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I know this has come up before, but I thought I would check back in here in 2021 and ask what you use for religion if you are Catholic? 

I would like to do some Bible, catechism, and saints. CHC has great hands-on religion programs that we do use, but they are really meant to be supplements and certainly don't hit Bible and catechism.

We have used Faith and Life and really have not been super happy with it. It seems meh and forgettable and wordy, but easy to schedule and just hand to a kid and say "read chapter 6." I have done MODG's Baltimore Catechism memorization, which I love, but now after two years of doing a pretty spotty job of getting to it (or rather, not getting to it, because anything that involves mom involvement just doesn't get done enough, with babies and toddlers under foot), I have to concede defeat and admit that it's not getting done. We've also done just the Bible readings in the AO schedules, also pretty easy to just hand a kid a Bible and a section to read, but not exactly a study of it. 

I remember looking into Seton and seeing a good workbook, and then looking up their plans and finding out they scheduled about 14 different resources for religion and what looked like a months' worth of work in a week. I also have heard about St Thomas school but like so many programs it seems to assume you will be doing 2-3 different religion assignments every day. 

I've been wondering about the Great Adventure storybook thing, but I can't seem to find much out there on it. It might have changed names? 

Anyway, I don't know if what I want is out there, even piecing several programs together. I need easy to schedule, not very heavy workload, not much teacher involvement, but still good solid quality and not just busy work..

What have you all found and how do you use and schedule it?

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We have mostly pieced things together.  I didn't love the samples of Seton or Faith and Life.  We really liked the story of the bible series from Tan and they are releasing a new religion series that I might try for next year.  Maybe it would interest you:  https://tanbooks.com/tan-academy/shop-by-subject/religion-homeschool-curriculum/

Edited by Syllieann
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Hi there, we are Catholic and in a similar boat. It's not always easy to fit everything in 🙂

Here is what we have done:

Image of God by Ignatius Press - we started Image of God because they use it for the Kindergarten religion in CHC. I really did like it, however. Instead of making the jump to Faith and Life in 1st grade like they do for CHC, we just stuck with Image of God. I buy the teacher's manual and just orally go over the lesson with my kids. I do not buy the student workbook. It works well as a sort of spine to hit basic catechism information.

The Story of the Bible - TAN Press has the story of the bible, and I absolutely LOVE the audio that goes with it. We play it in the car. While I have some of the other materials like the teacher's manual and activity book I haven't really used them. I think the audio is available on audible as well, fyi.

Great Adventure Bible - we bought this last year to help improve our Bible study. It looks like they have overhauled it recently and will be publishing a slightly different version that what I bought. What I bought included the Great Adventure Bible storybook and a teacher's guide. There were worksheets that went along with the teacher's guide, which I assigned to my fourth grade twins during the week as part of their homeschool, along with reading the Bible sections that the teacher's guide detailed for each unit. Then we would read the storybook aloud (including my kindergartner) which was basically an abridged version of the Bible readings and go over discussion questions at the end of the week. This has worked pretty well for us. Here is a link to their page detailing what to buy (now): https://ascensionpress.com/collections/gps-gods-plan-in-scripture

Saints - we use a variety of saints books and the Catholic All Year compendium https://www.amazon.com/Catholic-All-Year-Compendium-Liturgical/dp/1621641597 and other resources (Dianne Kennedy's blog! https://thekennedyadventures.com/tag/catholic-book-basket/ ) to help keep feast days during the month.

Story of Civilization - we are using TAN Press's Story of Civilization for our history. It includes a lot of information on the Church and saints along with western civ history. I really like it, especially the audio version. It does NOT cover non-western civ, though. You'd need to pull other resources for that. We used Story of the World along with Story of Civ and tended to pull non-western culture chapters from there to help fill out history in other places.

I keep seeing other things pop up sometimes on Facebook groups and I'm always tempted to buy more. 🙂 I'm curious what others have used.

