Catholic Schoolhouse - Des Moines

Homeschool Success through a Classical Approach


If you would like more information about Catholic Schoolhouse and curriculum and supplies costs, etc. please visit Catholic Schoolhouse Des Moines Chapter

If you would like to attend an informational meeting, please click on the link below. Thank you for visiting our webpage!

Catholic Schoolhouse Des Moines Contact Page  

Homeschooling- A Gift to the Church

Parents, who make the conscious decision to homeschool, accept the literal role of parent as primary educator. Such a decision is ordinarily based on the premise that Catholic homeschooling is a blessing to the Church. It enhances the diversity of Catholic education, while at the same time, affirms the position that homeschooling parents participate in the mission of the Church to teach in the name of Jesus...

~ The Archdiocese of Baltimore

To read their full position, click on the link below:

A Gift to the Church

Kindergarten teacher: My job is now about tests and data — not children. I quit.

 Valerie Strauss

By  Susan Sluyter

When I first began teaching more than 25 years ago, hands-on exploration, investigation, joy and love of learning characterized the early childhood classroom.  I’d describe our current period as a time of testing, data collection, competition and punishment. One would be hard put these days to find joy present in classrooms...

 To read more,click on the following link:

Resignation Letter and WP Interview

Camping Teacher Blogspot in response to WP article

EWTN- Sunday Night Prime

Catholic Homeschooling

2013/02/24 - Catholic Homeschooling

Sunday Night Prime - Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R. - Tom and Lyn Scheuring - Catholic Homeschooling

The Children of Caesar- He Who Controls the Schools, Controls the World

Hillsdale College- free online Constitutional Studies Courses

Hillsdale College Constitutional Studies

Course 101:  "The Meaning and History of the Constitution"

Course 201:  "The Progressive Rejection of the Founding and the Rise of Bureaucratic Despotism"

For more information about Hillsdale and their mission to educate all American Citizens about their fundamental rights, visit the link above.

Candlemas and Groundhog Day Explained ( activity links below)

Groundhog Day - Mariä Lichtmess (2. Februar)

The American tradition of Groundhog Day has roots going back to Germany and other European countries. February 2 has long been the date of a religious observance known as Candlemas, or Mariä Lichtmess in German. The following Bauernregeln are also related to the second day in February:


Bauernregel 1 Rural Saying 1
Ist's zu Lichtmess mild und rein
wirds ein langer Winter sein.
If Candlemas is mild and pure,
Winter will be long for sure.


Bauernregel 2 Rural Saying 2
Wenn's an Lichtmess
   stürmt und schneit,
ist der Frühling nicht mehr weit;
ist es aber klar und hell,
kommt der Lenz wohl nicht so schnell.
If Candlemas brings
   wind and snow,
Then spring will very soon show.
But if it's clear and bright,
Then spring won't come so right.

At least as early as the 1840s, German immigrants in Pennsylvania had introduced the tradition of weather prediction that was associated with the hedgehog (der Igel) in their homeland. Since there were no hedgehogs in the region, the Pennsylvania Germans adopted the indigenous woodchuck (a name derived from an Indian word), aka the groundhog. The town of Punxsutawney, some 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, has played up the custom over the years and managed to turn itself into the center of the annual Groundhog Day, particularly after the 1993 movie starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Each year, people gather to see if a groundhog dubbed "Punxsutawney Phil" will see his shadow after he emerges from his burrow. If he does, the tradition says there will be six more weeks of winter. (Phil has a rather dismal 39% rate of accuracy for his predictions.)

A similar German legend is connected with St. Swithin's Day (Siebenschläfer, 27 June), for which tradition says that if it rains on that day, it will rain for the next seven weeks. But the Siebenschläfer is a dormouse, not a hedgehog.

In Germany, the day has also been known as Mariä Reinigung, das Fest der Darstellung des Herrn and Mariä Kerzenweihe. The latter name (Kerze = candle) is related to the English "Candlemas" name and the tradition of blessing both sacred and household candles on Feb. 2. Up until 1912, Mariä Lichtmess was an official holiday in Germany. The Roman Catholic church has celebrated the feast day of Candlemas since 1960.

