Books to Learn Your Faith for #Catholic Adults {Book Review}

Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by Midwest Theological Forum.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

Recently, I’ve decided to drop almost all of my “extras” due to health concerns. Among other things, I’ve been struggling with nutrtitional & hormonal deficiencies and rather than doing all this extra work that wears me out, I decided to let the kids wear me out instead :). The tricky piece is NOT adding extra obligations back into my newly emptied days. I can’t JUST be a homeschooling mom. So what’s a girl to do?

Didache Parish Series - Catholic Resources for Hungry Adults

Well THIS girl decided it was time to redo her education. I’m giving my girls the classical education I wish I had. And I’m classically educating myself as well. Midwest Theological Forum, the folks who gave away and sent me my favorite Bible, sent me the perfect fodder for my new education — a set of 8 books from the Didache Parish series.

Didache Series for Adults

If you homeschool, you may be familiar with the Didache Series as a set of 4 hardcover tomes containing everything about the Catholic faith for high school students.  After the USCCB set standards for curriculum in all Diocesan Catholic schools in the US, they edited the 4 Complete volumes into 8 semester titles, one for each high school semester:

  • Faith & Revelation
  • The Blessed Trinity
  • Mystery of Redemption
  • The Church
  • The Sacraments
  • Our Moral Life in Christ
  • Understanding the Scriptures
  • History of the Church

The semester series has been condensed in some areas and expanded in others.  Both the complete series & the semester series have a text book, teacher’s guide and student workbook available.

The set of 8 books that *I* received are from the Didache Parish edition. The parish edition was designed for adults in a parish setting. They contain the same big ideas as the complete and semester series but have been distilled down to the essentials. Make no mistake, thought, they are not lacking, nor elementary, boring or choppy! The Didache Parish series books can be used alone or in a group and there is no teacher’s guide or workbook. Each book in the set stands alone and there are items of note, questions, liturgical art, vocabulary, quotes and more in the margins in addition to the text as well as questions for discussion at the end of each chapter. They are also reasonably priced at $14 each, for a paperback edition.

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The History of the Church

While I didn’t read all 8 books of the series I did read one and almost half of a second. The first book I read was The History of the Church. Due to my health and the fact I was still working, and blogging and homeschooling, it took a long time for me to work through this one. It took from March to August.

The History of the Church was authored by Peter V. Armenio and it was seriously one of the best books I’ve read since school. I’m a history nut. Is it recent? No idea. But I’m really wishing that I had started my own book of centuries earlier because I would have TOTALLY filled it in reading this book. I kept interrupting whatever poor hubby was doing to dissect it and work through connections I was making between what little I remembered from school and what I was reading.  I’m honestly considering buying the Complete book and going a little deeper with my Timeline and my commonplace book close at hand. I liked it THAT much!

The book itself is a large format paperback on a shiny thick page. The text was easy to read in a good sized font with headings, subheadings and lots of maps. I love ME some maps :). The writing was engaging and smoothly written. I’m not sure how this book differs from the super big one, but it does not sound choppy or anything. It is so well-written that he must have almost started from scratch with just an outline. I had at least a dozen “aha!” moments and I was actually kind of sad that it ended.

Understanding the Scriptures

I was not sad for long. After speaking with Laura at MWF about the difference between the different editions and other things, I decided to move on to Understanding the Scriptures by Scott Hahn. I have to admit right off that I am not the biggest Scott Hahn fan. Some of his books I love and some I just can’t get through. In fact, I have one that I was supposed to review a year ago and I’m about 1/3 of the way in and stuck there.

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That said, Understanding the Scriptures is a fabulous Scott Hahn book so far.  I’m about 1/3 of way through it and I absolutely love it! His tone is very easy to read and well laid out.  Like The History of the Church, it has plenty of marginalia (which doesn’t leave a lot of room for notes, sorry) and is on a glossy page with lots of liturgical art, maps, quotes from the YouCat & more.  It, too, has been condensed into the most essential knowledge from the Complete edition making it handy for busy adults studying on their own or in a Parish setting.