 

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We love Story of the Bible as well. This year we followed MP’s Christian Studies for Bible, and are using Our Holy Faith for Catechism. TAN is reprinting them and they look lovely (https://tanbooks.com/tan-academy/religion/our-holy-faith-vol-3-prince-of-peace/) but I have the version from St Augustine press (http://www.staugustineacademypress.com/brands/Our-Holy-Faith-Series.html). 
 

My kids also love the Angel Food series (also reprinted from TAN). My 11 yo said the priest that wrote them “just explains things so well!” (11 down to 5yo listen intently when I read them during breakfast). 
 

Little Catechism on the Eucharist (Little Catechism on the Eucharist https://smile.amazon.com/dp/1892875306/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_4V3QTKXKKE1E50V7D6KK) and St Patrick’s Summer (https://www.amazon.com/dp/192883292X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_imm_N9TK3MG7BD94Z11SJ8XY) are great too. 

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Thanks for these ideas! Can I ask, though, how do you schedule it all? Is it like Bible on Monday and Wed, catechism Tuesday, etc, or do you do one day per week Bible, one day Catechism, one day saints, one day liturgical year, etc? Or just get to it when you can on a loop?

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Honestly, I would find it way too hard to juggle a schedule with these things. I do religion on a loop schedule for the most part - this year we are focused on the Great Adventure Bible, but next year we will probably dive into the catechism more, etc. We keep the saints and feast days all year, so we are always reading about these as we celebrate them, and I keep the bible playing in the car (along with other audio books and podcasts) fairly regularly. I see exposure consistently over time as the goal, with deep dives into particular topics during the year.

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Have you looked into the Living my Religion series that OLVS uses? For all that Faith & Life seems so popular, we vastly prefer LMR. 


For preschool age, I do a "letter of the week" Bible story. I also read a book called Tell me the Story of Jesus. Then I have a similar thing that's a short story of Jesus with a poem summarizing each story (I am stuck under a sleeping baby, or I'd go find the title). I also have an old school book (images of kids at Latin Mass in it) for k-2. I can't remember the title of that, but I can come back and edit this if anyone is interested. (FWIW, we read both this old school series and the LMR series in k-2).

Like others, we like TAN's SOC. I also plan on getting the Story of the Bible from them. 

I plan on having our kids read through  My Path to Heaven by Geoffrey Bliss. 

I bought the Great Adventure Storybook a couple years ago, thinking to use it at home or in my religious ed class. I have to say, I was very, very disappointed with it. It is basically just versions of the Bible stories for kids. Which, fine, but I already own a zillion Bibles for kids/Bibe storybooks. (FWIW, I love the Great Adventure Bible for adults.) I'm not sure what I wanted/expected from the version for kids, but I guess I just thought there'd be more to it than just the stories.

I am sure I have some other resources. Between catechizing our own kids, and being involved in our parish's  RE program, I have accumulated a lot of stuff!

 

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Bible: I use a lot of Memoria Press curricula, and I use their Bible history as well known as Christian Studies. It's a historical, facutal study with no added theology. It's once, maybe twice a week with daily flashcard review if desired.

Catechism: Faith and Life. One chapter a week, read then discuss with just the text book. Some years I have them memorize the questions and answers depending on the other coursework load. This is in addition to our parish's RE program.

Saints: I've been loosely following Mater Amabilis' sequence and that has worked well for us. My middle schooler is doing the Vision series with whatever Saints fit his history time period. So it's mostly independent reading a few times a week, or a read aloud with the youngers. You can add a written narration if you want, but I just let them read for exposure.

Hope that helps!

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During the school year I do MP’s curriculum at breakfast (we read aloud and talk about the questions). That is usually 3-4 days a week and on the other days I will read Angel Food and whatever Catechism we’re using on a loop. 
 

