Teaching RE at Home, Need Suggestions Please


Hi everyone! My wife has taught RE at our Parish and last year she taught our daughter here at home. My daughter is 9 and was confirmed and received first Eucharist this past April. Here in the Phoenix Diocese our Bishop has moved Confirmation and First Communion to 3rd grade.

Due to cost factors, we do not want to pay the registration fees that our parish wants to continue home schooling her using their home school program. They charge the same fee whether she is in their classroom or taught at home. Last year we used “Faith First”. All the books were provided for my wife to teach her at home.

Yes, she is done with her Sacraments, but at the age of nine, she is certainly not done with RE. We are simply looking for more cost effective ways to teach her from home, rather than paying the $90 our parics charges so we can still do all the work. Any suggestions on other RE programs available to us would be greatly appreciated. We are even open to desiging our own curriculum. In addition, I will be working on a Bible Study with her this coming year, and I will be doing some of my own teaching on things like the Saints, Prayer, etc…

Any advice or website links would be very helpful.

Thanks in advance!


Faith and Life from Ignatius.


purchase texts from any reliable publisher and teach her at home (which is the ideal, something in which parish RE can only assist, not replace, the parents). I highly recommend the Ignatius Press series Faith and Life from ignatius.com or cuf.org, you can order on either website. just make sure the text you choose is in conformity with the CCC. Catechist guides run between 30-45 dollars, texts from 12-20. we give uses texts and worn catechist manuals out free to HS parents and ask only that they return the completed chapter and unit tests so the child can receive credit.


Well, I visited the CUF website and look what I saw.

“I believe that the Faith and Life series is a very good catechetical tool.
"Students who finish this series will have an excellent grasp of the deposit of faith. The material is sound and is faithful to the Magisterium of our
Holy Church.”

—Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted
Bishop of Phoenix, AZ

A quote from our own dear Bishop Olmstead. If he likes the program, then I like it.:thumbsup:


If cost is an issue you can find Faith and Life books on cathswap (a yahoo homeschooling group) or on abe books through a Catholic used bookstore. I think that even at full price, though, you’d be paying less than $90.

In my search for appropriate reading material for my kids I have run into one rave review after another about Faith and Life. I have never read even one bad thing about it.

Right now I am using T3: The Teen Timeline Bible Study with our 11 and 12 year olds. We really like it, although it is expensive. It might be something to consider for the future. Maybe you could borrow it. I am using it as a test run - to see how we might be able to fit CCD into our lives if our kids go to a public high school (the Catholic school is a little far). How much time do you set aside per week for CCD? Thanks.


If you’ve already done confirmation, perhaps it’s time for the Didache series (intended for high school RE).

google “midwest theological forum.” Awesome stuff.

Whoops, scratch the high school stuff. 3rd grade confirmation! That’s new to me.


I agree they would be great for HS teens, but OP has a 4th grader.


I heard this is very good. I was going to buy two of the books but I didn’t want to jump the gun, especially if I go for it and drive them to the Catholic high school. Our parish does Confirmation in 11th grade. I think I would send them to REP for this (actually the Catholic and public HS both do this for Confirmation…).

On the other hand, maybe I should try it when the kids are in 7th and 8th grade…


I know you want to save money, but I can’t help but recommend some great saint stories.


The Vision series of saints. We built our library by buying 3-5 books a year.

Catholic Heritage Curricula has a neat set of reading comprehension books. The first one is at a fourth grade reading level. chcweb.com/catalog/category8_210/ReadingComprehensionStoriesoftheSaints,Volume1/product_info.html

Starting in fourth grade, I have my kids start memorizing this list–we discuss it as we learn it.


ewtnkids is a pretty neat site, too. They have learning games as well as just for fun stuff.

I don’t think you need the teacher’s manual for the Faith and Life if you go with that. And, I wouldn’t bother with the workbook either. I’d just read it together and talk about it. We used to use the workbook, but it took the joy out of learning the faith, so we dropped it.

You might want to just take your Archdiocese learning objectives and build your curriculum around those. It might be more fun that way. For example, if your kid is supposed to know how to find things in the Bible, just do it together. If she is supposed to memorize the Ten Commandments, do it together in the car.

