Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bring the Children To Me

Summer vacation is here (or almost here) for most children, but it's important to continue their faith education all year. If your children attend CCD (or whatever they call it in your parish) or Catholic school, please do not assume that they are learning everything they need to know about the Catholic faith.  As parents, it is OUR crucial responsibility to ensure that our children are prepared to defend and continue to practice their faith when they leave home.  It's a tough world out there and your children's faith will be attacked in many different and often very subtle ways.  Even spending just 20-30 minutes a few days a week teaching your children will reap many blessings and benefits for your family.

Please don't be intimidated if your own faith foundation is a little shaky.  There are plenty of wonderful resources out there, and you can learn alongside your children.  If you stay ahead of them a bit, they'll never know that you're not an expert.

After four years of homeschooling, I've tried many different religion programs and resources.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Pius Media:  Rent movies about the saints, Bible stories or just great family movies

Baltimore Catechism:  It's a bit old-fashioned, but you won't find a more straightforward, child-friendly approach to Catholicism.  My children laugh at some of the pictures, but they do retain most of what they've learned.  You really can't go wrong with this.  In fact, I often learn new truths about the faith when I teach these lessons to my children.  There are three levels and an excellent First Communion prep book.

Faith and Life by Ignatius Press:  This is a really good religion program and probably a lot more involved than what your child is learning in CCD or Catholic school.  You just need to buy the student books.  The teacher manuals are helpful but are very expensive.  If your child likes activities, the activity book is pretty inexpensive.  You might find them used on ebay or Amazon. 

Friendly Defenders: These little flash cards help teach your children how to defend their faith in a charitable way.  Especially helpful if you have family or friends who are Protestant.  Bible references are included on each card.

Catholic Heritage:  You don't have to be a homeschooler to take advantage of some of the excellent resources this company offers.  We really enjoyed their books about the saints.

Mary Fabyan Windeatt Saint biographies:  My children enjoy reading these books.  The author does an excellent job of making the saints come to life in a way that children (and tweens) can easily understand.  The link above also sells study guides, but you can buy the books at any online Catholic bookstore or even find them in your local library.

Bible for older kids and tweens:  I searched far and wide for a non-"kiddy" Bible and finally found The Bible for Young Catholics.  All the books of the Bible are included.  The language is simple but not childish, and the pictures are good.  I recently heard an interview with Heidi Hess Saxton, the author of My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories , and it sounded like another good resource, but I have not purchased it yet.

Those are just a few resources to get you started.  Try browsing your local Catholic bookstore or search online.  There are many excellent Catholic resources on the internet.


The Frat Pack + Me said...

Awesome! Thank you.

Maia said...

Thanks for mentioning Pius Media! I immediately clicked on the link to check them out, and I have an email in to see if they can ship to APO. Our parish is on a budget, so this might be a great way to be able to show some great saint stories!