Monday, December 19, 2011

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas is probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th with the following day considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th). In these traditions, the twelve days begin December 26 and include Epiphany on January 6.
). In the Western church, Epiphany is usually celebrated as the time the Wise Men or Magi arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). Traditionally there were three Magi, probably from the fact of three gifts, even though the biblical narrative never says how many Magi came. In some cultures, especially Hispanic and Latin American culture, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day.
Twelfth Night often included feasting along with the removal of Christmas decorations. Many European celebrations of Twelfth Night included a King's Cake, remembering the visit of the Three Magi, and ale or wine.
The popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children with secular origins. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction, perhaps dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Christian Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The "true love" mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the "days" represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.
Many of the symbols of Christianity were not originally religious, including even the present date of Christmas, but were appropriated from contemporary culture by the Christian Faith as vehicles of worship and proclamation. Perhaps, when all is said and done, historical accuracy is not really the point. Perhaps more important is that Christians can celebrate their rich heritage, and God's grace, through one more avenue this Christmas. Now, when they hear what they once thought was only a secular "nonsense song," they will be reminded in one more way of the grace of God working in transforming ways in their lives and in our world.
The song goes like this:
On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.
So do enjoy the twelve days of Christmas and each day teach your children what that day means. Light a lamp or candle to celebrate the night and on Epiphany Day, give gifts and have a PARTY!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Field Trip – Creative Nativity Crib and Star-Making Competition

December 16th dawned with us not sure if we were going to make it to Old Goa for the competition since Glenn feared we would get stuck in traffic because of the meeting to protest the RP 2012. So it was at noon that we decided to take our chances and go.

I had to record two talks at AIR so we went there first. Having done with that, we picked up Kirsten’s guitar from Pedro’s and in Dhoom-style we sped along to Old Goa, capturing the scenic beauty of the villages on handycam. By 6pm, we finally reached the Museum of Christian Art, Old Goa for the competition.

The programme was already underway when we arrived. There was a group of carolers serenading a small crowd gathered in the garden adjacent to the Museum where the stars and cribs were displayed. Tempting Xmas treats were served to the children; we too took a bite of the crisp neuris and soft delicious fruit cake.

The nuns put up a thought-provoking play adapted from the one published in the Xmas issue of RAYS – the diocesan magazine, which gave us the eco-friendly message not to cut down trees.

I was quite disappointed to see just three entries for the star; the crib had only three entries as well. Two of the cribs used plastic bottles and waste paper (see pictures), a concept I had been planning for our crib at home so I was delighted to see these and got good ideas from them. One of the nativity models, done by Jose and team from Candolim, had moving parts (three kings and star). The residents of the old-age home nearby did one of the eco-friendly cribs and they were all there to collect their prize!

The stars were made from bamboo, coconut palm strands and plastic straws. one was designed to look like Santa Claus.

It was all over sooner than we would have liked it to. While leaving, each one was presented with a season’s greetings card from the Museum by one of its guard. We returned home by 8pm after a short detour to a friend’s place to pick up some clothes for Aaron and books for our homeschool library.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Hi Homeschoolers,

Aaron did an English lesson with me a couple of days ago called ‘Around the world’ which is an extract from Jules Verne’s novel ‘Around the World in Eighty days’.
We had an opportunity to do some geography in locating San Francisco, New York, the Rocky Mountains, etc. There was mention of winding roads, suspension bridges and canyons so we checked the net for pics. There was mention of Red Indians attacking the train and a gunfight with revolvers and rifles so I downloaded info on these for Aaron to read.
I share this with you to illustrate how homeschooling is far better than any class in school could ever be. Even if smart boards are introduced, will every student be guaranteed individual attention?
I also did an EVS lesson with both the boys on floating objects which Kirsten videotaped. They had fun learning whilst doing; Charis and Daniel watched and learned too!
What is lacking right now is a lab of sorts. Let’s hope we can cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, the kitchen will have to do.
For Goa Can Homeschool,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Making Reading a Pleasure

A well-planned home library does not take over an entire room. Create an inviting, clutter-free library corner in your home, either in the playroom or study or even the children’s bedroom. Opt for freestanding bookshelves which can also act as a partition, separating the main area from the cozy corner chosen for the library. Low spaces under windows can also be used to arrange shelves for kids’ books so they can get to them easily.

To brighten up the room, add a colorful bedspread over a quilted mattress or over a rocking/arm chair and place it in your library corner. A reading lamp, strategically placed, creates an inviting ambience at night as well as aids in reading, especially when the kids are asleep.

Choose a corner that is naturally well lit during the day, but remember to keep the books away from direct sunlight as they will fade and eventually deteriorate. If there isn’t enough light, add incandescent lamps. Avoid using fluorescent lights as they can harm books.

Place the books horizontally or vertically with the titles outwards so you can find the one you want easily. To break the monotony, you can arrange figurines, photographs, etc in between stacks of books, much like you would with book ends. Keep the books with adult content on higher shelves, well out of the reach of curious children. Invest in a cordless dust-buster and some lint-free cloth to keep the books in mint condition.

Finally, for music lovers, keep a player mounted nearby with a selection of your favorite soft instrumental music, and voila, your room is ready for some soulful reading.

In our home, we have one room exclusively set aside for study as we homeschool our children. In it, we have a study table which doubles up as a bookcase. There is a coir mattress to curl on and read, flanked by soft toys. A computer table is our work-station and the gateway to the world for our kids. One drawer of a huge wardrobe serves as a library for our treasured Enid Blyton collection. We also have a variety of books, ranging from Readers Digest condensed editions to books on spirituality, all around the house, but these are hidden away in closets for want of space.

The reading habit is one that every child must get addicted to; parents should wean them away from deadly addictions to computer games or TV viewing. The skill of rapid reading will undoubtedly stand them in good stead when they have to understand textbook content in school and college. Knowledge through books is something you don’t get by passive TV watching as you have to exercise your imagination when you read. It improves vocabulary too since you see the word as you try to pronounce it. Your grammar and composition skills will improve by leaps and bounds as well. And playing Scrabble or doing the Crossword won’t be so tenuous a task anymore.

Give your children the best Christmas gift – the joy of meeting the ‘friends’ you had when you were their age. Introduce them to the ‘addiction’ of reading wholesome, soul-satisfying books and you will surely discover your childhood once again as you help them connect with theirs.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hi Homeschoolers on the www,

Today Goa Can Homeschool completes 6 months of homeschooling. I must admit beginning this adventure was a challenge and the journey quite frightening at times. But we are convinced that it will work for the best of our children.

Homeschool has taught me to ‘Think out of the Box’. I look out every time for teaching moments and discover that I am learning more in the process. As a mother, I thrill when my kids yell ‘Eureka’ and as a teacher, I feel fulfilled when that happens.

We have more time for God and each other now. The Principal is relaxed; he works at home and from home. Daniel is a distraction; I have to tend to him and this takes me away from the table at times. But I find that the boys do their work with a bit of discipline, and the presence of the Principal in the room has a profound effect on them.

The day begins with Mass for Glenn and the boys. Aaron serves at Mass now. I prepared a record card for him so he can proudly show it whenever anyone asks him what he does early morning. Then we do a chapter from Proverbs after breakfast. Each chooses a verse to memorise. Aaron is a sponge so he says them like a parrot each morning when they are taken up. Even the teacher and the Principal have to do their homework. And, of course, Aaron takes it up!

By 9.30 am, we sit for the academic stuff; Maths and English everyday, EVS alternates with Hindi. I have a tough time getting the boys to the study table and that frustrates me. But once they get there, with a bit of the ‘boddi’, they get down to business. Aaron is a sponge as a learner so my work is half done; Nathan is a doer and so he plods along with his 3Rs. But give him an opportunity to act or do art with his fingers and he is in his element. Charis is showing exceptional talent in being self-taught; she has her own special little blackboard, painted for her by Aaron and me. We finish by 12 noon and then Aaron plays games on the computer while the other two watch or they help me or Glenn with housework. Sometimes they play together or read books.

Chores are allotted to the three according to age: Aaron gets to keep the vessels back after they are dry, Nathan does the dusting in the hall, Charis waters the plants. They all get together to put the clothes to dry on the dryer and each has to fold his own clothes and keep them in their respective sections in the cupboard. Besides this, Aaron is usually called upon to help at odd times as he is the oldest and most obedient and prompt in his work. Charis too likes to help but she cannot handle many tasks so we give her the easier jobs which she does with happiness. Nathan plods along as usual!

We get the kids to rest in the afternoons and by 5 pm, they are off like the wind to play wit their friends. At 7pm, its bath-time, dinner, then Gospel reading followed by the Rosary. We bless each other at the end and potter around until its time for bed (11 pm). Sometimes, on demand, I read them a bedtime story. The kids say their goodnight prayers and after a bit of talking and giggling, they are all off to Sleepyland.

We do field trips once in a while. I scan the activities in the newspapers and choose where we should go. We went for a book launch, then to a book reading, and soon we will go to see a star-n-crib competition at Old Goa. I also plan a trip next year to the Goa Chitra Musuem to see their section on wheels.

