How to Teach Your Children Their Faith, Through Literature
by Rita Davidson
Through all our approx. 22 years of homeschooling, our children haven’t seen the inside of a school, until highschool. (Praise God!) Our eldest was, you could say, our *experiment*. She was always the one we tried all the new books on and so on until homeschooling became more familiar to us. We’ve sure made some mistakes, and some we can’t fix, but God’s grace is sufficient and we pray He will make all things new one day.
Even today, sometimes I still feel like I haven’t learned a thing all these years homeschooling. Every child is so different that each time you start a new one on the ladder of homeschooling, you nearly have to *re-invent the wheel* at times. At a new stage in our life, we now have 3 disabled boys with autism and three of our eldest girls are all off in schools elsewhere. We can never really plan for what will come, but we do hope we can learn from each other. Homeschooling is flexible and it can adapt and change as our family changes and for this we are thankful.
Many families ask us how we do it? What do we use?
So, I thought I would take the time to answer some of these questions. Today I would like to discuss writing.
Please email me your questions on any topic of families, modesty, or homeschooling for this section and I would be happy to answer it here.
Some children take to writing, like a *duck to water* and some you couldn’t pay them to like it. Much like anything I suppose. But there is a secret to teaching them writing and language skills.
It is teaching them to love to read. That is the first step.
As we developed our homeschooling "style" we realized that what was most important was that they knew the faith.
Once I realized this, it was then I wanted to create a *Catholic environment* so they could be surrounded by their faith.
As we know living in this secular world, it is very hard for the faith to seem normal against all the screaming of the world to fulfill every desire there is, whether it is good or not.
So I began to research literature. As I discovered the Catholic literature available, I realized it had this "Catholic Environment" that I was looking for. It was then I knew my children needed to read, and read alot they did.
Some years our oldest daughter up to 60 novels per year. I created reading lists for her to choose from and she had the whole year to get through them all at her leisure.
They say, "You are what you read." And I can say, that many of our children benefited from the extensive reading they did. Strong readers, excellent in grammar, prolific with vocabulary; it has carried them well. Our girls were inspired by all the reading they did then. Our second daughter wrote a few novels before she was 18. While they are all away from home now, I do not want this to become your sure way to save your children, it surely wasn’t for ours.
The secret here is that to have a child that loves to write, they must first have a love of reading.
At first they may read just about anything. Even Kenna, our second daughter only read Garfield when she started out! But classics are always a good and safe choice to stick with. But, just because it is a Classic, doesn’t mean it is okay. So, be careful what Reading Lists you use.
As they grow, you’ll want to wean them onto good Catholic literature. Now, I don’t mean boring adult things, but the good historical fiction that has been available (some now out of print). Many are now being brought back in print through small publishers. Our new series of books that Colleen Drippe writes is popular. Our family has enjoyed books like Enemy Brothers and other such Bethlehem Books, titles.
If you have small children and are worried about your children’s faith as they age, this is the answer. The secret to protect their faith and developing good language skills, is by using Good Catholic literature. Make it a part of your lesson plans.
Start making reading lists that your children can pick at random throughout the year. They can hang it on the fridge, or in their room and just mark off titles as they read them. It is easy to keep track of for you and them that way. I still have years and years of written up reading lists that I keep finding everywhere. A fond memory I now and collecting.
Give them an incentive of something small at the end of the year for all they’ve read. If they are slow readers, give them less to read, and more incentive to encourage them. If they are strong readers, then be sure to challenge them. Reading is truly a lovely habit to develop in them, as so few school children really love to read, much to their detriment.
If you can get them into the habit of reading you will find your language arts will go smoother, their spelling will improve, their grammar will improve along with other areas like geography or history that they read about. But, most importantly, using good Catholic books will ensure they learn the Catholic truths that will carry them through life.
Our girls were not so lucky. You see once in the world, the world was stronger, and they were not prepared for how deceptive and enticing it would be. We don’t have a rosy ending here (yet!). But I can say it was bad intellectual books they read that paved the way. They no longer have the Catholic faith, much to our sorrow.
Guard your children well, and watch the friends they have.
Fill them with good, interesting Catholic books for their age.
Be careful what they read.
More importantly, prepare them for the real world, and most importantly, pray for them. Pray for them daily and pray your rosary together. This was the one key I omitted at times, and I feel it was the most important key of all. All those graces need to be stored up for them. We never know what the devil might throw at them to steal them away from the faith. One day that grace will be what they need to get them through the more difficult teenage years when their faith stands in the balance. And that …in the end….is all that matters.
Share with me your sorrows of homeschooling? or your joys ?