While Math is the subject we start with each day, I think Religion is the most important. Actually, we "sort of" start with Religion since we read from the Bible or a story of a saint right after morning prayer. This is mostly for Builder and Jetter, but I'm getting ahead of myself....
The Religion program for all three of the kids contains three parts: Bible Studies, Saint Studies, and Catechism.
For Builder, this is all done through stories. Bible stories happen first thing in the morning. I do not use the Bible he is holding in the picture above, but that is one that he likes to look at. I have a beautiful set of Bible felts. I am currently organizing them by story so the kids can use them to retell the stories we read in the morning. This is a great exercise for Builder and even Jetter. It encourages them to listen carefully so they are able to retell the story later. For his Religion class, Jetter is required to either illustrate or use the Bible felts to re-tell the Bible story. Here's Social Butterfly with one of the felt scenes:
Social Butterfly also reads the Bible for part of her Religion class but she is required to read on her own. She stays with us in the morning when I read the Bible stories out loud, but she still has her own Bible study to do. After reading the required passage, she writes a summary and illustrates it if she chooses. These are all being compiled into a Bible Notebook.
For our study of the saints, I use various books of saint stories. There are also many on-line resources that make pictures of saints to color available. Sometimes we talk about the Saint's particular virtue and read a selection that goes with it from the Book of Virtues. Once again, Social Butterfly is required to read a little more in depth about the saints. At the beginning of the year we chose 5 saints that she would study. She reads chapter books about them and looks on line for other information. She then writes a report about the saint.
Finally there is Catechesis. This is where we study the Catholic Faith and how it is tied to the Bible readings and saint stories we are also reading. I use a series of text books and work books for this that the kids find interesting.
Social Butterfly is also reading and learning from a very old catechism book that my mother would have used in school!
Dad and I both believe that even with all the Religion studies I mentioned above, the most important thing we can do is live our faith. This includes church on Sundays and Holy Days of course, but there is so much more. For example, we are very open about prayer in our home. The kids see me sitting early in the morning for prayer. It is not uncommon for a Saturday morning dialog to go like this:
"In his office"
"Yes" (Translation - No, you may not disturb him.)
If the answer is "No", the kids know they can go in to ask him a question.
Besides Dad and I spending personal time in prayer, we also include prayer in our day. We start with prayer before Dad and Night Owl leave. The kids and I pray before lunch each day as well. We say the Angelus before we say our Blessing for Meals. Dad and I pray over each of the kids every night before they go to bed.
Another thing we stress is Christian Service. When our neighbor, who is handicapped, is in need Night Owl doesn't think twice about going to help him. If we know someone is sick, the kids take a container of home made soup to them. When we have a friend who has just had a baby, I often help organize the moms to prepare meals for that family. The kids see this and help me deliver it. We have friends that go as missionaries to the Dominican Republic and Mexico. They go there to help the poor. I love that my children hear their stories. Some day I hope they will be able to go on one of these mission trips. We also try to stress the need to be a voice politically. We are a pro-life family. We have been to our state capitol several times for pro-life rallies. We have even been to Washington DC. This year, Night Owl went with his school. I told him he was our family representative. We do not shy away from talking about politicians and why we support them or not. Any one of the kids can tell you who the pro-life candidate for President was! At the same time, we stress the importance of respecting, and praying for the President, even if we don't agree with him.
All this is done to serve others but it is also done as a lesson for our children in the hopes that they will carry on with this when they are older.
Dad and I believe that our first priority is to teach our children about God and His great love for them. We teach them, through the teachings of our Church, how to love Him with all thier hearts and how to be his light here on Earth.