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

re

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 😉

~~~

Blog Hop info

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Advertisements

My Sunday Best {7?} // JEI {2}

My Sunday Best – mommy
My Sunday Best – Kat

You know those times you just show up at Mass? Those times where the mornings don’t quite go as planned? And there are moments of pure frustration? This was one of those mornings.

I kneeled down before we began and was definitely questioning the “why’s” of making the effort. When the processional started and I realized the words…

“Here I am to worship // here I am to bow down // here am I to say that you’re my God”

I felt like God had definitely made Himself heard (by me) loud and clear.

So…

Switching gears a little, I’m answering this week’s “Just Enough Info” questions…

What is your mom beverage of choice? 

Well…. If we’re talking alcoholic beverage (?) then I really don’t drink, so…. I’m leaving that one blank.

If we’re talking other beverage…

Coffee.

Hands Down.

If it was possible I would live off coffee. And it’s not the caffeine buzz that does it for me (I really don’t get much of a buzz) nor the popular mommy cliche “I’m so tired, I just need coffee to survive” (I’d rather just have the sleep thankyouverymuch) I just, really, REALLY, love coffee.

What do you do to relax? 

Read or Crochet. Listen to Podcasts. Drink Coffee.

When was the last time you got away with girlfriends or alone (and the grocery store does NOT count)?

Ummm….

Ummmmmmmm……

I went to Cape Cod with Jared for our anniversary a few weeks ago, but… we took Nicholas, so that’s not really “alone”.

Before that, I seriously have no idea.

One thing I did realize while we were at the Cape was that I was seriously exhausted. Not necessarily in a “need more actual sleep” kind of way, but of being hands on mom every minute of the day. Yes, having Nicholas there meant I was still doing mom stuff all the time, but it was just him. I don’t think I had realized just how much mental time and energy I had been spending doing all the mom stuff that needs doing. And what I took away from that is that I’m pretty sure I need to have some more built in away time.

I think awareness is the first step in correcting that, but beyond that I don’t know how to implement it. Because I think it goes beyond needing just a couple of hours to myself. I feel like I might need more like an entire day and logistically I don’t know how that’s supposed to work right now. I do have some ideas, but baby N. complicates it. Prayers?

~~~~~

Here’s the link up for this week’s JEI over at Sweeping Up Joy and for My Sunday Best at A Blog for My Mom

 

JEI {1} : Chores

And continuing in the “let’s join in new link ups this weekend” theme….

I heard about this link up, The Zelie Group : Just Enough Info a few weeks ago, by the internet/blog randomness that sometimes happens, and I tend to love these kids of things because there are a few questions,  easy to answer, and you get to have my take on various motherhood things.

This week the talk is about Chores

1. What chore should you be doing now instead of answering this question?
Well, interesting that I’m writing this on Sunday…. because normally I try to leave Sunday free from any unnecessary chores. It doesn’t always work, but I at least aim for that. {I wrote about it a little tiny bit a few weeks months back over here}.

Anyways, things I need to do that I forgot about: Pay bills, empty bathroom trash can, empty recycle bin… I guess, technically none of those will suffer if I wait until tomorrow to do them, except for the fact that both the trash and recycle bins are full. to. the. top. So….

I also have a tendency to forget about chores I need to do “tomorrow”, by which I mean if I don’t do them “right this second” I will guaranteed forget about them. I could always make a list of them, but then I have a to do list that takes me almost as long to write up as to just do the chore so I don’t do that either…. Anyways

chores

2. Do your kids have chores? If yes, what’s your chore system?

Yes. Yes they do.

They are responsible for:

  • Cleaning up 97% of the toys, books, and general random stuff all over the house.
  • Cleaning their rooms
  • Setting the table on rotating days (most of the time)
  • Clearing off the table after meals (Johny and Karl)
  • Sweeping the dining room floor three times a day as needed (Katherine – it usually happens less often than once a day)
  • Washing the breakfast and lunch dishes on alternating days (Kat and Johny)
  • Putting away clean dishes on specific days (Karl)
  • Helping with other household cleaning as they’re called upon, including but not limited to: mopping, vacuuming, cleaning or at least tiding the bathroom)
  • We’ve made a half hearted attempt at helping with laundry, but it isn’t very consistent yet. Kat will randomly decide she needs to have a specific piece of clothing right away and then do a load of laundry (wash, dry, fold) to get it.

By the way, my kids are nearly 7 (Kat), nearly 6 (Johny), and 4.5 (Karl)… so they’re more than capable of taking care of things that need to be done. Other than the sweeping I try to keep it limited to once or twice a week.

I don’t know if that system has a name per se, but that’s what we do, it’s mostly on a flexible list in my head 😉

I try to remember something that was told to me, which apparently originated with my mom (but was told me by someone else):

If they’re old enough to make the mess, they’re old enough to clean it up.

3. If someone gifted you a housekeeping service, would you use it?

Absolutely! I know this for a fact because over the winter I had a girl come and help out with some cleaning. It wasn’t anything crazy (like spring cleaning), but it was so, so nice to know that all the nooks and crannies in the bathrooms got taken care of and the floor was mopped to the point where all the sticky spots were actually cleaned.

So, yes. I will take all the help. I have no shame in admitting I’m a pretty lax housekeeper, and there have been more times than I’d care to admit that my husband has showed me how some things are supposed to be clean – *cough* bathtub *cough*…

The one thing I DO like doing? Decluttering and throwing stuff away. Oh and laundry. Love getting the laundry done (just not the folding part 😉 ).

chores-2
I would like to be a better housecleaner, but…. there’s just so much other stuff to do. I mean, someone’s gotta take cute pictures of the kids, and those books aren’t gonna read themselves….

~~~~~

Here’s the link up for this week’s JEI over at Sweeping Up Joy

 

Five Minute Friday: Listen

I am wanting to maybe try a little more actual… you know… writing on the blog. So I decided to give this a try. It’s my first time doing it, although I’ve been seeing it around for years now. 

I did write this yesterday (Friday), but I wrote it in my journal with an actual pen. Never got a chance to get on the computer so, here we go….

LISTEN

I sit here, 7:08 AM. Listening. Relishing the quiet pitter patter of a slightly sick nearly 2 year old who’s been off and on awake all night… but still happy. I sit here listening to the birds tweeting through the window, which is letting in cool refreshing air. Not much longer now, it’ll be fall and that window will close.

Time keeps passing. It doesn’t stay still. Tomorrow he won’t be so sick. Tomorrow the window may be closed. Let me try to remain in this moment. Right here. Right now.

I am trying so much, maybe not to enjoy -that the toddler was sick in my bed all night-, but to appreciate these moments in life. Because I know they aren’t guaranteed to last. This time of life is but a moment and I’ll be honest, its hard.. really hard, I know when the kids get a little bit older it’ll be easier in a lot of ways, and I’m looking forward to that. But these are still beautiful moments right here. Right now. A toddler happily twittering and jabbering… Birds through a soon-to-be closed window. All available if I only just listen.

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