Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our Catholic Homeschool

**PLEASE NOTE** Picture Heavy Post
It's no big secret that we are Catholic's, in fact I am quite proud of that fact. It is just not something that I blog about often. I am not a Catholic blogger, I am more of a blogger that happens to be Catholic. I blog from a parenting/teacher/homeschooler perspective. I unfortunately notice that when I post about Catholic activities that I have done with my children, I lose likes on facebook. It's too bad, and as I do not do it often, I will not stop posting about it. It is part of our education process, so I will share. As many of you already know, we use a Catholic curriculum to homeschool with and it is SETON SCHOOL. This is a fully accredited school, which my children will receive a high school diploma from, NOT a GED. Anyway, today's post is about some religious activities I have put together for my youngest as he goes on to prepare for his First Communion!
We use this awesome Liturgical Calendar from Illuminated Ink to keep track of our Holy Days of Obligation and Saint Feast Days! This great little number was a bit on the pricey side at 25.00, but in the end I found it a good investment. We also added tabs at the back of the binder to divide up the liturgical year and keep any crafts or worksheets in the back so that I have them all ready to go when we reach a certain time of year.
It comes with all the stickers you will need to complete the calendar and many pages for your Littles to color. The only negative comment I have on this is that seasonal stickers it came with. The small purple, pink and white color stickers that you place on each day for the season we are in (Ordinary, Easter, Etc..) These were so difficult to peel that they tore and we ended up ruining so many that we just colored them appropriately in the end and gave up on the stickers. Other than that, this is an awesome binder that we use all the time! I do wish it was a bigger binder though, we are overstuffed but don't want to lose the beautiful picture it came with on the cover of their binder. 
Some fun Saint Printables from Arma Dei, gave us an AWESOME opportunity to turn our Guess Who game into Saint Guess Who! We took it even further and keep the Fr. Lovasik Saint books nearby and we quickly read about which saint we got. At the end of the game, each person tells a little bit about their Saint with everyone else.

Illuminated Ink strikes again with their awesome Saint Symbol stickers! These stickers are so fun for the kids to color, but then we purchased poker chips to place the stickers on and as each pack comes with multiples of each saint, we were able to make a memory game!

