The joyful Catholic Home and other thoughts I’m pondering these days

Do you know Parenting with Grace by Greg Popcak? I absolutely love this book and I think it is very inspiring for thriving families! Reading this wonderful book and pondering the thoughts of the authors I felt I wanted to share what I have learned lately.

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Popcak connects the Theology of the Body with his parenting concept which was surprising to me at first, but turns out to be not only intriguing but convincing and powerful all at once. To Pope John Paul II self-donative love is the core of every human relationship – be it marriage, friendship or the relationship we have with our children.

Living self-donative love will result in so many wonderful things

Christ is the one who modeled self-donative love to us. From him we can learn how to love our neighbor, spouse and children. As Christ models self-donative love to us, we model the same to our kids and they will imitate us. They will learn from us. They will internalize it. Self-donative love will be natural for our kids and it will be the way they treat others and themselves.

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Living in a family that lives self-donative love will ultimately result in a joyful home. And that is what we all want, don’t we? But in order to get something (the joyful home) we have to give something (ourselves). That is the secret.

Will a joyful home always be joyful?

No, it won’t. We all are human beings, we’re not perfect and we don’t need to be. Attachment Parenting is not about perfectionism or eternal happiness. That’s not going to happen. Attachment Parenting is about a secure bond between parents and children and this bond will result in a solid foundation of the family.

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That way a family can brave stormy times. And that’s what a joyful Catholic home is. A joyful home is not home that is always happy, always all smiles, flawless. A joyful Catholic home is real. There will be bumps in the road, there will be hard times. A joyful Catholic home is a solid foundation that can help every family member to cope with these times. A joyful Catholic home is a home with a certain atmosphere. The atmosphere of self-donative love…

What I’ve been up to lately…

It’s gotten a little quiet here, hasn’t it? Yes, it has. We have had some major changes in our family and we are still adjusting so I have to set priorities. Don’t worry, everything is fine!

And I just want to let you know what I’m thinking about.

In the past I have been focusing on unschooling mainly. However, unschooling is something that just doesn’t work for us. Not because of us – we sure love it! But because of the country we’re living in. Unschooling is illegal over here. We have to either public or private school our kids. There is no alternative whatsoever.

I hate that thought and I will ponder about unschooling and homeschooling and home education and educational freedom some more, I promise. But I feel I want to focus more on Catholic Attachment Parenting in the future.

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How does that sound?

There are some great Catholic Attachment Parenting blogs out there and I think this blog can be part of this community. How do you feel?

So what am I planning to do?

I want to share some thoughts about why Attachment Parenting is Catholic – for me. What that means. What we can learn from our faith for our parenting journey. How we can parent our kids in gentle and loving way – not just infants, but also toddlers, kids and even teens.

I want to share some thoughts on how we can build strong families and why that is important. I want to share so many thoughts!

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Are you excited? I know I am!

But let’s take it slow, because I need to focus on my family right now. But what about you? Are there topics, questions, ideas you want to read about here at Living a Catholic Fairy Tale? What’s on your mind? Just let me know!

Unschooling and schooling all at once?

Never heard of that before, have you? No, me neither. But that might be the only chance we have to unschool our kids in this country. Unfortunately we have Compulsory School Attendance over here, so unschooling and any other form of Home Education is considered illegal.

I already told you a little about that.

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So what are our options? I mean realistically? Do I want to go to jail for not being willing to public school my kids? Do I want to be financially ruined? Do I want to lose custody? No, I don’t. Do I want to fight the system? Yes, I do. Am I willing to do harm to my children because I want to fight the system? No, I most definitely am not.

So here we go. There is no real solution to this, is there?

Well, maybe there is. Maybe there is something we can do without being prosecuted by the state. Maybe we just have to be really REALLY creative. Let’s see. How about looking for a school that works with an alternative curriculum? Without giving grades? Without forcing students to repeat a year if they didn’t satisfy all expectations?

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The good thing is: There are schools like this. They are still schools, so they are not what I’m dreaming of. BUT my kids could just learn as freely as possible – in this country. They don’t feel like doing their homework but do something more interesting instead? Great – since there are no grades there are no bad consequences to this and I could let them do as they like without doing harm to them. They can take almost full responsibility for their educational choices that way.

And they can learn as free as possible.

OK, I’m not going to sugar-coat this: I hate that idea. I want to unschool my kids. I want them to learn at home, in the garden, at the beach, in a local library – where ever they want. Whatever they want. When ever they want. How they want.

But that is just not going to happen…

A Weekend in Pictures – July 23rd/24th 2016

What a turbulent time! Our weekend started with our parish priest stopping by for a cup of coffee and some home made waffles. Later on friends came over and spent the night. We had a great time talking, cooking, eating and watching the children play. Could there possibly be a better start for a great weekend?

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Other than that we basically spent the weekend packing up…

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… which was a lot of fun for the kids, but not so much for us. Every once in while we had to take a break, though…

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On Sunday after Mass we decided to eat out and to enjoy the sunshine and a little free time…

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The end of the weekend…

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How was your weekend?

 

A typical unschooling day in our home

I know that many of you wonder why I even describe our lifestyle as unschooling – since our kids are still very young and there really is no schooling whatsoever until now. Well, you sure got a point, but you know what? There is really no start to unschooling. You can start to public school or to homeschool your child, but unschooling is natural learning that just happens “by the way”.

Unschooling is self-determined and self-regulated – and since natural learning starts with birth (maybe even before) and young children usually still have the chance to self-determine and to self-regulate their learning. And I consider that unschooling.

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So I think we’re already unschooling. But let’s what we do all day!

