Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!

On this third day of the Christmas Octave, we wish you the great joy, peace and hope that only our Savior's coming can bring!  Merry Christmas!

We are grateful for our many blessings!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Special Days in December

December is a month that is packed with great Saints' feast days! We've taken a break from our regular school day schedule to prepare for Christmas and celebrating some of these great feast days has helped us prepare our home and hearts for Christ's coming.

December 2nd was the First Friday of December, and we gathered with the other homeschoolers in our Holy Family Catholic Homeschool Association for Mass, Breakfast, a holy half-hour, some fun projects and practice for our Christmas pageant.

Miriam tries on her cow costume for the Christmas Pageant
On September 3rd, St. Francis Xavier's feast day, we were able to attend a parade and children's concert in Iola. We also hung our stockings to get ready for St. Nicholas day on December 6th.

St. Nicholas left some beautiful coins in our stockings and each of the children received a puppet. Our fun project that day was to make out small puppet theater so we could put on a puppet show.

St. Ambrose's feast is on December 7th and we were able to go to Mass on his feast day and pray for the intentions of our Homeschool group.
December 8th is the feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception and in honor of this great feast we journeyed to the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Hope. Here in Wisconsin we are blessed to have in our back yard a place where Mary appeared to Adele Brise in 1859, asked her to go out to the farming community and teach the children their faith and performed a miracle during the great Peshtigo fire. December 8th is also the one year anniversary of when the Shrine was approved by Green Bay's Bishop's and declared a Marian apparition site.
"This is the first and only Marian shrine in the United States that is on the site of an approved apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
The Shrine and apparition site in the basement
The Church at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Hope
 On December 9th it is St. Juan Diego's feast day and we listened to his story on the Glory Stories CD from Holy Heroes.

December 12th is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This beautiful image of our Lady, a true gift from Heaven, is only more amazing the more one learns about it!

December 13th is the feast of St. Lucy and I look forward to celebrating this feast with Miriam next year, she was a bit young this year.

December 15th is the feast of St. John of the Cross and on his feast day we actually sponsored a special day for the Seniors of our Parish. The seniors gathered for Mass, a special breakfast, bingo our Christmas Pageant and some Christmas music. It was a great day!

May our dear Lord bless your preparations for the celebration of His Incarnation!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Family Christmas Letter

2011 Christmas Letter

Monday, November 28, 2011


Happy Liturgical New Year!   We are excited to be entering the season of Advent and beginning to prepare our hearts and home for Jesus's coming at Christmas.  Here are a few things we are doing in our home to get ready for Our Lord's coming:

We are practicing the New Mass responses and learning about the Mass using Magnifikids great resource for Sunday Liturgy.

We have our Advent Wreath hung and ready to be lit with our family meal each night.  We say a special prayer and sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel as we light the Candle.

We have our Jesse Tree up and ready and each day we read from the Bible and learn about the history of God's people waiting for their Savior to come.  Then we hang a simple ornament with a symbol to help us remember a main point from the Bible story.

I have wrapped enough Christmas books (in the Christmas Tree bag) for each day of Advent and so we will unwrap and read a book each day.  

Here's a peek inside - I used newspaper since it's easier, more economical and the kids are just happy to open the books:-)

I also wrapped the figures to the Nativity set we own and each day we'll add a figure to our Nativity scene for the children to play with and get ready for Jesus's arrival.  The children will be able to add straw (we're going to shred the yellow construction paper) to Jesus's cradle for each act of kindness towards others - so they can prepare a bed for baby Jesus. 

There are so many great ways to celebrate Advent!  I love reading blogs (check out my side bar for some great ones) and checking out ideas on pinterest for inspiration. How does your family celebrate Advent?

Thursday, November 10, 2011


When Phil said snow was in the forcast, I pictured a typical "first snow" where it snows a bit, doesn't stick but melts as it touched the ground. Instead we got this:

LOTS of snow!

Enough to go for a sled ride.

Enough to build a snow-leaf man

And plenty of fun for everyone.  Also, the craziest driving conditions I have ever driven in!  Thankfully the snow should all melt away next week - it's too early to have so much snow!

Prayer, Pledge and CalendarTime

Here is a more detailed description of our "typical" homeschool day.  Look for more posts soon!

Our Homeschooling day begins with a prayer.  Right now we say a prayer, the Consecration to Our Blessed Mother,  that the children would say at the Dominican Sister's of Mary's Spiritus Sanctus Academies each day - where I worked while in Ann Arbor, MI.   I love this prayer because who better for little ones to entrust themselves to each day than their heavenly Mother who will bring them closer to Jesus and because its short, beautiful and has clear imagery for the children to understand.  As the children memorize prayers we'll add or alternate prayers so they can memorize new ones.

