For years I’ve been fascinated with the idea of creating a “domestic monastery.” To me, that concept evoked a home that’s orderly and prayerful, a haven where you could go to retreat from the stress of the world. Something deep within me yearned for this kind of life — and, even though it might sound impossible to the modern mind, my gut told me that this concept is attainable…
(This is a great post by Jennifer Fulwiler at www.conversiondiary.com on living a contemplative life in a home with children. Check it out.)
In this occasional series of posts, I recommend resources for you and your family in 100 words or less. More detailed reviews may come later.
Beautiful, traditional language. The Bible, slightly edited–not a book of paraphrased Bible stories. Artwork inspired by the masters. Perfect for narrations. Large, durable format. Nothing inappropriate for kids. The best children’s Bible I’ve seen–and I’ve seen a lot! A classic. Great Christmas gift for your grandkids or godchild.
Two criticisms: 1) Blond-haired Jesus. I view this as inculturation. 2) Follows the Protestant canon. You’ll have to supplement for the seven missing books.
ph’phata!” Jesus said to the man who was deaf and mute. “Be open!” (See Mark 7:34.) The call to openness is a call to us all, whether we seek greater intimacy with God, or a better education for our children.
You can drill your child on endless facts, but you cannot force him to learn. He has to have an open heart. He must let facts, ideas, and stories enter his mind and heart. He must consent to change.
Model openness in your spiritual life
I believe the best way to prepare your children for a life of learning is to model openness. Openness is also essential for your own spiritual life. We are disciples of Jesus. As any parent who has started Prima Latina knows, disciple means student. Jesus is our Rabbi, our Teacher. How well do we listen to and learn from Him?
Do you pray every day? Do you set aside time exclusively for God? Is your prayer time filled with requests or self-conscious musings? Prayer should be a time of listening to God, of sitting at Christ’s feet and opening ourselves to His love.
Do you read the Bible and other spiritual books regularly? This Year of Faith is the perfect time to study the Catechism, Church history, or theology. Learn what the Church teaches. If you don’t understand Church teaching on a subject, don’t close your heart. Seek out answers. Find out the “why” of Church doctrine. Be ready to change your mind.
Are you open to new life? If you are using contraception–or misusing Natural Family Planning–out of fear or selfishness or a misunderstanding of how seriously wrong it is, you are closing yourself off from love, wonder, and mystery. Your actions, if not your words, teach your children to do the same. Can you really expect your children to be teachable, if you are not?
Don’t hide your heart
Learn to listen to the needs of your spouse and kids. Be open to their viewpoint. Let them have real input in your school plans. Show them you value their opinions.
Make yourself vulnerable before God. Are there fig leaves that are hiding your heart from Him? Put them aside. Examine your heart to see if you are clinging to material things. Make a choice today to give God 100%. Then watch what He does–in your heart and in your homeschool.