Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lessons Learned


I had an amazing time this weekend. I got to attend the IHM Catholic Homeschool Conference. It was not my first time going to a homeschool conference but it was by far the biggest I have been to. I had a great time. I got so much more out of it than I expected. Far more than I can even go over here. But before I can't recall some of the wonderful things I heard and let seep in, I wanted to put it down. So, with lots of detail being forgotten or summarized, here I go...



 I walked around the large open space that was crammed with more Catholic teaching tools than one ever thought possible. There are about 40 different spelling programs for sale at any given table. The techniques for teaching writing have been packaged in many different bundles... The ways to have your student practice writing are endless. And Math??? Forget it...People are amazing. So much good. So many choices.

 But all day I kept thinking,"I have a way to teach that at home already. It may not be that flashy or fun..but it is effective. I JUST HAVE TO DO IT!!! I am the greatest piece of curriculm I can get my hands on." There is nothing they can sell to replace ME. I need to be on top of things. I need to spend those extra minutes at night prepping for the next day. I need to use what I have. I need to execute the objectives that every grade requires. It is that simple!! It is that hard too!! How much easier would it be to buy a new bundle of something to replace the thing I most struggle with when it comes to homeschooling, lack of follow through. Letting myself blame a program instead of seeing that my attitude and heart is half the battle.


That is not to say that jumping ship on a program is not a very good option sometimes. But mostly, for me, I have to look at the spirit in which I am using the program/method. Can I tweek what I already have? Can I use just a portion of it for this child instead of the whole thing as I had done before?

 Anyway..all of these thoughts filled my mind as I was tempted by all sorts of teaching goodies. Bright new books wrapped in brand new plastic. Each smelling as a new book smells, full of promise. The lesson for me was bigger and deeper than just NOT buying new school stuff.

 This year I am determined to focus on the simple process of being present to each child . I am setting out to use positive, lighthearted, effective ways of reaching each little student I get to teach this year. I think I am going into this year as more of a mom and less of a teacher. This being a new thought for me. I am mom forever...teacher comes in 2nd to that. Since I have always thought moms have more influence than teachers do this adjustment in my perspective should work!!



 I got there early and sat waiting for the 9:00 Rosary. They asked if anyone wanted to be enrolled in the Brown Scapular. I was not sure what they meant. Did you have to be enrolled? How? Why? I have seen the Brown Scapular hanging around the necks of many Catholics. I admit to even buying one and wearing it for a time without even knowing why I was. But I never knew anything about it. And when I would ask people I got a sketchy answer which lead me to believe they were not sure why they were wearing it either. I could have read my way to the answer but I never took the time.


After the Rosary a priest stood before us and explained the Brown Scapular. A symbol of prayer and protection of our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Father explained that the Carmalite nuns, who spend their lives praying for the church (us), and Mary offer prayers for those who wear the Brown Scapular. Through our faith in Mary's prayers, joined with our own, we can obtain special protection. Father explained this so much more fully and beautiful. Being enrolled meant having the priest pray over me and then placing the Scapular around my neck. I waited my turn and once he put the Scapular around my neck I felt an instant transformation take place. I honestly did. I felt different instantly. I can't explain it. I am not just saying that I thought I felt something...or I wish I felt something. I REALLY felt something. I still do. I feel a closeness with God and Mary that I have never really felt.

 Do I think it is the brown string in of itself??? No, I think I was touched by Mary as a grace and gift. Many people say they feel different once they leave the confessional. I have yet to feel the Grace poured out in confession. I want to feel changed, better somehow. But I have never felt the purging some had talked about. I have wanted to, but no go. This enrollment made me feel different. I was not expecting to have this feeling so the joy is all the more real to me.

 I feel grateful to have been there. I feel grateful to have this around me. A constant and powerful attachment to the prayers I so badly need.



After I had my heart filled with joy of my enrollment I got to listen to a talk by Dr. Ray Guirundi. Some of you may have had the chance to listen to him yourself. He is really funny, even if he can be a bit cheesy. He said lots of really good things that I have had in my mind but there was one thing that keeps replaying in my mind since I left. He said that taking your kids to daily mass, bringing them to every confession available, reading about every Saint that ever lived will be all for nothing if you don't treat people kindly. If you are mean to your sister-in-law, hateful to a neighbor, yelling at people in the left turn lane: all of that will have more influence than you checking off your "To Be A Good Catholic List". If you have 11 babies for 11 years in a row and you consider yourself THE MOST OPEN TO LIFE person in the world, but you can't talk to your children and husband lovingly than what does all the rest matter. What are you teaching your children??

WOW!! I feel so guilty that I can't get to more daily masses. I feel awful that confession has been far and few between this year. But maybe I should feel more guilty that I was harsh about a neighbor in front of my kids. Maybe I should really talk to them about me talking rudely about a friend. Maybe I can lead them to love God and His Church more by just trying not to loose my temper at Priscilla so much. Getting to more confessions and daily masses are a goal too...but getting my heart in the right way to lead seems so be first on the list of leading little ones to God.  I am not just letting myself off the hook for trying to bring my kids to mass more. I so badly want to do that.  I just see there are lots of ways to build a ship, not just one!


I could go on and on. I can tell you that I was inspired to use more laughter in our school day. I can tell you that I have never read the book of Tobit in the Bible but after hearing a priest teach on it I have been savoring each verse, soaking up the story of salvation history told through Sarah and Tobias. So much...

 I got to hear a talk on "Temperment God Gave Your Spouse". I had read the first book a few years ago and stopped short of figuring out Pete's temperment. Mine being so obvious . But being reminded that the ways in which we process information has more to do with our personalities than husbands just TRYING to drive their wives crazy.

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Happy Day!! What a great and HAPPY DAY!!

p.s. sorry for not linking to anything I talked about just took so long to write all of this and I have got to get out of this chair or I will die!!


  1. I saw you there and meant to say hi, but I something always came up before I got the chance. Sounds like we went to different talks- I wish I would have gone to the Tobit one- everyone said it was good. And I thought Dr. Ray was just for husbands...oh well. Next year!
    Glad you were able to go and got a lot from it

  2. What an inspirational post! I can relate to so many things you wrote about. Thanks for your honesty, it helps me to realize that I am not alone in my struggles!

  3. Thank you for this post. I needed the reminder that the most important thing we can do for our children is to treat them and others with love... And, FYI, you continue to inspire me to think about homeschooling my own brood. The thought terrifies me, but I really appreciate your honesty about the ups and downs of it. Maybe one of these days, I'll bite the bullet and go for it!

  4. Wow Lisa! Thanks for sharing. So many things you said touched me in so many ways. Miss you guys so much!! God bless, Angela Wilson

  5. Thanks for sharing your about your time at the conference here. It sounds like you had a wonderful time and took away some meaningful food for thought. :)

  6. Only when Jack is on the T-Ball team!