In the morning the kids and I usually get up about the time when my husband leaves home. We’ll have a morning prayer together and breakfast afterwards. The toddler loves butter her bread all by herself – which maybe is her first learning experience every day. She will also tell me what we wants for breakfast apart from bread. The baby loves to taste all kinds of things. She grabs basically everything that is around her and she loves to drink water from a glass.

Doing housework together offers us plenty of learning experiences

After breakfast we’ll just do some housework. The toddler loves to participate, the baby loves to watch. But sometimes even the baby wants to be part of our daily work and e.g. grabs pieces of laundry or tries to throw something into the dishwater while I’m doing dishes.

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Usually we’ll sing during the housework part of the day. You can call that music teaching if you want – I’ll go with fun and enjoying life.

Having finished the main part of my daily housework routine we’ll have our family devotions. We’ll pray together the Angelus prayer and the Lord’s prayer and we’ll read in our children’s bible. After that I’ll read in my bible and the kids will either play or “read” their bible.

Nap time…

The toddler recently stopped to take siestas, but the baby will be very tired by now. So the three of us will lay down until the baby sleeps. When the baby is sleeping I’m going to blog, write my book, or do whatever work needs to be done. Or I’m going to just read for a while. The toddler will play for herself during that time – that’s our arrangement and most of the time it actually works pretty well.

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After nap time we’ll prepare lunch together and eat and do some more housework. The toddler loves to hang out the laundry, to dry dishes and to clean with cleaning rags. The baby loves to practice all her new skill like standing, sitting and crawling in her play pen.

Ready for lots of new fun learning experiences we’ll go out to the playground

When we’re done with our daily work we’ll go out to the park or to the playground. Have you ever noticed just how much children learn while they are outside playing and interacting with other children? To me that is my favorite part of the day. I love to spend time just watching the toddler climb, seesaw, slide, play with sand, talk to other children, share and cooperate with them and have loads of fun. The baby will participate as much as possible.

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We all love playground time!

Our evenings are pretty quiet. We’ll just have dinner together, take a bath, pray and read a story from the bible. And then the kids will go to bed.

To me it’s amazing how much my kids can learn naturally. They learn by watching, by doing, by exploring and experimenting. And they learn by participating. And yes, I do think this is already unschooling.

What do you think?

A Weekend in Pictures – July 16th/17th 2016

We have had an eventful beautiful weekend – family trips, playground time, Holy Mass and great food. Is there anything more you can possibly dream of? Our weekend started on a very early Saturday morning when we were headed to the railroad station. What an adventure for the kids!

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Going on a family trip by train is something we enjoy as a family – we love trains and everything that goes with it! The kids had fun time looking out of the window, snacking, reading and running around.

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Since we had mostly sunny and warm weather we spent most time outside – on the playground, in the park, taking a walk. And also in the zoo. Although I really hate zoos…

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I think the kids enjoyed our trip to the zoo, though – and I don’t blame them. However, I really can’t help it, I always get so sad watching those beautiful creatures caged for our pleasure. Catching a glimpse of this baby zebra made me feel very ambivalent. Somehow I was happy to watch the two of them, but at the same time it made me so unhappy to realize that this cute baby zebra will never know what freedom is…

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Those two rhinos seemed to be very relaxed and didn’t bother being stared at by the crowd outside the compound. But I don’t like to see them caged. Aren’t they majestic creatures? It breaks my heart that they are critically endangered animals.

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Oh yeah, and I love this llama.

It has been a long weekend – which doesn’t necessarily mean that our kids are tired and need to sleep, though…

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Well, never mind. It has been exciting for our kids, so I do understand they can’t sleep. I wouldn’t mind your prayers, though, maybe they can sleep at least through the night?

Anyways. How was your weekend?

When you’re choosing a lifestyle that is illegal – Compulsory School Attendance and Unschooling

Are you an unschooler? Or a homeschooler? And is your government fine with that? Well, lucky you! Not everyone is as lucky as you are. In a lot of countries Home Education is just not possible because of compulsory school attendance. Home Education is considered illegal. A crime. Home Educators are considered criminals.

Like us.

In our country we have compulsory school attendance and Home Educators are harshly prosecuted. You can be fined until you’re financially ruined, children can be taken away, you can loose custody and even go to jail. There is one thing you really need as a Home Educator over here: Guts.

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No, I’m not joking. This is the reality we are facing. Every. Single. Day.

How do we cope with that? Well, our kids are still very young, so they don’t need to go to school. Yet. So we can pass undetected. For now. But what about the future? I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t know. I don’t. And that’s hard.

We have several options that we can choose but none of them really seems to be the right one for us.

Give up the battle before it really began and try to fit in

Option No. 1 is Give up the battle before it really began and try to fit in. We would just go look for a school that would somehow meet our needs and give our kids away to an institution we don’t believe in. Just to fit in. Just to not get into trouble.

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Look for a great school that is need-oriented and as close to unschooling as possible

Option No. 2 is Look for a great school that is need-oriented and as close to unschooling as possible. That, however, is complicated, since there are hardly any schools like that in our country. There are schools like Sudbury schools that have a very need-oriented approach which could be almost considered as unschooling – the thing is, however, they are hardly ever permitted by the government.

Leave the country and go somewhere where you can live according to your beliefs

Option No. 3 is Leave the country and go somewhere where you can live according to your beliefs. That would definitely be a possibility because there are several neighboring countries that allow Home Education. But leaving the country still is a tough decision. You’ll leave everything behind to move to a foreign country and to an unsettled future. It could be a real adventure. It could also be a nightmare.

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Stay and just do it. No Matter what.

Option No. 4 is Stay and just do it. No matter what. Lots of people do that. Regarding the consequences you can face that is a very courageous decision to make, though.

What will we opt for? I really don’t know. For now I stick to prayer and hoping for the best. What would you do?