Lenten Resources

Lent is nearly upon us again. I am updating this post from last year since most of the resources are still available. I do enjoy adding a new book or two to our family’s Lenten resources, and this one is for me (I love Chesterton)

Additionally, I plan on using Catholic Mosaic‘s section on Lent that includes three books:

Catholic Mosaic also has 6 books used that are for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday. It is a wonderful resource to help live more fully the liturgical year.

New links for 2010:

I am including this at the top of the post – it looks to be quite a do-able reading plan for Lent taking only 10-15 minutes a day and at the end of Lent, you will have read from 10 Church Fathers. So, it’s not too late to catch up:

The overview from ChurchYear.Net

The PDF with all the readings in order

I am dashing around, so this is not a pretty post. I will reformat it when I have a bit more time, but I wanted to begin a list of Lenten Resources:

Wow! Check out Catholic Familyland’s New Website

The formal name for Catholic Familyland is the Apostolate for Family Consecration. The previous website allows you to download the pdf’s for the Catechism developed by the Apostolate (with an imprematur by Cardinal Arinze); or download the mp3’s or DVD’s of Cardinal Arinze going through each question and answer and talking more in depth. It is a fabulous, free resource.

Now, the apostolate is rolling out a beta version of the catechism online – FamilyCatechism.com. And, what a great site it is. There are video’s, images, in depth discussions, exercises and more tied to each question.

Now, I don’t particularly like rollover menus since I find them to be a bit touchy, but the content is incredible. They have done a wonderful job of bringing information together so that it is all at your fingertips.

A quick example: In section 2: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior, you will find Part 1, Chapter 19 the question, “What does the Incarnation mean?”.

You will find on the right side of the page, 4 sections. The first section is the “Answered By”. In that section, there are three clickable images offering you a video of the answer by Cardinal Arinze, a 2 page text article of the answer from the catechism, and coming soon, an answer from Sister M. John Vianney that will be geared towards younger students and children.

The second section in reference to the question are prayers.

In the cross reference section to the question you will find five sections:

  • scriptural references (full text)
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church references (full text)
  • Church doctrine references – specifically for this question, you will find a reference to the text, Lumen Gentium section 55
  • papal document references – specifically for the question it refers you to “Deus Caritas Est” sections 41-42 (full text)
  • a list of other documents referenced – for this question the list included Father Hardon’s Catechism, Shrek’s “Basics of the Faith”, and Baker’s “Fundamentals of Catholicism” among many others  (these are simply titles and page numbers, not full text).

The final section is the Doctrine – Morals – Worship Exercises to explore more deeply your personal understanding of the question (and the answers to these questions are also provided). In this section is also a Thought Provoker along with an answer.

This would be a great resource in homeschooling if your student needs to dig deeper into a topic, or if you have a friendly debate with a person and you would like to some scriptural references or other references to explain a concept.

Start the Day off Right – Prayer!

     Mother’s Rule of Life author, Holly Pierlot suggestions that our first priority (first P) is prayer and God seems to bless me when I give Him this time. I kind of think it’s like offering God my first fruits of the day. You can order the book through my Amazon link, A Mother’s Rule of Life.

Our day now starts with the daily Bible readings from the USCCB. Then we proceed on to our daily prayers – I have a first grader who is working on the prayers needed for First Holy Communion. Older children are working on memorizing the “Anima Christi” and of course we recite the “Act of Contrition” and “Morning Offering”.

When I offer God the first part of my day, it seems as though He blesses me with the ability to get all the rest of our work accomplished. But on the days when I am running behind and we skip this part, we seem to experience more strife, fussing and in general we just have very long school days.

We also may read a short selection on the saint of the day if I receive an email in time as well as a meditation on the mass readings. Finally, on Friday’s, I try to make a point of visiting “Open Wednesday” to preview the readings for the upcoming Sunday mass.

My next goal is to find a family catechism / religious education program that I can add right after the daily Bible readings, but I’m still searching for one that works.

Memorizing Key Facts of the Faith

     I stumbled on the niftiest book, “Memorize the Faith“. I have to admit, I am a poorly catechized Catholic. I grew up in era that followed Vatican II. My religious education experience can be basically summed up in three words … ok, I know you can guess them … “God is love”.

I suppose I did learn the seven sacraments – not because I was instructed to memorize them, but simply through exposure growing up in a Catholic family. But, I couldn’t tell you the Ten Commandments, nor the Seven Deadly Sins let alone the Seven Cardinal Virtues.

Methodically, “Memorize the Faith” moves through the essential facts that we should have memorized. The technique is easy to master (Method Loci) and seriously works – at least with my overtaxed brain. Unfortunately, it’s not useful for memorizing things like catechism question and answers, but he does give you the concrete imagery to work on other key Catholic facts.

We are currently using it during our Family School Time, to memorize pertinent facts. I was able to memorize about 7 sets of facts in one sitting because his imagery was so effective for me, but … you still have to revisit the facts. Sadly, they didn’t get permanently “stuck in my brain”. Oh well, it was a great start. Just need to add in the periodic review.

Family School Time

On one of the lovely Catholic homeschool lists I belong to, I was lamenting on the fact that somehow I never managed to get to our memory work – things like poetry recitation, Latin drills, state cards and the rest. Providentially, a mom suggested “Family School Time”. Unfortunately, I cannot recall her name in order to credit this to her, but it has been a life saver.

We first move through our family prayer time. The details of which can be found in the next post.
Then, we move on to our scholastic memory work. Our schedule has us review the days of the week on Monday’s and Wednesday’s and the months of the year on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s – can you see my cheeks red from embarrassment that my 7th grader couldn’t remember the months? We follow this with the state and capital reviews (5 new ones per week and reviewing the rest). Remember, that I have all my school age children attending Family School, so even if my first grader isn’t working on the states, he is being exposed to it.

We work on addition facts on Monday, Multiplication facts on Tuesday, Subtraction Facts on Wednesday, and Division Facts on Thursdays. This ensures that even if children have moved past the “learning facts” stage, they still have a refresher. Finally, we work on our family poem. This year, I am attempting some Shakespeare with everyone.

After the poetry work, I dismiss the little ones. The have a short break while I work on the Latina Christiana I vocabulary words and chants with my three oldest children. I go through 5 lessons a day, so that by the end of the week, they have another chance to be exposed to all the those words.

My fifth grader is then dismissed and I work on the Latina Christiana II vocabulary with my oldest two who are in seventh grade. I have let the vocabulary slip with my oldest, so our goal is to review two lessons a day and then the current lesson’s words.

So, now I’m sure you’re gasping thinking of how behind I must be on our schedule. But, in reality, I have finally fit in all the drill work that I find necessary and with relief, we can move on to individual subjects. I find this system works for me because this type of memory work is a bit tedious and I do best just getting it finished (I hate having it hang over my head) and by requiring everyone to attend, the little ones are getting a head start.

Oh, and one other point to note, we do have additional memory work that is required in the syllabi we use. But, since I’m being honest, it doesn’t happen with as great regularity as the Family School memory work does.