Our parish is on year 3 of Family formation. Still a lot of mixed results. Number of students has dropped slightly, but mostly have remained consistent. Still a lot of kids being dropped off & parents not attending the (supposedly required) speaker session. Parents who did attend seemed to enjoy the speakers. Lot of parent packets never picked up. Less than half of the students reported doing anything from the home packet. As for the content - sequence/topic - I made an outline using the salvation history timeline in Faith & Life & over the 3 year period, we will have covered the same sequence.
I will have 4th grade this year - moved up with my granddaughter. I’m still not thrilled with the catechist packets - too wide of an age range (K-3) or (4-6) and they don’t work well as a lesson plan, especially at the lower end of the range. We were not given much guidance on how to modify it for our grade level. I came to the conclusion that the packet was to fortify my knowledge of the topic & that I was free to use materials & methods that worked with my teaching style & the age level of my students. About halfway through last year, I had found my rhythm.
The parents were not given much guidance on how to use the home packets. Those are even more wide age range than the teacher packets (K-6). There was so much content that parents were overwhelmed - took one look at all of the materials & said “no way I can do all of this”, and did nothing. I reviewed one of the parent packets (picked up for my daughter when she could not attend). I came to the same conclusion about the parent packet - it was meant to fortify the parent’s knowledge, it was not a lesson plan to be completed & the activities were not one size fits all. The parent should read it themselves & choose activities suited to the developmental/educational level of their child(ren). The main point was to do something faith related as a family on a regular basis. Because faith is more caught than taught.
We have a new person in charge of Religious Ed this year & some changes/tweaks to the program are coming. We will still have the monthly ME time session where children go to the classroom & parents listen to a speaker, but we’re adding an additional (voluntary) co-op session in between - having a space dedicated for parents to work together in small groups with their children to complete some of the parent packet activities. The parents will lead - teachers are invited, but as support, not as leaders. I see this as a very positive move. I expect it to be small at first, but hopefully, it will grow.
If your parish has adopted a “family faith” format for Religious Ed, how long have you done it? What works well & what could be improved? Are you seeing any fruits?