Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Catechism and Coffee

I don't know what kind of homeschooler I am: highly structured? school-at-home? unschooler? an idealistic mother hanging on by her fingernails?

Lately, I've been trying more and more to anchor certain subject studies to moments in our real life routine.(I started this last year with literature and history reading.) I want to take the subject out of a school setting and put it in a life setting. I find that the studying we do in our formal classroom hours and setting actually aren't our most effective. But some subjects, like math, I feel that I just can't successfully teach them in real life: I need textbooks, manipulatives, white boards, desks.

Catechism was getting dropped from our day too often, which bothered me so much since a religious education is one of our primary reasons for homeschooling. But, let me tell you, our school room with four different aged children, at least two running around yelling and playing, is not conducive for a cozy sit-down catechism chat on the sofa.

These books sit in my den now, ready for Coffee and Catechism:
The Little Children's Prayer Book
The Mass for Boys and Girls
Catechism for Children
Their Hearts Are His Garden
Lift-the-Flap Catholic Bible
Chats with God's Little Ones
The Golden Children's Bible

It occurred to me that a conducive time for cozy chats is first thing in the morning! Thus, lately I've been trying my hand at Catechism and Coffee. I wake up first, often by 5:30: I'm on the computer, doing my own holy reading, drinking coffee, and the children start padding downstairs one by one. We generally don't start family prayers till 7:30 and eat breakfast at 8:00. Not every day, but a few days per week, well before 7:30, I bring each child to the couch and, one at a time, read through his or her catechism with me. Being an early bird, it's my freshest and brightest time of the day.

I don't read a saint of the day daily like I'd wish but two or three times per week I manage it during mealtime. Even at that slow pace, children will learn a surprisingly large number of saints over the years. We shouldn't let perfection be the enemy of the good.

It helps to organize one's library by keeping books where they will be used. I keep saint stories and edifying stories in the kitchen so that I can read them at mealtimes.



Do you have any creative solutions to teaching catechism?

  • A night owl homeschooling mother might use my same method but anchor the catechism time to the children's evening bedtime routine when she is feeling fresh and alert.
  • I know one family who teaches catechism at the dinner table each night. What a nice way to reduce the nonsense talk that can easily overtake a table of many children!
  • Some families have Dad teach catechism on the weekends, which creates a special bond, alleviates some of the workload from Mom, and emphasizes the father as the spiritual head.

Bonus reading on a somewhat related topic: "Pray Your Way Through Your Homeschool Day"

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could stay so on top of things like you do, Mrs. Lauer! I know that's not what you're saying in this post, but you always seem to stick to such a scheduled routine. Sometimes, despite being a melancholic, I feel like my days are all over the place, and it bothers me.

    Anyway, back to the my limited knowledge and wisdom of the world, I'd say that what you've got going on right now is pretty darn good. I know that when I was younger and doing preparations for Holy Communion, my dad and I would do it either at night (we're night owls) or on the weekends, or both. Of course, I had less siblings at the time, and Sacramental preparations weren't very rigid at St Matthews, soo... ;)

    Good luck! -Emiliann W