One more good resource—Ruah Woods has a literature based curriculum based on Theology of the Body, now available as a homeschool curriculum. Each grade is only a few (long) lessons, so we will use those in place of MP after we finish that for the year. https://www.ruahwoodspress.com/tob-for-homeschooling-families/

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As far as scheduling/incorporating other stuff, we do a circle time that includes Living Faith Kids daily devotional and we cycle through the Friendly Defenders flash cards having kids play the role listed.  We switch to a new card each week and just cycle through both decks.  We integrate saints and bible with history.  We do CC Memory aligned with our history, so that covers a lot of catechism and scripture memory.

Then we add some miscellaneous individual things.  My second grader is doing CHC Preparing to Receive Jesus curriculum, which has defined weekly lessons.  My 4th grader is reading through Catechism of the Seven Sacraments at the rate of one section per week.   My 6th grader is reading My Path to Heaven at the rate of one section every two weeks.

Edited by Syllieann
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The Catholic PACE program is an excellent supplement for character development. Each month you focus on a different virtue, and there are several book recommendations, Bible stories, enrichment activities, saints who were known for or struggled with that particular virtue, etc. 

We use Story of the Bible and I’m thinking I’ll also pick up Catechism of the Seven Sacraments. I’m also interested in TAN’s Our Holy Faith series which hasn’t been released yet. 

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On 4/12/2021 at 3:23 PM, Emily ZL said:

Thanks for these ideas! Can I ask, though, how do you schedule it all? Is it like Bible on Monday and Wed, catechism Tuesday, etc, or do you do one day per week Bible, one day Catechism, one day saints, one day liturgical year, etc? Or just get to it when you can on a loop?

We're not Catholic, so I can't offer any curriculum specific to that.  But we do extensive Bible as a part of our learning.  We begin our daily with Morning time together and then this is when I fit it in.  I choose a base that we do daily.  Right now for us that is reading and discussing the book of the Bible we are reading (or Bible Study) and Apologia's Who is God (worldview).  We also do Bible Memory daily.  Then the rest of the things we do (another 3-4 Bible related studies) are cycled through.  Monday and Wednesday we do our missionary book, Wednesday we do Answers for Kids and Friday we read another Bible based book.  So not the same resources, but you can do something like that to include everything.  I devote about an hour to this type of learning.

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12 hours ago, TK5004 said:

The Catholic PACE program is an excellent supplement for character development. Each month you focus on a different virtue, and there are several book recommendations, Bible stories, enrichment activities, saints who were known for or struggled with that particular virtue, etc. 

We use Story of the Bible and I’m thinking I’ll also pick up Catechism of the Seven Sacraments. I’m also interested in TAN’s Our Holy Faith series which hasn’t been released yet. 

PACE is nice because it has suggestions for K-6. There are also workbooks for each grade, but it totally works with just the main manual. The daily lessons are pretty short; we use it at morning time. The workbooks just sort of loop through each of the sections for each virtue. I got one of the workbooks and use it as a nonconsumable - it lays things out for each day so I don't have to think at all. But putting something together on your own wouldn't be too difficult.

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@TK5004 @knitgrl

Do you know if there is a sample of the PACE program somewhere? I've used some of the Virtues in Practice  program, but this is the first I'm hearing of PACE. I also didn't know that TAN is coming out with a new Our Holy Faith. We have the books 1-3 of an old version (illustrations are of Latin Mass, for example). We actually read through them in addition to the series from OLVS. 

Also, just want to second (third?) the plug for the Catechism of the Seven Sacraments. We've almost read through the whole thing. My kids look through it frequently. 

 

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My book is copyrighted 2014, so it's been around for awhile. This is a link to an overview of the manual: https://www.catholicpace.com/pace-manual-1

I did find a review of it here, which has a few photos of the K workbook: http://www.happylittlehomemaker.com/2016/11/pace-program-achieving-character-education-catholic-schools-homes-curriculum-review/

