Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Easy-to-Use Online Science! {A Supercharged Science Review}

Are you looking for an easy-to-use online science curriculum that encourages real-life, hands-on learning as well and covers a broad range of topics for children at a K-12 level?

Then, the e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum by Supercharged Science would be great for you and your family!

We were blessed with a one-year subscription for review, which my oldest - a 13-year-old - has been using regularly, and which I am excited to jump into more with my younger two children in the months to come.

Much of the review which follows was drafted or narrated by my 13-year-old directly, since he has been our primary user 
e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum so far.

What follows is a review largely drafted and narrated by my son, since he is the one who used this helpful science program the most so far in our home.

What is Supercharged Scie

Supercharged Science is an online science curriculum created by
 Aurora Lipper, a former NASA scientist and mechanical engineer, who was disheartened by the lack of a basic science foundation and excitement for all things “science” among her students, and so created this program so that children would not be bored out of their minds and would actually learn important science concepts and have fun.

It has a large archive of short teaching videos, experiments (demonstrated on video), printables and more which take you through a broad spectrum of science subjects, such as physics, biology, astrophysics, chemistry, electronics, and more.

You can
study these by grade level - pre-K/K through Grade 8, and then Advanced Topics for high school - or by topic unit, of which there are 20.

Either way, you learn science at your own pace in an interesting way.
Why and How Did I Use Supercharged Science? When my mother asked me if I wanted to do Supercharged Science, I said, "yes", because I have decided that I want to begin high school early and thought this would be a good way to see if I am ready to do so.

My mom agreed that I could try any Supercharged Science Advanced Topic as an independent study. I chose the Physics, because it was the first thing there. To use the program, I just had to open a video, grab my notebook and a pencil, and do the work. Aurora talked on the videos and wrote things out while I took notes. She taught me about velocity, vectors, scalers, acceleration, and more so far.

She also presented experiments which look easy, fun, and not to expensive. You can understood the concepts of the experiments just by watching them, but it is great to do some, too, which I do when I can. Here are some pictures my brother took of me as he was helping me with an experiment on acceleration. (Mom says, ignore the mess all around.)

To do the experiment, I drew a line on the driveway, put the ball on the line, and held my foot there to keep it there.
I started the stopwatch and let the ball go at the same time and stopped it at one second, marked it, and kept doing it, increasing by one second each time.

What should have happened is that the farther down the hill it got, the longer the distance should have been between seconds. This didn't happen though. I think it is because of the shape of my driveway. In my experiment, each second went about the same distance. So, I would probably need to retry it with a surface that has a more angled, not curvy decline than my driveway.
Do I Recommend Supercharged Science? I have told my mom that Supercharged Science is the science I want to use through next year to earn some of my high school credits. I like that it is easy to use, has a good order to it, and can take me through entire course without my mom. I suggest this product for those of all ages who need to learn science and especially for kids like me who want to learn independently.

My mom said she also thinks the program is good and will be using it with my brother and sister. There are many fun experiments and hands-on activities for all ages within Supercharged Science. See some of them in the other Crew Reviews.
Now back to Mom: As a Mom, I know my son. He is taking the rigor of the Physics program as easily as he can right now...

...taking shoddy, messy notes...

...and not truly diving as deeply into things as he could and will need to for high school credits. This is NOT because of the program - which has everything you'd need and more for a high school physics class (including some math help videos,...) It is because he is only 13 and has not dealt with something with this kind of rigor yet. So, he is taking things s-l-o-w-l-y, working for a brief 10-20 minute period several times a week "because that's how long the videos are, Mom."

I have explained to him that he will also need to get better about keeping his science notebook, writing out labs, reading included text, etc. - not to mention spend more time in a sitting or dedicate more sittings - if he wants to finish the course in a year. He understands that now and still wants to proceed - without me, of course. 

I am all for having him try.

Aurora makes a wonderful virtual teacher, presenting things clearly and offering everything needed to help students succeed. Between Aurora's enthusiasm for science as seen in the videos, her clear teaching, the text, handy supply lists, experiments, and everything else in e-Science Homeschool Science Curriculum truly is a great offering for homeschoolers who wish to have students study on their own or for ones that like to work together with parents and kids. Kinesthetic learners, visual learners, and audio learners are all "spoken to" and the program is one I would recommend.

Read all the reviews.