We look forward to our bimonthly homeschool meetings with the support group we have joined. They are our extended family so it’s heartwarming to hug and ‘hifi’ with all the members. Recently, we had a Children’s day party and soon we are planning a New Year’s Day with them. All have large families so we feel at home.

Our relatives and friends have started questioning the wisdom of this decision.It’s tough to explain it as they don’t want to hear us out, only to ask us to stop and get the kids back to school. When I shared my hurt feelings with one of the homeschool members, this is what he smsed, “We pay for our faithfulness to d gospel. Jesus pays for d rest. Stand up for ur convictions lady.”

Please keep us in your prayers, for each day brings new challenges and we don’t want to despair when persecution comes. Glenn and I want the best for our children, not as the world sees it but as God, our Provider and Protector, does.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Home schooling, a new concept- Naveeta Singh

If you are parents and your heart aches when you see your little ones travel to distant schools with a big school bag with no time to play, then home-schooling is something that can lighten their burden. Instead of searching for schools, some couples in the twin cities have adopted the trend of home schooling which is quite common in western countries.
When the Vetanayagams shifted to India six years back with their five kids, they hoped to find some good school. But the various international schools and the overall Indian education system discouraged them from going ahead with the admissions. "The Indian education system is more content-based while we wanted a system that promoted understanding," says Shanti Vetanyagam, a home-maker.
Thus, whatever Shanti learnt in the US about home-schooling from the farmers in the New York came handy to her. "When I was working in New York as an engineer, we stayed in rural areas where the farmers' wives home-schooled their children. I liked the concept and used it to teach my children," she says.
If we think that these children miss a chance on socialising, building friendships and learning values of co-operation, then it is a wrong assumption. "My seven-year-old daughter values her friends more as she gets to meet them for a limited time for they are in school," says Rachana Gala, another home-maker who is also home-schooling her kid.
While most children and their parents struggle to decide career option once in standard 10th or 12th, these parents are already in sync with their children's inclination. For instance, Shanti knows that her son Jeevun (17) is more into electronics and is in the high school (12th standard), Ahnand is more interested in Maths, logic and English. While Karuna likes science, environment and animals, Keerthi is into fine arts and Nithya is an organizer.
"Jeevun is in one of the US umbrella school. After he clears his grades he will get an American school leaving certificate. It is a challenge for us to see him get admitted in the college and he copes with the college education system," she concludes.
What is homeschooling?
Home-schooling is the education of children at home, typically by parents rather than in other formal settings of public or private schools. There is no set curriculum and it is decided by the parent gauging the child's capacity to learn.
If the child is taught subjects and concepts from the second standard and he/she shows more ability, then they are also taught subjects from fourth standard or so.
Their study includes learning through puzzles, quizzes, reading, field trips etc. When the children enter the eighth grade (eighth standard) parents can get them admitted to one of the umbrella schools (distance learning ).

Monday, November 28, 2011


As an ageless symbol of the light of the world and the passage of time until Christmas, the hanging of an advent wreath marks the beginning of the yuletide celebration. As this tradition came down to us by the beginning of this century, it involved three purple candles and one pink candle. The purple and pink candles are placed on an evergreen wreath which symbolizes the eternity of God and everlasting life. The purple candles are lit on the first, second and fourth Sundays of Advent. They represent penance and match the purple paraments on the altar (purple for the royalty of the coming King). The pink candle is lit on the third Sunday, also called Gaudete ("Gaudete" means "Rejoice!" in Latin), which is a time to be joyful and celebrate the approach of Christmas. Some advent wreaths have a fifth candle called the CHRIST Candle - that is white - and meant to be lit on Christmas day.
As the darkness deepens and winter comes, each week we light one more candle to speak of our hope for the coming light. Much has been made of the symbolism of the Advent wreath, each candle given a particular meaning. Actually, it is the action of lighting one more candle in the darkness that bears its deepest meaning. In the face of growing darkness, the church brings more light. Since our sanctuary gathers us in a circle, we imagine ourselves as the wreath, bearing in our hearts the light of Christ.
Light these candles again on all the 12 nights of Christmas.

A Wreath of Kindnesses
Make a wreath for each child in the household from a paper plate with the center cut out. Attach one pink and three purple candles made of cardstock colored with markers by bending the bottom of each about 3/4 inch and gluing them down. Glue a paper flame to the top of each candle. Cut out dark and light green slightly elongated construction-paper hearts, and give each child a thick stack. Each time the child does something kind during Advent, he can write the deed on a heart and glue it to his wreath. As the acts of kindness mount, the wreath gets nice and full.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Last year, 12-year old Shreya Sahai dropped out of class and decided to be homeschooled. Not unusual. But she hit a roadblock with The Right to Education Act (RTE) stipulating formal schooling for eight years. When she approached the Delhi High Court, the court dismissed the petition, telling the petitioners to approach the Human Resource Development Ministry to clarify its stand on homeschooling.
There is a reason why a tiny fraction of parents, dissatisfied with the state of formal education in India, didn’t figure in the larger context of the Act. There aren’t many parents who homeschool their children in the country — conservative estimates put the number anywhere between 500 to 1,000 children In many cases, it is disabled children who are homeschooled because the education system is not geared to provide special education to all disabled children.
Homeschooling is “education of school-aged children at home rather than at a school.” Homeschoolers argue that children who are homeschooled are able to learn more, and turn out be more culturally sophisticated and are able to excel in their natural abilities as their learning is more broad, and not just confined to a school environment. Shreya Sahai’s father pointed out that the Delhi region IIT-JEE topper, the 14-year-old Sahal Kaushik, was homeschooled, and that shows homeschooling is not just a fad. The modern-day American homeschooling movement began in 1969 and has now become one of the great populist educational movements of the past century. But it evolved over the years: laws were formed, regulations were put in place, and the state worked with parents who wished to provide home-based education to their kids. In India, it is more of a reaction rather than a well-thought out option
Whether the RTE Act has scope for such a mode of education, and whether the government can govern such private choices is not what should concern the handful of parents who are agitated about the Act’s focus on “formal schooling.” What should be their concern is whether home-based education, given the lack of any monitoring agency or an organisation that can bring such parents and children together on a platform, is the right choice for their kids.
In 49 out of 50 US states, homeschooling is regulated. According to the Washington State homeschooling law, it is necessary to file a “declaration of intent” and follow certain requirements. Parents who are homeschooling their wards must be deemed qualified to provide home-based instruction by the superintendent of the local school district or complete a parent-qualifying course or meet with a certified teacher for an average of an hour a week. In the UK, since last year, a government report sharply criticised unregulated homeschooling. In Germany, it is altogether banned.
In India, where homeschooling has only recently started gaining some momentum, it does not require any registration, recognition or regulation by any agency or authority. Most parents, who have chosen to homeschool their kids either follow the CBSE curriculum or opt for the respective state board syllabus. Washington State homeschool curriculum also requires parents to include 11 subjects in their curriculum. The home-schooled children are also required to appear for annual testing — standardised or one-on-one assessment with a certified teacher — annually. Similarly, in New Jersey homeschooling is allowed as long as the home-based education is comparable to that provided by a public school
There are, however, no special requirements that a parent must qualify for to begin homeschooling. But in case there is litigation about whether the education that the parent is giving to his/her ward is equivalent to that of a state school, the onus is on parents to prove their case to a local school superintendent. Besides, in most places where homeschooling is a success, parents who homeschool their children have formed clubs where they meet weekly to discuss curriculum and where their children can socialise and make friends. One criticism against homeschooling has been that it produces social misfits. In India, except in the virtual space — blogs, internet forums — homeschooling parents have not set up such organisations or social clubs. But then, in order for homeschooling to become a successful movement in India, there needs to be some supervision, because after all it boils down to whether those who are educating their wards are qualified enough. It is true that given the quality of our own teachers, the lack of infrastructure to produce quality teachers, dilapidated school buildings, and many private schools promising a good deal but delivering little, parents have the right to decide on the mode of education for their child. But is homeschooling a viable option in the country today?
The HRD ministry will meet the parents of the homeschoolers soon, and discuss their issues. But lost in this maze of arguments on democracy, freedom of choice and dissatisfaction with the education system, is a simple point: why can’t parents supplement a child’s experience at school with more learning at home? Besides, if parents prefer homeschooling, they must first collaborate with the state to set up regulations so at least the system gets standardised. As it is, enforcing the RTE act will be an administrative nightmare. The option of unregulated homeschooling might be a convenient excuse to unwilling parents or lazy officials. Homeschooling in India is a nascent phenomenon. The inherent danger, as with all trends, is that it can attract many followers simply because it is the next cool thing to do.
That’s where homeschooling is in India today. The desire in a country that is teeming with millions who can brandish degrees is to stand apart. India needs to have to evolve the regulatory mechanisms that exist in other countries where homeschooling has been successful. Besides, even the worst of schools have their advantages. Growing up together teaches a child how to compete, yet work in a team.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

TREK TO VALPOI- report by Homeschooler Avinash Almeida

On 20th November we went for a trek organized by ECO treks. The pick up was only from Panjim and Mapusa. It was too far for us. We went to stay at our cousin’s house, and he too joined us for the trek.

