Archive for the ‘Self-renunciation’ Category

In addition to copywork, which the younger children trace and we paste into their virtue journals, and the older children neatly write into their journals, I am also using the quotes I am gathering in language arts worksheets that I am putting together through edhelper.com . This site is only $40 per year (for full access, there is a lot of free stuff available there too) and is really great. I can generate my own worksheets using my own text, in this case, our virtue quotes, both from Scripture and from the Fathers. They can be used in all sorts of language arts exercises including capitalization, punctuation, grammar, etc.

For copywork, I am using educationalfontware.com installed on my computer. It works great too, though now a little more complicated if you have Mac OS X and MSWord 08 (as we do).

BTW, I am slow this month, but hope to get more quotes posted for October’s virtue study on ‘detachment from the world’ soon.


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More images will be added to this post over time.

Matthew’s Moses dividing the red sea.


Palamia’s Serpent from Genesis.


Matthew did St. John the Baptist, Michael did one monk and one St. Anthony (with a little help).


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The kids loved making stepping stones. It was like decorating ‘mud pies.’ We first tried it with concrete, but then learned that Sackcrete sand motar was identical to the hobby store stepping stone mix ($4.95 for a sixty pound bag at Lowe’s verses $6.50 for an 8 pound box at Michael’s). Concrete works, but because it includes gravel, it is much more difficult to press letters in that can be clearly read. It also has a different texture. We also discovered that the aluminum tins were good for only two stones each at most. I have since bought the cheapest cake pans available at Walmart (around $2.50 for two). They are sturdy and we can reuse them as much as we need.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the stones made this week:


Each child made a ladder and a wee folk doll (the younger children had quite a bit of help). Here is Palamia with hers:


And then we experimented with Sculpy clay on river rocks (that I also purchased from Walmart in the same section, floral and vases, where I purchased the small stones and glass gems for the stepping stones). There are more done, but it’s too late to upload those pictures tonight.


I can’t wait until we can begin building our garden trail.

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Building our ladders:

We have found a simple solution to building ladders that won’t require my husband since it still will be sometime before he is home from his latest trip. Honestly, I should have scheduled the last week of August to begin this, starting with learning about the Ladder of Divine Ascent then, and using that time to start our journals, build ladders, etc. As it is, we are using our evening family time to get these extras done. At least the kids are enjoying it when Daddy’s gone!

To build our ladders (each child participating are building their own), I bought 8 36″x1/4″ square dowels at Home Depot. They were $1.45 each. I then bought one package of 150 count Mini Craft Sticks (2 1/2″ x 3/8″) for $1.44 at the Super Walmart. Each child then took two rods and evenly places 30 sticks on it. Either they or I (depending on age) glued the sticks to the rods using wood glue. The ladders were done last night, though the listing of steps still needs to be done. The simplest way to do that, probably will be to write on them directly with permanent pens. I hope to get that done tonight. Then each of the participating children will make a little “Wee Folk” acorn capped doll that will be used to climb the ladder and show where we are in our studies each month.

Building our stepping stones:

If you buy stepping stone materials at a craft store, which is what I did for our first stone, it can become quite expensive, particularly if a number of stones are to be made. My children really like the idea of decorating their own stones. So I have found far less expensive materials to do it. I bought an 80 lb sack of premixed concrete from Home Depot (I will post a picture of it later to show brand name). It was just over $6. It is enough to make many, many stones. It is my intent to come up with a recipe that fits each of our stepping stone moulds, and to post that later. I bought inexpensive 8″ diameter foil cake tins at Walmart. A package of 3 cost $1.17. It will be used as the stone mould. And rather than buying the teeny and very expensive bags of mosaic material used for stepping stones at the craft store, I purchased larger bags of colored glass and rocks used for filling glass vases for flowers at Walmart. Their prices ranged from $1.88 to $2.97 per 2 pound bag. I have also been collecting old colored dishes purchased inexpensively at Garage sales, that will be broken into mosaic pieces for stepping stones and mosaics. If you can find a tile place that will let you have their scraps, that would be a good alternative too. For the lettering, I did purchase the press-in stamps at a craft store for around $6. But you could use a stick and write your own letters if you want to keep costs down. For me though, because my writing isn’t that great, it was a worthwhile investment.

For our virtue journals:

We are using chalk pastels, again available at larger Super Walmarts, to color the background. A 25 color set cost $5.77. The kids draw some lines with one or several colors, then smudge it in with a small bit of tissue. I then spray it with a matte acrylic spray outside to preserve it.

I do have a collection of nature stamps that they used and ink pads. Those are not cheap however, though you could always use nature printing instead to cut costs (find interesting leaves outside, or cut vegetables, ink them and stamp with them). They did a background layer and then stamped some leaves and natural objects on top of that. I did pick up some nice stickers at the craft store a while back that they used on their front covers. But Walmart did have some less expensive nature-theme stickers that the children may use for the inside pages. 

I will post pictures later of some of these items and our finished projects as they are completed.

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The kids had fun decorating their plain white Miller Small Bare Books Plus (60 page version) into these:




We will post scans of interior pages as they are completed and we are able.

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We are printing the images below in a size that will fit in our “Garden of Virtues” journals, on attractive paper. Once the children are done coloring, they will cut them out with decorative scissors and glue them in their journals:  

More coming…

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Unfortunately, I was not able to find a pre-made ladder at the craft store today so we likely will need to make one when my husband gets home from his latest trip. Meanwhile, a friend of mine came over and we made stepping stones. Two of my children helped me decorate the one pictured below. It will be the start of our “Children’s Garden of Virtues” which we plan to build on some acreage that we have outside of town. 

I also discovered a couple of weeks ago these blank books from Miller’s. We are decorating the covers now and plan for each child to document their studies, including quotes, pictures, etc using scrapbooking methods. We are using Miller’s small bare books plus (60 page version, you have to scroll down to find it on their Bare Books Small page). As we work to build the garden, this will serve as both a nature journal and a journal of their virtue study.

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