well, I know I made the right decision…

well, I know I made the right decision… September 18, 2009

… yesterday evening I went by the faith formation school of my church to pick up The Boy’s material and books (paid for by your donations, by the way) so I can teach him at home in preparation for his First Holy Communion.

Don’t know if you remember but I went back and forth on this for some time; blogged about it here. The compromise became home schooling.

So there I was walking through the building making my way past the class rooms to the office. I decided to take a peek and see what my son was “missing”; my parents still swear he is missing out on integral social events of his formation.

No matter how hard I try to convince them otherwise, what they remember …

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  • I have mixed feelings on the church catechism programs. I guess a lot of it depends on the parish and who is running the program. I taught catechism in two different parishes and I can tell you, they were like night and day. The first parish was one that I was forced to go to because it was in my "district". It was more "contemporary"..to put it mildly. I taught two Saturday classes, fourth graders, with 25 kids per class. I was also the fourth grade "coordinator" which meant that I prepared the lesson plans for the other fourth grade catechists (with the approval of the nun who ran the entire program). Unfortunately, the sister and I didn't see eye to eye on some of the lessons. After the first year, she hired an "assistant" coordinator who was opposed to teaching that the Eucharist was the true body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. She said "transubstantiation" was not a word we should use in front of children because it would turn them off and they won't want to receive Communion because they will think it's "gross". She wanted to teach that the "bread" and "wine" were "symbols" of Jesus. Oh…and the kids didn't make their first Confession until fourth grade because the nun said that they don't understand the difference between right and wrong until then. To add insult to injury, they made their own "Communion bread" and cut the loaves up into chunks. I could see kids dropping "crumbs" all over the place and chewing on it like it was a granola bar. So, I went to the good sister and pointed out that this was not our church dogma. She shut me down and agreed with the new assistant (who, btw, told me and the other teachers that she saw nothing wrong with abortion, she had one herself after becoming pregnant after having twins two years before–it was too inconvenient to have more and she was sure that God would understand).I quit teaching that year because my son was due to go to catechism classes the next year and I didn't want him taught by those morons. I went to another church in town (very traditional) and begged them to let me be a part of their parish and said I would be willing to teach catechism there. I taught 6th graders and high school kids (they made their Confirmation in their Jr.year of h.s.). I loved it there…and my son loved it, too. The nice thing was that all the kids had Catholic bibles and we used them, with every lesson. It wasn't touchy-feely, but the kids enjoyed the classes. (Many still keep in touch with me). I taught for 9 years before I retired. So…all I can say is that if you are happy to home school, do it. I don't blame you if you feel that your kids won't benefit by their school's classes. The only thing I would suggest, if you don't already have one, get a priest to be a spiritual adviser to help you if needed. They can often bring some of those "mysteries" to light in a way that is easy for kids to understand. Good luck!

  • I would also like to add that I'm sorry for that comment that was five times longer than your post. I'm such a motormouth sometimes…all the time. 🙁

  • I am a director of Faith Formation in a Catholic Parish and I don't allow this touchy feeling stuff in the classrooms. We do some hands on activities, but I think people don't give children enough credit to know that it's possible for them to understand the basic tenets of our faith at a very young age. We use the correct language; we focus on the Catholic Doctrine or teaching that comes out of the readings at Mass on Sunday with students from age 4 through 12th grade. We focus on the liturgical year for activities, and we hold a prayer service in the Church for students and parents at the end of every class that focuses on a prayer of the Church- I had 4 year olds who can't read reciting the Liturgy of the Hours because they had memorized it! I include parent preparation in Sacramental Preparation so they can understand or 'remember' what the Sacraments mean and how to encourage and deepen the faith of their child. Yes, I have special needs children in the program, but we work patiently with them to help them comprehend as much as possible. I also offer an excellent program called "Faith First at Home" for families who chose homeschooling for both Faith Formation and Sacramental Prep. The catechists manage to make it fun and interesting for the children, but they also learn and are deeply immersed into the Catholic life. It's not perfect, but it's solidly Catholic.

  • do you war a habit to teach The Boy?

  • Try the "Faith in Life" series. It has the old catechism questions and answers with some phenomenal religious art.I applaud your decision to homeschool for religion. We, the parents, are the primary educators of our children. It is one of our responsibilities as Catholics to teach our children the faith.Anytime you CAN do it, you SHOULD.

  • That first picture could be my classroom growing up and one of my dear Sisters doing the teaching. Darn, I was lucky!!!The second picture is the reason I no longer teach! I finally decided to let the Roman Protestants have my parish. I go somewhere else now. And, to be fair, my former parish is really not all that bad. I shudder when I see some of the goings on at other parishes…

  • I know someone who knows a lady who works in Catholic education in our archdiocese and she sends her children to public school. The reason she gave?"I prefer that my children get their heresy straight up."

  • It has been my unfortunate experience to hear a "seasoned" Catholic teacher/professional/ex-nun to say, "Kids in second grade don't know what sin is; they're just like puppies." Yeah, right.Teach 'the boy' at home. Keep him from the "clutches" of these "professionals", is my advice.And I've seen more than I care to remember…Jesus, mercy!

  • Joe

    WOW… how did you get a picture of my RCIA class… FOR ADULTS?!?I swear that was me a few years ago… but you know what… it just pushed me to search on my own… so keep up the God-work with your child… it will be worth it in the end! 🙂