I’m going through the Baltimore Catechism again with my 2nd and 1st graders this year. I think it’s a wonderful thing to have the basics memorized. It’s not complete knowledge of the Catholic Faith, of course, but everything there is correct. We get religion books from the Seton School, and these are very informative. Also, their English and Spelling books have Bible or Catholic history themes.
One of my sons was evicted from 4th grade R.E. because he knew everything already (not as bad as it sounds - the teacher has become a good friend of ours, but she realized he was bored except when she talked about her life in Spain.) At our catechist training last week, the director said, “You don’t need to worry about your students’ knowing more than you do ...” and then she looked over at me and said, “Unless you have one of the Tax-chickadees, and then you can call their mother and she’ll tell them to shut up.”
Why am I not surprised :-)
When the pastor asked me to head the Religious Ed program of the parish, he began by citing complaints about the textbooks currently used. You may recall my posted plea a few weeks ago for feedback from other freepers. I finally settled on ordering some sample textbooks from Ignatius Press. There are only 17 children in the rel ed program but they span grades pre-K through HS. When the IP textbooks arrived, I brought them home, along with the ones currently used, so as to compare the texts.
Limiting myself to 2nd and 8th grades for review, I was absolutely blown away by the Maronite text books. They are brimming with authentic catholicism! They made the IP books look like Catholic lite. To cite an example ..
In 2nd grade, the text introduces children to the seven Holy Mysteries and how they can find Jesus in each one. The students will discover they can also meet Jesus through personal prayer, the Bible, and Maronite Church celebrations throughout the year.
The second unit focuses specifically on welcoming the Lord through the seasons of the Glorious Birth of Our Lord and Epiphany.
From there, the focus shifts to the Season of Great Lent and the Holy Mystery of Pentecost. Students will define sin as disobeying the Ten Commandments. They will learn about Gods great mercy and forgiveness. They will also explore the steps in the Holy Mystery of Penance.
Next, the students learn about the Holy Mystery of Eucharist. They are introduced to the Divine Service of the Holy Mysteries.
Second graders will learn how the Holy Mysteries help us follow Jesus. They will learn how Maronites celebrate Jesus unselfish love, especially on Lazarus Saturday and the days of the Passion Week.
In the last unit, students will learn more about our Maronite prayers and traditions. The children will discover why Mary holds a special place in the Maronite Church and see that the Holy Spirit is always with us to help us meet Jesus in the Holy Mysteries.
And that is just 2nd grade! No wonder the parents disliked these books. They're too Catholic! ;-)