I couldn't find a sample, though. So I will give you a written sample. :smile: There are about a dozen quotations for each virtue, which I sometimes use for copywork. Sometimes they are from saints, but mostly not. For each grade there are a few stories suggested from both the Book of Virtue and the Moral Compass. About 20 Bible passages are suggested for each virtue. There is a paragraph meditation on Mary, with suggested classic Catholic prayer, a list of saints who exemplified each virtue, as well as a list of saints who struggled with that virtue, plus a few quotes from saints. Ten or so books are listed for each grade, some are out of print and hard to find. There is a list of 20+/- discussion questions. There are about 20 suggested writing assignments (some are actually drawing assignments, which would be good for younger children). Enrichment activities include suggested music selections, art (ie suggested paintings for picture study, as well as projects) and nature (research suggestions like for perseverance - "study the habits of ants"), and general activities which are usually more research suggestions or projects; these comprise about two pages. And there are roughly 20+ suggestions for how to put the virtue in practice. It's the same set-up for every virtue. The suggested prayers are all printed in the back of the manual.

Hope this helps.

 

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On 4/12/2021 at 8:39 PM, barnwife said:

Have you looked into the Living my Religion series that OLVS uses? For all that Faith & Life seems so popular, we vastly prefer LMR. 

I plan on having our kids read through  My Path to Heaven by Geoffrey Bliss. 

 (FWIW, I love the Great Adventure Bible for adults.) I'm not sure what I wanted/expected from the version for kids, but I guess I just thought there'd be more to it than just the stories.



 

I have used LMR for almost 30 yrs.  My books are held together with duct tape.  I also recommend My Path to Heaven.  For my older kids I also use Didache's Church History https://www.amazon.com/History-Church-Didache-Peter-Armenio/dp/1890177466 (I love the art in this book) and the San Juan Apologetics books https://shop.catholicapologetics.com/category.sc?categoryId=2 (My older kids have actually asked to borrow these several times since moving out.)

@barnwife I did the adult GAB series at our parish in the early 2000s.  I wanted to incorporate it somehow in our school yr next yr.  I wish there was something at the teen level (younger end, actually 11).  It has been so long since I did the adult version.  Do you think it would work for a gifted 11 yr old.  Or maybe I should just order Walking with God?  

 

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@8filltheheart
Oh, how wonderful GAB is! I do think 11 is really, really young for it. I don't know if you know about T3: The Teen Timeline. The best I can say about it is that it exists. I was so, so excited when it came out. I thought it would be wonderful for the religious ed class I was teaching at the time. However, the DVDs were a complete disappointment. I am generally pleased with things from Ascension Press, so I maybe had high expectations. But the DVDs were just him standing at a podium lecturing really, really, really fast. He talks at super speed.

Which for someone who is familiar with the GAB is fine. And I get it because there is so much good, interesting content to cover. But it was overwhelming even for me. And from a teen's perspective, you know what's often really boring? Someone standing at a podium lecturing them for a long time. You know what's even more boring? Watching a video of someone standing at a podium lecturing. 

Oh, they did flash the timeline section on screen every once in a while. And from time to time they panned to the "class" he is talking to. But I can't in good conscience recommend the teen videos. And the support materials weren't anything special. I honestly think it would be better to use something else in the meantime and just use GAB itself in a few years. 

Blah, I hate giving negative reviews, even when I think it's warranted!

Also, I am fairly certain that I first heard of LMR from you here on the Hive. And I am so thankful for that. Because it not for that, we'd most likely be using Faith & Life. And I've always been underwhelmed by it, despite its pervasiveness in RE and homeschool circles. It just strikes me as a dry as dust, uninspiring way to catechize. But LMR has been such a blessing for us. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

@knitgrl
That helps a ton! I just might need to get that and work it into our MT!

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Thanks @barnwife. Do you recommend Walking with God for me to use with the timeline?  

Also, I am unfamiliar with the virtue study being discussed, but one I have used repeatedly with my kids is https://www.chcweb.com/catalog/ByGradeLevel/SeventhGrade/GrowingintheVirtuesofJesusTheMarianistMethodofVirtue/product_info.html

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What do you all use for high school? Dd is finishing up 6th grade, but I like to panic two years ahead of time for transition points in her education.

