Author Topic: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum  (Read 255 times)

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« on: August 09, 2018, 12:04:04 AM »
My eldest is 3 years old and I am preparing for catechesis and homeschooling in the upcoming years.  Does anyone have any recommendations for a catechesis curriculum I can use to teach my children?  Some that I have read about include:

Faith & Life
The Didache Series
A Family of Faith

How did you all go about teaching your children the Faith?  Tangentially, what do you think causes siblings raised in the same household to develop different religious beliefs as adults?

Also does anyone have recommendations for good classical education based homeschooling program?  I have mostly looked at Memoria Press, Mother of Divine Grace and Kolbe Academy.

Thank you in advance!
 
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Offline Chestertonian

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2018, 08:33:09 AM »
I wouldn't do our Lady of victory for their whole curriculum but their "Living my religion" texts are great. 
"I am not much of a Crusader, that is for sure, but at least I am not a Mohamedist!"
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2018, 10:30:33 AM »
We are in the exact same place, same age on eldest, and looking around to begin building a curriculum. My wife was homeschooled from middle school - high school (her mother was helping her with some math homework in 6th grade and saw that she was still counting on her fingers; my MIL being a trained CPA went, "Oh willickers, Beave!" and promptly started actually educating them).

ETA, because it's funny:

« Last Edit: August 09, 2018, 11:18:41 AM by Gardener »
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe
 
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2018, 11:29:01 AM »
Baltimore Catechism, lives of the saints, and scripture.  It's really that simple.  Kids understand religious concepts way easier than you might think.  It's we adults who could complicate things ;). Give them the Truth, and access to literature full of goodness, truth, and beauty, then get out their way and let them do the work of education themselves.  Your job is to provide the right materials and guide them. 

I've used Seton for religion pretty much all the way through now (my oldest is beginning 9th grade this fall), and it's really good.  They pretty much just take the  Baltimore catechism  and explain it at each child's grade level, and  couple it with scripture and saints.  I am moving away from a boxed curriculum this year, and am building my own, based on Charlotte Mason's educational principles.  I've come to really appreciate her style of teaching and her philosophy of education.  But, I will continue with Seton religion books.

As an anecdote, my kids really do know and understand their faith, at least as much as each child is able for their age.  Even a three year old can answer the question, "who made you?" (God made me.... always have them answer in a complete sentence).  Whether or not they will choose to keep the faith as adults, I don't know.  I have hope.  We discuss the faith, saints, and virtues often as a family.  We pray the daily rosary.  We are consecrated to the Sacred Heart. We celebrate feast days and saint days.  We say novenas.  We look up who patron saints for our various needs - even the "Mom, have you seen my Lego piece?" ones (let's ask St. Anthu to help us).  We attend parish processions and occasionally daily Mass.  In other words, We do our best to form an atmosphere in our family that cultivates a love of the faith, a love of learning and knowledge, and a wide array of interests. It's more of a way if life than a system of education.

 But, at the end of the day, there is no magic bullet.  Even if you make every right decision, read every right book, choose the perfect curriculum, and the perfect methods of formation and discipline (as if any of those things exist  ;D), the children still have free will.  They are persons who will go on to make their own choices in life.  All we can do is our best, have hope, and pray.  Work as if all things depend on you, pray as if all things depend on God. 

Also, at 3 you still have some time.  I commend you for getting a plan ready before you are in the thick of things.  That will help tremendously.  But, remember, even the best laid plans don't always turn out like you imagine.  Don't be afraid to tweak and adjust as your family grows and develops.  Don't rush a very young child into academics too soon, especially boys.  Let them run, play, and wrestle outdoors as much as possible at this stage. 

Good luck!
 
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2018, 11:41:29 AM »
Also, if there are any homeschool conferences near you, attend if you can.  It's helpful to look through books and speak with the representatives from particular curriculum vendors in person; and, to ask other homeschool parents questions in person. 

I have heard great things about Mother of Divine Grace, but when I looked I to it, it just didn't click with me.  Which is ok  :). From what I can tell, it's a superp program; it just wasn't the right fit for my particular family.  Like Ches, I don't recommend Our Lady of Victory, as a whole.  They have some beautiful books, and I do own some that we've read, but I found their curriculum really dry.  But, maybe it's changed since I looked into it years ago.  I do know a few people who use it and love it.  That's really the key.  Find something that fits your family.  I tried Kolbe when my oldest was in K.  I really liked it, but she just did not jive with it.  Seton ended up serving us very well since then, but this past year I had a lot of difficulty with it.  So, I'm adapting.  I just felt God calling us in a different direction.
 
