‘Heresy Check’: One App I Really Want Made

For those of you about forty-years-old or older, you can probably remember a time when there was neither internet nor cable. There was no TV recording capability: if you wanted to watch Donny and Marie, you watched it Fridays at 8:00PM or not at all. If you were playing home video games in 1978, you were playing Pong. Yes, life was hard. And for young authors like myself, technology that would have assisted you in writing was almost nonexistent. Remember that this was an era in which a mechanical pencil was considered pretty cool. “Cutting and pasting” required scissors and Elmer’s. If you were lucky, you had a typewriter; if you were even luckier, that typewriter had a correction ribbon. For me, “grammar check” meant simply reading a sentence aloud and waiting for my Mom to correct me. “Spell check” worked like this: “Mom, how do you spell snickersnee?” Mom: “Look it up, Johnny!” (As an entire generation of kids observed—and an entire generation of parents did not—“looking it up” implies the prior knowledge of the spelling.)…

Chaos Theory

At this time every year in America, most of us are required to attend at least one graduation ceremony. And commencement addresses seem intent on informing students that they will somehow stand out in the world—or even (gasp) to “change the world.”…

Organizing My Life

Appearing in various literary forms, writing about organization is all the rage; in fact, it has become a genre. (As I’m writing this, I typed in “organization” to Amazon. com “books” and got over 230,000 results.) For some readers, it is surely a source of help and consolation, yet somehow when I read these articles, I feel more frustrated than comforted. In fact, sometimes when I read articles about organization, I feel compelled to write rebuttals. But maybe the organizers and I can find some common ground. To all you organizers out there, can you please write an organization book for me? To help you get started, I have some questions…

A Day at the Spa for Homeschooling Moms

Alright, homeschool Dads. Your wife is reaching the end of another academic year. She has endured arguments from the teenagers about book reports for Goodbye, Mr. Chips. She has sharpened dozens of number 2 pencils. She has scrubbed 64 different colors of crayons off the kitchen walls. She has corrected so much Math 54 that she feels like she personally knows John Saxon. She has helped your children diagram so many sentences that she now mentally diagrams sentences as people speak them to her…

Walking through Wardrobes

We’ve all probably been in conversations in which a parent will comment that his child spends too much time on the computer or iPad, as though the parent had no control at all over his children. That’s pretty sad for a number of reasons, beginning with the fact that it alludes to a relationship breakdown. But it also strikes me that we parents have collectively lost sight of those things that often draw families together, rather than apart. And perhaps we have lost sight of the most basic one: reading to our children…

Many Are Called

Like many Catholic fathers, I often pray that if my boys have vocations to the priesthood, they accept their callings. Sadly, as Jesus told us, many do not. The corollary to my prayer is the additional plea that I be given the graces to properly assist them along their way…

Immortal Love

Every St. Valentine’s Day leaves men at a loss for telling their girlfriends or wives how much they love them. Very often, whether a dozen red roses, a box of chocolates, or a hand-written poem, nothing seems to suffice. If you homeschool husbands find yourself in this predicament, don’t feel too bad. We’ve all been there. In fact, I’ve always been there…

Museums

A few months ago, I wrote an article dealing with blaming yourself as a Catholic parent whose children have veered off course. In it, I told the story of a man who spent an afternoon in a famous museum. The man walked around and observed the paintings of Raphael and the sculptures of Michelangelo. After spending four hours in the museum—unimpressed by anything—he decided he had seen enough. On his way out, he told the museum curator, “I’m leaving. I haven’t seen anything good here today.”…

Sitting at the Kids’ Table

I always seem to wind up at the kids’ table. Until recently, I thought this happened by pure serendipity, but I’m beginning to wonder if it occurs by my own subconscious design…

Marriage, the Family, and Home Education

Home education means the teaching by the parents at home, by both parents. A father’s contribution to the home education of his children is indispensable…