Fall Contemplations ~ October 2017
The editors hope to publish the ALJ on a quarterly basis with a bonus summer edition. When occasion warrants, we will release a version with less original content featuring Aquinas Learning, but consisting of a curated collection of  classically inspired resources organized by theme with the goal of inspiring and refreshing the Aquinas Learning homeschool parent.
October...The Second Month of Mary!
The above is an original line art coloring page of Our Lady of the Rosary by artist and blogger Rebecca Górzyńska . Click the link to download or print a copy for personal or classroom use.
Marian History Recap
Mary is our Mother and our Inspiration! May and October are the two Marian Months; for a refresher on the history of the reasons why, click here.

October 7 was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The Church chose that day (and the month of October) to honor Our Lady because a great victory took place on that date in 1571.

Check out the poem, the Battle of Lepanto, by G.K. Chesterton here, and read " How the Battle of Lepanto Saved Europe," an article by Michael Novak, here.
Inspirational Article: "Our Lady of the Three Hands"
Our Lady, Three-Handed Virgin, Pray for us!

In our home, the Three-Handed Virgin hangs between altar and kitchen, ever-ready to lend a hand as we live out the mysteries of each day...She is a Mother for the dark times, a Mother for long nights and cold mornings, for persecution, for uncertainty. One whose arms never tire of holding her loved ones closer to Christ. She is a patron of desperate situations, of extreme need--healing what is severed completely and binding up wounds less dire as well.

She came to be when St. John of Damascus lost his right hand for defending Icons in the great controversy of long ago. He offered the Virgin his severed hand and prayed for her to restore it. She appeared to him and did as he asked. His hand was reattached to his body, as capable as ever; so the saint made a silver hand and hung it on the Icon in thanksgiving. Now Icons are written with the third hand included, a reminder that the Holy Mother can restore to us what seems lost forever: love, hope, peace, wholeness… She is abundantly able. For the full article, click here . For images of Our Lady of the Three Hands, click here .

--Emily Goepel is living her off-grid dream in the woods of Maine with her husband, raising children, poultry, pigs, and gardens in the warmer seasons. She homeschools and cleans obsessively while her husband paints folk-icons and flowers in the center of their tiny home.

This article was originally printed in the summer edition of the Soul Gardening Journal and is reprinted here with permission. 
October...A Time to Renew "The Call To Teach"
No doubt you are enjoying the crisp autumn air and the gentle slanting light of October. The month can be fickle, however, and the sunshine can change in a blink to tossing trees shedding leaves in the dark of a fall storm. For homeschool parents, October has these two sides for us too--basking in the glory but also feeling the pain after the first blush of the school year has faded and we are tossed by the tempest of questions we ask ourselves about decisions and choices that lead us to take this leap. 

The commitment to teaching, homeschooling, being a mentor, joining a center...it's all starting to make sense, moving from the abstract ideas to the concrete actions. The joys, the struggles, the wondering, the perseverance, and the delight. As things start rolling, some anxiety, perhaps doubt, the feelings of inadequacy, start creeping back again...but take heart! October is the month to revisit the call to teach and reconnect with the original motivators that drove you to begin your own teaching journey in the first place. 

For some deep inspirational reading on the topic, read " The Call to Teach " by Dr. Jamie F. Arthur, Catholic Education Fellow and Director of the Catholic Education Honor Roll at The Cardinal Newman Society. 
Finding Balance In Homeschool Life:
Resources & Links
October is a good time to revisit home organization, balance and motivation. Here are some resources to get started or refreshed. Aquinas Learning organizational tips and resources will be highlighted in the next issue.


  • Conversation with CiRCE's Andrew Kern & Sarah Mackenzie about Teaching from Rest. Click here for audio.

  • Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV), the oldest and largest organization for Virginia homeschoolers, published a three-part series of homeschool parents sharing tips for and to each other. Read "Your Homeschool Questions Answered: Part II" on Scheduling, Time Management, and Home Organization, here.
Did You Know? Writing Opportunities for students & adults

The Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) sponsored "Pro- Life" essay competition:

The Culture of Life Studies Program is teaming up with IEW to offer students the chance to ex p ress their pro-life beliefs and win some cool pro-life gear! 

The contest is open to students in grades K-12. Contest ends December 2, 2017.

Over $1,000 in prizes, plus the chance to be published in Celebrate Life Magazine. See official rules and the submission link here .  

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Dappled Things Quarterly J.F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction, ends on November 30, 2017

The J.F. Powers Pr ize for Short Fiction at the literary quarterly Dappled Things ends on November 30, 2017.

“One foot in this world and one in the next”: that’s how J.F. Powers described the Midwestern priests he wrote about in his fiction...

We’re looking for carefully crafted short stories with vivid characters who encounter grace in everyday settings—we want to see who, in the age we live in, might have one foot in this world and one in the next.

What are the prizes? 1st place: $500, 2nd place: $250. Up to 8 honorable mentions.

For submission guidelines, click here .
Did You Know? Resources
& Inspiration for
the Mind

Free Classical Teacher Magazine

Memoria Press publishes the " Classical Teacher Magazine " for free. Click here to order (again, free, and no shipping cost).

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Soul Gardening Journal

Aquinas Learning mothers may appreciate " Soul Gardening – A Mother’s Journal ," a homespun, ink and paper journal created by mothers, for mothers. This journal features articles, book reviews, liturgical activities, recipes, original sketches & artwork, poetry, reflections, and prayers as a source of encouragement & companionship, beauty & hope amidst the everyday grind.

"Soul Gardening Journal" has a unique model. Donations of any amount may be made to purchase an ongoing subscription. Read more here .
Aquinas Learning Journal Needs You: Ways to Participate
We envision the Aquinas Learning Journal (ALJ) to be a dynamic sharing opportunity for the Aquinas Learning families & communities to inspire each other through idea and educational resource sharing . We hope you will join us on the journey!

ALJ has several current opportunities for student, parent and mentor participation:

  • Copy Editors
  • "Mentor Moments" (classroom inspired funny, insightful or tip-focused short submissions)
  • “Today I Delighted In” submissions by families inspired by curriculum, class, conversations, field-trips etc.
  • Student artwork
  • Current ALJ Parent Polls
  • Suggestions for homeschool dad "experts"
  • Article submissions or ideas
  • High School student writing & publication opportunities. 

See here to participate in any of the above entries for the next ALJ, or to provide feedback! 
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