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Offline Jacob

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2018, 12:56:06 PM »
ETA, because it's funny:

[picture]

Mom should have said no when she saw that sleeveless dress. :D
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2018, 03:37:34 PM »
ETA, because it's funny:

[picture]

Mom should have said no when she saw that sleeveless dress. :D

Mom should have been involved in the life and upcoming marriage of said son and future daughter-in-law and provided a good role model which makes said woman desire to be more virtuous and modest.
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe
 
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2018, 12:08:55 AM »
Chestertonian,

What do you dislike about the OLV general curriculum but appreciate about their catechesis curriculum?


Gardener,

How is your 3 year old doing in the obedience department?  Some days are great but some days my son makes it quite the challenge.  I found the book The Well Behaved Child by John Rosemond to be immensely helpful.

I was initially planning to make the homeschool curriculum myself but after lots of research and becoming bewildered by the options, I decided to start off simple and pick a boxed package (from Memoria Press).  I have not started yet so cannot personally comment on how it is.  What "type" of education are you thinking of aiming for?  Classical, modern, Catholic parochial school type, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, unschool, or something else?


MundaCorMeum,

Thank you for the advice.  I am a surprised that you are going from boxed to self-chosen curriculum when entering high school, I'd imagine most people have the opposite feeling and throw in the towel and buy a boxed curriculum when high school comes around.  I like the literary focus of Charlotte Mason, I think it serves all people well to be well read.

I am not sure if I should do catechesis through some sort of a "program" or just by living it and reading bits and pieces of a catechism every day and then deeper literature (Fathers, saints) when older.

Regarding age, I agree in general that boys should just be out playing.  But as you note, plans do not always work out as we desire.  We live in China and here the children start preschool at about 2.5 years old.  They begin interviewing, yes, formal interviews, for preschool at 1.5 years old.  I distinctly remember talking with another father as our toddlers were toddling around and he asked me if I was signed up to interview yet... I could not believe it, 1.5 years old and having an interview.  Absurd.  Anyways, reality is that everyone around us has their kids in school and is always talking about school all the time.  And after school they send their kids to one of the million tutoring centers nearby.  The little 3 year olders might in any one day have preschool, English tutoring and a sports class, 5 days a week.  Life's rate race begins at age 2.  I think its absurd but I can tell that all of this societal pressure is putting emotional pressure on my worrying wife, so I decided to go ahead and begin homeschooling preschool as to try to help alleviate her concerns.  As far as I can tell the Memoria Press preschool and preK curriculum is just a bunch of story telling, which I already do anyways, so I suspect it will be fine.
 

Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2018, 12:22:28 PM »

MundaCorMeum,

Thank you for the advice.  I am a surprised that you are going from boxed to self-chosen curriculum when entering high school, I'd imagine most people have the opposite feeling and throw in the towel and buy a boxed curriculum when high school comes around.  I like the literary focus of Charlotte Mason, I think it serves all people well to be well read.


What can I say...I like to buck the system, and I'm a rebel like that  ;)  No, honestly, it's just that I've used a boxed curriculum for the past 8 years, and have a good handle on what works and what doesn't for my family and kids, and what I'd like the goal of their education to be.  The boxed curriculum has given me the foundation and the confidence to, now, forge my own path.  It makes more sense to me to do the box curriculum first, as a sort of training wheels phase, and then take those training wheels off, once you get the hang of it.  Not that there is anything wrong with using a box curriculum or building your own all the way through.  Both are perfectly fine and viable options, provided the family is thriving with it.  Also, I'm guessing those who may start off building their own curriculum may be burnt out by the time they get to high school.  Plus, for some states, the homeschool laws are pretty intense.  They require a lot of record keeping and proof that the parents are providing and adequate education.  So, that's a factor as well.  I am blessed to live in a state that has very lenient homeschool laws, and there is not much required on my part with regards to what I have to turn in to the state.  Building my own curriculum is new and fresh to me, and I'm excited at the doors it will open for the choices of literature and books we get to read and study.  I used to prefer having all that done for me, and I put my focus on planning the extra stuff, but I'm just ready for a change.

There are definitely pros and cons to both a box curriculum and one that you put together yourself.  But, I doubt you will ever find a box curriculum that you love completely, across the board.  There will always be something you would like done differently, and you will feel the need to tweak and adjust.  What I like about doing my own, is that I can combine as many subjects as possible, which really cuts down on the volume of time that I need to teach.  I pretty much have a cottage school these days, with a 9th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader, 2nd grader, Kindergartner, pre-K, and toddler.  My high schooler is independent at this point.  Other than answering questions or checking her work, I don't have to do much teaching with her anymore.  She's very self-motivated and self-sufficient, so it's just a matter of choosing the books I want her to work in, and giving her a basic schedule for time-management of each subject.  And, actually, she did that mostly herself last year.  She used a planner and mapped out her own lesson plans each week.  This year, we are doing some family studies, so I'll be giving her an outline for that part of our daily schedule, then when she gets to the block of time for independent work, she can manage her time how she pleases.  The other kids will be combined for history, science, catechism, literature, and enrichment studies (Shakespeare, poetry, art, music, etc.), with the older kids having some additional readings to do on their own in the afternoon.  Which will help tremendously, as before each student had to do each of those subjects individually, and I either had to over see them individually or read with them individually (if they could not yet read well). It got to be a lot for me to manage. 

