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


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).


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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Back to School Photos // Siblings {September}

%22school%22-siblings-pictures-2 %22school%22-siblings-pictures

Every year I like to take “Back to School”/”First Day of School” photos of the kids. I just have a few requirements…


That they be their normal everyday selves.
(which usually means… they’re dirty)


They have to line up along the back wall of the house.

From years past…

from our "first day of school" photos


back to school


Do these kids look like they could sit in a classroom?!?
Do these kids look like they could sit in a classroom?!?

2013- 2014

{BTW, we didn’t really even attempt any sit-down bookwork until last year, so all the previous years were just for fun}

I also like to take individual photos of the kids

I’ve had plans now to write up a little of what we’re doing for school, but, I’ve been pulling the “lazy summer” thing for this here blog (yes, I know it’s September and the weather is barely qualifying as summer anymore). Anyway, perhaps I’ll jot down some thoughts in the next week.


{This post is part of an ongoing project to take at least one photo a month of them all together. Intro’s here}

The Me and Mine Project

grape juice and homeschool

grape juice-5Our grapes are finally starting to ripen somewhat in bunches – at least there’s more than one or two ripe ones per bunch…. And if we can manage to gather a sufficient amount before the squirrels, birds and little fingers get them and eat them, we actually can collect a good bit and, you know, make something.

grape juice

My favorite is to make grape jelly, but the kids started picking grapes the other day and were insistent that they were going to make Grape. Juice. So, they gathered and gathered, and gathered some more. They roped the neighbor girls into helping them pick and after a good forty-five minutes to an hour they had a nice size container full (maybe four or five cups worth, I didn’t actually measure). Anyway, they put them in the fridge, again, insisting we they were being saved for Grape Juice.

I let them sit until Wednesday when I decided that I *could* go ahead and make the Juice, and turn it all into “life experience” and call it “homeschool”. Baby N was sleeping and the neighbor girls who had picked the grapes with them were back, so it seemed like the right time. (Not to mention, grapes straight from the vine don’t keep *that* long in the fridge before they start getting really bad.)

I don’t have pictures of the process, there were seven kids in my yard and boiling grapes on the stove so, no free hands to photograph…

grape juice-6

But, anyways what we did:

  1. Boil grapes for about 5-10 minutes, no water, no sugar, just on their own. Until they released their juices and were soft-ish and mashable with a spoon. (I did this part on my own)
  2. Put them through a food mill. All the kids took turns doing this. They thought it was great fun and I didn’t have to actually turn the handle over and over and over and over and……..
  3. We tasted it. Sour. and a little thick as I didn’t have a finer sieve or cheesecloth to push it through again.
  4. Opted to add a bit of sugar (maybe 1/2 cup? I didn’t measure) and a glass of water (<8 oz). (I put it back on the stove for this part, just until all the sugar was dissolved.)

grape juice-8

And that was it. It was enjoyed by all. It didn’t really make enough for everyone to have their thirst quenched (not when divided amongst eight people, while saving some for daddy, so really, nine people), but it was nice.

grape juice-9

I’m glad I did it. I feel like many times I just put off the kids ideas because they seem like too much work or I just plain don’t want to do it. It really helped me to actually include the kids in the making of the juice. Their excitement and enthusiasm for a “project” or activity sometimes can be infectious. 🙂

grape juice-10

And as a side note to our homeschool, I was thinking of making a notebook of life “experiences”, where we jot down “educational” (big quotation marks here) things we do. Not because I have to submit anything at the end of the year, but more to see how much learning we do outside of our more traditional school work.

grape juice-4


Pictures are of the grapes being picked that eventually ended up as juice.
Linking up with Coombe Mill (tomorrow) for our non-Country Kids post 😉
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Simple Things Sunday ~ a little homeschooling

We didn’t “do” much school this week. Somehow the schedule just didn’t quite allow for it. But anyways… I did a little maintenance in our homeschool room (dining room), one of which was to make a new number chart with a few more numbers included.

(my chart)

Anyways, like any time when I sit down at the table to do something, I had company. I looked over a few minutes after I took this photo and saw:

Katherine's number chart
Katherine’s number chart

This made me so happy. Mostly because she was able to make the numbers (mostly correctly). She normally has a hard time forming the numbers for the first time or in workbooks, but so far when I’ve seen her form them outside of “school” she does fine.

It makes me realize a few things, but mostly that they are learning even if it doesn’t look like it. Gives me hope for when I feel like nothing is getting through to them during “school time” (or “homework” as they like to call it).

Anyways, just wanted to share these very few thoughts with you all this morning. (If you’d like to see more snapshots of a normal weekday, you can click on the last post which has a collection of B&W pics.)


Linking up with Simple Things Sunday