I love that he includes many of the types or mirror images of things from Old Testament to New and even includes an explanation of how the layout of the books themselves mirror each other. I spend a lot of time with protestants who read and memorize and study the bible a lot and so I feel like I know nothing compared to them. In teaching my children, I know more than I thought I did AND I have the brilliance of 2000 years of scholars who are directing my understanding of the scriptures instead of depending on my own intellect.

Since I am sometimes on the receiving end of some “You silly Catholic; what do YOU know about the Bible?” attitudes, this is another book where I am considering getting the Complete edition for my own study, even before my daughter is old enough to read it for high school (she’s in second grade now :D). It’s an excellent book and I especially love the second chapter, where he discusses the structure of the bible and gives a summary of each book in it.

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I’ve learned a ton about things in the bible and their significance that I hadn’t known before. Like that God was angry with the people for making the golden calf and so he took away the priesthood from all and gave it to the Levites. I had no idea that the calf make the levites the priestly class.  Or that Isaac was a type of Christ — they both carried their own wood for their sacrifice and were to be killed by their own people. Blew. my. mind.

Summary

Overall, I absolutely have LOVED using the Didache Parish series books. I would really consider my love of the what I was learning through the Didache Parish books about my Catholic faith as being the catalyst to purposefully restarting my education.  I cannot wait to work through the rest of them and have even been eyeballing a few of the new ones they had in their last catalog.

SO. If you are looking to learn more about the faith, but don’t have a lot of time or money, the Didache Parish series books are great! They are well written, they are fully Catholic, you can use them alone or with a few friends, and you can go as simple as just reading them or as deep as working through all the margin questions and more. Plus, the subjects hit many of the main points of the Catholic faith so if you feel there is more to know, go where the spirit leads you.

Didache Parish Series - Catholic Resources for Hungry Adults with giveaway

Giveaway!

The folks at Midwest Theological Forum LOVE you guys and they are offering ANOTHER giveaway! Can you believe it? I’m so excited for you!!!

Please use the widget below to enter. Please remember that a comment answering the question is mandatory. Thank you for your integrity folks!

Good luck!!

Jen S.

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Fix #2 – StitchFix Picks for August 2015

So this StitchFix post is not going to be nearly as awesome as last time.  I should have had my jr. photographer help.  It was a really bright day and every photo I took was crazy dark.  Well, that and the clothes are black so they are kind of hard to see anyway.

stitchfix 2 revealed august 2015

Anyway, here is my second fix from the lovely folks at StitchFix.

 

Item: Moni Stud Detailed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse

Cost: $58?

august 2015 fix - black shirt

 

It was okay.  I liked the brass details (hubs didn’t), but the sleeves were cut funny and I’m not a fan of that old lady feeling polyester.  And I don’t like black near my face.  I should probably mention that.

 

Item: Rizzo Skinny Pant

Cost:  $98

stitch fix august 2015 - pants

 

 

I liked these.  They were styled and detailed like skinny jeans but were not made of denim.  They were loose, but not too big and they were tight but not icky tight.  They will be a great alternative to sweats in the winter!  Keeper!

 

Item:  Crescenta Henley Top

Cost:  $58?

Stitch fix august 2015 blue shirt

 

I kind of liked this shirt.  It was NOT a stretchy fabric though.  It was a bit tight in the shoulder/armpit area and I had to do a weird shimmy to get out of it though it went on fine and fit okay.  Overall, it just didn’t fit well enough to justify $58.  Moving on…

 

Item:  Alan French Terry Asymmetrical Zip Cardigan

Cost:  $68

Stitch Fix - August 2015 - sweater

 

LOVED this.  It was a soft gray t-shirt type fabric, but has an awesome asymmetrical motorcycle jacket-like zipper.  It’s edgy and cute.  And a great layering piece.  As I write this, it’s less than 70 outside.  Already.  Ugh.

 

Item: Marlon Structured Bucket Bag

Cost: $48?

NOT PICTURED.  Sorry. Check out the video to see it.