Quote

I am not sure if I should do catechesis through some sort of a "program" or just by living it and reading bits and pieces of a catechism every day and then deeper literature (Fathers, saints) when older.


my personal opinion and preference is for the latter.  It makes it easier to foster good discussions that way, plus your children see you not only talking the talk, but walking the walk.  I think making religion a way of life vs. another subject to study makes a difference.  It's not just another box to check, so they can then move on to do what they'd rather be doing.  But, you just need to pray about it and ask God to give you peace of mind about which choice is best for you and your children.  He will, if you ask humbly =)  Also, at your son's age, there is a fantastic series of saint books that you could read as bedtime stories.  They are by far my favorite for young children, and is a joy to read as a parent.  It's the 'Once Upon a Time Saints' series.  There are three in the series.  They are just beautifully done, in my opinion.  They are told in fairy tale form, and in a way that is very relatable to a small child, yet without watering things down.  And the illustrations are very charming.  Heck, I've learned so much about the saints, just from reading these to my children!  My older kids like to go back and read them on their own, too.  Here's a link to one of them: https://www.ignatius.com/Around-the-Year-Once-Upon-a-Time-Saints-P121.aspx  Another really good book for a small child, that I've used with all of mine so far, is titled, 'Leading Little Ones to Mary'.  It's probably more in the 4-6 age range, but if you think your son would be able to do well with it, it makes a good addition to catechesis.

[/quote]

Quote
Regarding age, I agree in general that boys should just be out playing.  But as you note, plans do not always work out as we desire.  We live in China and here the children start preschool at about 2.5 years old.  They begin interviewing, yes, formal interviews, for preschool at 1.5 years old.  I distinctly remember talking with another father as our toddlers were toddling around and he asked me if I was signed up to interview yet... I could not believe it, 1.5 years old and having an interview.  Absurd.  Anyways, reality is that everyone around us has their kids in school and is always talking about school all the time.  And after school they send their kids to one of the million tutoring centers nearby.  The little 3 year olders might in any one day have preschool, English tutoring and a sports class, 5 days a week.  Life's rate race begins at age 2.  I think its absurd but I can tell that all of this societal pressure is putting emotional pressure on my worrying wife, so I decided to go ahead and begin homeschooling preschool as to try to help alleviate her concerns.  As far as I can tell the Memoria Press preschool and preK curriculum is just a bunch of story telling, which I already do anyways, so I suspect it will be fine.


wow, that is crazy.  But, it sounds like you are approaching the situation with wisdom and a realistic view.  You sound like you are very intentional in your parenting, which will serve you and your family very well, I believe.  I think your son will do just fine. 


Finally, I realize you asked Gardener about 3 year old discipline, but if you don't mind, I'll give you one last resource.  (three year olds, precious as they are, are REALLY hard.  Hang in there!  I find them harder than two year olds and teens  ;D.)  One of my favorite discipline resources is this blog:  http://likemotherlikedaughter.org/category/discipline/  She has a lot of down to earth wisdom when it comes to raising, disciplining, and education children - from birth all the way up to teens and young adults.  I reference her work often when I need advice on parenting.  Hope I'm not overstepping my bounds by volunteering that advice. 
 
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2018, 11:09:17 PM »
MundaCorMeum,

Thank you for the recommendations.  I am happy to receive advice from someone who has life experience that I do not have.  It is a disastrous feature of our society that most people with experience are afraid to share it and those without it resent those whom offer advice.  Every generation reinvents the wheel, except the wheel is getting more scraggly each new time its discovered.

I will order the books the next time I make a shipment from the US.  I've been looking for a new collection of saints books as the one we use is rather dull, and artistically I am turned off by the illustrations of the more well acclaimed series. This one you recommended looks like it is right up my alley.

A couple years ago I stumbled into Mrs. Lawler's website and came to the conclusion that it had lots of great information in it - but I was a bit overwhelmed by it all and have put plumbing its depths on the backburner.  Thank you for reminding me of it.  I have read her book 'Little Oratory' which was very helpful.