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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Pray for Your Child's Vocation and Possible Future Spouse

This morning, as my family walked into Mass, we discovered one of the scheduled altar servers had not shown up. Thus, one of my boys quickly went to the sacristy to prepare to serve.

As soon as I laid eyes on him dressed in an alb, a spontaneous prayer began in my head. It went something like this:
Lord, if my son is meant to be a priest, please let him hear his call clearly and pursue it well.  Lord, also, please equip me to best guide, support, and love him in whatever future vocation he is mean to live.
Religious life, married life, life as a single person. Whatever you will for my son, may it be so. 
And, Lord, if my son has a vocation to marriage, please be working in the heart and mind of his future spouse. Please be preparing her specifically for him so that they may both fully love one another and love you well. Let her be growing in relationship to you and in ways that will bloom in relationship with him. Likewise, prepare him to be a worthy husband to her.
Lord, I pray also for the possible future spouses of my daughter and of my youngest son.  If my children are called to the vocation of marriage, please be with their spouses now, giving them grace and helping them grow. Please prepare their spouses' hearts for them and theirs for their spouses.  Please direct them to their spouses in a timely way, not letting them stray in mistaken relationships. 
Of course, Lord, if marriage is not your will for any of my children, that is more than okay. Whatever you call is, I pray they hear it clearly and follow it well. Please give them the virtue, strength, and wisdom to live as priests, religious, single people, or married people - whatever is your will.

Whatever vocation you desire of my children, please work in their hearts, in mine, and, if they are to be married, in the hearts of their spouses, now so that your will may unfold beautifully.
Thank you for every grace and blessing. Amen.

A Weekly Prayer Peg for My Child's Vocation - and Possible Future Spouse

The prayer I prayed this morning was a bit verbose - just pouring forth as I looked at my son and then up to stained glass widows of Jesus on the cross and Mama Mary next to him.

Other weeks, my prayer is briefer, but, always, when I pray for my children's vocations - and for their possible future spouses - it is heartfelt.

You see, years ago, I felt prompted to pray for the potential future spouse of my eldest son, and, then, for that of my daughter and my youngest son, i, I should pray for their spouses every day.

Truth be told, though, I think a lot of things, but am not always the best at turning thoughts into action.

So, all too many days, such prayers went unprayed until one Sunday, I realized that when my boys are serving on the altar, I often find myself praying that, if they are meant to be priests, they will clearly hear God's call. Then, I thought, And, if they are not meant to be priests but are meant to be married, please be preparing their wives' hearts. And, at this moment, corollary clarity struck: Mama, you are meant to pray for your children - whatever their vocations may be - and, feel called to pray for their future spouses, too. So, what better time than "pegged" to Sunday Mass - and, sometimes, daily Mass?

So, it was a personal "prayer peg" formed.

Each Sunday, I pray simply, Lord, please be preparing my children for their vocation and help me to do so, too.  If they are to be married, please be working in the hearts and lives of their spouses now to prepare them for their future marriage. Or, something akin to that.  

Some weeks, I pray but a sentence or two. Other weeks, mental paragraphs of prayer pour forth. All weeks, I am grateful that God placed it on my heart to pray for this specific intention for my children, and, if they are to be married, for their future spouses.

Should marriage be their vocation, I look forward to welcoming their future spouses into our family and to smile, knowing God prompted me to pray for them before I even knew them.

God is good. All the time. Whatever vocation He has planned for my children will be, too.

The same goes for your children.

Do you, too, pray regularly for your child's future spouse or for your child to clearly hear a call to religious or single life? 

Do you pray that you be given the grace to be able to do your part in helping your child transition into whatever vocation is God's will? 

If so, have "pegged" such prayers to a specific time? 

Do you pray spontaneously for such intentions as I do, or do you use a specific pre-written prayer, Bible verse, or prayer "formula"?  

I would love to hear about it.

What's a Prayer Peg?

If you are new here or have not caught my prior Prayer Pegs posts, let me explain that as a busy, distractable Mom, I am not always good at listening to St. Paul's exhortation from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to "pray without ceasing."

Thus, I have come to establish a number of "prayer pegs" for myself and my children as a way of building "Holy Habits" for us which will
flow naturally, seamlessly, and rhythmically within our lives. 

These "prayer pegs" are simply acts of blessing, praise, thanksgiving, petition, and intercession that we've attached to specific activities in order to form intentional habits of unceasing prayer.  For just like one can purposefully peg laundry to a line, we can attach a distinct form of prayer to a regular part of our lives.

