

    Many dictatorships and the corrupt United Nations are trying to substitute freedom of religion with freedom of worship.  This will prevent people from practicing their faith in the “public square”.  It is another way for tyrants to control their people.

    The Persecution of Christians in Islamic Countries
    The writings of A. M. Rosenthal, a Jew, former editor of The New York Times, and an incisive writer, caught our attention many years ago when he scolded his fellow journalists in the United States for failing to write about the attacks and murders of Christians all over the world.
    Unfortunately, the lack of coverage by the media of the war against Christianity is now even worse.  Presently, the persecution is worse in those Islamic countries which use a literal interpretation of the Koran.  They implement the last declarations of Mohammad which forbid religious freedom and urge the humiliation and the fighting against the Christians (Koran 9:29).

    This view also is against Muslims making friends with the Christians.  Several articles on Islam documenting these assertions can be found at my blog Dr. German Munoz dot com.

    For these reasons, the discrimination, persecution and murder of Christians are taking place even in countries and areas which are considered democratic because they have had some type of elections recently with American help:
    • Afghanistan
    • Gaza
    • Egypt
    • Iraq
    • Northern Nigeria
    • Pakistan
    • Turkey
    • Others
    The persecution against Christians takes many forms depending on the country being considered, but they include the following actions:
    • Outright murder.
    • Threatening Christian girls with rape so that they convert to Islam.
    • Destruction of churches and the legal impediment to repair them.
    • Imposition of blasphemy laws which make it illegal to criticize Islam, and can lead to the death of the accused.
    • Arrest for holding religious services in private and public places.
    • Impossibility of creating religious monasteries and seminaries to train priests and religious.
    Democracy is not Freedom
    The United States and other liberal democracies share some responsibility for the plight of the Christians.  They have promoted the insane notion that you could develop democracy in an Islamic country before building the institutions for freedom which are essential to protect religious minorities.  It is as if elections were a magic which by itself could bring freedom and security.

    For example, allowing voting among people of a culture that does not believe in tolerance and respect for the rights of ethnic, political and religious minorities leads to tyranny and to violence against them.  Democracy is not freedom.  

    Therefore, developing such civil liberties as religious freedom, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to organize politically, freedom from arbitrary arrest, and so on, should have preceded so-called democratic elections in Islamic states.

    For instance, recent popular unrest overthrew the government of Egypt and elections have taken place.  And yet, 88 per cent of Egyptians support the killing of Muslims who convert to Christianity.  While these people might know how to vote, they are still unable to understand tolerance and the freedom of religion which should permit everyone to choose their own faith without losing their lives.

    This madness of confusing democracy with freedom is also demonstrated by the countries of Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries created with the bloody sacrifice of many Americans, mostly Christians. And yet, they are both grounded on Islamic law which does not accept religious freedom.  Christians are currently being murdered in both countries and the governments are not providing protection to them.

    Part II
    ================


    About the Guest BloggerDr.Germán Muñoz was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, on July 13, 1950. He attended the Jesuit Colegio Dolores. Upon emigrating to the United States, he studied at the Salesian orphanage Mary Help of Christians School in Tampa, Florida, and at the Belen Jesuit Preparatory High School in Miami, Florida. Dr. Muñoz earned a B.S. in Psychology at the Jesuit Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, a Masters of Arts in International Relations, and a Doctorate in Political History at the University of Miami, Coral Gables in May 1981.
              He is the producer of the award-winning Social Science Lecture Series, of the Faculty Forum and of The Public Affairs Forum. He is the author of Background Lessons on Global Affairs (1997), of The Social Environment: A Primer on World Civics, 11th Edition, 2008, and International Relations: a Primer on Global Affairs (2004).          Dr. Germán Muñoz is the recipient of the following awards: “John Barret Prize for Best Dissertation on Hispanic and Latin American Affairs,”, “Excellence in Curriculum and Instruction Award,” 1987, by the Florida Association of Community Colleges, “The Times Teaching Excellence Award,” 1990, by the National-American Association of Community Colleges, “The Reverend Glen C. James Endowed Teaching Chair,” 1992-1994, “The Award for Outstanding Community College Chairs Who Encourage Teaching Excellence,” 1993, by the National Community College Academy, “The David Pierce Department Chair Quality Leadership Award,” 1995, “The National Initiative for Leadership and Institutional Effectiveness,” by North Carolina State University, “The First Union Endowed Teaching Chair,” 1996-1998,  “The Excellence in the Social Sciences Award 1854-2004”, by Belen Jesuit Preparatory in 2004, The Collinfontanum Award for Professional Achievement 1831-2006, by Spring Hill College in 2006.            Dr. Germàn Muñoz has served in the following boards: St. Kevin’s Catholic School Advisory Board; Miami Archbishop John C. Favalora’s Board of Catholic Education; the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, Inc., and the Socio-Economic Development Council of Miami Dade County.              Dr. German Muñoz worked at Miami Dade College, the largest college in the United States, from August 1976 through August 2011. He was the Chairperson of the Department of Social Sciences from 1983-2011. Dr. Muñoz retired on August 2011 due to ALS. The College awarded him Professor Emeritus status and has created the Dr. German Muñoz endowed teaching chair.
    Contact Dr. Muñoz:  Via E-Mail  or on the Web