Our Archdiocese has its objectives on its website


Above all, make learning the faith a fun thing. Don’t make it drudgery.


Thanks for the tip on the Yahoo Group. I’ll defintely check that out. My wife usually spends an hour or two preparing her lesson and then the lesson itself takes about an hour to an hour and a half. I work from home, so I have a little flex time to spend on the Bible Study and Saint stuff I want to do. The idea I have is to use the Saint study to help my daughter improve her writing skills, so I am using RE to help tutor her through the summer and school year. Killing two birds with one stone.

This summer, the plan is to watch as many good movies on Saints and such as possible. Last night we watched “Therese” Great movie and it brought up a lot of good questions from my daughter. We also have a good reading list for her. RE will start with the new school year, so we are just preparing right now.

Also wanted to add that I don’t mind spending a little money to teach my kids, I just have an issue spending the same registration fee as everyone else when we are doing the work at home. Plus we have to return the books they loan us. I’ve gone round and round with our Pastor. I’ve even offered to pay the fee if he would use it for another child to be enrolled in the actual classes, but to no avail. Otherwise we love our parish, this is really the only thorn bugging us.

Thanks everyone else with the suggestions. I will look at them all.


I should have read your post more carefully. You have to pay a fee to teach your child at home? I can’t believe that the textbook costs $90. :eek: That’s ridiculous! You are definitely supporting the program instead of just paying to cover your costs.

Another idea for you would be to visit a homeschool conference. They have great vendor halls!

Our homeschool conference is this Saturday–June 7.


It sounds like you are doing a great job! I hope you invite one or two of her friends to join in the lesson. I bet she would love it, and you would be doing a work of mercy–instructing the ignorant.

What kind of Bible stuff do you do?


Yes, as with most dioceses, you must be registered in your parish RE program in order to homeschool your child. No big deal except that our parish has a pretty high fee. Since our daughter is done with her sacraments, my wife and I don’t see any reason to have her registered, or to pay that fee. I actually talked to someone at the diocese when this first became an issue and they were shocked at the fee as well. I decided not to ask them to intervene so I didn’t cause any ill feelings between my pastor and myself. I am pretty active in the parish so it just wasn’t worth persuing. Our parish used to use Faith First, but the pastor, who is a bit new to us, decided to change to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, and the price more than doubled. We went along last year only to get through her sacraments.

We have two more to go through at some point in time. They too will be home schooled until the year they need to receive their sacraments. Then we will go with the flow as we did with our oldest daughter. Anyway, no big deal, we actually like teaching RE at home, and unlike many parents, we understand completely the need for further RE. As far as what bible stuff to do, I haven’t really decided yet. Any ideas on that would also be helpful. Any bible studies for kids out there?


You have more kids - great - you can reuse your materials! I don’t blame you about the fee. It doesn’t make any sense.

If you do get some good materials your wife can drastically cut down her prep time. That might become important when teaching 3 kids instead of one!

That’s really smart to incorporate writing skills, etc. with your CCD classes. I think I’ll try to do that to with summer reading.


really? We aren’t required to be registered…huh.

If you choose to prepare your kids for the sacraments, you have to have the priest interview the kids beforehand to make sure they know their stuff. But, no fee, no fuss. Our parish DRE used to homeschool and she paved the way for parents to hs their kids in religion. But, most people use the CCD or parish school program. Catechesis of the Good Shepard seems to be a good program. I’ve heard good things.

We just read Bible stories, but Jeff Cavins had a pretty good idea in his Great Adventure. He said with his dd, he made a puzzle board with the periods of Salvation History. Each section was a different color. On the back, he listed some events that occurred during each period. So, on the Genesis era, he might list Creation, Tower of Babel, Abraham, Joseph, etc. Then, they would talk about it. As they would put together the puzzle, they would discuss events in order.

He did this with her as a preschooler. I always thought that was pretty cool. She learned Salvation History. She knew the events in order, plus it was fairly informal. It also had a tangible, physical thing to do–the puzzle. I bet a 4th grader would like to paint pictures of symbols or stories, too. You could make a Jesse tree in the form of a large wooden tree with little hooks, and she could paint wooden ornaments. As you learn a story, she could hang it in the tree. I would do it order, but that’s just me.


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