What prayer pegs work for you and yours at other times during your days and weeks? Do share! 

And may your child and my own children continue to grow in relationship to God and in virtue, wisdom, and stature, so that they might clearly hear their calls to vocation and, then, live their vocations well.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Learn Math and Typing through Online Games {An EdAlive Review}

I consider a program a win when all three of my children use it independently and happily.

That is exactly what happened as we reviewed Maths Invaders Online and Typing Tournament Online from EdAlive.

What is Maths Invaders Online?

If I had to tell you in one sentence what Maths Invaders is, I would say it is an online "easy button" for math drill without the kill which engages screen-loving students and those who do not always like online learning. 

For that is what we have found to be true in our home.

Both my 8- and 13-year-old boys love online learning and games and both happily logged in to play Maths Invaders regularly since we received a one-year subscription for review.  Then, some days, both needed to be told to log off and move on with other pursuits - which I take as a testimony to how engaging Maths Invaders is.

Further, my 11-year-old daughter who does not always like online programs, also enjoyed Maths Invaders.  For her - a child that struggles with dyslexia and related learning struggles - repetition of skills is essential.  So, I was delighted to know Maths Invaders was offering such repetition while also keeping her smiling.

Yep, winning!

I know, though, you probably want to know a bit more about the program, so let me give you an overview.

Basically, Maths Invaders Online engages children in a space-themed video game that covers numeration and mental math calculations. It starts with beginning addition and subtraction and progresses as children prove mastery of K-10th grade skills, including times tables, division fractions, decimals, percentages, numeration, counting, squares, square roots, powers, and more. 

The program also offers printable worksheets for those wanting offline practice. 

What is Typing Tournament Online?

Typing Tournament Online is another program from EdAlive that teaches through typical typing practice layered into an online gaming perspective. 

Basically, it uses a Medieval theme to to draw children ages six and up in to learning to type and to keep the engaged in learning skills.

Online typing fingers help cue finger placement, while drills and lessons teach skills and a game-like atmosphere aims to keep students engaged.

Developing typists are encouraged to defend a castle from invading words, extinguish fires set by dragons, etc.  Through the games, drills, and lessons involved with doing so, children move from being budding typists to masterful ones.  That is, if they choose this program more often than Maths Invaders, which, admittedly, my children did not.

They have done other typing programs, and I thought that Typing Tournament would be a good refresher for them - especially because they all typically like Medieval themes - but, to be honest, Maths Invaders was far more engaging for my crew and, since there is only so much screentime allowed in a day, they spent much more time on math than typing.

Still, they did give Typing Tournament some time, and, when I watched what they were doing, I could see how the program would be excellent for young novice typers!

My Children's Thoughts

My 8-year-old said:
I liked Typing Tournament and Math Invaders. 

I didn't like Typing Tournament as much, because it was less fun and I think they should have more fun games in it.
Math Invaders has two things.One if the Galactic Campaign which has you shoot at problems you are solving. In the other, you try to find ships and rescue them by clicking on squares. You have to do problems to make your charger go up so you can click. Also, there is a big board and a large board so you can choose which one you want.  The big boards are more fun, but take longer.
I would recommend this to people who like online games and need to learn math or typing (but not as much typing - more math!). You can practice addition, subtraction, and harder things as you go on. 

My 11-year-old said:
I enjoyed EdAlive, because it makes learning fun, not boring and hard.E 
EdAlive is split up into two different parts: one is Typing Tournament the other is Maths Invaders.
My favorite of the two is Maths Invaders. It is all games,  while, on the other hand, Typing Tournament has tests and, yes, they called them tests.

My 13-year-old said:
 EdAlive is an online learning program. It teaches both math and typing in an enjoyable way.
Typing Tournament and Math Invaders are both fun. 
I have used Math Invaders many times and it is just hard enough to be challenging, without being too difficult. 
I recommend EdAlive to people of all ages who would like to increase their skill in math or typing 

Final Thoughts

Life has been loony here for months now, and every time I think things are getting to a point of balance and normalcy again, some surprise or another comes along to taunt me with a "no normalcy yet" (or, perhaps, a "THIS is your new normal.") Thus, I am VERY GRATEFUL for the ease-of-use and excellent engagement of Math Invaders!  Not once since beginning to review the program did I have to chide my children into math drills (although I sometimes did find myself chiding them to get offline to attend to independent lessons they do not like as much.) 

