The Walls of Constantinople

I just watched a wonderful TED talk on the significance of the Walls of Constantinople to the West.  I enjoyed that this video is both concise and clear. The only criticism I have is that those fleeing Constantinople did not only go to Rome, but to many other major cities. It was not so much the crusaders who brought the culture and knowledge from Constantinople to the west as it was the Eastern Romans themselves. Most of our books call them Byzantines, but they knew themselves as Roman. Go watch the video. Use it as part of your Church History … Continue reading

Historical Fiction for U.S. History

Did you know that Louis L’Amour would scour libraries, court houses, and museums for original source materials such as diaries, old letters, records of all sorts, in addition to newspapers before writing his stories? Supplement a unit study with his books or build an entire unit study around them, Mr L’Amour’s intense research makes his stories a good source for educational enrichment. His westerns are Historical Fiction and better researched than nearly anything else in that genre.  Westerns are a form of Historical Fiction that often gets overlooked. As parent educators we have the opportunity to bring history to life for … Continue reading

How Catholics Understand the Bible

I hear claims that because there are stories of violence in the Bible that we should reject the claims of Christianity.  This is a straw man argument; it ignores the actual manner in which Catholics understand and use the Bible.  For us, the proper way of understanding all scripture is within the context of the teaching authority of the Catholic Church.  This teaching authority comes to us from the Apostles who got it from Jesus. An excellent resource for reading scripture in context is the Ignatius Press version of the DIDACHE BIBLE. Or, if one prefers, the CATECHISM OF THE … Continue reading

Starter Book For Byzantine Studies

DAILY LIFE IN THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE by Marcus Rautman is a good starting place for anyone interested in the Byzantine Empire. Sections on every imaginable aspect of daily living can be found in this book and the author gives references for further reading by way of chapter endnotes and a Bibliography. The book includes nice clear maps, a glossary of terms, index, list of rulers and their years in power, timeline, and illustrations. Chapter titles and headings are bold and informational to make finding a specific bit of information easier for the reader. As an over-view of life in Byzantium … Continue reading

Book of Jotham by Arthur Powers

The Book of Jotham by Arthur Powers is a powerfully written little book which I recommend with enthusiasm. I found it deeply moving, intense, and even jolting.  I cried off and on as I read it, want to read it again, and am recommending that EVERYONE who knows me, and anyone who reads this post run right out and get a copy and read it that same day! Historical fiction is rarely this alive, present, full of energy.  Do read it! The title character, Jotham, is a special needs person. There isn’t any sickly sweet idealization here. The physical realities … Continue reading

Home Education: Teaching History

Teaching History in a Home School setting can be a challenge, especially when we are faced with teaching ages 11 and up through High School. Most of us learned what little history we know from textbooks that sucked the life out of the stories and bored us nearly to death. A few of us were fortunate enough to run across writers of histories who are anything BUT boring. Historians like Dr. Warren Carroll whose books (like the very short 1917, Isabella, and Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Conquest of Darkness, and the heavy duty Christendom series) challenged and delighted … Continue reading

History Blog

I enjoy The History Blog and thought it might be useful for home school.  I could see that reading it could help students select topics for papers, and learn about what is out there in general. All sorts of history comes up on this blog: For example, an item stolen at the end of WWII, returned by the auction house: There is a post with the picture of a cradle from around 79AD: This is a varied and fascinating blog and just reading it could make a person better educated. Dear Lord, thank You for marvelous blogs … Continue reading

Pope Francis

In his own words, why Pope Francis chose his papal name. Dear Lord, please guide, defend and protect Pope Francis. Thank You for this man to lead Your Church.  Help us to listen to his words and example and understand it. Please help us learn from him and become better Christians. +Amen.   … Continue reading

Habemus Papam: Pope Francis!

Our new Pope is from Argentina, of both Italian and Argentine heritage, a scientist/Chemist, highly orthodox, Jesuit, used public transportation even as Cardinal, disciple of Bl. John Paul II, former Ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, and began his pontificate with the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be, requesting prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, then asking a blessing and prayers from the people for himself, and then prayer for all the people! He took the name Francis, and it might have been for St. Francis Xavier! Or St. Francis of Assisi both wonderful options! Both men … Continue reading

Pope Benedict Decides to Retire February 28, 2013

Our beloved Pope Benedict XVI has announced he will retire at the end of the month. February 28, 2012 will mark the end of his pontificate. He sites his health and mental acuity and the demands of the job as reasons for his decision.  May God bless him! My first response was denial, next tears. He has been God’s man his whole life and never wanted to be Pope, planning instead after the enclave that elected him to retire to his home and write books. I feel gratitude for his service to God even when it was contrary to his … Continue reading