Parent as Teacher: Religion

Catechism of the Catholic Church_dropWhen my days are not going as planned, we make certain that this is the one subject taking priority.  Now, it may be occurring in our history lesson, in that we are discussing the Catholic perspective of the Reformation or the Spanish Inquisition, or the heroic deeds of our country’s forefathers. But most often, it is in our daily religion lessons, such as in, our discussions on the lives of the Saints, our sacrament preparation, our daily review and discussions on catechism, or our Scripture study.  We often use Bible readings as a time to ask the children to read aloud, a skill worth developing. Even for your proficient readers, reading aloud develops and strengthens their language development by seeing more sophisticated language patterns. For our little guys, the early Bibles for ChildrenBibles are great first readers.  We can also use the stories as narrations lessons, developing their ability to remember events in sequence.  By retelling some of the most beautiful Bible stories they begin the process of exposing them to the Divine, His Word of love and mercy. For the middle grade kids, the language of the Bible can be challenging, so we take time to pause and define difficult words. We reflect on particularly beautiful passages, or reflect on very, familiar passages but perhaps see them in a new light by reading and discussing them together.

The following items are our must-haves for the “Parent as Teacher.” These items can help your religion discussions or sacrament preparation.  They are solid, reliable resources in which to seek out answers. By doing so for yourself, you are modeling for your child a way to gather, and choose appropriate “tools of learning”.

Saints-books email2Catechism of the Catholic Church

Ignatius Catholic Bible

Beginning Apologetics Series

Lives of the Saints (age appropriate anthologies and chapter books)

And don’t forget a good Spiritual Director or Parish Priest…

Hope

“The one who has hope lives differently.”  -Pope Benedict XVI

pope-benedict-xvi-takes-christmas-eve-mass-pic-getty-158664-187827We love this quote from our Holy Father….it is emblazed on souvenir T-shirts we bought for our little ones after being incredibly blessed to participate in the Papal Mass at Nationals Stadium April 2008.  Our little ones wear these shirts often and we love that they are a constant reminder of this important message. The Divine fire of God’s love was reignited in our family as we were reconfirmed in the Holy Spirit at that Papal Mass.  We also know that it was through God’s marvelous timing (not ours) that our Holy Father came to this country to bless us and bestow upon us an encouraging message that we need right now, especially as our nation transitions to a new administration and as we pray daily for the end of Abortion.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines hope as “the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.”  It goes further to say, “The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness which God has placed in the heart of every man; it takes up the hopes that inspire men’s activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Kingdom of heaven; it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, he is preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.” (CCC 1817 & 1818)  It affords us joy even under trial: “Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation.” (Rom 12:12).

627px-Teresa_of_Avila_dsc01644Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end. (St. Teresa of Avila, Excl. 15:3.)

Hope is also written on the faces of our children as a window to their hearts.  The decision to home educate our children is not an easy path to follow…but as we have seen with our own children it is priceless and a blessing to the entire family. All one needs to do is to visit a college campus like Christendom College where our two oldest boys graduated and our daughter now attends.  The students are amazing testimonies to hope as are the professors and the mission of this college.  As you consider colleges for your own children we encourage you to witness what a blessing Christendom College is as a witness to hope!

Christendom_with_seal

Little Saints Preschool Program ~ A Review

Little Saints_mock upPreschoolers are learning every minute, every day, absorbing their environment.  But how do we prepare this environment with rich soil, in which we can plant their precious imaginations?  Author and mother of six, Cynthia Blum, has designed the very answer.  In the pages of Little Saints: A Catholic Preschool Program with Classical Disciplines, an extraordinary two-year, literature-rich, lesson plan, you will see the dignity of the child, his very soul and imagination nurtured and led towards a deep love of God. There is simply nothing like it….rich in classic literature, poetry, art appreciation, classical music, classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes, finger plays and circle games and art projects that make learning essential, developmental, and cognitive skills FUN and faith-filled!  It even comes with a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur from Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz.

kids on beachWe have loved using this lesson plan for our own children because it is so thorough in covering all the necessary elements desired for beginning a Catholic Classical education. There are 40 weekly themes, filled with enjoyment, character building concepts and virtues, each to be taught over three days.  Each day begins with the “Word of God”, a brief passage from Scripture, appropriate to the virtuous lesson introduced in the week’s theme.  Then a classic poem, that has been carefully chosen to pause and reflect upon, links once again to the main theme for the week.  In addition other poems are read aloud on days two and three to help remember the main theme or are just introduced simply for the pure enjoyment of the language and rhythm of the poem. Next comes story time, with a big list to choose from of classic children’s literature (many of which can be obtained from your local library), followed by traditional nursery rhymes and finger plays, songs and circle games.  Ending each day’s lesson with an art project or learning game, using common household items. Each learning game capitalizes on the strength of a preschooler’s ability to learn foundational skills through hands-on creative experiences, such as sorting, counting, sequencing, matching and role playing.  To further surround and fill your home environment with truth and beauty, a selection from a well-known Classical composer is included at the beginning of each lesson to be listened to throughout the week. Included with the lesson plan is a pattern packet with black-line masters, granting a family permission to copy them.

Click HERE to see our Little Saints Booklist of items we offer!