This week I worked on our plans for religion. I had in my head the ideas I wanted to implement, but had trouble laying it all out, making it work on paper. I kept thinking about, praying about it hoping for the flash of inspiration that would bring it all together. Then I read Paula's plans for the year and the light bulb went off. Much of how she is approaching her religion lessons was just what I had in mind. So I set to work and brought the plans together. I though I might share here what our weekly plans look like.
My plan is to start the day with a short (about half an hour to forty-five minutes) focused lesson involving all the children together. Each day of the week will have a different topic. Once a week there will be a longer individual lesson for each child.
Every morning will start with prayer. In the past, I have prayed the Liturgy of the Hours and the Divine Office on my own. I love it and nothing makes me feel like I'm more in step with the Church than praying THE prayer of the Church. My goals is to slowly introduce it to the children this year, hoping that we will be able to learn how to pray Morning Prayer with all the proper responses. Universalis and my own copies of the four volume Liturgy of the Hours will guide us. There also numerous Catholic podcasts of both some of Christian Prayer, daily mass readings, mini-catechetical lessons, rosaries, and daily saint readings. This is one my favorite things about owning an ipod. There is even a MagnifiKid podcast. We also (briefly) got into the habit of the Angelus at noon. We will get back into the habit.
Mondays will introduce the prayer to be memorized for the week. We will then focus on a gift of the Holy Spirit. We will focus on a different gift each month. I have found copywork and simple activities, but the heart of these lessons will be discussion on how to cultivate the gift in our family life. I have taken this idea from these wonderful planners from Good News. Later in the day we will visit with a saint on the American History Trail using this book, Holy Friends: Thirty Saints and Blesseds of the Americas.
Tuesdays will be focused on the Jubilee Year of St. Paul. Colleen has put together a fantastic scripture study that will serve as our spine. This study will also bring in maps of Paul's journeys, Church documents and more (still a work in progress). It will include narrations of the scripture. Acts of the Apostles is such a fantastic story and very narrative in and of itself. I will also pull interesting bits from this book, The First Christians: The Acts of the Apostles for Children. For my own reading I found this wonderful book, St. Paul: Jubilee Year of the Apostle Paul Edition: A Bible Study for Catholics.
Wednesdays will be focused on the rhythms of the Liturgical year and/or a Doctor of the church (again, the Good News planner is my guide here). For example, if there is a significant solemnity or memorial that week, we read about the feast or saint. My absolute favorite resource online is the Catholic Culture website. I can't say enough good things about the treasure trove of information contained there.
Thursday will be sent reading the upcoming Sunday's readings and discussing. Once more (how great are these planners?!), the Good News planner will be my primary resource.
Fridays will be quiet meditations like the what is explained at Serendipity.
Once a week very child will have an hour of what I'm calling focused catechesis.
For Maddy and Lilly this involves the Faith in Life series from Ignatius Press. I've used them in the past. I'm not particularly fond of them, but they are the required texts for my parish, particularly for sacramental years, which is where both girls are at. They will read a chapter each week and write a brief narration. There are questions at the end of each chapter that we will review since they are required to memorize them. They will also be reading from Amy Welborn's Prove It series for young people. They have already completed some of them, so I need to think about a few other books to supplement. Maddy's ancient history course this year will also include reading through this text. She will also be reading The Sacrament of Confirmation and preparing a Confirmation notebook. She will need to pick a saint and will be reading a biography about her.
Sam and Carmen (and in a more limited way, Anna and Kay) will spend the year learning about each sacrament in depth. We will spend about three weeks (a little more or less on some) on each one using a whole bunch of resources:
Our Father's House (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd manuals and materials)
Going to Confession
The Seven Sacraments
The Sacrament of Reconcilitation
The Holy Eucharist
The Mass for Children
The Mass Book for Children
A Child's Missal
Religion 5 for Young Catholics (from Seton)
An Illustrated Catechism
The Sacrament of Confirmation
Little Catechism on the Eucharist
I'm sure there are more I've got in the back of my mind and on my shelves as we go along.
We will also read aloud St. Patrick's Summer.
Anna and Kay will be reading through Catholic Mosaic selections, God's Love Story, Treasure Box books and Jesus and I. I'm sure Sam and Carmen will be enjoying some of the Catholic Mosaic books with us and this will tie in with our Friday meditations very nicely.
December will once again be full of Advent books and lessons. Last year we barely skimmed the surface of all the wonderful selections in Christmas Mosaic. This year I hope to purchase a few more books to add to our ever growing tub of Christmas books. I plan to focus us in a similar way in Lent, but those plans are still mostly in my head.