Last year, someone asked me what I require from the kids.

I was hard pressed to think of anything. I encourage reading. I read aloud. I encourage prayers and spiritual reading during both Lent and Advent. I encourage daily fitness. We all pitch in with chores but no-one is required to help.

Last year, we also tried to journal, in our journalling nook, each week. This fell by the wayside come Xmas and holidays.

I am, noticing, however, that our weeks this year are developing a new flavour.

Emailing a friend about routines made me realise that our current season looks somewhat different to the above.

Right now we have rhythms – well, we always sort these out and fall into a groove each move/each year.

I read aloud to the kids a couple of days a week.
I encourage them to do some exercise every day.
I encourage Anny and Thomas to practise piano a couple of days a week.

We do some written work around twice a week – Maths and Handwriting, LOTE or journal or nature journal or a project – currently a confirmation lapbook. J does his uni course stuff.

We have artwork on the dining room computer from our current artist – February will be Winslow Homer.*

And music around from our current composer – Tchaikovsky.

Bios of both on the refrigerator.

We are involved in several homeschool groups and outings. Part time work. “Extra curricular” lessons.

Each day is a living and learning and praying adventure – low key or high drama .

As today, when our discussion has centred on St John Bosco and on the cardinal virtue of justice.

No doubt these rhythms will morph into new beats as the year progresses.

*Monthly composer and artist ideas are suggested at the 4 real learning discussion forum.


St John Bosco

Today is the feast day of St John Bosco.

Of all the saints, St John Bosco has been my role model, my saintlymentor, as both a parent and an educator.

I have shared these links elsewhere but thought I’d keep them here for reference.

Tired of the policing aspect of parenting? Read St John Bosco for a big, gasping breath of fresh air and for hints of another way.

Saint John Bosco

“Enjoy yourself as much as you like — if only you keep from sin. “

“My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great truth. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. Yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them. See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or willfulness…..

Let us regard those boys over whom we have some authority as our own sons. Let us place ourselves in their service. Let us be ashamed to assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.

This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and even their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized and still others to hope for God’s mercy. And so he bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.” from a letter by Saint John Bosco

In 1887 he wrote: “I do not remember to have used formal punishment; and with God’s grace I have always obtained, and from apparently hopeless children, not alone what duty exacted, but what my wish simply expressed…”



I have been reading a few blogs recently.

Want to share a few quotes.

“Preserve order and order will preserve you”St. Maximilian Kolbe

“Guide their reading. Don’t dictate it.”

“Too often we beat the love of writing out of our children with Too-Much-Too-Soon Curriculum and the voices never have a chance to develop.”


Lazy summer mornings..

I love summer.It is my “most favourite” season.

I particularly enjoy the summer mornings. The blue sky. The coolness of the morning, before the heat of the day. Exercising, getting chores done, closing the house before the heat arrives.

Having some down time before our day truly arrives, with appointments and outings.

Friday morning was just such a morning.

We had some time before we needed to leave for an errand. By some coincidence, the boys and I ended up in the same room – the sitting room.

On reflection, it was probably not coincidence but the call of the room itself. It has bright colours – one chair is bright red, a sofa is apple green. It is homey. It is cool. It is a comfortable room and has our piano, our keyboard, Alexander’s new record player, one of our computers, many books on the wooden chest.

As I sat on the sofa, a natural progression seemed to be to read aloud. Jonathon listened while he finished his computer game ( sound down!).

I read a chapter from Our Life in the Church, a book we are using for Confirmation preparation. Our new Diocese has Confirmation at the same time as First Holy Communion, so three boys from our family will be confirmed this year.

We discussed the different beliefs of many of our friends, and thier different faiths, Christian or non Christian.

There was time to squeeze in a couple of pages from Mao’s Last Dancer – and some chatting about life in a communist country. How would it be different to life in our country?

Then it was time to leave for our errands.

I left with a satisfying feeling of contentment with our summer morning.



“I think you fold it this way.”

‘No – maybe try it the other way around?”

“Dad, can you help?”

A few minutes later, dh ( Gerry) helped Anthony and I sort out our origami.

We were attempting to make a secrets parcel, to give to J for his birthday.

Last week, I found a book at the library – Step By step Origami. It was in the children’s section and has large colour photographs so, ostensibly, should be easy to follow.

Perhaps Anthony and I are manually challenged – it tooks us many folds and some help to complete the shape.

But origami is fun! And what a great learning experience – spatial awareness, shapes, arts, maths, culture as we read about the history of paper and origami in Japan…


Yet another quote.

Okay, I promise not to bore you all with my favourite quotes, but I am writing my mottoes for the year.

These slogans or mottoes tend to be quotes or sayings symbolizing what it is that I wish to be/do/want from the new year.

They help me focus.

I usually write them in my daytimer/diary, as little reminders.

I often share them with others, children included. It is fascinating to hear their thoughts on my mottoes and to hear of their own possible mottoes.

So, this is another quote, that I am considering –

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do.” ~Pope John XXIII

Note – has this to say about mottoes –

mot·to n. pl. mot·toes or mot·tos
A brief statement used to express a principle, goal, or ideal.

A sentence, phrase, or word of appropriate character inscribed on or attached to an object.
A maxim adopted as a guide to one’s conduct.
[Italian, word, motto, probably from Vulgar Latin *mttum, word. See motom definitione of mottoes is ”


Maria Montessori

“Supposing I said there was a planet without schools or teachers, study was unknown, and yet the inhabitants – doing nothing but living and walking about – came to know all things ….Well, just this, which seems to fanciful as to be nothing but the invention of a fertile imagination, is a reality. It is the child’s way of learning.”

Dr. Maria Montessori



January is definitely a time for the new.

The new , many times, means cleaning and sorting, mentally and physically and spiritually.

The physical part took the shape, yesterday, of tidying the art/stationery trolley and re-organizing our journalling nook. Between frequent rests for me.

The journalling nook was set up during last January’s “sorting’ time. And then the nook was moved to a new place after our move interstate and to a new home last March.

I think tidying and organizing can be part of strewing – strewing ideas and activities for ourselves and our children. Strewing doesn’t have to be a physical thing – it can be mental, looking at what we have and where we are, with new eyes. A paradigm shift.

Tidying some of the clutter helps me discover the paradigm shift.

We sort and throw out, make a list of some new supplies to purchase and are encouraged to look again at some art or writing or drawing. Maybe.


One More Thing

Oh, thought I’d share my One Thing for today – again, two things.

1. Read aloud from Our Life in the Church, with those boys who will be confirmed this year. I expect we will get side tracked into many other discussions.
2. Print some information about Manet ( artist) and Mozart ( composer) for the refrigerator door. In this, I have been inspired by the posters at the 4 real discussion boards* – these two have been suggested as the artist and the composer for the month of January.

We already have a print of one of Manet’s paintings on the dining room computer, as wallpaper ( The Escape of Rocherfort) and have listened to some of Mozart while I ate breakfast and others read or played video games.