Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Religious Education Plans

Our religious education plans for the rest of this school "year" (yes, it's in quotes because we DO school year round here) are actually fairly simple. I tend not to get overly stressed out about planning this part of our lessons. I also try to purchase very little in this area because in all honesty one good family Bible can be used to teach most all things about God, it is His word after all.

So, for January we are trying something a bit different than the first half of the year. I was able to get a copy (adult version) of a periodical called Magnificat by visiting their website and asking for a free copy to try out. (Word of warning: you cannot ask for an adult version of this for free and a junior version as you will not be able to receive both for free at the same time, if you'd like to try a copy of each for free you will have to request them separately and for different months.) Each day in this publication has morning prayers, meditations, and intentions. Daily mass information and everything for the evening (pretty much same as the morning). Also, this has a small blurb for almost every day about a Saint. I read the morning information in the morning (along with that day's saint being covered) while the children work on their morning binders and right after I've gotten us ready for the day. The mass section I read to myself sometime around lunch and ECJ reads it before bed. I read the evening selections when we have our desert/evening snack before bed. This along with some readings from the Bible are basically all we've done this month other than a bit of prayer copy work.

For the rest of the year we're also visiting Holy Heroes about twice a week (other than at Lent and part of summer where this will be more often as both times there are some more focused things on the site). Before and after Lent this is for mass preparation for the children. During Lent Holy Heroes has an adventure that is similar to their Advent Adventures only this one focuses on Lent. And they have another adventure for the summer. All of these are free and come with printables for that week/day ranging from coloring pages to "tests". Although ECJ has grown out of some of the younger video clips on the site he still enjoys watching most of them and learning about the word in another way. Of course the Cracker Jack's will be continuing with their catechism classes through our parish (once the schools aren't shut down due to the cold thus effectively cancelling catechism classes for that day as well).

For the months of February, May, and June we will only be doing our daily readings from our Bible out loud as part of our lessons other than some copy work. The children, especially the Cracker Jack's, say their rosaries daily (as do Daddy and I) and of course our other daily prayers.

March will be a bit different as not only is this when Lent begins (and thus our Lenten Adventures with Holy Heroes), but also because I have requested a copy of Magnifikid (the junior version of Magnificat) for us to try out. If it is laid out in a similar fashion as Magnificat then we'll use it just the same way that we used the adult version for January. April also contains much of the Lenten season and we'll be using Holy Heroes quite a lot during that month as well.

In May both of the Cracker Jack's will be making their first communions (yes, they're both late to do this because we've moved too often in the past to get this taken care of). Which means of course that they'll both be getting their first "adult" rosaries (and Peanut will be getting her first "real" children's rosary), both will be getting their very own Holy Bibles, and a few other wonderful gifts to help them follow a life devoted to God at this time. 

Peanut is concentrating right now on her "regular" prayers. The prayers we say before meals, our bedtime prayers, and our prayers to our Guardian Angel. She often joins YCJ or myself for at least a decade of the rosary each day. YCJ is working terribly hard at learning all of her prayers and the order in which the rosary goes along with all the mysteries. She works diligently at this every day. ECJ has a few problems with memorization and so he spends the time his sisters use practicing their handwriting on copying his prayers that he has yet to memorize. We've learned in the past that with him copying and repetition, repetition, repetition are what it takes to get something to "stick".

So, as simple as it really is, this is our plan for the rest of the school "year" for our religious education here at Homeschool Campers.

Now, before people grumble at me for using items that I'm getting a free copy of to try out as part of our lessons, let me explain why I'm doing this. Last year I was given a beautiful little book with all of the daily prayers listed for three months and I really enjoyed it and plan on purchasing it or something similar for myself soon. I am attempting to determine which periodical (and there are quite a few) that I prefer. I'm also trying to figure out which, if any, periodical would be a good addition to the children's studies. 12 issues of Magnifikid (for one child) is $34.90 US, a complete liturgical cycle (3 years) for one child costs $79 US. Considering that we work within a budget for each child of between $100 and $150 for each school year and ECJ is in middle school years I need to be able to justify such a cost and at this time I'm not sure I can mainly because I haven't received my sample copy as yet. The adult version for one year would cost me $44.95 (for the US). I am not sure I am willing to spend that much for myself. It is a beautiful periodical and I really enjoy it, however, I can get my daily readings for free either online or from my local parish paper each week. That being said I will continue to search for a little "book" for myself at the very least over the next few months, who knows ... I may just receive something special for my birthday in May!

Our religious studies are most important to us. We don't want to shirk on them in any way. However, there is also no need to spend money that we could better use on our bill (just as an example) if it is not something that is going to fit our family. Our catechism alone cost us more than we'd originally budgeted for simply due to the cost of the first communion rites and Peanut will be attending catechism as well next year. Catechism costs are not part of the rest of our curriculum budget for the year, however we do have to budget for these things. 

I use a lot of free resources for our homeschool in general. We live on a pretty tight fixed income and it makes no sense to me to have to pay for something that I can get for free. Yes, the worksheets and all other printables cost me paper and ink ... but in all honesty, even with every item on my wish list I'd still be printing most of these things off anyways.

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