Candlemas Activity from Catholic Icing 2011

Candlemas activities and crafts from catholic icing 2010

Candlemas crafts from Catholic Inspired 2013

Candlemas Family activity from

Groundhog day crafts from DLTK's Crafts for Kids

Shrove Tuesday -March 4, 2014

 The Catholic History of Mardi Gras from Mass Explained and Dads watch first due to costumes shown  in the Carnival celebration in Brazil). 3 min youtube

Pancake Day games - 2 minute youtube

Shrove Tuesday Activity from Catholic Icing 2010

Shrove Tuesday from Catholic Cuisine

History of King Cakes from New Orleans Showcase

The Catholic Roots of Mardi Gras from

Shrovetide begins at the Feast of the Epiphany and runs until Shrove Tuesday.

Shrove Tuesday

In western Christian churches, the day before Lent starts is Shrove Tuesday. This is also known as Pancake Day. This day was traditionally the last chance to use up the foods Christians would not be eating during Lent. Today people often give up chocolate or alcohol.

Festivities take place in many cities all over the world, including Mardi Gras in New Orleans (USA), Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Venice (Italy). People dress up, wear masks, parade and dance in the streets. 

Habemus Papam!- Stay Connected to Rome


EWTN- Wall to wall coverage from Rome

Catholic News Agency

EWTN Live Media Player

.- Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires has become the next Pope of the Catholic Church, taking the name Francis.

Pope Francis greeted the crowds of faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square shortly after 8:00 p.m. local time, after spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in the Pauline Chapel.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He is a Jesuit and is 76. He is the first Latin American Pope and the first Jesuit Pope. In 2005, he received the second-most votes in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict.

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1958, and obtained a licentiate in philosophy. He was ordained a priest in 1969, and was a theology professor. He was a provincial leader for the Society and a seminary rector.

The College of Cardinals came to an agreement on the Holy Father’s election the afternoon of March 13, after a total of four inconclusive votes earlier that day and the previous day.

Two-thirds of the cardinals present – in this case, 77 of 115 – are necessary to elect a new Pontiff.

Viva il Papa Emeritus!


“I am happy to be with you, surrounded by the beauty of Creation and your sympathy that does so much good for me. Thank you for your friendship and love,” the Pope said at around 5:30 p.m. from the balcony of his villa.
“You know that today is different than previous ones. I’m no longer the Pope. Until 8:00 p.m. I am, but then afterwards I am no longer Pope of the Catholic Church,” he said.
“I’m simply a pilgrim that is starting the last stage of his pilgrimage on Earth,” he remarked, “but I would still like with my heart, with my love, with my prayer, with my reflection, with all my inner strength to work for the common good of the Church and of humanity, and I feel very supported by your sympathy.
“Let’s go ahead together with the Lord for the good of the Church and of the world,” he said as he finished his brief greeting.
Pope Benedict XVI then gave his last papal blessing to the crowd.
“Thank you. And now I impart to you the Lord’s blessing with my whole heart. May God bless you Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Thank you and good night. Thanks to all of you.”

Thank you Papa! A Tribute to Pope Benedict the XVI from

Pope Activities for Catholic kids (includes games, crafts, and links to other helpful sites for kids on the Conclave, etc)-from Catholic Icing

Papal Lap Book from Shower of Roses

My Catholic Faith E-Book to assist with the above lap book link

Paper Bishop Miter (Pope Hat) craft


Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to Your shepherd, the Pope, a spirit of courage and right judgement, a spirit of knowledge and love.

