Saturday, August 05, 2006

Next Year: Religion

I have been dithering over this one. If there is one subject I really want to get right, this is it. Next year I will probably use the Level 2 (Star) and Level 3 (Angel) Mater Amabilis religious studies suggestions pretty much as written, but this year I want to fill gaps and - I hope - light fires. Last year we were reading the Golden Bible, the Lion Treasury of Saints, and Faith and Life books for catechism, with excursions into other things for Advent, Lent and Easter. We are only part way through the Bible and Saints books, so logically we ought to continue with them, but they are becoming a slog. I don't see them lighting any fires this year. We could also use a break from Faith and Life, which gets repetitive after a while, so I have a blank slate to fill. Tentatively, the result looks like this ...


For catechism I have opted for a "living book" for both girls. Adventure of the Amethyst is a classic, written in the 1930s and long out of print. I hit lucky and found a copy in a second-hand bookshop a while ago - copies I have seen on the internet have all been way beyond my price range. It is substantial both in size (400 pages) and content, with a detailed explanation of the Catholic faith wrapped up in a work of children's fiction. A rare treasure. I hope Angel will like it, but if not I will save it for another time and use Saint Patrick's Summer with her as well as Star.

Angel will be reading (or listening to) a biography of a 20th century saint each term. Mother Teresa, to tie in with our study of India; Maximilian Kolbe alongside World War II; and finally Pope John Paul II. I am hoping the new joint biography of both JP2 and Pope Benedict XVI that is due for publication in September will work nicely; if not, I'll have to look for an alternative. Beggars, Beasts and Easter Fire was a lucky find in a library book sale, with twenty nicely told saints' stories, just the right length for a lesson apiece. Star will draw and narrate a page for each, making her own saints' story book over the year. This book is also out of print, but rather easier to find than Adventure of the Amethyst.

My First Catholic Bible was recommended recently on the Family Centered Learning email group and I love the sound of it, though I haven't seen a copy yet as it is still in my Amazon shopping basket. It is a devotional Bible, with five stories each week taken from the New RSV Bible (real text, not paraphrased), a weekly memory verse, and "prayer starters". I am planning to read it daily as part of our morning prayers. I also want to make our own family prayer book for the year in advance. I always intend to add in appropriate seasonal prayers, and while I normally manage it for Advent and Lent, the rest of the year often passes me by. If I can choose a specific prayer or two for each month or season and have the whole thing printed out in advance I'm sure we will do a lot better.

Finally, if you haven't read Caryll Houselander's Catholic Tales books to your children yet, you are missing a treat!


Faith said...

Hi Kathryn,

I love reading your plans. Gotta love those Marigold Hunt books. I have been reading St. Patrick's aloud to my kids, ages 15 to 5 and we all (including myself) are learning something. It stimulates a lot of conversation and thought.

I think I am going to alternate saints stories with catechism. I always read religion stuff aloud at lunch. It is pegged to that time of day. So I am going to do saints on feast days and then F&L aloud on other days. I just rotate through the different grades.

The one thing I really need to do is read Bible stories to the little ones. I have neglected that sorely.

Anyway, sorry to go on. You got me thinking! Thanks for sharing your plans.



Anonymous said...

Alright, Kathryn...You can't mention a title like Adventure of the Amethyst and expect me not to try to find a sounds so wonderful! No luck with amazon, bookfinder but abebooks had it from a British bookstore and I got it (a battered copy but decent enough) for $30 including shipping--now it may take 45 days to get here but it's on its way...:)
I know my dd, age almost 9, will love it...Thanks!!
Jennifer in TX

The Bookworm said...

Oh, good find! That's about what I paid for my copy. Usually it seems to be listed at $60-$70 plus. Enjoy! And please let me know what you think of it :)