On Sunday we woke up at 5:15am to go for 6oclock mass. After mass we went home, picked our bags and rushed to the meeting spot. The bus came at 7:30am. The journey was very pleasant, thorough just harvested fields and over grown jungle

We reached Valpoi at around 9:15am. Had breakfast, but we didn’t eat much because we already had eaten at home.

We started our trek in right earnest. Trek was through a dense forest. There was no path, so we had to keep in sight of the person in front of you. It was nice and cool. The trek was uphill and when we reached on top, we climbed a rock, from where we could see Western Ghats speared out in front of us. Too soon it was time to climb down because 5 people, could, occupy the rock at a time. We went a different way which led us to a stream. Some people went to have a dip in the pool, while some people just sat back and watched as an entertaining show.

After some time the whistle was blown for everybody to trek back to the village at 2:45pm. Gave us good vegetarian lunch. We played ‘catching cook’ and then we went home.

We enjoyed the trek. Especially because our cousin was with us. We didn’t see any wild animals except for one snake and a scorpion. It was nice being in the jungle and forgetting all the noise in the city.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Michelle Duggar on Home Schooling

TLC: There are a lot of people who are really interested in home schooling. Is there a curriculum you can recommend as well as any tips?

Michelle: Well, nowadays there is so much available for homeschoolers. Back when we were starting 18, 20 years ago, it was a much more difficult task. But we have a lot of great links on our Web site to homeschool curriculum and resources where you can find out more about homeschooling.
Of course, our goal has been to do a Christian-based curriculum. One in which there’s a lot of character emphasis, character building like responsibility, honesty, self control. All those kind of things are woven into the stuff that we use. I find that there are so many things out there that you could look forever and probably not exhaust the opportunities for what you want to do.
I spoke to a veteran home school mom before I started home schooling, and her kids were quite a bit older, and she wisely told me because — because I had Josh, who was four at the time and then I had a set of twins. And I was so excited about starting this venture of home schooling, and she could tell my excitement — and she told me, “I just want you to know for right now don't go overboard. Don't go and just buy up all this stuff for your library because nine times out of 10 you won’t use it.” [Laughter] She was wise to tell me that because I was chomping at the bit to get started with them.
I would’ve gotten all these resources, and, honestly, we wouldn’t have used them because what she said was [at that age] you get a simple phonics program, and you get a simple math workbook, not something that has these huge teachers' manuals and all this kind of stuff. And she said for the first year that you're working with them, just have fun. Their attention span is limited, and they’ll do a 15-minute chunk of time here and then go back later and do another 15-minute chunk of time. But once they grasp the letters, the sounds, the phonics rules and then begin on the concept of math, they'll be farther along than most at their age.
And I was amazed. That’s exactly what I did with Josh, and we didn’t spend a huge amount of money that first year with him. But by the end of that year he was reading — by the time he was five, he was reading. We’d play phonics games and we’d play Go Fish and learn the names of these letters and the sounds. So I just think back and I laugh because I thought I probably overloaded him, but he didn’t know any better and neither did I.
Once they grasp the ability to read, it’s like the whole world opens up to them, and I will put them in a certain curriculum and just move through it. And it’s a self-paced curriculum that we use so they can just move right along. I can use the A.C.E. curriculum. And once they complete those paces, they're done. And some of the kids can complete them rather quickly. And, of course, the kids that are excellent in math will just whiz through their math lessons and then they're still working all their English and their spelling and all those other things later on.
But I think it’s fun. It’s just amazing watching them as they learn and take it all in. It’s just a lot of fun.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

WOW! What a day it was. Glenn & I got up really early to complete the cooking for the luncheon. Two families couldn't make it so we cooked less. And everything was enough (Sigh of relief). We left at 2 pm for Be-Attitudes, Porvorim,where we had our meeting.
After that, the kids had a treasure hunt and then they had to enact a short skit based on the story that the treasure hunt revealed to them in the form of 7 clues. Gr8 work Nadisha!(Pat on back).
In the meantime,the parents were given a talk no the Meaning of the MASS by Valentine Coelho.
After the kids had enacted their skits amidst peals of laughter at some funny costumes, Nadsiha enthralled us all with her puppetry skills. Amazing, NADISHA, simply amazing. (Another pat on back)
Then the kids got to flex their muscles to try and break a sealed box of chocolates, with a cricket bat!! Who says Homeschool kids miss out on sports? :)
All in all, a delightful evening and we are looking forward to the next one which by God's grace will be on New Year's Day.

This is Auriel Ribeiro Sa signing off from Goa Can Homeschool.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hi Homeschoolers,
The next homeschool meeting will be held on 13 Nov 2011 at my place from 12 noon to 4 pm. Please let me know in advance that you are coming so I can cater accordingly as I will be having lunch to celebrate Daniel's baptism and the inauguration of Goa Can homeschool. For those who don't know this, the word CAN stands for my three homeschooling children - Charis, Aaron and Nathan. Soon Daniel will join them but I will not change the name as it it special to me, kind of like a brand name?
All those who have informed me already, see you at the meeting. PTL!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Hi Homeschoolers,
On 29 Oct, we attended the book reading of Katie Bagli's " Birds of Different Feathers" at the Earthworm Ecostore, Porvorim. Before I tell you what happened there, let me apologise for the delay in posting this report. You see, we have been having power outages for the last couple of days and it made me realise just how important electricity is for communication. So an appeal- please try to SAVE as much as you can. The cake in the electric oven was miraculously saved though (Aaron's bday cake) and he had a gr8 party.
Coming back to the book reading - the ambience of the Ecostore lent a quaint charm to the whole fun experience. Katie used hand puppets to catch the children's attention right at the onset, what we teachers call set induction? The stories are very funny; the three readers did full justice and got the kids rolling with laughter at hearing how the young fledgings throw their poop out of the nest, etc.
We had to leave early as we had another programme to attend so we missed the end. But as I wandered around the store, I got wonderful eco-friendly ideas from the items displayed, like an earthenware composter, a bird-house made from waste wood, elephant poop toilet paper, etc. The owner is so committed to the cause that even her home is created with environment-friendly ideas. And to top it all, she served the kids coconut water instead of harmful Pepsi or Cola. All in all, an awesome experience. Thanks Roopa for organsing a cool event and looking forward to more interaction with your work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011



Having read the promos on Facebook and in the Herald about the launch of a new book for children entitled “Espi Mai is Stuck Again” by Anita Pinto, my curiosity was awakened enough to plan our first homeschooling educational field trip.
So, early evening around 4 pm, we all squeezed into our sturdy Maruti van and drove to Panjim to make it in time for the 5 pm book launch at the open air mini-theatre at Kala Academy.
The air was festive with colorful balloons and prancing children accompanied by their dignified Mamas, Dadas, Papas, Nanas, as well a sprinkling of some well-known celebrities like Alexyz, who has done the illustrations for the book. I was delighted to see so many familiar faces from Mapusa, where we live, and from Saligao, my husband’s village.
The kids were asked to write their names on slips of paper and these were put in a box. I was intrigued by a huge banner at the entrance- it was the front cover of the book, but there was a hole where Espi Mai’s face should have been.
We all got settled comfortably with a cup of Frugurt as the emcee, noted singer Veeam Braganca, began her introductory speech and briefed us on the panel of eminent writers for children seated on the dais. There was Fr. Rinald, ex-editor of ‘The Young People’, Konkani storywriter and editor of a children’s magazine, Prashanti Talpankar, Bookworm’s proprietor Sujata Noronha, Kanchan Bannerjee of Pratham Books Trust, and ‘Annie’ as the eminent writer-designer-communicator Aniruddha SenGupta is fondly referred to.
The evening began with an open discussion on the theme of writing for children and children writing themselves. Fr. Rinald mentioned Riza, daughter of Frederick Noronha, who runs her own blog ‘Tangerine Trees and Marmalade Skies’ and said kids must be encouraged not only to read stories but to also write and be given a platform to publish their writings.
Later, Anita Pinto read the first few paragraphs of her pivotal story ‘Espi Mai…” followed by a little girl’s rendition of the poem ‘Holfsky Polfsky’. The song ‘God still loves the World’ brought many a sigh and a few tears to the eye, while another story from the book, ‘Where’s that Puppy Going?’ kept us wondering all the way.
Four children were chosen by lot to launch the book (remember the slips of papers with their names taken earlier?) and, amidst loud applause, the (reluctant?) children were asked to release their balloons into the air. Oh, what a glorious sight to see, those red and blue and white and yellow balloons soaring up, up, up into the blue yonder!
Anita Pinto sat down to the back-breaking job of autographing each and every book that was sold that evening and I was privileged to have on mine “To Auriel Ribeiro Sa Best Wishes Anita Pinto”. Short and sweet, just like the lovely lady herself.
And as we departed for home sweet home, I took a picture of each of my ‘smallies’ peeking out of Espi Mai’s face in the banner as mementos of a successful book launch and a wonder-filled field trip. What more could one wish for?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Earth Day Idea: School Building in Guatemalan Village Constructed from Trash

In the mountains of Guatemala, Laura Kutner is changing the tiny village of Granados with a message in a bottle. The 25-year-old from Portland, Ore., did something incredible for this town. She built a school with no funding, little experience, and a crazy idea -- construct the building out of old plastic water bottles.
The old school building was crumbling, but the poor village couldn't afford the concrete and steel for new construction. Students and town officials were stuck, until Kutner, an endlessly-optimistic Peace Corps volunteer, had an idea.
"Initially it was a dream," Kutner said. "It was 100 percent a dream. I came in here and thought, 'What if we can actually do this?'"
Bottles as Building Material
It's not the first time water bottles have been put to an impressive use. The Plastiki, a boat made entirely from recycled plastic, is currently crossing the Pacific Ocean to raise awareness about the problem of plastic pollution.