Further, when I had a moment now and again, I could log on to my parent portal to see how my children were progressing through lessons. Doing so, I was able to take note of my children's strengths and areas of math weakness, which helped me know what to focus on during current and future 1:1's with my children. (It also helped with conversations about focus, because, some of my children KNOW the math, but don't do well in the games due to focus and ignoring signs.)

Thus, I would recommend Maths Invaders Online without hesitation to you if who seek an engaging way to immerse children in mental math and math drills. It is a retro-style video game that can be played online, helping kids exercise and retain math skills. It is truly a program kids can use over and over through many levels of math learning.

As for Typing Tournament, I can see its worth and potential for engagement for new typists, so would recommend you take a look at it if you have a child that is interested in learning typing skills.

Of course, once you have mastered typing, you may not have much use for the program.

Learn More

Read the reviews.

Some Homeschool Crew Review members LOVED Typing Tournament Online and many enjoyed Maths Invaders Online.  To see how each used the program, read all the reviews.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Looking for Elementary Science {A Big Bible Science Overview}

If you are looking for a slim, colorful, and faith-focused science curriculum for learners ages 5-11, take a peak at the Big Bible Science by Christian Focus - a resource that can be used as a supplement to other curriculum or as the basis of a full semester or year of elementary-level science.

What is Big Bible Science?

Big Bible Science is a 96-page softcover that seeks to help children explore the world around them through a focus on science and how it connects to God's Word. 

It is 
designed for both homeschoolers and classroom teachers and begins with introductory pages that:

  • explain how to make the most of every lesson,
  • describe what components are included in each chapter,
  • offer some safety notes,
  • detail how to keep a science notebook,
  • and list which activities can be done alone, which need one or more partners, and which should only be completed under the supervision of an adult.

After that, are 21 different units which focus on such concepts as:

  • Gravity,
  • Laws of Motion,
  • Friction,
  • Acids and Bases,
  • the Water Cycle,
  • Animal Classification,
  • and, the Human Body.

Within each of these units, there are clearly written objectives, a list of needed materials (all of which you likely already have or can easily obtain), an explanation of a "Big Idea" that ties into a Biblical perspective, various activity ideas (demonstrations, games, and experiments), ideas for how to find examples of the lesson in the world, and "Go Beyond" ideas for challenging advanced students to think and experiment further.

At the end of the book, there are several pages which include mini-biographies of famous scientists, such as Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, and Leonardo DaVinca.

How We Used Big Bible Science

You know that old saying, "Life is what happens when you are making other plans." It seems to be the theme for the season of life I am in. Thus, instead of using Big Bible Science as I imagined I would, by diving into it with my kids at home on a regular basis, I ended up slipping the slim book into our "out-and-about" bag and reading, discussing, and doing some of the activities from the book when waiting for appointments, hanging out before scheduled clubs, classes, and programs, and utilizing time between homeschool commitments and work commitments.

My younger two and I also dipped into the book on our front lawn and in our living room when we were actually at home and able to focus there.

Of course, this is on-the-go and in-between way of use 
Big Bible Science is not the ideal as it does not allow for doing all the experiments and activities in the book, but it is what worked for us right now, and I am glad it did.

We were able to read about and discuss a variety of science topics, try out some of the simplest activities, recall other activities we'd done in previous clubs, classes, and curricula that were similar to ones in 
Big Bible Science (such as dropping balls of different sizes to see which would land first, charging up a balloon with static electricity, creating "lunar craters" by dropping balls in flour, and creating a water cycle model), and review and extend other learning we have done.

In fact, since we've been studying proteins with a group of friends in a twice-a-month large group study, we decided that the human body themed lessons in 
Big Bible Science were perfect to place focus on right now.  So, after appeasing my youngest by reading first about the Urinary System, we backed up and read, discussed, and did select activities in the Nervous System, Muscles, Bones, Respiratory System, Circulatory System, and Digestive System chapters.  

As we did so, I kept thinking how this book would be great for a co-op class and works well with just family, too.

What We Thought

When I asked my children for their thoughts for this review, my 8-year-old said:

I liked the book, because it has lots of activities you could do with movement instead of just writing and reading and doing that type of stuff. 

Part of Experiment 16

Some of what I learned was about blood, muscles, and the urinary system.

The urinary system was the first thing I asked to learn about, because I am weird. I learned that it takes out all the stuff the proteins and our bodies are not using and washes it down tubes where it comes out.