ETA: I see 8 suggested the Didache and apologetics books. I have been suffering sleep issues for months now, so my brain is not always fully engaged. I am so grateful the Didache series was mentioned. I stumbled upon it years ago, but couldn't remember enough to look it up again. If there are other options out there, I would be most interested in hearing about them.

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All of these replies have been beyond helpful. I have such a great list of resources and I'm going to dive deep into some samples and see what will work for us. I'm so impressed with what you all are able to do in the week! I keep reminding myself that there are seasons. My oldest is 10 and the only one working independently, but that will change. 

2 hours ago, 8filltheheart said:

I have used LMR for almost 30 yrs.

 

On 4/12/2021 at 8:39 PM, barnwife said:

Have you looked into the Living my Religion series that OLVS uses? For all that Faith & Life seems so popular, we vastly prefer LMR

I am really liking what I see of this. But I'm a little confused about how to use it. It seems like the chapters or units are too long for a single day so they'd need to be broken up, perhaps in several places, but then at the end there are several "Part 1 exercises - part 1 tests" followed immediately by "Part 2 exercises - part 2 tests" then part 3 etc. How do you assign that? Doing things together at a morning time or circle time is a complete no-go at the moment. (I have a maximum of 1-1.5 hours to get solid one-on-one or older-group-of-kids time while the baby naps, which I use to do phonics and math and all that core stuff (and just barely make it), and when the baby and toddler and preschooler are all awake it's almost impossible to snatch more than a few minutes here and there. So I'm going to need to just assign it independently for a 3rd and 6th grader if we use it.)

On 4/12/2021 at 10:10 PM, Syllieann said:

Then we add some miscellaneous individual things.  My second grader is doing CHC Preparing to Receive Jesus curriculum, which has defined weekly lessons.  My 4th grader is reading through Catechism of the Seven Sacraments at the rate of one section per week.   My 6th grader is reading My Path to Heaven at the rate of one section every two weeks.

All these suggestions look great! The friendly defender cards are something I'd like to look at too. And I've been meaning to do some TOB especially as the kids get older.  

On 4/12/2021 at 8:39 PM, barnwife said:

Like others, we like TAN's SOC. I also plan on getting the Story of the Bible from them. 

It never occurred to me that SOC might be a good fit, but I was specifically looking for a new history program this year, and was looking for something like their Volume 3. This is a great idea. 

 

I'm going to have to look at all these. There are so many good programs. My DH said he will read and discuss some of the Bible each night with the kids and he has done that for the past week and it's been really beautiful. He doesn't think catechism is as important at young ages because all the things that really matter and are difficult about our faith can't really get discussed properly until the child is a teenager and starting to really struggle with these more serious matters. He thinks I should focus on Bible and the hands-on stuff CHC does (which is more virtue oriented) and saints stories, and leave the catechism/apologetics for when you can do a deeper dive rather than what an 8 year old can really get from it. Given that he's my DH, his opinion carries the most weight with me, but that's where something like Catechism of the Seven Sacraments might really be a good fit since the Lego piece could help keep the kids interested without it being a dry type thing that I need to force.

Thanks to all, really appreciating everyone's insights and ideas.

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1 hour ago, Emily ZL said:

I am really liking what I see of this. But I'm a little confused about how to use it. It seems like the chapters or units are too long for a single day so they'd need to be broken up, perhaps in several places, but then at the end there are several "Part 1 exercises - part 1 tests" followed immediately by "Part 2 exercises - part 2 tests" then part 3 etc. How do you assign that? Doing things together at a morning time or circle time is a complete no-go at the moment. (I have a maximum of 1-1.5 hours to get solid one-on-one or older-group-of-kids time while the baby naps, which I use to do phonics and math and all that core stuff (and just barely make it), and when the baby and toddler and preschooler are all awake it's almost impossible to snatch more than a few minutes here and there. So I'm going to need to just assign it independently for a 3rd and 6th grader if we use it.)

