Monday, May 18, 2015

Homeschooling: Supplementing Religious Ed with Bible Stories

Ok I know this should be obvious but I think, at least for myself, I know there is SO MUCH to learn about our AMAZING, rich, historic religion that I sometimes focus more on those things (Catechism, 7 sacraments, 10 Commandments, the rosary and other prayers, etc.) and less on the Bible itself.  However, I really wanted my religious education to be as complete as I can possibly make it.  Therefore, I decided to add "Breakfast with the Bible" to our daily lessons.  

As Pickle is still so young I began with what I had readily available to me, Little Golden Book: Bible Favorites.  This is a combination of three books in one:  Bible Heroes, Bible Stories for Boys and Girls, and Miracles of Jesus.

A word of caution when using non-Catholic approved Bible stories:  remember to read through them first prior to educating your children.  Be sure there is nothing contrary to Mother Church's teaching. If you find something contrary, you can make the decision to either present it with the Catholic teachings or choose not to present that story/book at all.  You'll know fairly quickly if you can use that resource or not so trust your gut!

The pros using this book (Little Golden Book: Bible Favorites):  
  • The stories are written in a kid friendly manner.
  • The stories are a VERY simplified version of their bible counterparts and hit on the very basics children would need to know initially about these bible characters.
  • These stories provide, what I think, is a nice, brief, first introduction to these bible characters.
  • This book is found in large commercial stores easily available.
The cons using this book:
  • It cannot possibly fit all bible characters we would want our children to know about.
  • The simplified versions of these stories still are missing some very important pieces of the story.  I find myself simply adding in the extra information as I am talking about each character.
I knew I needed to find something more age-appropriate but also Catholic based for my children so I went searching online and found....

Since beginning "Breakfast with the Bible", I have discovered another FANTASTIC bible resource for children.  The New Catholic Picture Bible offered via Catholic Heritage Curriculum is an wonderful resource!  It provides 74 bible stories presented from a Catholic perspective for children sold for only (are you sitting down) $10!  AMAZING!  Each story has a beautiful illustration followed by a fairly concise synopsis of that particular bible story!

How we do "Breakfast with the Bible":

1.  Read bible story:  I spend one whole school week on each story.  So, the first day of the week, we spend time reading and discussing the bible story during breakfast.  
2.  Coloring Page(s):  The second day of the week, I print out a coloring page (or pages) from a simple search on the internet, representing the bible story.    While Pickle colors in the page(s) we discuss the story once again.  It's a nice way to recap the bible story in order to help commit it to memory. 
3.  Extension activites: (rest of the school week) 
      a.  Discuss the Lesson:  We spend time discussing one lesson (or several) we have learned from this bible story.
      b.  Lesson learning activity:  I will try to take one lesson the bible story teaches and create some very simple type of extension activity for it.  Below is an example of what I used for Cain and Able's story.  

We discussed how Cain was not being a good brother to Able and that there are many, many ways we can be good brothers/sisters to our siblings.  Then I had Pickle color this picture and complete this writing prompt.  How easy it was to target written language and handwriting in this simple activity!

I have to admit, I am liking Breakfast with the Bible and am praying we can make this a family tradition!

So this is what we are using to supplement religious education at this time.

In the future, I am planning on purchasing the below curriculum to expand upon our study of scripture:

 Simon Peter School Scripture Study: This is a VERY affordable scripture study program for 3rd-8th grade. I am hoping to use this as a supplement once Pickle gets to third grade!

Now we all know what God does when we plan but this is what I'm thinking right now.  We shall see over the years how this goes!  Do you use a scripture study program with your children?  Please share!  And remember, even if you are not homeschooling, you can always supplement your child's religious education with whatever resources you feel are appropriate!!!!  It's not an ALL or NOTHING thing! I think that's what I love the most about homeschooling.  It's all about what works for you and your family!

Blessings to you and yours,

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