ABC News
In the mountains of Guatemala, Laura Kutner... View Full Caption
Kutner had heard of water bottles being used for large-scale projects elsewhere, and since the village didn't have much money and needed the help, she convinced the skeptical school principal to let her try it.
The plan called for waste plastic bottles to form the interior of the school's walls. Covered with a thin layer of cement and paint, visitors would never know about the bottles, except for a spot on one wall left to reveal the unique construction.
Students Help with Search for Trash
The idea is simple enough, but the project proved enormous. Bottles had to be stuffed with plastic bags to give them strength, and then wrapped together into blocks by using chicken wire.
"The stronger, the more stuffed [the bottle] is, the more supportive in the wall," said Kutner.
Stuffing the 6,000 bottles required for the school took months of grueling work. Each student was asked to find and fill at least 20 bottles, so children scoured their village for old bottles and plastic.
In the process, the kids cleaned up the ditches and hillsides so thoroughly that they started running out of garbage and had to go to neighboring villages. The students share pride over their new school and a new-found excitement about picking up garbage.
"You don't need a lot of money, and the best thing is that they worked together," said the school's principal, according to an ABC News translation.
New Building Cleans Up Town, Inspires More Action
Local officials say that the school building is structurally sound, and the mayor of Granados is even talking about building a bottle sidewalk, if they can find enough trash.
For Laura Kutner, it's proof that it sometimes pays off to listen to your dreams.
"You've got to trust your crazy ideas because they can do awesome things," she said.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Question of the Week and Blackboard Grafitti have been updated.Thanks.


You know you are getting burned out when you begin consistently to get irritated over every little thing. Left unchecked, it can lead to dysthymia, that allows you to function but sucks all the joy out of your day and makes you wish you could run away from home.

A 100% surefire way for a homeschooling mom to burn out fast is to try to do it all herself. Therefore every member of the family must share responsibility for keeping the school running.

Five secrets to prevent burnout:
1) A Partnership Marriage: With your spouse discuss ways the two of you can work together, or get additional help, or adjust your expectations accordingly, to make up the difference and at least break even.
2) A Good Discipline System: This consists of three components- good rapport, consistent rules and logical consequences. Without good rapport, the only way to make our children obey is to make them fear us. Make rules with your children’s help and review them daily, tell them to the children whenever they disobey any rule, enforce rules consistently so your children care enough to learn and follow them. Logical consequences in the form of a penalty or timeout should follow immediately after a problem behavior, it should inconvenience the child more than it inconvenience you and it should teach him what to do instead of merely what to stop doing.
3) A Healthy Family-Based Spirituality: Learn to ‘pray your marriage’ and you will begin to appreciate every little act of service as a worthy mortification, every joy as an opportunity to celebrate God’s providence, and every intimate moment between you and your children and between you and your spouse as a foretaste and promise of the intimacy God wishes to share with you.
4) Good Self-Care: To care for our physical, emotional and spiritual needs is an act that expresses our gratitude to the Creator for having made us so fearfully and wonderfully. Gladly acknowledge the gifts you’ve been given and honoring the giver. Remember, one of the best ways to honor Him is by being a good steward of his creation.
5) A Curriculum Suited to Needs of Student and Teacher: Re-evaluate your materials from time to time. Ask yourself: Do the children and I enjoy the curriculum and get a little excited when we take it out each day? Match the curriculum you use to the learning style of your children; resist the temptation to settle on one that ‘everyone says is best’. Always keep your eyes open for interesting and challenging new ideas to keep your homeschool on the cutting edge.
Parents, you are doing the most important work in the world: raising your children and teaching them how to become the people God is calling them to be. May Christ in you be your hope and glory!

(Taken from ‘The Catholic Homeschool Companion’)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dear Homeschoolers,
We have tentatively fixed the next homeschooling meet for 13 Nov 2011 at my place here in the HEART OF MAPUSA. Since I wish to inaugurate the Goa Can Homeschool as well as celebrate Daniel's baptism, you are invited to join in for lunch. Please do inform me at the earliest so we can cook accordingly.
Our regular members MilagresViolet n fly, Valyana n fly, MariaAlves n fly, LewisZenita n fly have promised to be there. Wating for MarioMuriel n fly to say the word and it will be finalised.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Dear Homeschoolers,
I had posted several tips earlier from the net on the use of CD holders n cases. Just wanted to share my pics with you today.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dear Homeschoolers,
The Picture above is a demo of the what one can do to help the garbage issue to some extent-by not allowing it to spill out into the streets and gutters. Pet Bottles can be used as handy 'bins' to collect chip packets, Al foils, plastic bags, etc. and then given to the ragpicker. Even if you do throw it out, it all compacted into one small area!
I read an article sometime ago in Herald where this project conducted in Guatemala was successful enough to generate bottles to make an entire classroom. Wish we could build a school like they did out there!
Try it out. All the best of waste.
Auriel :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hi Prolifers,
We celebrated out first anniversary of homeschool today. Last year on this day, we had installed the portrait of BLessed Mother Teresa in the homeschool room and I made my debut cake with her picture on it. Aaron drew a chalk picture of St Terese of Child Jesus on the BB. See blackboard Grafitti. I read to the children from the book we had on her life.
After they attended Mass in the evening, we had a small celebration with cake n cold drinks. Actually,I made two small cakes (see pics) and we cut them both but only finished one for tea earlier.
Auriel& Glenn.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hi Homeschoolers,
This week my little students had a feast of baath (semolina coconut cake) yesterday, curds aka lassi today and tomorrow I will be teaching them how paneer is made.
Tomorrow also is the Big Day when we officially began decorating the homeschool room and installed the portrait of Blessed Mother Teresa. Am baking a date-n-walnut cake (Aha!Fermentation process again) with marzipan topping on which I shall place a bookmark of Mother and do some decoration.
Look out for the pics soon and also for the Question of the Week.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

10 Ways to Reuse Blank CD Holders

Ways to Reuse the Clear Lid:
The clear, bowl-like lid can be used in the following ways, depending on its size.
1. A Vase: If the CD holder is large (50 CDs), then the top can be reused as a vase for a large flower arrangement. Just turn it over, fill it with water, and arranges flowers for a beautiful, stylish centerpiece.
2. A Desk Jar: Similarly to the vase, a large lid can be reused to organize items on a desk including pens, pencils, scissors, and miscellaneous small items such as paper clips, binder clips, and staples. A ribbon or even stickers added to the outside add a decorative touch.
3. A Small Terrarium: The top can also be reused as a small greenhouse. Seeds planted in small pots or even in the top off of another case can then be covered with the clear plastic lid. When placed in a sunny window, the lid will act as a small greenhouse, heating the plants and intensifying the sunlight, increasing the potential for growth.
4. A Potpourri Holder: A small or large lid can be reused to hold potpourri in out -of -the-way places. Turn the lid over, place potpourri in the bowl, and enjoy! A ribbon or stickers can be added for decoration.
Ways to Reuse the Bottom (including the center pole):
5. A Ring Holder: The center pole acts as a great way to keep rings organized and out of the way. Rings can be placed around the pole, and the container set on a dresser. A ribbon glued and tied around the bottom adds a decorative touch.
6. A Paper Towel Holder: Don't want to pay for an expensive paper towel holder? The bottom of a large case (50 CDs or more) can be reused to hold that paper towel. To use, take the lid off, place on counter, and insert the paper towel roll over the center pole. Voila! It might be helpful to put a piece of two-sided tape or poster strip between the counter and the bottom of the base to hold it in place.
7. Ribbon Storage: The center pole makes an ideal place to keep ribbons. Just insert the spools over the center pole-and as an added bonus, pulling ribbon off is easier, as the pole will hold it in place while you spin off just what you need! The bottom and top together could also be used to store small craft objects like buttons, beads, or stickers. Be sure to use the base as a lid, though, rather than the clear plastic lid (turn it over!).
Ways to Reuse the Lid and Bottom Together:
8. A Condiment Holder: Tired of condiment packages from fast food places taking over your fridge? The whole case can be used to store those tiny packages. Since it's clear, it's easy to see what's inside. As an added bonus, when the family sits down to dinner, by grabbing the one case, all the condiments needed at the table are gathered at once!
9. A Cord Organizer: The center pole makes it simple to organize cords. Wrap the cords around the center pole, and place lid on top for easy storage. This trick can even be used to organize cords currently in use. Simply cut a whole in one side of the lid (carefully!), and wrap the cords around the center pole. Then, connect the lid and base, and use the hole in the lid as an entrance/exit for the cords.
10. A Bathroom Organizer: Clips and hair-ties can create quite a mess. Try using the center pole of the base as a place to loop hair-ties and clips, then use the lid (separately) to organize other potential problem areas like brushes, combs, and beauty products. Don't forget to add a ribbon or stickers for decoration!
These ideas are just a few ways old CD holders can be used. Get creative, and find a use for something that otherwise would be thrown away. The environment will thank you.

