Sunday, August 26, 2012

Going Back to the Sources

I've never shared how I homeschool my two kids in PSR.  For the kids to receive "credit" I have to return the books given me by my parish, completed, at the end of the year.  Last year was our first year doing this.  The books from the parish were good.  They were modeled after the four sections of the Catechism and handed on solid information.  My son, who was in fifth grade, had only one complaint - having to regularly complete assignments such as "Draw a banner demonstrating how you feel about . . ."  He felt it was just busy work.

This year I am doing things differently.  My daughter is now in second grade and in preparation for First Reconciliation and First Communion, we will have to complete the book sanctioned by our parish.  And that works for my daughter - she loves the coloring and banners, etc., etc.  My son's next Sacrament of Initiation is of course Confirmation, three years from now.  It is a two year program, so we have one year when, instead of being required to complete the materials from the parish we can do our own study.  He won't receive "credit" for it, but he and I are excited nonetheless.  

Here is our plan:
1) The first few pages of George Martin's Reading God's Word Today: A Practical and Faith-filled Approach to Scripture to introduce him Catholic principles of reading Scripture and the need to develop a regular reading schedule
2) We start our study of Scripture with Jesus, the Word Made Flesh.  We want to read the Gospel of Matthew while making use of Dr. Edward Sri's commentary Mystery of the Kingdom (Kingdom Studies)
3) After getting an initial grasp on the ministry of Jesus, we're going to turn back to the OT; and try to take in the "big picture" of salvation history by reading Dr. Scott Hahn's A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture
4)  After looking at the OT in the light of Jesus we want to return to the NT and look at Jesus' life again, in light of the OT.  We're going to read Luke's Gospel, making use of the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament
5)  Then we're continuing with Luke's story of the early Church, Acts of the Apostles.  For commentary I plan to use Stephen Pimentel's Witnesses of the Messiah (Kingdom Studies)

So that's the plan.  I'm curious what you think.  Have you started doing Bible study with your kids and have some tips you can pass along?


  1. Well if you want to go back to the sources, you might as well look into the Church Fathers, especially the people who sat at the feet of the Apostles and the pre-Nicene Fathers like Justin the Martyr. You can't go wrong with Augustine and Eusebius's Church History.

    One reason I fell away (besides poor catechises and not knowing that there was a difference between Protestants and Catholics) is that I didn't know the Church had an inspiring history that bares witness to the Catholic understanding of Tradition (literally what was handed down) and that the Bible was just one thing that was handed down.

    Without the Church Fathers, any Catholic child is vulnerable to Protestants who are trained to tell a good story about their own understanding of the Bible, and secularists who want to detach the Bible from history and treat it as just another man made philosophy.

  2. Studying the Fathers is wonderful. One thing I like about using the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible is that it integrates the Fathers into the study notes so you can see how passages were understood in the light of the full Tradition.

    I think I will look at the Apostolic Fathers with him after we read Acts of the Apostles. It would follow chronologically, and we wouldn't be biting off more than we could chew for this year. I will definitely make use of them during teachable moments though. Their texts play a large part in my own explanation of the Faith in the "The God Who is Love: Explaining Christianity From Its Center."

    Thank you Anil; I will try to be very cognizant of this as we're reading the Gospels and Acts!