I imagine I will alter the boxed curriculum as time goes on.  As my wife is very worried about homeschooling I want the introduction to it to be as straightforward and smooth as can be.  I remind her that many women homeschool 5+ children, and I just mentioned your children to her today.  She is worried about just starting with the eldest, but I think once we get started things will fall in place.  By the time middle school rolls around I will probably make alterations to the curriculum.  High school will also probably get trimmed down as to make time for career oriented work, in whatever fields my children express interest.

If you have any more recommendations on books, catechesis, homeschooling or something similar, I am happy to receive advice.
 
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Offline MundaCorMeum

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2018, 12:09:19 AM »
Thank you for the kind words, Davis.  I think you are spot on when you say that " It is a disastrous feature of our society that most people with experience are afraid to share it and those without it resent those whom offer advice."  I'm quite sure I've been on both sides of that coin, at some point or another.

I was thinking, you could also look at Mater Amabilis.  It is a Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculum.  The lesson plans are free; you just have to purchase the books and other school supplies.  The only caveat is that it is not strictly traditional, which is why I opted against it in the end.  But, it makes a good spine to see what subjects should be included for each grade level, how long should be spent on each subject, and a starting point for book lists.  I've been referencing it over the summer, as I plan for the coming school year.  Any book you don't like, you could easily just swap it out for something else.  I realize the options for book choices are immense and over-whelming.  It's daunting, to say the least, and it is just the nature of the beast.  I figure it's either that, or put my kids in public school.  From that perspective, I'll sift through book lists all day long ;)  And, I've been told before by a wise priest, when I was working in youth apostolate years ago, "if your apostolate work is easy, you are doing something wrong." I figure that applies to parent-hood, as well.  The other two Charlotte Mason resources that I like to reference the most are Ambleside Online and Simply Charlotte Mason.  I'm using the Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum as my spine this year, because it combines a lot of subjects, and I am substituting where I feel the need to (to include more Catholic texts).  I've looked at those three booklists, plus Seton, and have been using them as guidelines to put together a curriculum that I think will work well for our family. 
 
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Offline Jayne

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2018, 02:46:54 PM »
Also does anyone have recommendations for good classical education based homeschooling program?  I have mostly looked at Memoria Press, Mother of Divine Grace and Kolbe Academy.

Another option, with less structure than a boxed program, is a book with principles and resource recommendations to make your own.  Laura Berquist wrote Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education. She also founded MODG so it is similar. 

Another book of this sort is The Latin-Centered Curriculum: A Home Schooler's Guide to the Classical Curriculum.  I used this one.  As the name suggests, it has more emphasis on Latin than any of the others.  A brief description appears in this article: http://aspiritedmind.com/2011/03/what-to-do-about-latin/

Here's an essay by Andrew Campbell, the book's author, on its key concept "multum not multa": https://www.memoriapress.com/articles/multum-non-multa/.  For me, this was a major appeal of this approach.

I did Seton for my first year of homeschooling (and, like Munda, recommend their religion program) but that was enough.  I found the work load overwhelming and in constant need of adjustment and adaptation to suit our family.  I don't regret doing it though. I wouldn't have had the confidence to start off without something like this.  (Neither of the "design your own" books existed when I started or I might have gone with one of them.)
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2018, 03:45:20 PM »
I asked a friend of mine who has homed schooled her 9 children; her kids are very, very good kids, that is why I asked her;  and here is her response: 
Quote

Whoa! Let me see...... I used the Baltimore Catechism, but mainly I read lots of saints stories to the kids. That was my main source of teaching them Catholic behavior and Catholic values. I would suggest to be very careful with all their literature and only allow books that have good, kind, and beautiful role models and pictures. No Television - that goes without saying.

I think that bad companions and bad books lead kids away from the faith. Parents have to be so vigilant about the companions children keep.

I'm not sure about a "good classical education based program" They have a lot out there that claim to be exactly that, but until she buys the books and tries the material, she won't know if it will work for her children. It can be the best classical education program ever invented, but every child is different and sometimes you have to buy several books from different sources before you find one that works for you and the children. We threw out many expensive books a month or two into the school year and bought new material when we realized that we weren't learning or the program wasn't what it originally claimed to be.

I hope this helps. What she needs (the Mom), is brothers and sisters and parents that pray their hearts out and knees off for her children, which is what I had and is the whole secret to the miracle of their faith.
"The World Must Conform to Our Lord and not He to it." Rev. Dennis Fahey CSSP
 
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Offline Cantarella

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2018, 10:58:20 PM »
Our Lady of Victory Homeschool - Traditional Catholic Homeschooling

https://www.olvs.org/


Seton Home Study School

http://www.setonhome.org/
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Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: Catechesis & Homeschool Curriculum
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2018, 01:14:08 AM »
Thank you everyone for the wonderful input.

When you all raised your children, did you send them to the local parish for religious education as well, or did they learn the Faith solely within the family?