Friday, July 29, 2011

Homeschool Review: Faith and Life 1, Our Heavenly Father

Faith and Life Series 1: Our Heavenly Father from Ignatius Press, Revised

Last year, for first grade, we used Our Heavenly Father for our catechism. Mater Amabilis recommends it for Level 1B. They suggest reading and narrating one chapter a week. You certainly could. The chapters are quite short, usually five or six paragraphs. Even early in the year, First Son could read the text himself. We would often share it, taking turns reading paragraphs.

Honestly, though, we did not really narrate the catechism. While the text is thorough, clear and theologically sound, sometimes it was a little dry on its own. Luckily, I had purchased a teacher's manual. While not strictly necessary for the catechism course, I found the teacher's manual indispensable. It contained great explanations, suggested questions for incorporating the beautiful artwork shown in each chapter, and additional activities, books or movies that could be used in each lesson. I learned so much myself from the teacher's manual that it was more than worth the cost. (I have the old version, revised but not updated. I think the updated one would be even better.)

First Son enjoyed the student activity book as well. I was pleased to see that many of the activities were quite open-ended such as "Draw a picture of yourself kneeling before Jesus in the Eucharist." By the end of the year we had stopped using the activity pages only because First Daughter would so often be disappointed there were no pages for her.

For second grade, we'll be continuing with the Faith and Life series. I have the revised editions of the student book, the activity book and the teachers manual which I received free from moms who were done with them. (Love the home school group!) We'll have to make a few adjustments later in the year to incorporate the new Mass translations, but Ignatius Press has kindly provided a detailed list of the changes they've made for their third edition, due out any day now. We'll be supplementing this with CHC's second grade lesson plans which I purchased for the sacramental preparation supplement.

As if that weren't enough, First Son, First Daughter and Second Daughter will be enrolled in our parish's new Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. If all goes as planned, this fall I will be beginning the training program to become a teacher for our atrium.

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