THe way I have used them is my kids read them on their own (usually about 2 pgs per day).  I select catechism questions I want reinforced and assign as copywork into their own catechism books (which doubles as handwriting bc their handwriting has to be neat.)  We don't usually do any of the additional readings connected to the books bc we do saint readings and bible reading together or through books assigned.  The only thing we do out of the books are the self quizzes at the end of the chpts.  We do those together.  Doing about 2-3 pgs per day, it is easy to get through even the upper level books.

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2 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

I am really liking what I see of this. But I'm a little confused about how to use it. It seems like the chapters or units are too long for a single day so they'd need to be broken up, perhaps in several places, but then at the end there are several "Part 1 exercises - part 1 tests" followed immediately by "Part 2 exercises - part 2 tests" then part 3 etc. How do you assign that? Doing things together at a morning time or circle time is a complete no-go at the moment. (I have a maximum of 1-1.5 hours to get solid one-on-one or older-group-of-kids time while the baby naps, which I use to do phonics and math and all that core stuff (and just barely make it), and when the baby and toddler and preschooler are all awake it's almost impossible to snatch more than a few minutes here and there. So I'm going to need to just assign it independently for a 3rd and 6th grader if we use it.)

 

 

I am not sure my reply will help, but here it is.
First, we have 5 kids, currently 10, 9, , and 7 yo "officially" school, with a 4 yo and a 7 mo along for the ride. We use LMR at lunch, snack, or dinner time. I read a few pages from a couple levels a few times a week. We are using 1 level for the 10 and 9 yo, another for the 7 yo, and I just added the first level of an old Our Holy Faith series for the 4 yo. I could just do a longer section from level at a time (and sometimes I do), but our kids are weird and they each like to hear from "theirs" each time we do it. So shorter sections from each it is. 

FWIW, the 10 and 9 yo would be totally capable of doing the reading independently. But I feel like they get more out of it when we discuss it immediately. And I figure hearing the other levels doesn't hurt. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you @barnwife and @8filltheheartfor recommending Living My Religion.  I wish I had it years ago!  I bought a full (used) set of Faith and Life when my kids were very little.  I thought they could teach me the basics of Catholic theology and then I’d use them with the kids, but they were so dry and unappealing they just sat and sat on the shelf until I finally gave them away.  Living My Religion is just delightful.  The primer is the perfect reading level for my Kindergartener and the 1st grader, who would otherwise be put off by the slow pace, still wants to peek in every page to see the pictures.   Wonderful.  Looking forward to the rest of the series.

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If I can piggyback on my earlier post, does anyone have reviews of Theology of the Body books or curricula to share? I see a ton of resources for all ages online, but I can't tell which ones are actually worthwhile. Sometimes these things can try to be...cool or something, and come out awful, you know?

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4 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

If I can piggyback on my earlier post, does anyone have reviews of Theology of the Body books or curricula to share? I see a ton of resources for all ages online, but I can't tell which ones are actually worthwhile. Sometimes these things can try to be...cool or something, and come out awful, you know?

I have used this with a high school RE class. It worked well, in that context. The textbook was decent, although I didn't use it much. We mainly watched the DVDs and used them as springboards for discussion. If I was going to do so at home, I'd definitely use the online option in addition to the book. The book is fine, but the videos really added some oomph. (Note: the online option wasn't available when I was using this is my RE class. I haven't investigated it at all. I assume it's the same videos as the DVDs.) I think it's good for teens to hear some of this from non-parental people. Yes, mom and dad are the first teachers, but they don't have to be the only teachers. Teens, parents, and intimate stuff is a trickly combo. 

It's hard because TOB is such a great topic, but it's hard stuff, you know? I think the DVDs did a decent job balancing trying to keep a class of teens interested/engaged and present a tricky topic. One of the presenters is Fr. Mike Schmitz, who is just great. (Check out his Bible in a Year podcast he's doing this year!)

Anyway, with the online option available, I will have to keep this in mind for my own kids! 

 

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