Some families are already gearing up to start school on Monday. We don’t start back until September 8, just after our parish festival. But no matter when you begin, here are some ideas to take your religious education to the next level. If you are doing all this already, kudos to you.
Pray every day as an individual
I know I say this a lot, but it’s essential. Your kids will copy your actions more than your words. If you watch hours of TV, so will they. If you’re always on the computer, they will want to be too. If you read a lot, you will probably raise readers. And if you set aside time every day to pray, no matter how busy you are, they will want to do the same.
Pray every day as a family
Do you start every school day with a prayer? What about the days you don’t have school? Don’t forget to dedicate those days to God too.
Pray with your kids before lights out–every day.
By doing these things you teach them the importance of both mental and vocal prayer, solitary communion with God, and praying to God as a community.
Read the Bible as part of your curriculum
Almost every event in history, every topic in fiction and non-fiction can be related back to the faith. Make connections back to the Bible–or, better yet, start with the Bible and connect it to other disciplines. That’s what we do in our contemplative homeschool. If you need help understanding why you should do this, read my post 10 reasons Catholics should read the Bible.
Practice repentance and forgiveness
Let your kids know that you are a sinner and sometimes make mistakes. Be gentle with their failings. I know how frustrating it is to correct the same bad habits over and over–but that could as easily refer to the state of my own soul as to the travails of parenting. “Forgive as you have been forgiven” (Colossians 3:13). Distinguish between being disappointed with your children’s behavior and being angry at them.
If your kids only learn one lesson in catechism class, let it be that God is loving and merciful. Help them understand that God is not a tyrant, but a loving Father who makes rules for their eternal good, so that they can “be happy forever with Him in Heaven.”
Celebrate the Church’s feast days
Do special activities during Advent and Lent. Have a party on the feasts of your patron saints. Give them the day off on Holy Days of Obligation.
These are just a few easy ideas you can use, no matter what your curriculum is. Most of them can take place outside “school time.” You don’t want your kids to think of the Faith as just another (sometimes boring) subject, do you? Blur the distinction between school and life.
God bless the beginning of your new school year!