Sunday, July 20, 2008

Haystacks Full of Needles

We've been getting a lot of absolutely lovely reviews of this book. Please visit the author's blog to read them all.

Unfortunately, we have had yet another setback at the printers and the book will be delayed about another two weeks. We appreciate the patience of those of you who have placed preorders. Please pray with us that whatever obstacles remain can be overcome quickly. We are so anxious to get it out, and we have never had as many delays getting a book printed. I hate to be so Catholic (well not really, I actually love it), but perhaps the devil isn't so happy about this book.

It's a book about charity, first and foremost, and being open to the friendships in Christ that God has planned for us.

We'll post again when we have the book in hand.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Lingua Mater Americana

I was so gratified to read this post and learn that I am not the only one who takes on too much and then can't get it all done. Last December I posted a pretty ambitious publishing schedule. Of the items listed, we have only brought 2 to complete fruition. One more is ready to go this week and the rest . . . well, who knows what I will be able to accomplish. We are still working on these projects in various stages of production:

Lives of Plutarch: The Modern Edition of Twelve Lives edited and abridged with an introduction by John W. McFarland. This is a reprint of a version recommended in the MODG syllabus for 7th grade. It has been out of print for quite some time and can be very costly to buy used. We are sending it to the printer this week. Hooray!!

The King's Thane by Charles Brady. This is by the same author as Sword of Clontarf and was part of the Clarion series published by Doubleday in the 1960s. We have it typeset and will perhaps have it to the printer by end of the summer.

Mass Book for Children. Originally published by Benzinger Bros, this little gem includes stories and devotional explanations of the parts of the Latin Mass. We hope it have it done by Christmas time . . . . we'll see!

And now that brings me to Lingua Mater Americana, which is the follow up to Lingua Mater 7 and can be used for 8th or 9th grade. I have been working on this one in my head since the day that Lingua Mater 7 was published and at least 10 people wrote and said, "Don't you have one for 8th grade?" That was 3 years ago. Since then I have been listening to what people/users have said about Lingua Mater and what they think is best for language arts for the bridge to high school. I think I finally have a handle on the approach I want to take with it and have found an answer to my quandary over including grammar in it. Will it be done by the 2008-2009 school year? . . . sadly no.

However, I will be completing the writing of it this year as I work with a group of 8th graders who did Lingua Mater in 7th grade last year. They are my experiment group. If you'd like to participate, we can arrange to get you the lessons about a week ahead (oh sometimes a day ahead since I usually prepare for the week on Sunday night or early Monday morning). Actually, the first unit will be done before the first day of school. Please email me at if you are interested in getting the lessons by pdf as I go along. I only ask that you give me feedback at the end of the week or unit on how the lesson went and if everything made sense or got results. There were a few families who did this with me on Lingua Mater 7 and I am deeply grateful for their honest feedback.

So, what's in this volume?
The first nine weeks is a review of Lingua Mater 7 (modes of writing, basic grammar). The second nine weeks is work on sentence combining and voice, the third nine weeks focuses on the expository essay, and the last nine weeks is a kind of short story unit - many lessons based on one short story. The grammar lessons will be on that which is important to the writing BUT we will also have a really unique grammar supplement . . . mysterious, heh? More details on that will be revealed as we go along.

It's called "Americana" because it is meant to integrate with studies of American history which are done in 8th or 9th grade depending on what curriculum you follow. So all the literature pieces are written by American authors, all the paintings are by American painters, and all the poems are by American poets. It features the work of two contemporary authors: Elaine Woodfield and Suchi Myjak. Elaine is the author of the Stories of the Saints series from Catholic Heritage Curricula, and she has written two original stories about American saints for the book. Suchi is the author of Behold and See, also published by Catholic Heritage curricula, and she contributes two essays on science topics particular to America: the beaver and the life of Thomas Edison. The short story we use in Unit 4 will be reproduced in full in the book.

Perhaps by working through it during the year I will have it ready for printing next summer - depending on the length of the editing process. Lingua Mater 7 took one year to write and one year to edit (and it still had many mistakes).

Thanks to all those who have been patiently accepting my "it's not ready yet" answer every year. I'm sorry to have to say it again. But I think I have finally found a way to make it happen. Best wishes for a restful and rejuvenating summer.