Earlier this month my oldest received her First Communion and Confirmation! Congratulations my beautiful Yarrow!
Because we belong to a small, Traditional-Latin-Mass Chaplaincy, we had a few extra options:
- We could use the local parish’s religious education program: Our chaplaincy worships at the local basilica, and a lot of us are co-registered with that parish and the chaplaincy, so our kids could go through one of the local parish’s religious ed programs.
- We could homeschool with an approved curriculum, such as the Faith and Life series or the Baltimore Catechism.
- We could homeschool with a conglomeration of orthodox resources.
Of course, we chose that last option, but only after trying the other two first!
Our local parish had a lovely Catechesis of the Good Shepard program for pre-k and kindergarten faith formation, Yarrow attended and loved it! But unfortunately there were issues implementing any of the other levels of CGS and so she lost the option to prepare for her Sacraments through that lovely program. We were so disappointed and completely unimpressed by the 90s-style, classroom-based religious education that was to follow.
So we started doing more focused catechesis at home. I’ve never been a fan of the tone of the Baltimore Catechism, and most other children’s catechisms are so very saccharine that I couldn’t imagine them doing much good; but I’d heard good things about the Faith and Life series: beautiful imagery, unsentimental text, age-appropriate-but-not-immature explanations. It sounded ideal.
It’s wasn’t quite ideal.. I would still use the first book again, though it wasn’t as clear as I’d hoped, but the second book – the one I thought was supposed to do more for Sacramental Prep, seemed rather like a half-hearted sequel. The illustrations were not at all up to the standards of the first book and the text seemed repetitive and uninteresting. We began supplementing again with selections from the adult Catechism, and edited readings from the Family Apostolate Catechism (so many references to abortion! Parents of small, still-innocent, young readers beware!).
In the end, we wrote up worksheets of our own for Yarrow, encouraged lots of questions and conversations, filled her up with straight Scripture, and only supplemented with the best of the texts we had available to us.
Thanks be to God she went forward for her Confirmation, First Communion, and First Confession full of joy and eagerness to receive all the Grace God offers! But as I’m looking forward to Ilya’s preparation in a few years, I’ll be casting off some of the disappointing options and creating more of his curriculum at home!