Cute, but not cute enough to keep unless I kept the whole box. Which I didn’t.

 

Overall, much better than shopping at the store when I have to pay a sitter to do it and they are still getting an idea of my style and *I’m* still trying to get an idea of my size.  I have another one scheduled to come next week because I am in desperate need of clothing that FITS.

Interested in trying your own box?   Use my StitchFix referral link and give it a try!   Your support helps me fund pay a baby-sitter so I can share posts like these :).

Have you tried StitchFix?  What was your favorite item?

Jen S.

 

 

 

 

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September 2015 Saint Picture Book Club Pick Revealed — Saint Mother Teresa!

The book for the Saint Picture Book Club for September is from a legendary author illustrator of children’s biographies — Demi.  I have seen her books pop up on MANY a recommended reading list, but this is the first I have purchased. I was not disappointed!

Saint Mother Teresa - September 5 - Saint Picture Book Club

The September saint is St. Mother Teresa and her feast day is September 5.  The book I am featuring is recommended for ages 7-10 and is simply called Mother Teresa.  You could probably go down a little bit — I plan on sharing with my not-quite-5-year-old and my 7.5 year old and I think they will like it just fine.

mother teresa book - inside

As usual, it is an easily available picture book, eligible for Amazon Prime.  I was totally on top of this so I bought a used hardcover, but you can get it in paperback on Prime.  The pictures are lovely and the text is engaging; I’m looking forward to sharing it with my girls!

Come back next week for a full review of the book, activities and recipes related to the life of St. Mother Teresa!

Jen S.

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Tea Time — a Variation on Circle Time for a Classical/Charlotte Mason Homeschool

So over the summer, we have been having a semi-regular tea time, usually mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon. After a hard day of play outside, they usually need a snack so we gather together with a snack and I read-aloud from various books for 10-15 minutes.

Tea Time - A Circle Time Variation

Tea Time Reading

We read from a large stack that contains the following items:

  • Saint stories (to be read aloud by 7 year old)
  • Bible stories
  • Religious catechesis
  • Devotional
  • Saint picture book selections
  • Literature selections
  • Poetry selections
  • Shakespeare
  • And probably a few things I’m forgetting :).

When the school year comes, we will also add in memorization–bible & poetry–as well as art appreciation, character development, and maybe even a hymn.  You can see the various items in our book basket over the different seasons here.

Make a Loop

Obviously, we don’t get these all read in one day. I recently watched a video about loop scheduling.. I’ll be darned if that wasn’t what I was doing on the fly.

In a loop, you set a pattern of reading topics/subjects/etc. and you get through however many you get through during your time. While we have 7+ items in our tea time book basket, we only get to 3-5 items at a time. But we make regular progress in all the areas that I never seem to get to otherwise. You can watch the video on loop scheduling at Amongst Lovely Things.

I’ve found that setting up this reading during a tea time has been a fabulous way to reconnect with each other during the day in summer. For the school year, it is fabulous tool for getting to all those subjects Charlotte Mason would have you do. I stared at those for years wondering how on earth I would fit them in without forgetting. This is how.

You could call it circle time. Mystie @ Simply Convivial calls it the morning convocation. I like tea. It’s the kids favorite time of day. It’s mine, too!

Do you do a morning circle time or family gathering? What do you do during yours?

Jen S.

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Memoria Press in a Box – First Impressions + First Day of School Photos

So.  This year, I decided to go with a box curriculum for both girls which is something I’ve never done.  I mean I’ve ordered one before, but never DONE it.  This year, I plan to buy it and DO it.  I decided to buy everything except math, because we really like CTC (and I have 2 years of it paid for :D) and phonics, because I thought we were past that.  Until I started reading The Core; now I’m not sure what to do since I didn’t BUY the phonics book.

memoria press boxed curriculum impressions - second and kindergarten

Memoria Press in a Box – Second Grade

The Second Grade Memoria Press program has the following subjects:

  • Recitation
  • Latin/Grammar
  • Reading/Literature
  • Math
  • Copybook/Memory
  • Cursive
  • Literature & Enrichment
  • Phonics
  • Spelling

The lesson plans go 5 days a week and I will be trying to condense into 4 because we consider Monday a wasted day. Well, we did last year; I’m still not sure what co-op will look like this fall!

