Religious Education… in the home {mostly} // {a JEI post}

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The ladies from The Zelie Group are chatting about religious education today, and I thought I’d join in.

First off, let me state: my background in RE? Absolutely none. I wasn’t raised Catholic, didn’t go to Catholic school, nada. So, the whole teach your child your religion thing was a little intimidating when it first appeared on my radar.

I have found though, that it’s gotten easier. When we first joined the Church (my really, super, long winded Conversion story starts here if you want to read…) our oldest was 3 1/2. At the time there were tons and tons (and tons) of Catholic mommy blogs sharing “ways to bring your faith into the home” sorts of posts. Now, I’m not saying they were bad, no, by all means they were great. But… I wasn’t ready for them. I was still trying to wrap my head around what  was supposed to be/do/say/etc.. and I had no idea how I was supposed to teach ALL THAT to these little kids, and I ended up just very overwhelmed.

{Here’s where I start answering this week’s questions…}

1. Do your children attend your parish’s religious education program? 

Yes and No

Katherine is in 2nd Year First Communion with the parish. So, in that sense, obviously “Yes, we DO use the parish’s RE program”.

But, so far, only for the “Sacrament” Years. The parish offers RE from Kinder through Confirmation (which I think is 10th grade for them). And while it’s highly recommended (and I can totally see the reasoning), we decided not to attend when we started first grade (homeschool) last year. Jared graduated from Seton (Catholic homeschool) and loved their religion program, so I thought, how hard could it be? And we ended up going with that. The other reasons we didn’t go were time commitment and cost.

I have been glad for Katherine to be going this year. Not so much for “new content”, but I’m noticing that she’s picking up on things in a new way from her teacher there. She’s been way more chatty about topics of Faith – maybe to the extent of showing off to her younger brothers – but that’s opened up times of discussion.

We’re still doing a partial religion program at home this year, and I’ve noticed a lot of progress in her understanding (we’re still in the basics here, but still… progress!) Maybe it’s just her age, maybe that whole “Age of Reason” thing really does play into it. But regardless, she’s starting to remember stuff, she’s starting to think things through, and she’s asking SOOOOO MANY QUESTIONS (ohmygoodness… so many questions). But, it’s all good. It’s helping me too 😉

2. Do you or have you ever taught religious education? Tell us about it.

Only with the kiddos at home.
I still feel like too much of a baby Catholic, although it’s been nearly four years, so I guess I’m not so much “baby” any more. Maybe pre-schooler… I don’t know how comfortable I’d be teaching other people’s children.

3. What are your favourite religious education resources for kids?
For the little kiddos (maybe 5 and under?) I think the best thing you can do is just to live your faith. Attend Mass. Pray together. Read Bible stories.

I linked to this post the other day, but this book list is a picture book list for the Jesse Tree, which, in a nutshell, gives an overview of history of Jesus, from creation to his birth. Anyway, she has some really great picture book recommendations for Bible stories, and my kids love listening to them.

For parts of our school work we’re using the resources from Mater Amabilis (we’re in Level 1A). This link is to the General Lesson plans for that level, but the religion section is the first item (after the “General Instruction” section). We have substituted their catechism for the Seton Religion program (it’s there, on that link, that’s just the entire 2nd grade curriculum), but other than that I’ve really been enjoying the book recommendations they’ve put up (on the M.A. site).

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I think that’s all for this evening folks. It’s suddenly than I thought. And I’ve been really REALLY trying to be off electronics for at least a little while before bed. Also, books won’t read themselves 😉

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