Blessed Mother paper dolls were a hit at our house when these beauties came home with us from the homeschool conference! Once again from Illuminated Ink! I am beginning to regret not buying a large poster for the kids to color. 
As each week passes, I like to teach the Mass to my First Communicant. We are in the process of creating our own Mass Kit in a DIY style. I introduce a new piece each week and it does double duty as a lesson manipulative and then as part of the overall mass kit. These 'hosts' were made from wood circles that I picked up for a song at the craft store.
A bread plate from Family Christian was the perfect tray to hold our hosts along with a simple tray that holds the pitchers for the water & 'wine'. This is as far as we have gotten, but I plan to add felt pieces as the altar covers in proper seasonal colors. There is so much more to come, but we are doing just a small bit each week, to ensure comprehension. This is also a great set to practice carrying the gifts, so your littles can be prepared should your family get selected! We are lucky enough to be regulars by now, but I still get nervous when they hand my klutzy guy the hosts!
Our family absolutely loves coloring pages, I enjoy making some of my own for the kids to learn prayers from. This simple Hail Mary prayer becomes easier to learn as they recite each word while coloring it. Using a different color per word makes it easy to memorize. Get yours HERE!!
Our Advent wreath is felt and stays out year round. I keep our activity and reading books with it on a tray so that the kids can always read and play and learn with it. I also find it loads safer and cheaper in the end, because I don't have to worry about burnt fingers, burning down the house or making sure I have the candles at the right time!
Another fun game in our Catholic Homeschool is Vatican! A game for everyone to learn how men become Pope. It's a bit complicated for the younger set but having them around the game and involving them, lets them learn at their own pace through repitition! Check it out HERE!
Prayer Card Memory Game:
What You Need:
A roll of tape, blank index cards and a pair of scissors. 
1. Cut the index cards down to the same shape of the cards.
2. Tape the index cards to the prayer cards only at the top.
(this is to make all the backs the same color but making the prayer still accessible)
That's it! Now we have our very own memory game and we play the same way as memory, the only difference is when we get a match, that person has to say the prayer out loud before they add the match to their winnings! Learning and fun all in one! You can do this with any type of card you have pairs of, but one side doesn't match or create your own with anything that needs memorizing help! (AS SEEN HERE!)
Do you ever wonder what to do with all of your holy cards? We get them at funerals, in the mail, at stores and so many other places. I laminated the ones that are not laminated and then I punch a hole in the corner and they all go on a binder ring. We then hang this binder ring on a cup hook in our classroom. Perfect for grabbing on the go or when little hands want to look and pray.
My leader and member guide arrived thsi weekend for the Little Flowers Girls Club, a Catholic alternative to secular clubs for girls. This should be a lot of fun, but I would be lying to you if I said that I wasn't nervous about running a group! I will definitely keep you posted as we tackle this new journey in our life!
These will eventually get their own post that I will link here. For now I will be adding a new bag each day here. We have picked up a family adoration hour at our church and I have Adoration bags for all of my children ages 7-10 and I will share what is in them here. You can read about my 7 year old's bag HERELast week I bit the bullet and signed up the children AND I for an adoration hour at our church. This is 1 hour spent in silence with the Lord. I know the big kids will be fine with it but I was worried about the youngest. I figured I would make Adoration Bags filled with things that they can do on their own to reflect and pray to the Lord. I will share 1 each day and they will remain linked over on my LITTLE CATHOLIC HOMESCHOOL post. This week the youngest will have a book on the 12 Disciples along with our foam playset of the 12 Disciples that he can use while reading the story. (I will post more on this playset on the LCH post later). He also has a chunky rosary with a Fr. Lovasik book on praying the rosary. A bible verses book to reflect quietly over and once he has done those things, he has his  Larry Boy book to read. This is more than enough to keep him occupied but I would rather have too much than not enough. All of it is tucked away in his Veggie Tales soft sided bag.
Adoration Bag #2 is ready to be photographed. We head to Adoration this afternoon and the kids are very excited. This bag belongs to my oldest. I bought her a bible of her very own. She has always had smaller ones, children's ones, hardcover ones and the like but has been asking for one similar to my wedding one so that she could make it her own and now seemed like the perfect time. She is free to write in the margins, clip the pages, add post its, prayer cards, use a bible highlighter or anything at all. Autumn is 10 years old and her bag contains:
1. Bible
2. Three different bible highlighters & One pen.
3. Holy Bible Crosswords, each clue is from the bible and you must look it up and read the chapter to get the answer.
4. Rosary & Mysteries on a ring for prayer and reflection
Adoration Bag #3:
Another peek into our Adoration Bags, here is mine! Mine has my wedding day Bible, bible highlighters and my daily devotional journal. In this journal I keep track of all prayer requests that I have been given, some of my own and also journal about day to day activities that I need to reflect on. After going through a few basic prayers, I pray a rosary and then begin my reflection with my bible as I pray for those that asked for prayers.

Adoration Bag #4
This bag belongs to my 9 year old. It has his book that he is currently reading: Bible Wars & Weapons, his holy cards and rosary guide along with a rosary. His Action Bible and the memory verse cards that go along with his bible. (The Action Bible is NOT a Catholic bible, he knows this and it allows him to compare the 2 bibles as he goes through it). His adoration bag is actually his everywhere bag, he is constantly using this items that it just worked out for him to bring this. In Adoration, he uses his rosary guides and prays the rosary and then he prays to all the saints in his ring of saints and memorizes a few bible verses as he prays for his intentions list.
As mentioned above, we homeschool using SETON school. One thing they stress is the Baltimore Catechism. A way for us to keep these questions fresh in our head on a daily basis and to remember what we are learning to to keep an Index Card File filled with cards and ready to be written in. As they come across a question, they write it and fill in the answer. This repetition as they are writing it down is keeping it in their memory. My daughter has been done with both for 2 years now and can answer the questions at the drop of a hat!
I was challenged this week to share my favorite bible verse and I didn't even have to think about it! This one has always been it. During a struggle, I have to always keep in mind that this is the path the Lord has set me on. Enjoy every minute my friends! 

Follow along with our Catholic Adventures in a new feature titled Sunday School and it will post every Sunday on this blog! I will try to keep this post updated as well with all the new postings.



#8, #9

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