(Taken from the Net)

Monday, September 26, 2011

How To Make a Compost Bin from a Plastic Storage Container

If you don't have much space to compost, or just want to start composting on a small scale before committing to a full size bin, consider making a compost bin from a plastic storage container. This is an easy project that will give you finished compost in a short period of time.
1. Obtain a plastic storage bin.
Plastic storage bins are available just about everywhere, and most of us have at least one of them in our basement or garage. The bigger the storage bin is, the better. The bin you decide to use for composting should be no smaller than 18 gallons. The bin must have a lid. If you are able to obtain a second lid, this would be perfect to catch the liquid that leaches out of the bin. Otherwise, this nutrient-filled liquid will just be wasted.
2. Prepare the bin.
You need to have air circulating around your compost to help it decompose faster. To manage this in a plastic bin, you will have to drill holes in the bin. It really doesn't matter what size drill bit you use, as long as you drill plenty of holes. Space them one to two inches apart, on all sides, bottom, and lid. If you use a large spade or hole-cutting drill bit, you may want to line the interior of the bin with wire mesh or hardware cloth to keep rodents out.
3. Place your bin in a convenient spot.
Because this bin is so small, it will fit just about anywhere. If you are a yardless gardener, a patio, porch, or balcony will work just fine. If you have plenty of space, consider putting it outside the kitchen door so that you can compost kitchen scraps easily, or near your vegetable garden so that you can toss weeds or trimmings into it. It can also go inside a garage or storage shed if you'd rather not look at it.
4. Filling the bin.
Anything you would throw in a normal compost pile, you can throw into your storage container composter: leaves, weeds, fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and grass clippings all work well. Anything you put into the storage bin composter should be chopped fairly small so it will break down quicker in the small space. Fruit and vegetable trimmings can be chopped small with a knife, or run through a blender or food processor to break them down. Chop leaves by running a lawn mower over them a few times. Crush eggshells finely so they will break down faster.
5. Maintain your bin.
Every day or so, as you think of it, you can aerate the bin by giving it a quick shake.
If the contents of the bin are staying very wet, or there is an unpleasant odor coming from the bin, you'll need to add some shredded fall leaves, shredded newspaper, or sawdust to the bin. These will dry it out and help restore the ratio of greens to browns that makes compost happen more quickly.
If the contents are very dry, use a spray bottle to moisten the contents, or add plenty of moisture-rich items such as fruits or veggies that are past their prime.
6. Harvesting and using your compost.
The easiest way to harvest the finished compost from your bin is to run it all through a simple compost sifter so that the large pieces are kept out of the finished compost. Anything that still needs to decompose can go back into the bin, and the dark, crumbly finished compost can either be stored in a bucket or bin for later use or immediately used in the garden. It is also wonderful to use in container plantings.
A plastic storage bin composter can be used year-round, and is a convenient solution for those of us who don't have space for a large pile.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hi Homeschoolers,
The Moviemaker on Germination of seed is completed. Anyone who needs it can send me a request on my FB account and leave me your email address. Size: 18 Mb.
Look out for the Question of the week.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Hi Homeschoolers,
The germination project is near completion and baby bean is on his way to living in the light on his own. Did a Moviemaker with digicam pics to chronicle his first days of new life. 'Will he continue to live or not' really depends on how my homeschoolers care for him.
Hope you too had a fun time doing the expt. See you next week with another Question and project.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dear Homeschoolers,
Did a class on recycling last week. The students taught me something new! I was listing the 3'R's- reduce, re-use, recycle when Aaron said, "Refuse" and for a moment I got ready to negate that when I realized that he was right! The first R should be refuse in order to reduce. If one cant reduce then re-use repeatedly until its fit for the recycling bin. So now we keep repeating this mantra daily and the kids keep finding new ways to use all that would have gone into the dustbin. Diapers still go though and I feel very guilty indeed! Any ideas how to use them?:(
This week we are deep Down Under doing the germination experiment. See pics alongside. Nathan has now gone and sown potato 'eyes' in one of the pots!
Will take them to the ZOA farm to see the compost pit and maybe the one at the yard down in the market.
Its a fun time at Goa Can Homeschool as usual!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hi homeschoolers,
Glad to announce that we have a new homeschooler who has become a child of God. John Paul Sequeira Vaz, son of Lewis and Zenita and their 5th child, received baptism today. We had a beautiful celebration at Nuvem, with most of the prolife and homeschool crowd present. Nadisha, our seniormost homeschooler, kept everyone entertained with her innovative games and spot prizes while Milagres and team kept the music flowing like wine accompanied by Anna with memorable songs of Marie Bellet. There is a picture of Little John PAul Sequeira Vaz on top and of the cake n centrepiece below and to the left.
May wee John Paul be a proud successor of his namesake, taking the prolife ministry to new heights.
From the heart,

Saturday, September 17, 2011


In our Bed training course, we were thought that education meant bringing out the best in the learner and this in turn meant that the teacher needed to be only a facilitator and not a dictator. The child had to discover his true potential by careful guidance and well-planned methods of teaching.
Alas! This never happened once our days of idealism ended with convocation and we were forced to toe the line of the prevalent school system enshrined for generations by ‘money-makes-the-world-go round’ teachers and ‘I couldn’t-care-less’ administrators.
What we have now in every school is the easy-come-easy-go method of “I write, you rote”, enshrined and embalmed for all eternity. In the rote method, the teacher writes out a standard never-changing answer to each and every question likely to be part of the periodic written evaluation paper and the students have to copy it diligently (and swiftly!) from the blackboard. This answer does not vary in content, meaning or the sequence of the words and the student has to reproduce it ad verbatim at the exam or his poor teacher will have to tax her brains to understand what he is trying to convey. And even if the school does not encourage rote learning, the student has numerable other sources to get his spoon-fed answers from - guides, tutors, coaching classes, to name some. Even parents would rather do spoon-feeding than spend precious time away from their favorite soaps/matches. In the bargain, the child ends up knowing much and understanding nothing. He is forced to use his RAM a week before the exams, only to have the data DELETED a week after it is over.
And Oh! The horrors, if the student or his parents should ever question this well-established system or even point out the mistakes made by the teacher in question. Then the student pays the penalty for ‘thinking’ and the parent suffers pangs of helplessness before the ‘authority’. Just a week ago, I was checking up my son’s class work and discovered that a ‘pony’ is a baby horse. Now I am not an English teacher but my gut sense told me this could not be. So I checked the dictionary only to discover that I was right. I wanted to bring this to the teacher’s notice but innate fear of being snubbed and my child being victimized loomed large in my mind and I let it go.
Is the dictionary ever used by the students and are varied synonyms for an unfamiliar word encouraged? I believe not. What about meanings in regional languages? Is the English meaning ever conveyed to the student or are they expected to find those out by themselves? When we studied Hindi or Marathi in school (I studied in a convent school in Mumbai in the 70-80s), the English translation was given to us by the teachers so that we could follow the text. Why is this method not being followed here in Goa? It makes the text easier to understand and does not hinder mastery of the regional language at all.
Learning should be fuelled by curiosity and a sense of adventure if the student has to thirst for more. Have the schools even realized this? Every student must enjoy the teaching-learning process and not be unduly apprehensive about the end product all the time.
Learning must also take place at the student’s level and not at a standardized level set for all students of a particular age. The aptitude of the student for a subject must be seen. What is the point of teaching a budding artist advanced Mathematics? Or a sportschamp-in-the-making the intricacies of a regional language? If school began at age 6 like it does in the US and ends by age 18, the student will be able to ascertain what he is proficient at and with a myriad of choices available to him, he can choose to further his education by going to University or learn a trade and begin working. Contrary to what parents may want their protégés to become, it is the best interests of the student that the school must strive to establish. Unfortunately, even schools are going the way of the ignorant or ambitious parents and boosting only excellence in academics. Extra- curricular activities are just that; add-ons to make the school feel good about going about the job of giving all-round education to the student. Otherwise why is more time not allotted to these important subjects that most students find most enjoyable?
I do hope the Right to Education Act with its inherent Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation mandate is implemented with stringency. Otherwise, instead of stress, the student will now move on in life with the kind of susegaad attitude that has made Goa prey to unsavory elements from within and without. And that is definitely what we do not want more of!
(This was sent for the Opinionated column in Herald in May but not published.)