I would not like to read the book on my own, because it has such large print, but I like when Mommy reads it.  I like looking at the illustrations.

I would recommend it to Christian homeschoolers with 6-12 year old kids.

My 11-year-old said:

I enjoyed the Big Bible Science curriculum, because you are not just sitting and doing workbooks. It has activities you can do with someone else or in groups.
I also like how there are lots of pictures and diagrams to make it interesting to look at. 
Something I learned was that muscles only pull. They don't push. 

More of Experiment 16

I would recommend this book for kids my age and younger to use with their parents.

My 13-year-old didn't have much to say, because - if I am to be honest - the cover of the book was a bit juvenile-looking for his taste and he tuned out much of the reading, discussion, and activities his siblings and I did as he worked on other things.  He did comment, however, that there were a lot of topics covered in the book.  So, at least I know he has looked it over and can grab it for a quick grasp/review/overview of basic concepts as he moves on in his own science studies or could use it to teach younger children concepts should the need arise (as may happen since, in the past, he has helped me teach classes for younger homeschoolers in a co-op.)

As for me I thought:

  • The lessons are well-written - easy for younger children to understand with enough "meat" and true "sciency stuff" for older elementary students to get something out of the book.

  • Experiments and activities are plentiful and varied, reaching different learning styles, with some leaning toward the artsy side, some more social/game-like, and others straight up science experiment style
  • The book can flex with family needs - working well for a family that wants to ease into science studies doing one lesson or so a week, for families with an older child that would like an easy-to-read-and-use resource for teaching younger children, or for families with young children that want a stand-alone resource for teaching a broad range of science topics.

So far, I have found
 Big Bible Science to be a sound and well-written, faith-connected Science curriculum that is easy to understand and use.  

The only thing I would like to see in future editions of the book is, perhaps, a new cover to make it more appealing to older kids in a family and a redesign/edits so that there are clear "kid" pages and "teacher" pages, because as the book is designed now, sometimes it seems like it is written and designed for teachers, and, other times, it appears to be written directly to students. This worked for me as I shared the material with my children, but between the large font and the changing style narration, turned my kids off from using the book on their own.

They did like to use it with me, though, and the books is chock full of true science learning, some creative demonstrations and explanations, and plenty of Bible-connection.  So, I still would recommend it even "as is".

Learn More

Christian Focus has been publishing books since the 1970's with the purpose of spreading the Gospel, and, recently, members of the Homeschool Review Crew have had the opportunity to review four titles from their CF4Kids category.  These resources focused on elementary science, bibliographies, or early learning ABC's.  Click on through to read what these families thought of the books.

Read the reviews!

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

10 Favorite Faith Activities

May is a time of year when I reflect on what our family has been doing in life and learning for the past nine months or so and how we might best place our focus for the summer and following fall.

As part a part of that process, I always ask my children about things like they have liked, not liked, want to continue, want to pause, want to try out... I also, sometimes, ask them specific questions.

One I asked this year was, "Which faith-related activities, resources, traditions, or activities did you like the best this year?"

My children's responses surprised me.

I expected to hear about favorite Lent, Easter, Advent, and Christmas traditions, myriad saint day celebrations, go-to books, videos, and audios, and the like.

Instead, my children said:

1. Mass: "I get to serve and it's really fun." 

Seriously?  I NEVER thought I would hear my oldest call Mass fun! He is the child that was the toughest child at Mass for many, many years and who was my reason for prayer, trust, and reaching out.  

I am so grateful to the former pastor of our church who took a chance on allowing our son to become an altar boy when he still struggled at times with even being at Mass, and I am even more grateful for the grace, mercy, and blessings God has bestowed on us. Serving has made such a difference in my son's life.

If you have a child that is a handful at Mass, be encouraged. He may one day cause your jaw to drop by stating Mass among his top three favorite faith-connected practices.

2. Confession: "I feel like I don't have to worry that I am going to go to h-e-double-hockey-sticks... I feel happy that God has mercy on me."

Again, I was surprised (and delighted!) by another of my oldest's answers to my question.

I did not relish the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a child and did not return regularly to the Sacrament until after I became a mother.

Wanting my children to be steadier in faith than I was, I actively sought out resources to use in teaching each of my children about the Sacrament of Reconciliation before their first Reconciliations and have continued to look for age-appropriate reinforcements about this Sacrament.

I have also, of course, prioritized regular Reconciliation time.

I am so grateful for this Sacrament and the graces it brings, and, now, am grateful for affirmation that my child appreciates it, too.