Here is what we are doing (or not) and my initial impressions of them prior to use.

Recitation — not doing.  I purchased Classically Catholic Memory and we will be doing that instead for both girls.

Latin/Grammar – I have Prima Latina; we will be doing it.  I’m hoping that she doesn’t fight too hard.  The subject matter for her this year will be easy on her thinking but her writing, both physically and spelling/gramatically will be her biggest challenge this year.

Reading – I purchased all the reading/literature packs including the teacher’s key except for Prairie School.  It just looked TOO easy.  She should float through this except for the writing/workbooks part. Simple books, simple questions.  I’m not sure if I needed the teacher key, but I bought it anyway.

Math – not using Rod & Staff — using CTC Math and drilling basics.

Copybook/Memory – not doing the bible story assigned (we are reading another with Itty Bitty’s school), but will do the cursive copybook as assigned.

Cursive – she learned cursive last year.  I didn’t buy this.

Literature & Enrichment – We are borrowing from the library or purchasing all of the literature & science books. We will also do the history & culture assignments.  Both girls will share the Kindergarten poetry and art selection studies.  If they had a CD for music, I would do the music selections but they don’t so I’m just going to play a composer each month.  I’ve had those CDs for years.

Phonics – I’m still not sure about this one.  I think we are going to use Essentials again because they go over those phonics rules.  But I think I’m only going to use THAT piece of it.

Spelling – I purchased the Spelling Workout C teacher/student and I’m not sure if I should send it back or not.  I COULD use Essentials for the spelling piece, too.  But I think she would like this workbook, better.  I’m think I’m going to try it.

I could have done without the Second Grade Worksheets, though.  I don’t need the phonics pages since I’m using Essentials instead and the spelling pages are nothing particularly special except that I don’t have to make them myself.  Which has it’s own value :).

Other Thoughts

In the end, I’m kind of excited to try the box curriculum for second grade from Memoria Press, thought with my all substitutions & one deletions, I’m not sure it counts!  I’m not sure if ALL the teacher/student guides are necessary, but I won’t know that until I’m in the middle of it.

I’ll share more about how our first cycle of school went in October as we ease into things and see how it works with TWO little girls doing “real” school.  This week, we are just starting with Math, Spanish & Bible/Religion.  Next week, we will do EVERYTHING for a week or two & then we have a week off for Labor Day to assess and regroup.

 

Memoria Press Kindergarten in a Box

The Memoria Press K program only has 5 “subjects” a day.  Where Jr. Kindergarten has 3 days, Kindergarten has 5 days scheduled.  While we are not using everything MP offers for K, we are doing every subject they suggest. There is:

Recitation — eliminating — we are doing CCM instead.

Phonics — substituting.  We use Logic of English.  We tried MP’s Phonics program, but I think Foundations will work better for her, too.

Math — We will be using Numbers part 1 & 2, but not Rod & Staff.  I have a Critical Thinking Co Math Book for K that we will use instead.  Mostly because I have it and didn’t use it with Lil’ Bit.

Copybook/Memory — I am using the Zaner-Blosser cursive app in conjunction with LOE to teach cursive from the start.  She does do a little MS tracing on other things, but it isn’t our primary…

Literature & Enrichment — This we are totally using as it’s shared – minus the music.  This is really the biggest reason we use MP curriculum.  The read-aloud’s, art, crafts, poetry, science, etc were her favorite things last year.  I’m sure they will be again this year, too.

I will just pick a monthly composer instead of finding and playing a single track every week, though. If they offered them all on a CD, well, that might help. But they don’t :).

 

 

First Day of School Photos

firstdayofschool15-16

It was hard to find a pic without a diapered butt in it. The little man kept photo-bombing the pictures and it was SO hot, he was in a diaper & nothing else. Ha!

What are you doing for school this year?

Jen S.

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