Sunday, September 4, 2011



Teachers all over the world, I salute you. Like a soldier going out to battle, you hold great tomes in your hands, daring the system to make a change. Yet time and again, it disappoints you; you feel cheated, your ideals are trampled upon by callous administrators as they go about the ‘business’ of running a school. In the end, you get cynical of the system, silently joining the bandwagon of lukewarm colleagues, justifying your decision with the thought that this is, after all, your bread and butter, nothing more.
As a young graduate, fresh out of college with stars in my eyes and bells on my feet, I began teaching at a boys’ school. At that time, being unmarried, I was unfettered and carefree –no household chores, no babies, no workaholic husband. Life was just me and my ‘career’ and I was determined to be a phenomenal example to all erstwhile educators.
In just a matter of one year, however, all that idealism went underground as I found myself bogged down by tight deadlines, repeated book-and-paper corrections and endless criticism by the senior staff, who, hardened with the years, had grown soft and complacent. I joined the madding crowd in an attempt to win their approval, knowing I had to fight tooth and nail to survive. But my spirit would not let me. I felt like a coward; a traitor; a total failure. Teaching became hectic, stressful, uneventful and unfulfilling.
Our free periods (when we did not lecture) were usually spent in corrections of books or in training boys for extra-curricular events. Little wonder then that we chose those who were good in studies so they wouldn’t miss anything going on in class. One Principal put an end to that and we were forced to take practices after school instead. How we grumbled and cursed! The boys were not too happy either, for they too were inconvenienced. Some of them had tuitions to go to, so they would back out of the activities.
All teachers will agree with me when I say that the sheer numbers bogs us down; a teacher, who cannot get the names of her students right, has already lost the fight. In an academic year, one has to know around 6-7 classes of, on an average, 40 students per class. So that means that a teacher must be intimately involved with around 240 students in one academic year. If she has two subjects in a single class, it may reduce to 200 but I want to make the point that it is an impossible task for a single individual. Take an ‘office’ scenario in contrast. How many clients are you expected to be ‘intimately’ involved with in one financial year? Once, in a fit of rebellion, I had suggested to the administration, that each teacher be given just three classes to teach, two subjects per class to meet the ED requirements. I also suggested that we lighten the bag- burden of the students for we were undoubtedly creating clones of the Hunchback of Notre Dame! An average schoolbag sans books weighs around 2kgs, believe it or not. Then, with textbooks and notebooks, it increases to as high as 10kgs. Our students will most certainly qualify for jobs as coolies and, who knows, some may even aspire to the lightweight category at the next international sports meet. My suggestion: A simple lightweight canvas satchel and books not more than 100 pages, preferably paperbacked.
‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’ These words, spoken by the greatest teacher of all times, Mahatma Gandhi. should be your motto, teachers, as you chart a different course with the implementation of the RTE Act. Live out your ideals, teachers, don’t give up. You can do it, one determined and dedicated educator at a time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Thursday, August 25, 2011



Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Tarika lone Goan for National Mountaineering Biking (Herald 12 August 2011)
Tarika is the daughter of Mario and Muriel from Saligao. She is a homeschooler.Protection of the environment is her forte. She is also a social activist.Her passion is sports, sports and more sports. Read all about her in the Herald article posted here and meet her on Facebook.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Monday, May 30, 2011



Saturday, May 14, 2011


What is CCE?
The CCE or Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation scheme refers to a school-based evaluation of students that covers all the aspects of a student’s development. Continuous means regular assessments, frequency of unit testing, analysis of learning gaps, applying corrective measures, retesting and giving feedback to teachers and students for their self-evaluation, etc. Comprehensive on the other hand attempts to cover both the scholastic and the co-scholastic aspects of a student’s growth and development — with both these aspects of the evaluation process being assessed through Formative and Summative Assessments.
Objectives of CCE
• To help develop cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills.
• To lay emphasis on thought process and de-emphasize memorization.
• To make evaluation an integral part of teaching-learning process.
• To use evaluation for improvement of students’ achievement and teaching – learning strategies on the basis of regular diagnosis followed by remedial instruction.
• To use evaluation as a quality control device to maintain desired standard of performance.
• To determine social utility, desirability or effectiveness of a programme and take appropriate decisions about the learner, the process of learning and the learning environment.
• To make the process of teaching and learning a learner-centered activity
Advantages of CCE System in CBSE
CCE helps in reducing stress of students by -
• Identifying learning progress of students at regular time intervals on small portions of content.
• Employing a variety of remedial measures of teaching based on learning needs and potential of different students.
• Desisting from using negative comments on the learner’s performance.
• Encouraging learning through employment of a variety of teaching aids and techniques.
• Involving learners actively in the learning process.
• Recognizing and encouraging specific abilities of students, who do not excel in academics but perform well in other co-curricular areas.
CCE helps in improving student’s performance by identifying his/her learning difficulties at regular time intervals right from the beginning of the academic session and employing suitable remedial measures for enhancing their learning performance.
Holistic education demands development of all aspects of individual’s personality including cognitive, affective and psycho motor domains. It is unfortunate that not much attention and emphasis is given to the development of interests, hobbies and passion of learners. Focusing on excellence in academics alone undoubtedly results in lop-sided development of personality. It is thus essential that due importance be given to participation in co-curricular activities like music, dance, art, dramatics and other areas of one’s interest to make life more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Scheme of CCE is expected to help the child make informed choice of subjects in class XI based on his aptitude, interests, liking, and academic performance. With CCE aiming at all round development of the child’s personality it is expected that a student will be able to take up competitive examinations in right earnest. It may be clearly understood that introduction of CCE does not mean less emphasis on academic attainment. Students will still be required to do well in studies. However due to acquisition of additional life skills, like thinking and emotional skills, they are expected to meet different life situations with greater maturity.
CCE Changed the life of Teachers and Students
Evaluation system leaves teachers stressed. The number of students in the class is the same. But assessment on a regular basis under Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) — unlike last year’s year-end evaluation — has inflated their work. Maintaining several registers for recording academic and non-academ¬ic achievements has made the process cumbersome. Stress, as a result has just changed hands — from the stu¬dents to the teachers. Though training sessions were organised for principals and teachers, confusion on the issue still persists. A little disgruntled, teachers, how¬ever, are still on board the CCE train. Getting the brighter students to do the same is one of the biggest challenges in the way of implementing the new evaluation system in its true letter and spirit.
The biggest worry: Dilution of aca¬demic standards.
Bright students don’t feel challenged. But more importantly, it’s the wrong interpretation of the new system that has parents and children across the board most worried. CCE’s rule of regular assessment, for instance, has led to many schools put¬ting students under constant scrutiny. The students are obviously not okay with it.

Taken from Net.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dear All,
Just back from hospital. Had to go for insulin monitoring. Now I have to take it twice a day. This baby has been my teacher in meny ways, right from the nausea, spotting and now this. Boys are at home now and giving me some trouble to concentrate with studies as holidays are on and their friends are palying outside. So I only do revision for an hour and send them. Don't want them to get negative about homeschooliing right now. Cable has been a major addiction so Glenn & I have decided to disconnect from June. They love doing jigsaw puzzles and now I am showing Aaron how to do Crosswords and Nathan does Wordsearch. Will have to prepare these for their English lessons next year.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Monday, April 18, 2011

Homeschoolers’ Success Silences the Critics.