    Reposted with permission given to Raising {& Teaching} Little Saints.

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    Six Kids, Three Countries, One Family – “That’s {not so} Crazy!”


    The following blog post was written in the Summer:

    We spent this past Saturday at a baseball tournament. Both boys were involved, so it meant some running around and coordinating schedules so both boys could get to the correct field at the correct time. Bob helps with both teams so it usually leaves me (and often my parents!) with the four younger kids.

    As I was getting their lunch ready and they were sitting on the blanket waiting, a mom of one of Jacob’s teammates asked how old they all were. I went through their ages and she said “that’s crazy!”. She then confirmed that I was indeed Jacob’s mom and I mentioned we had another son playing on the 8U team, her reply “that’s crazy, you guys are crazy!”. Then some more of the usual questions followed… “Are they siblings?” etc, etc. Again the reply was “you guys are crazy!”. I walked away from the blanket for a moment and came back with something else and she said to me “I was just curious, I didn’t mean anything by the questions” and I said in return “It’s no problem, we get those questions all the time”. And we do. Our family looks visibly different than other families so we do open ourselves up to more stares and more questions. I am not really sure what causes more attention, the fact that we have six children who are fairly close in age, or the fact that we are an “international” family.

    While we do often get many nice comments about our family, we also get the “that’s crazy” response too. Obviously this mom realized that her comments were a bit awkward. I don’t think my response or lack of response to “that’s crazy!” was anything impolite, I am just not sure what kind of response she was expecting from me. She certainly wasn’t paying me a compliment. She could have chosen to ask her questions and then made no comment at all.

    We have made these choices for our family simply because they have been our choices, not because we want or need validation from others. I often wonder why people feel they have to comment at all? We do feel blessed at how God has chosen to form and grow our family and we love to talk about adoption. We also hope in some very small way that we can encourage others to consider adoption. It really was the whole point of making our blog public so that people can see, even though we are not biologically related, we still are a real family in every sense of the word.

    ~ Mama Jen

    ABOUT MAMA JEN
    Jen is a wife to one amazing husband and mom to six energetic kids.  Visit Forever, For Always, No Matter What where she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption.

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    Guest Post: Homeschooling with Boys

    Are you homeschooling?

    Do you have boys?

    Are you homeschooling boys?

    I had a conversation recently with a friend who is homeschooling her 6 year-old son.  We were talking about different curriculum options and she was looking for my opinion – which I am always happy to give, sometimes even if I’m not asked!  My oldest is only 9 years-old so I am certainly no expert, but these are a few things that have worked for us.  My 9-year-old and 7-year-old are as different as night and day, yet these suggestions have worked for both of them.

    1.  Have him answer questions orally instead of requiring writing.

    2.  Use oral narration to check for comprehension.  When you read something interesting isn’t it fun to share the information with someone?  I don’t think I have ever said “wow, this is fascinating.  I can’t wait to answer the questions at the end of the section!”  At dinner Dad is usually the recipient of the fun facts from the day.

