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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Self-Designed Catholic Homeschool Curriculum

As I increasingly orient our homeschooling to the Catholic Faith, I'd like to share what we are using for "curricula", considering that term in an open source, unschooling kind of way. That is to say, by way of seamlessly joining learning, life, and the Faith. Using my little way of the fleur de lis, with faith formation at the lily's center, I endeavor to be vigilant in keeping Beezy's home education Catholic. Our curriculum is self-designed and utilizes "living books" as much as possible.

The most important resource, of course, is the Catholic Bible. (We use the Holy Bible, RSV, second Catholic edition). I checked out a Catholic Children's Bible from the library but decided it wasn't going to work. It paraphrases the stories and then explains their significance. I could tell it would be tedious for Beezy and would not work well for her age level. Even for older children, though, this does not fit into the Charlotte Mason philosophy of using original sources and letting children make their own connections regarding the material. The Bible as it is written has always unfailingly held Beezy's attention. I only got the children's version because it was suggested on the Mater Amabilis online Catholic CM curriculum site.




I have been teaching the Rosary to Beezy, and we have covered all five Joyful Mysteries, reading the stories from the Bible to meditate upon as we pray the Hail Marys. At her age (8), one decade at a time is plenty. For copy work, she has written out the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. We will continue with the Fatima prayer and the Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen), as well as the Apostle's Creed. This also covers memorization/recitation.

Since yesterday was the Feast of St. Joseph, I read a St. Joseph Story for Kids from parentsduty.com. I especially liked this, because it discusses doing chores as a gift of oneself. I could almost hear the wheels in Beezy's head turning! We are almost finished reading, Kateri Tekakwitha: Mohawk Maiden by Evelyn M. Brown. This is from Ignatius Press, which has a whole series of novels about saints. I read a chapter, or part of a chapter if it is very long, and Beezy narrates it back to me. This book also falls under the subjects of history and Native American studies. We previously read, Our Lady Came to Fatima. 

Today Beezy asked me who the "Glory Be" prayer is addressed to. When I told her, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, she wasn't sure exactly what that meant. She knew the Father was God, and the Son was Jesus, but who was the Holy Spirit? I just so happened to have a book I was planning to begin today, A Young Person's Book of Catholic Signs and Symbols by Francis Tiso. This book begins with the symbol of the circle representing the One God, and then proceeds to the Trinity. Love those moments of synchronicity!

So there are several ideas for beginning a Catholic-based curriculum. You probably already have a Bible and a Rosary. I simply type the prayers on the computer to print out for Beezy to copy, and the books come from the library. Easy breezy lemon squeezy! Not all of your resources have to be Catholic per se. For example, we are reading Little Town on the Prairie for American history/literature right now, and we are using a basic, "Time and Money" workbook, plus a toy clock with movable hands, for math. The important thing is to avoid curriculum choices that are anti-Catholic or specifically eliminate Catholic historical content (or which contain a Protestant bias). You want to be sure that the Catholic point of view, or point of conscience, as it is expressed by Keeping It Catholic, is upheld.

Speaking of KIC, my book had not been sent due to a warehouse error, but I have been assured it has been shipped, so no doubt I will be giving my feedback on the Keeping It Catholic Homeschooling Guide soon! Tonight Beezy's religious education class, which meets weekly, prayed the Stations of the Cross, and I joined them, participating in this ritual for the first time myself. Ten days until I'm Catholic, thanks be to God!!


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