By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care may he, as successor to the apostle Peter and vicar of Christ, build Your church into a sacrament of unity, love, and peace for all the world.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

- See more at:

 “I hear this Word of God addressed to me in a special way at this moment of my life. The Lord has called me to 'scale the mountain', to dedicate myself still more to prayer and meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church. If God asks me this it is precisely so that I might continue to serve her with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to give up to now, but in a way more suitable to my age and my strength. Let us call upon the intercession of the Virgin Mary: May she help all of us to always follow the Lord Jesus, in prayer and in works of charity.”  Pope Benedict XVI February 24, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI Last Sunday Prayer Service- from the Vatican Information Service- Office of the Holy See 

Public Interest Institute- Allies of School Choice (From NICHE)

Iowa Civics Project- Free supplement to your home school government course

 From the Network of Iowa Christian Homeschoolers(NICHE):

Home schoolers have many allies in the fight to preserve and expand liberty for home education in Iowa.  Among those allies is the Public Interest Institute ("PII"), which is a "think tank" and policy research institute led by Dr. Don Rachter and headquartered in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.

 We thought two of their most recent policy studies would be of interest to the NICHE membership.  One is entitled "School Choice: Not if the Unions Have a Say," and the other is entitled "Education Savings Account: A Path to Give All Children an Effective Education and Prepare them for Life."  The PII conducts research and produces fine products on many other topics of interest, but these two pertain to issues on educational freedom facing the Iowa legislature this year.

 While we appreciate having allies like Dr. Racheter and the PII in the battle with us, please note that this email is not an endorsement of the contents of these policy studies or their proposals.  We just thought some of you would be interested in seeing what some of the leading thinkers on policies in our state are saying on these topics.

 Also of potential interest is the Iowa Civics Project that the PII launched in 1996.  It is based upon a 12-unit curriculum on Iowa state and local government that was updated last year.  It is entitled Iowa Government and Politics and it is available for free to schools and teachers (including home schools).  It is a great complement to participating in our annual Homeschool Day at the Capitol that will be held on Tuesday, February 26, 2013.  Several copies will be on display at the event, but you may also contact the PII for your own copy!

 I hope to see you at the Homeschool Day at the Capitol next month.  We need your help to build rapport with the new legislature and to protect our hard-fought home schooling freedoms!!


   Bill Gustoff

 Bill Gustoff

NICHE Legislative Liaison


America Needs Fatima

From the website: 

The goal of America Needs Fatima is to win the heart and soul of America for Mary by spreading Our Lady's Fatima message and promoting devotion to Her Immaculate Heart.

America urgently needs the prophetic messages of Our Lady at Fatima. Above all, America needs a clear direction, a great purpose, and the means to achieve it. The admonitions, requests, and warnings of Mary Most Holy can rightly be called a heaven-sent survival manual.

America Needs Fatima sees the essence of Our Lady's message is to open our eyes to the gravity of today's moral corruption, to explain it in light of God's plans, and to outline how to prevent the chastisement. Our Lady is thus teaching us about our epoch and our future.

To fulfill this desire in spreading our Lady's message, America Needs Fatima has organized pro-life rallies, anti-blasphemy protests, the distribution of millions of fliers nationwide, a home visitation program enthroning statues of Our Lady of Fatima, and the promotion of books and devotional items. All seek to draw people closer to God and His Blessed Mother.

The Teaching of the Catholic Church for Home Schooling Parents for Eternal Life

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. explains the importance of a Catholic education in a world of secularization and how urgent and critical that parents become their children's prime educators.

Fr. Hardon's article

Prayer for Parents - Fr. John Hardon

Mary, Mother of the Holy Family, obtain for all Catholic parents the grace to raise their children for a heavenly eternity.

Teach us parents to do everything which your Divine Son tells us to do. If we do, we shall be reunited, not only as families; we shall join the Family of the Most Holy Trinity.

Make us parents courageous and firm and clear: that we are the primary teachers of our children to prepare them for that final graduation and the first day of a heavenly eternity. Amen.

A Student's Prayer - St. Thomas Aquinas

Creator of all things,
true source of light and wisdom,
origin of all being,
graciously let a ray of your light penetrate
the darkness of my understanding.


Take from me the double darkness
in which I have been born,
an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding,
a retentive memory, and
the ability to grasp things
correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent
of being exact in my explanations
and the ability to express myself
with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning,
direct the progress,
and help in the completion.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.