Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Makes Your Homeschool Catholic?

In keeping with the spirit of Jen's seven posts in seven days, this one has been in the draft folder a long time with several other similar posts. I  host a monthly breakfast for Catholic Homeschooling Moms, and we usually discuss a predetermined topic. I try to take notes and then send those out to the list of over 60 moms who have expressed interest in attending at some time. (we have 5-10 women typically join us)
So, these notes are from last summer! Since most of us wish to homeschool so that we can impart the faith to our children, we shared ideas on What makes your homeschool Catholic? With Lent approaching, I found this list has wonderful ideas for families to consider. Which do you feel the need to incorporate in your home? What did we forget to mention?

Update: It looks like the links failed to transfer. I will come back and fix them later today. Sorry!


    Pray the Rosary daily, even with young children, even if it's just a decade. Get some Catholic religious coloring books or buy crocheted or make simple silk toddler Rosary roses.
  • Attend daily Mass if you can. Of course, some parishes are more conducive to daily Mass with small children and some are not. Go to different churches at different times to find one that works for you. Sit up front; children can see more and pay attention better. There are seasons when some families just can't go to daily Mass; that's okay.
  • Teach sensitive topics at a developmentally appropriate age and include the Truth of the Catholic faith. When children ask questions about where babies come from, be honest, but only say what they need to hear at that age. As they get older, refer to Catholic resources, especially the Catechism.
  • When you pass a Catholic Church, hear sirens from emergency vehicles, pass a cemetery, etc... make the sign of the cross and/or offer some short ejaculatory prayer. Teach your children some traditional ejaculations, such as found here.
  • Learn and read about the saints. You can read about the saint of the day and provide books for your children to read independently or as part of their lessons.
  • Say a morning offering, prayers, and/or pledge together before starting school.
    • I have attached our daily homeschool prayer pages.
    • L suggested singing the morning offering. Here is a sample.
  • Read Scripture, especially perhaps the Gospel of the Day. We sometimes try to do this after breakfast or lunch before we leave the table. Make sure your Bibles are approved Catholic translations. (see devotional use Bibles here)
  • Create a family altar or prayer table/area, including appropriate items based on the liturgical season and feasts - Lent, Advent, Christmas, Easter, saints, etc...
  • Make your Catholicism visible. Include the use of holy cards, religious artwork, holy water (especially when you leave and return to your home), small statues, blessed oil, blessed salt, and other sacramentals in your home.
  • Live the liturgical year in your home. Plan special activities for seasons and feast days. These can be as simple or as complex as you wish.
  • Celebrate Feast Days/Name Days of your children with a special treat (i.e. on the Feast of St. Thomas, your child named Thomas chooses a special family dessert, meal or outing). Also, celebrate their Baptism Days in the same way, since this is their birthday in the Church. Set aside part of your wedding anniversary day to celebrate all together (we call it our Family Birthday and always eat white cake with white icing!).
  • When you go on vacations, be sure to attend Mass and try to include a pilgrimage to some religious site. You can also plan local pilgrimages to various churches, such as on the feast day of the patron of the church (visit St. Mark's on his feast day, etc...), and the Missions.
  • Attend Catholic co-ops, support groups, play groups, etc... and help your children develop friendships with other Catholics. This common ground helps them (and you) to solidify their faith. Other groups and friends are good, too, but making the sacrifice to include Catholic activities will nourish the family's spirituality.
  • Above all remember that the ultimate goal of your homeschool is to get your children to Heaven. Which curriculum you choose and how you teach pales in comparison to leading these little souls to Christ. Do not forget the simple things, the little traditions that can be infused throughout your days to create a culture of Catholicism in your family.
Which do you feel the need to incorporate in your home? What did we forget to mention?

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