No one expected it. My co-author Theresa Thomas and I certainly did not. As contestants in the Reader’s Choice Awards, we had no reason to think that our Stories for the Homeschool Heart book would win. Rave reviews–some from very high places–had convinced us that our stories were just as uplifting and engaging as our nonobjective opinions had thought. Yet, we seemed out of the league of our competition–one of the Pope’s books, a radio talk show host, a Jesuit priest and an author who had shared her story at a World Youth Day. When our book was announced as a finalist, we expected nothing more than to have a good run at it; especially when ardent emails and radio appeals from our competitors reached our attention.
Yet, last month, with over 10,000 votes cast, Bezalel Books announced that Stories for the Homeschool Heart had been selected as the 2011 Readers’ Choice Award for best Catholic Book of 2010. Wow! That was uplifting news in between spelling, laundry and math. How did we pull it off? Why would a homeschool book win such an award? For one, big families and strong networking are powerful allies in a voting contest. Perhaps the best part of winning this award is that it is one more brick in the wall of building up the public image of homeschooling.
Below is a recent article I wrote for non-homeschoolers to explain what is going on behind our doors, on dining room tables, on garage sale desks or any assortment of school rooms.
Homeschooled children are _______. Fill in the blank. Some would say: responsible, respectful, advanced or mature. Others prefer words like immature, un-socialized, nerdy or sheltered.
In spite of the movement graduating from fringe to almost mainstream, opinions about homeschooling run the gamut. Whatever you may think about it, homeschooling is growing at 8% a year with no signs of abating. Estimates range from 1.5 to 2 million children schooling at home in the United States. Surveys indicate that 10% are Catholic.
For the last 15 years, I have homeschooled eight of my 10 kids through junior high. I can offer some insights from personal experience as well as observation.
Homeschooling allows children to learn at their own pace at home without peer pressure. Parents choose curricula and pass down their values without contradiction or compromise. How this is accomplished varies family to family — from “un-schooling,” where a child’s interests drive much of the learning, to very structured learning.
There are pros and cons to homeschooling but, in the end, like everything in life, I believe a parent should only enter into the endeavor if she or he discerns God’s call to it. Homeschooling must begin and end with prayer. Many homeschoolers did not think it was something they would ever do, but through prayer, came to think otherwise.
Are Homeschoolers Weird or Anti-social?
I’ve done public, Catholic and homeschool. I have been invited to speak to 14 different non-homeschooling audiences. Two of these were in seemingly enemy territory: a professional teachers’ association (Phi Delta Kappa) and a senior class of education majors from the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D. In both cases, I think my audience came away surprised that our different camps need not consider one another enemies.
For twelve years in a row, I have spoken during “Education Issues Day” to our Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Committee. Committee members are selected annually from various businesses. It’s a prestigious honor for which they are excused from work. They spend several days throughout the year listening to presenters and learning more about our community on everything from business and education to leisure and the arts.
I’m invited each year by the chair, Marilyn Johnson, a retired sixth-grade teacher who, ironically, taught my oldest son the year before we began homeschooling. Marilyn and I always chuckle over that. She was a good teacher. One of the best. So we both understand that homeschooling is about far more than teachers.
“Who thinks homeschoolers are weird? Raise your hand,” I always begin. Inevitably, people look around. Some hands shoot up right away. “Raise your hands,” I repeat. “You aren’t going to hurt my feelings. I used to think homeschoolers were weird.” With that encouragement a few more hands cautiously go up.
“If you know people who homeschool, some may mix in so well that you can’t really tell where their kids go to school,” I continue. “But you may know some homeschooled kids who dress out of style or somehow look like they don’t fit in.” Usually, a few heads nod in agreement. “Well, you know what?” I ask and then pause for effect. “They probably don’t care. They don’t have to. But kids in regular school have to dress just like everyone else or they pay a price: They become shark bait. At home, kids can be who they are and not worry about being made fun of.”
From the expression on faces, I see this is a novel thought for some. Their own judgments are exposed for being just what they are in schools: social straightjackets of conformity.
My talk continues. “If a homeschooled kid is shy, people say: ‘Well, he homeschools.’ And yet, there are shy kids in schools but no one ever says they are shy because they are in school. My five siblings and I were shy until after high school.”
“After seven years of homeschooling my kids,” I add, “I listened to my siblings commiserate about their kids during adolescence — more self-conscious, worried about fitting in, not willing to step out alone. It hit me that my own children blossomed during adolescence, becoming very outgoing and confident. Could the difference be the lack of peer pressure in their learning environment?”
Balanced Socialization
The first thing most want to know is: What about socialization? I point to a study conducted at the University of Florida by Larry Edward Shyers, Ph.D., who published his thesis, Comparison of Social Adjustment Between Home and Traditionally Schooled Students, in 1992. Observing through a one-way mirror, researchers rated children on various markers of positive and social behaviors. The researchers did not know which children were homeschooled. On maturity and socialization skills, the homeschooled children scored in the 84th percentile. The demographically matched sample of public-school children only scored in the 27th percentile.
After analyzing the data, Smedley concluded: “In the public school system, children are socialized horizontally, and temporarily into conformity with their immediate peers. Home educators seek to socialize their children vertically, toward responsibility, service, and adulthood, with an eye on eternity.”
Other studies have shown similar results.
This information always impresses my audience. “Think about it,” I say. “In a classroom of 25 students and one adult, who are students modeling themselves after most? And which kids exhibit the greatest influence — the loud-mouthed bullies or the quiet, well behaved ‘A’ students? We all know it’s too often the loudmouths.”
When I spoke to the teachers’ group, my audience all nodded their heads in agreement.
It is at this point that I sympathize with teachers. They have a very challenging job and their role in society is very important. “I’m not homeschooling because I don’t like teachers,” I explain. “I do it because of the opportunity it presents —things that I do not expect of a public-school teacher. At home, I can hand down my religious faith, my kids learn in an atmosphere without peer pressure, we have the freedom to explore topics in depth and take field trips, and we don’t lose our kids to a world where friends are more important than family.”
From Incredulous to Intrigued
People want to know if kids really learn at home. I explain that, when I first read of kids thriving and doing better academically at home, I questioned whether I could duplicate such results. Once we began homeschooling, I understood why homeschoolers average 80% and above across standardized testing for math and reading. It’s largely a matter of a child getting individual attention and going at his own rate rather than getting held back or pushed ahead. For instance, if my child gets half the answers wrong on a page of English, we go back over it before continuing on. Likewise, when my child completes one lesson he can move right along to the next.
This past year on Education Issues Day, I followed a speaker representing a local community college. He explained that the online courses were being met with great enthusiasm. “The students tend to do better on these courses,” he stated, “because they can work independently and at their own pace.”
“Bingo!” I thought and later recalled this speaker’s point to my audience.
Towards the end of my talk, I start getting highly focused questions. Where do you get your curriculum? What are the requirements? How do you teach subjects you don’t know well yourself?
When it comes to choosing a curriculum, options abound. There are Catholic, secular and online courses, correspondence schools and even video courses. Parents can get the answer keys to textbooks and tests but it’s also an opportunity to learn along with the kids. Many communities have support groups — do an Internet search or ask around among homeschoolers — and there are annual conferences with speakers and curriculum fairs.
If you are interested in schooling at home, check with your state’s Department of Education to learn the specific requirements.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. And many homeschoolers eventually enroll in school or at least take a few classes in the higher grades. “We are not against the public schools,” I point out in my presentations. “We live in this community and we want our schools to be strong.”
I homeschool because my husband and I felt God directed us down this path. After eighth grade, our children attend a good Catholic high school. Thus far, all eight of the older ones have done very well in school both academically and socially. But I know kids who homeschooled all the way through high school and went on to excel at college.
Homeschooling is not a magic wand that automatically improves students or families. It requires hard work, dedication — and one other thing.
If you’re a Catholic parent discerning a possible call to homeschool your kids, remember: Homeschooling begins and ends with prayer.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Compensation for Moms

What if moms were compensated by the government to stay at home with their children from birth until they graduate from high school? How different would our future generation look? If you were to interview criminals how often would you find that their background contributed almost 100% to their crimes? How many drug addicts and alcoholics are trying to get away from the pain of the past? How many teen pregnancies have occurred between 3 pm when school dismissed and 6pm when their parents get home? How many people who are homeless can trace so much back to their upbringing? How many times have you heard “my mom had to work 2 jobs to put us through school so she wasn’t there for me”? How many studies show that teens and young adults in gangs are there because they want a family, the family they never had at home?
What would life look like if instead of throwing the people in jail that are trying to escape their past through drugs, alcohol, and gang related crimes, we found the root of the problem? What if we dug to the deepest depth of why these crimes occur instead of trying to put a band aid on the cut what if we got rid of what caused the cut in the next generation?
There was a time before the 1960’s when less gangs, drug addicts and teen pregnancies. Was it correlated to a mom being home? Did it have something to do with the fact that the children and teens knew that moms were home in all the neighborhoods and they watched what was happening and intervened? There was a time when moms did not have to work and their first priority was their family, their husband, children and home life. There was less divorce. There was less stress on the family. There was a person who had a role in life that held the family together, that raised the children that helped with homework that was an advocate of her children’s education that worked on her marriage that did it all. Was it overwhelming, of course it was? Were the women ready to be liberated and find their own independence of course they were. Is there a way to find a happy median between those two worlds?
I propose that there is. What if the moms who want to stay home with their children and are not seeking to be career women were compensated for their role as a mom? What would happen if even the career moms would only have to work part time because they are compensated for being a mom? What would happen if the compensation was given to those who want to stay at home, raise their children, and get involved with their child’s education, sports and activities? What would happen if we raised our children within a stable atmosphere where they knew that someone was always there for them? A place where they were completely loved and bonded with a parent? What if that child came first in that mom’s life because she didn’t have to worry about holding down a job so the lights would stay on in the house and that the mortgage would be paid? What would happen if that child had time to spend with that mom to learn manners, respect, work ethic and how relationships work? What if that mom had the time to take care of the house, laundry, cooking, cleaning, school commitments etc. so the stress of catching up rarely occurred? What would our future generation look like if moms were home to give that child a hug, sit down at the table and do homework together? Studies have proved that regardless of the institute or level of education if a parent is not involved with the child’s education it is rare for the child to succeed. It’s difficult to be involved when we are at work, running errands, fighting with our spouses because we are overstressed by all the demands of life as a two parent working family is..
If the government could see how much compensating a mom would change the face of our society I think they would invest. Not compensating with $50,000/yr maybe $20,000 like a part time job. How much does it take to keep one criminal alive in prison for 1 year? I found stats between $30 – $40. It would be an investment that would save so much money for the government. Would we still have crimes, drug addicts, gangs, murder, and prostitution? Of course we would have crime but it would decrease dramatically if as children these people had a sense of stability, security, purpose, confidence and love in their lives, guaranteed!!
Is there really a more important job in life than raising a child to be a responsible and caring adult that contributes to society? What job holds more importance than how we form the future generation? Everyone thinks the key is education and that is a huge piece but the bigger piece is the foundation that surrounds and encompasses the life of a child/teen/young adult and that can only come through a loving, stable family. Don’t we want our family life back? Without time to build it, nurture it and grow it, this will never happen and the unrest will continue. We can’t go back to the 1950’s, we have learned too much and we women need our rights and independence but we can learn from the neglect of the family (not solely due to the “working mom”, but to the breakdown of the family as a unit). What needs to change, what’s going to break if we don’t change?
Compensate the moms that want to be full time moms and watch a good percentage of our future transform for the better. Give that opportunity to more moms and you will find more stay at home moms that will change our world for the best.
(This article is taken from the website You can subscribe to it and they send daily articles to help you be a good mother and a good Catholic too.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