    3.  Don’t be a slave to the curriculum – use what works.  You really don’t have to finish a workbook or 
    do every single page.  It’s okay to drop something for a few weeks and come back to it at a later date.

    4.  Let them keep their hands busy with legos or blocks while you read.

    5.  Play games.  I need to do more of this, but playing games teach a whole host of things, such as counting, taking turns, and good sportsmanship.  Plus it’s fun!

    6.  Ask your son what he is interested in learning about.  Of course in life there are many things that we do simply because they must be done, whether we like them or not.  Laundry, cleaning toilets, changing sheets on a bunk bed are a few that I can think of, but we still have plenty of time to learn about things we are truly interested in.  Boys they are usually interested in things like snakes, frogs, trucks, trains, or sports.  A whole lot of learning can occur while delving into these interesting topics.

    7.  Whatever you do keep it short and sweet.  Short lessons with lots of in between time for moving around, chores, outside time, or whatever is necessary.  Boys need to move and it makes learning time much more productive.

    All of these suggestions can be used with girls too!  None of these are anything new or earth-shattering, but they really can make learning more enjoyable for the whole family.

    ~ Mama Jen

    ABOUT MAMA JEN
    Jen is a wife to one amazing husband and mom to six energetic kids.  Visit Forever, For Always, No Matter What where she blogs about their Catholic faith, homeschooling and adoption.

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    e-mail me, raisinglittlesaints {at} gmail.com
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    Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

    I am posting this a couple of days early of both feast days because St. Juan Diego is the 9th of December and Our Lady of Guadalupe is the 12th.


    To honor Our Lady on her Feast day, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas, we did a couple of  simple yet, beautiful activities to honor our Blessed Mother.  


    This day was a special day with our six year old son.  As the second of five children, I got some rare special one-on-one time with him for this activity.  We started by reading Father Lovasik’s book on Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I read and pause between pages with this little man because he LOVES to ask questions or just give his input.  He is an excellent auditory learner (I wish I was like him) so he captures things by just listening to them once – amazing!


    Then we started a couple of fun activities I found around the web (see the list at the bottom of this post):

    

    Don’t you just love the tongue out in concentration mode?

    
    

    He was very cautious and meticulous about coloring his picture of our lady.

    
    
    

    These were all of the supplies we used for this lesson.
    The only one missing from this picture is the little Father Lovasik book.

     
    

    More coloring and a picture of the cutest little candle I got for $.99 at the local “hispanic supermarket”.

    
    

    The wonderful DVD that we used to wrap up the lesson.

    
    

    With supervision, Jojo was allowed to light his little candle. 
    On his own, he then proceded to say a Hail Mary
    and a special prayer for the Protection of our Blessed Mother
    of unborn babies (it was so adorable!).

    
    

    Explaining his color choices (he used the candle as a model).

    
    

    Here he was coloring St. Juan Diego.

    
    

    I got this prayer for St. Juan Diego’s intercession from another blog;
    I just loved that it was in Spanish.

    
    

    He colored the Tilma and wanted the picture of our Lady to match, just right!

    
    

    These little candles are about half the size of the regular Saint ones..

    If you have been following Raising {& Teaching}Little Saints, you know how much I totally love all the DVDs that we got from CCC of America for children last year.  One of the ones we received from them for our review was Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadalupe.  We finished our activities by watching this wonderful little movie on Our Lady and St. Juan Diego.


     Blessings to you all!
    Items used:
    Our Lady of Guadalupe candle, bought at a local Mexican grocery store
    Our Lady of Guadalupe book by Father Lovasik
    Blessings,
    Mama Erika
    This blog post is linked up:
    Fiestas de Enlaces Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    CCC of America is passing along 3 DAYS OF SAVINGSto you, our Friends & Family.  This will be our only special this season, so here’s your chance to SAVE 25% OFF YOUR ENTIRE PURCHASE!  
    Promo code: MERRY4ALL   Valid December 7th through the 9th, 2011
    Promo code can be used online or with orders placed at 800.935.2222   
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