If you are reluctant to take your children to Reconciliation regularly, please just try it. Then, try it again.  Make a habit of it and, I bet, you'll see a difference in your life.

3. Savoring the Sweetness of Jesus: "I like that it tastes good!"

Hmmm... it would appear that the way to a teen boy's heart - and soul - may not just be through the Sacraments, but through his stomach.
We have a tradition in our home of enjoying a sweet treat or snack after Mass as a symbol of "savoring the sweetness of Jesus".  So, of course, my 13-year-old said this was one of his favorite faith-connected things this year. 

4. Altar Serving: "It's fun."

Although my youngest was super-excited to serve at Mass as soon as he'd received his First Communion and was, thus, able to train and serve, he does not - as his big brother sometimes does - ask to serve at Mass when he is not scheduled to do so.  Thus, I have sometimes wondered lately if he truly likes serving or if he does so out of a sense of duty.

I now have my answer, and I could not be happier.

I often pray when my boys are serving at Mass that if they are called to be priests, they will clearly hear and understand their call, and God will guide me in best supporting them.

I also pray that if they are called to other vocations - like marriage - God will make that clear, too, and, if marriage is to be their vocation, that God is already preparing their spouses hearts for them.

Whatever their vocations are to be, I have no doubt that serving Our Lord through serving at Mass is a wonderful way to prepare their hearts for their futures.

5. Saint Day Celebrations: "I usually like the food and hearing stories of saints, especially knights and soldiers!"

I love that my youngest enjoys our saint day celebrations and am not surprised that he particularly likes when we celebrate faith through food
, for he does love eating!

If you'd like ideas for celebrating saints, too, we've shared plenty of liturgical living ideas through the years.

6. Our Saint Joseph's Table: "I get to pretend to be baby Jesus and we eat honey-glazed pasta."

We have so enjoyed our St. Joseph's Day feasts through the years, with traditions of enacting the Holy Family, sharing special foods, and praying and playing with friends.

If you've been thinking of trying to start a tradition of faith-connected feasting with friends, I encourage you to mark next St. Joseph's day on your calendar and to plan an easy feast table.

7. Mary Gardens: "We haven't done that this year, though. Can we? (I like it, because) it is not only about faith, but we get to bring home a garden and it blooms around Mary."

My girl knows it Mary's month and reminded me that we have yet to plant a mini-Mary garden. There's still time to do so!  Maybe you'd like to plant one, too.

8. Volunteering at My Brother's Keeper: "We are doing one of the Works of Mercy and it's fun.  I really like going to My Brother's Keeper!"

My Brother's Keeper is such a fabulous organization and my children LOVE living our Works of Mercy by being "Santa's helpers" there each year during Advent.

If you are local to southeastern Massachusetts, do check out My Brother's Keeper as a fantastic charity to support. If you're not, maybe there is a similar place nearby.

9. Going to Events at the Fr. Peyton Place: "I like the the big Rosary walks and stuff there."

We are blessed to live relatively close to Holy Cross Family Ministries and to participate in events there.

The children were excited when Fr. Peyton was named venerable, and I am looking forward to the opening of the new Museum of Family Prayer that will be happening in September.

10. Going to See Relics: "It was really cool when the priests started singing all together and I like going to the relics."

Recently, we went to the St. Jean Vianney Relic Pilgrimage, participating in a beautiful Mass and veneration and being treated to hear a host of priests singing together as they venerated the relic.

St. Jean Vianney's Relic is still on tour, so look at the schedule to see if it will be coming to your area soon.

St. Maximilian Kolbe's relics, the Relics of the Passion, and the Treasures of the Church also made great impressions on my children in the past.

I admit, I never understood anything about relics when I was young and thought they were rather weird and creepy when I first came to now about them. However, I am glad I got over that, because learning about the saints and venerating relics has brought more depth to my children and my understanding of our faith.

If you'd like to know more about venerating relics, both CNA and EWTN provide brief, understandable explanations.

My heart is warmed by my children's answers to my question about which faith-related activities, resources, traditions, or activities they liked best this year since they testify to my children growing in understanding and appreciation of our faith.
I pray that they continue to grow in faith. I pray you and yours to as well.

I also encourage you to ask your children what they've most been enjoying and appreciating when it comes to faith-focused life and learning. Their answers - like those of my children - might come as a pleasant surprise and can also help direct where you put your focus in future months.


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