By Colleen Pressprich
The number of families who are choosing to homeschool is higher than ever, and many parents are choosing it because it allows them to include their faith in their children’s education. Even though we use a formal religion curriculum and I teach my children specific religion lessons, I like to make sure that faith is a part of everything we do in our homeschool. It is a concrete way to show my children that Christ is the center of our lives.
But I know first-hand that the task for infusing faith into your homeschool can be overwhelming sometimes, so here are 5 simple ways to do just that.
Start your school day with prayer
A morning prayer is the perfect way to root your school day in Christ. Whether your kids sit at desks in a designated school room or sprawl out around the house as they please to complete their work, gather all of your children together to begin their studies in prayer.
One of my favorite morning offerings, and one that is easy for even the youngest child to learn goes like this:
Thank you dear Lord for this precious new day.
Please guide us in love as we grow, work, and play.
Other prayers that naturally lend themselves to being used in the morning are the Prayer of St. Patrick and the Prayer of St. Benedict.
Pause during the day for prayer
Traditionally Catholics pause at noon to pray the Angelus and at 3pm to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet. When we began homeschooling, I set an alarm on my phone for each of those times, and we pause to pray. My children are little so at noon we simply say the Hail Mary, and at 3 pm say a single prayer of the chaplet. As they get older, we will expand the practice, but for now this is an age-appropriate way to create in them a habit of stopping throughout the day to pray.
Liturgical living with the saints
One of my favorite parts of lesson planning each month is to look at the liturgical calendar to see which saints have feast days coming up. I try to choose a few saints that we will learn about each month as part of our school day. Some months I pick family favorites (name saints of my kids or saints that they particularly love), and some months I choose new saints that I want them to get to know.
When we celebrate a saint, we often find a book about them to read and choose an activity for hands-on learning. For our family it’s usually an art or craft project because that’s what my children enjoy, but plenty of others enjoy cooking a special meal together or even watching a movie about the saint.
Include faith in your academic subjects
While some subjects don’t naturally lend themselves to the addition of faith (I’m looking at you math), so many others do. You can have your children practice handwriting and memorization while copying the words of a prayer. While studying history, try to find a saint who lived in the time and place that you are learning about and include his or her life in your lessons. If your family enjoys timeline work, add your favorite saints into the mix and find out what was happening in other places in the world during their lifetime.
Add in some of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy
One of the most beautiful aspects of the Catholic faith is that it is meant to pour out from our hearts and into the world. It’s important to our family that our children learn to look beyond themselves, and so part of our homeschool time is teaching them about these spiritual and physical acts of charity that help our neighbors and enable us to see Christ in those around us.
The ways to infuse faith into your homeschool are as many and varied as the homeschools themselves. I hope that this list helps you to brainstorm and find ways to do so that fit your own family’s personalities and charisms.