One of a Kind Books – My Personal Summer Reading List . . .

While once figuring out the reading list for our homeschooling children, my husband and I came up with our own ‘choices’. (by Barbara and Carl Barthelette)

Prunes and Prejudice – A family decides that health is more important than what people think about their diet.
Withering Heights – A scientific look at global warming in Tibet.
Cents and Sensibility – A practical book which shows how financial help can be done with sensitivity.
Great Expectorations – A true story about a young boy’s dreams to win the annual spitting contest
Drapes of Wrath – A young housewife fights depression as she struggles to get her home decorating woes sorted out before her husband’s mother visits.
The Son Also Rises – A mother’s continued efforts to get her son up in time for Mass.
The Rise and Fall of the Third Bike – A young boy tries to learn to ride a bike on his own. In the process he not only learns a valuable lesson but destroys two bicycles.
The Bungle Book – The dummy’s guide on how to undo complicated entanglements in life of their own stupid making.
Little House in the Big City – Pa and Laura fight city hall when they want to build city hall in Pa’s corn field.
Miracle on 1/4th Street – A very short story that deals with more of a coincidence than a miracle. Easy reading.
Old Green – A very strange dog story.

Reality Memories From Bygone Homeschooling Days!

When a new school year begins, we all anticipate great things being accomplished with our intellectually willing children. There are many things we would like to hear as we begin our studies but reality sets in all too soon.

1. Time for school! I thought we would take it easy today but several of you little darlings sent me private notes, begging to begin with math instead of art!

This is the third time I have called you to the school table! And you used up your art time yesterday when you crayoned your new math books.

2. Are you sure you wouldn’t like some fresh cookies and milk? It has been two hours since breakfast and you must be hungry. I promise we will still work on Geography afterwards.

No, you can’t have something to eat. You should have thought about hunger when you refused to eat breakfast this morning. Yes, you have to finish Geography and no ad-libbing on the maps today. No undiscovered countries that only you know about!

3. I can’t believe how neatly you set up your insect collections for science. And to think I only assigned this term project yesterday and here you are done already!

Smashed bugs don’t count for your bug collection even if you remember what it was before you squashed it. I don’t care if you weren’t the one who mashed the bug. You shouldn’t have put it in your sister’s bed to begin with!

4. How wonderfully you combined your poster paints to make a copy of one of the great Masterpieces! And you didn’t get a drop of paint on the floor, table or mommy’s art book.

Look, it is a numbered dot-to-dot coloring page. What do you mean you don’t understand the instructions?

5. Sweet child of mine! No wonder you asked for an extra two hours of school yesterday. You were busy composing this wonderful story for English class. Double-spaced and typewritten, no less.

A three-page composition doesn’t count if written in crayon! It was supposed to be on what we did on our summer vacation. And I did not spend it torturing you! But don’t give up on the idea – there is always next year!

by Barbara Barthelette

The Down Side of Home Schooling . . .

I home schooled my four children until they went to college. This article rang such a familiar bell.

We had been homeschooling for about a year when out of the blue, we got a post card announcing a pot luck picnic meet and greet. My children were so excited to have a play day with other children and I looked forward to meeting some other mothers. My husband didn’t mind meeting up with home schooling dads and getting their view and suggestions.

We arrived and there was a very large crowd of people already gathered and milling around chatting. We looked around for a place to check in or whatever. People looked at us but turned away to greet arriving friends. I put my offering for the potluck on the designated table. We wandered around. I walked up to one group of women who didn’t even try to include me much less ask my name. My husband and I took the children over to a playground and talked to each other.

Lunch was announced and people gathered in groups happily munching and making room for friends. We found a patch of ground outside the circle and picked at our lunch. The group did a lot of praying before and after the meal but didn’t notice a prevalence of real spirituality apparent in their actions.

I guess that, sometimes, you feel you are pursuing such a noble path in life, you don’t have the time to be noble or caring yourself.

Memories of a Home Schooling Mother

Memories of a Home Schooling Mother
by Barbara Barthelette

Thinking back on the years of homeschooling, I realized that the one thing that schooling the children at home that never happened was . . . boredom! Every day was an adventure . . . some more so than others. Fading back to a day long, ago . . .

I woke up one morning to a dust storm and realized it was raised by a sneeze not the weather. My house needed work. Messages would have to be written on paper from now on, the dust (among other things) would have to go. The holidays were long, long over and I couldn’t use Christmas or Easter as an excuse for any more delays. I needed to sit down today and get organized.

Immediately after breakfast (dishes would have to wait as this was important!), I began work on my list of priorities. After fifteen minutes of almost futile searching, I found a pencil stub and the back of a receipt. The first item on my list was buy pencils and writing paper and hide them from the family. Having just completed that thought in writing, the telephone rang. I returned ten minutes later to find the pencil stub gone. The doors were locked and the children said they didn’t take it.

I decided doing the dishes would enhance my organizational thoughts. I dumped the breakfast utensils in the soapy water, scraped the plates, turned on the disposal and the sink backed up. Organization went on hold as I crawled underneath the sink to dismantle the pipe and dislodged the orange peels that someone had tried to grind up earlier. My efforts were not in vain as I found a pencil behind the can of cleanser. The dishes went on hold again and I went back to my list only to find that it, too, had left the kitchen under it’s own steam. Armed with pencil, I went in search of paper, thinking that as a home schooling family, there must be at least one sheet of the stuff somewhere!

An unguarded sheet of notebook paper was discovered in the children’s bedroom. I scampered back to the kitchen table, ready to work on my list. My pencil had never been sharpened. I was in awe of actually seeing a whole pencil that hadn’t been cracked, broken or bitten through, however, it wasn’t much use without a point. The three older children have a pencil sharpener, color-matched to their notebook to avoid arguments. At this point in time, all the pencil sharpeners had left through those locked doors, unseen by anyone. It was time to fix lunch.

Lunch dishes joined the remaining breakfast clutter in the sink. I once again sat down to work on my organization list. I had kept tabs on my notebook paper and acquired a purple crayon of adequate length. I made some progress on my list as I kept track of the children’s school day, answering their questions and jotting down my own notes. List finally complete and school day done, I needed a book report from one of my offspring to bring the day to a close. The child insisted she had done the report but couldn’t produce the evidence. Realizing how lack of organization had slowed down the efforts of my own day, I got on my teacher/mom soapbox and delivered (what I thought) was an eloquent sermon of a place for everything and everything in it’s place. As I stood to make my exit, I waved my purple-crayoned list for emphasis. Said child brightened up at once and exclaimed, You have my book report! I left it in my room. How did you get it?” Suffice to say, I handed out an ‘A’ with little argument and decided that dusty tables were best for notes. Besides, the evidence can be erased easily.