Fulfilling Results
When my husband Phil first mentioned the idea of homeschooling our three children, I tried to pretend I hadn't heard him. Even though I was an experienced classroom teacher, I had seen a number of successful homeschool moms and had thought, "But I don't have their placid temperament or their particular strengths." What I soon learned was that God uses each parent's strengths to provide a unique environment for the family, and they are led into many new and broadening experiences.
Now that our three children are all adults in their 20s, Phil and I have the incomparable joy of seeing them happy and fulfilled in the area of life and service to which God has called them at this time. Much to our delight, our two sons have married and both are committed to teaching their own children at home.
—Beverly Jones

Confidence for the Future
I remember when we started homeschooling in 1985. I wondered if I could keep homeschooling once we reached high school. I wanted my children to be in a healthy atmosphere, spiritually and emotionally, but could I really prepare them for college and a future career?
Benjamin, the oldest of our four children, attended the College of William and Mary on a full-tuition academic scholarship. He is now the speech writer for senator John Gornyn (TX). Emily, our second-born, is a junior at the University of Virginia. Following in their footsteps, Ellis, our second son, is using the University of Nebraska's Independent High School program, and 8-year-old Florence is enjoying her 4th grade Calvert School lessons. I am so grateful for the daily time I get to spend with each of them, especially now that the older ones are leaving the nest.
If you feel God is calling you to continue homeschooling during the high school years, let me encourage you—you can do it, with his help. Though we've had the typical ups and downs of homeschooling life, I can now look back on the results of my daily efforts, and have confidence that he's prepared them for whatever the future holds.
—Jeanne Domenech

Definitely Prepared
My parents decided to homeschool me because I had speech problems, and they didn't want to expose me to the teasing of school children. They taught me from kindergarten through 12th grade. I loved my "school" experience, and I don't believe I ever wanted to attend a traditional school, public or private. It gave me the unique opportunity to truly grow up with my three siblings. And I was involved in many activities, including 4-H, AWANA Bible club, and volunteering at a local hospital. Today, as a 2002 graduate of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, having earned a business administration degree with concentrations in accounting and information systems, I already have a job as a full-time accountant. Looking back on my schooling experience, I was definitely prepared for college—emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.
—Carrie Ireland

Sunday, April 3, 2011

GOOD NEWS! Violet delivered a beautiful baby boy last Monday. She was in hospital with complications-placenta previa and finally they operated on Monday. But due to excessive bleeding, she had to lose the uterus, which was very upsetting for the family. This is their fifth child, a blessing and a miracle. The children are Esmee, Ethel, Euban, Evaly and now the son born will have beginning two letters EW in his name.Please pray for this unique family as Milagres the father is a prolife leader in Goa. He is President of Artists for Life, Goa which is an affiliate of HLI International.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Glenn, Auriel, KAN, Charis Ann and Suzanne/Daniel.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The question of the week is out. Please refer to this blog and have a blast!
In sharing his thoughts on money and childrearing, Stan from Hawaii said philosophically, "It is more important to have a high level of living than a high standard of living." Marilyn from Oregon agreed. "Buying things is no substitute for time and love. Kids can't be fooled. They would much rather have us attend their school program, for example, than miss it because we are working late so they can wear a designer label on their clothes." Seconding this perception wholeheartedly was a daughter from Washington. "Mom and dad made a mutual decision that mom would be a housewife. They sacrificed the tangibles, like a pool, new cars, or a boat for things that mean so much more, like spending time with their children and nurturing their growth." One mother's opinion on overdoing the tangibles was blunt. "The more you give to children materially, the less they appreciate." On the other hand, she's noticed that the more time you give to children, the more they appreciate it.
If you are unable to provide your children the standard of living that you'd like, or the one that they'd like you to think they'd like, you needn't feel guilty whatsoever, according to these parents and their youngsters. It is time that heads children's list of most precious parental gifts. Whether you're short or long on money, the more you give of you, the less your kids will care about worldly goods or any lack of. Time is the essence of parenthood.
Time is the cornerstone upon which a family's well-being is built. Involvement, presence, availability―words that signify a parent's commitment to family success. Giving quality time in quantity improves every aspect of one's home life.

We've listened to many parents tell of childhoods loaded with emotional baggage, and yet somehow along the way to adulthood, they left that baggage behind. Why haven't they mirrored the parenthood they saw years ago? How have they become responsible parents after watching only irresponsible models of parenting?
Almost without fail, those parents with chaotic pasts spoke, in different words, of the same phenomenon. One father tagged it succinctly, reverse resolve. Here is how some parents explain it:
• "In our house, children were seen and not heard, so I have been careful to listen to my own children.... I knew when I had children I wanted to play and vacation with them because I had always wanted to do that as I was growing up.... My worst times with my parents were listening to them quarrel early in the morning. I hated to hear anyone raising their voice or insulting another person; so, I try to be very careful to not call names and to try to criticize in such a way that no one loses face."
• "The worst time of my life was the death of my little brother. He was two and I was four. I was his little mother and even at such a young age, I felt a great void in my life. Also, the knowledge that, according to my parents, the wrong child died affected my life in many ways. The unloved feelings that I experienced; however, helped me in that I grew up determined that any children I had would never experience that feeling."
• "I was the last of seven, of which four survived. My father was forty-three when I was born. By the time I got interested in sports at the ten/eleven-year-old age, he didn't have time for me. I wanted to do things, but he didn't have time. I said to myself then that if I ever had children of my own, I would give them a great deal of support―spiritual or whatever they needed―and I would be with them. I can vividly remember the day my dad died, I came home from the hospital and there was a picture of both my parents on the bureau. I went up to the picture, and I looked up at my dad and said, `Dad, it is a shame, but I never knew you.' I made a vow to myself that this would never occur in my family, and I do spend time with the kids."
• "My father was raised in an environment where sons were considered an asset and daughters a liability. Sons were a measure of a man's virility, daughters a weakness in his manhood. My worst times [as a child] were a result of the beliefs he had. I remember a family reunion where the men had gathered and were teasing one of the men for having his fourth daughter and no sons. My dad spoke up and bragged that he had three sons. He never mentioned he had a daughter. The impact of those attitudes affected my determination to be better and amount to more. It made me my own person. It also affected the way our children were raised. Their gender did not enter into any decision. The only thing that mattered was that, if it was a chore, it needed attention, and if it was an activity, it only mattered whether he or she wanted to try it―that's all."
Reverse resolve is that reaction by which parents refuse to remain victims of their own childhoods and resolve instead to rise above them. It is more than a desire to avoid repeating their parents' mistakes. It is the determination to use painful memories to fuel the drive to become genuinely good parents despite a lack of childhood training. As these parents left the direct influence of their parents, they were able to reinterpret past events, no longer being controlled by them, but turning them into vivid guidelines for what not to do at all costs with their own families. In essence, they made past pain work to their families' present benefit. Emotions are powerful motivators. They can drive an individual to do the exact opposite of whatever happened to him to create the emotion. For example, if loneliness was the dominant childhood emotion fostered by a neglectful parent, that feeling can evolve into the underlying self-will never to be even slightly neglectful if and when one becomes a parent. Again and again, the stories of these parents' pasts illustrate this theme. To be sure, much of the strength in all one hundred of these families arose directly from the parents' own positive childhoods and role models. Many parents had the chance to learn from and build upon the upbringings their parents gave to them. But not all parents are so fortunate. And if you are one of those parents, then a primary message of this chapter is for you. It bears repeating once more, for it is critical to your success as a parent. By example of their successful family life, these parents are living proof that no matter how you were raised, no matter what abuse or cruelty you witnessed or experienced, the seeds for achieving a quality parenthood still live within you. They cannot be destroyed. Your past does not place a ceiling upon the heights of parenting you can reach. You are not destined to become what your parents were, or even a small part of what your parents were. You have the capability to stretch yourself far beyond the adequate to raise a family the likes of which you never knew. Believing in your potential for excellence is a necessary first step to a quality family life. It primes you to watch, listen, and learn from others how to build upon your own strengths.