When I was in kindergarten, my favorite"job" was to hold the flag for the pledge of allegiance and I loved to sing  "You're a Grand Ol' Flag."  So each morning we sing and march to "You're a Grand Ol' Flag." followed by saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag held by one of the kids.  All three children love this part of the day. 

One of my favorite parts of the kindergarten day while I was teaching at St. Joseph's Academy was "Calendar Time" and it's a useful time to teach certain skills that need to be practiced daily in a fun way.  Each day we sing (in English and Spanish) the "Months of the Year Song" while pointing to the names of the months and when we get to this month, they jump up and down or put their arms in the air.

Then we add the day's date to our calendar and a Popsicle stick to our "place value" envelopes.  Though I haven't explained "ones" and "tens" formally yet, when we do learn about them they'll have had experience through Calendar time. ( I may make envelope's to help count out days of school as well to help with numbers above 31 but I haven't yet.)  After counting to today's date, we sing the days of the week song (in English & Spanish) and finally we construct our sentence for today's date and read it together:

We also check out the weather outside and record it on a graph and count to 20 by ones, 100 by 10's and mark how many days of school with a star using our number chart.

And so begins our day - this little routine takes about 10 minutes or so and it's fun for everyone.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Grandma from William, Miriam & Luke

 Happy Birthday Grandma (Lawson) !

May you be blessed with many more birthdays!  We hope to see you soon!

Fall Fun

Phil informs me that the forecast has snow for tomorrow so as the beautiful fall weather fades away, I just wanted to share some of our family's fall fun:
Fun in a leaf pile!

William and Miriam made a scarecrow
The scarecrow greets anyone who comes to our door.

We made a trip to our pumpkin patch:-)

Enjoyed "Tractor Rides" with friends
Here's the harvest from our Pumpkin patch
Miriam's Rosary - we prayed a decade of the Rosary each week for the month of the Rosary and added a bead for each prayer to make a "crown for Mary"  Here's a link to the book I copied the Rosary page from; it is a great coloring book on the Rosary and has a coloring page for each mystery that we'll be using when we learn about the mysteries of the Rosary in the religion text we are using. 
William's Rosary

William was St. Michael the Archangel at our All Saints Party
 Miriam was Saint Jeanne de Valois for All Saint's Day
 William wanted to carve a blue Dinosaur Pumpkin for the All Saint's Day Pumpkin contest - he won 1st place!

Trick-or-Treating with the Hagen Family

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Miriam's ABCs

Miriam is excited to announce that she has learned her ABC's.  Luke likes to dance to her singing.  We hope you'll enjoy her ABC's and sing along :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Phil turns 35

On October 19th, Phil celebrated his 35th birthday.  The kids had fun making the day special for him.  
Decorating the cake - it was a chocolate cake with ice cream in the middle
 He had to work all day and we had planned to celebrate on Thursday but we got everything ready on Wednesday.

We decorated with m&m's - Dad's favorite

The cards, cake and gifts were ready when he got home Wednesday

The kids got to stay up a bit later to wish him a happy birthday

He got to open his presents too

Then of course we had to try the cake and sing Happy Birthday!

In case you are wondering - it's Michael D. Obrien's latest book - "A Father's Tale"
We got to celebrate on Thursday, too:-) 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A "Typical" Day at Sancta Familia Academy

As any homeschooling family will quickly point out - no two days are the same.  Yet there is a rhythm to our days so I'll just give you a quick summary of what we do each day using future posts to flesh out the details.

To Organize our day, I use my version of "Workboxes" the rainbow boxes you see above.  I haven't read Sue Patrick's book yet but read what other homeschoolers were doing and adapted the system to meet our needs.  I printed some nifty tags here which I laminated and at the beginning of the day the tags start on the Workboxes and at the end of the day they end up on our "look what we did" schedule (we use sticky tack or Velcro to make them stick). 
I love that I always know what we've done and what we have to do to finish our school day in case I'm interrupted while teaching a lesson.

Since Miriam and William are too young to work independently for a long period of time - we do the lessons together and I use learning videos and books on tape for the times I'm attending to Luke. 
Or they have play time which is an important part of learning :-) 

Generally each day we
"Get ready for school"
and either go to Mass (Tuesdays and Thursday when it works out) or begin with a Prayer

Circle Time and Religion - Saint of the Day, Religion Lesson, Bible Story
Phonics and Writing

The stressful part of the day ;-)

Music/Art/Language (Sign language, Latin and Spanish Vocabulary words)

Physical Education
Reading Story Time

We also go for a walk/bike ride or play outside,

have a snack, eat lunch and have nap time to break up the day as needed.

On Wednesday we like to go to our Library for Story Hour

We can finish the planned learning in about 2 hours or so each day.   Most subjects last about 15 minutes but can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on the attention span of the children and what I have planned.  That's our "typical day" and the kids love it so far.