Faith Formation For When You Don't Know How To Teach Faith

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Linking up with The Zelie Group for JEI (Just Enough Info).

Faith Formation is an essential part of Catholic parenting, and I mean that quite literally (see CCC 2226-7), but so many of us have circumstances that may have prevented us from learning how to actually do Catholic faith formation.
Maybe you're a convert and didn't grow up with faith.
Maybe you grew up Catholic but now feel shaky about how to explain the teachings of the Church. Maybe you just never learned this stuff period.
There is hope! So many (dare I say, most?) people are in one of the above categories. So let's huddle together and figure this out!

1. Do your children attend your parish’s religious education program?

As far as I know, our parish only has formal faith formation for sacrament prep. Since my kids have another two or so years until First Communion, all the faith formation has to be done at home.

Our current at home program, Little Lambs from Family Formation, is ideally done as a whole parish program. The idea with that is 1 lesson a month is at the parish and it involves talks for the parents and grade level classes for the kids. For the other 3 weeks the lessons are done by the parents at home, drawing on the training they just had in the parish class.

We are loving doing the program at home, but there are lots of times when I can see how awesome it would be to be doing these with a least a few other families.

2. Do you or have you ever taught religious education? Tell us about it.

I used to assist in the 2nd Grade CCD class at my home parish in high school. 2nd Grade was our typical grade for First Communion and I loved getting to do things like practice commissions (a sister recommended Neco wafers as practice hosts).

Honestly, the best part was seeing the how incredibly excited all the little kids were for their First Communion. Little kid excitement is hilarious and adorable.

3. What are your favourite religious education resources for kids?

Obviously I'm partial to Family Formation, but here are the other things we use.

We read from this pretty much every morning. It takes it's time telling the story, and I like how it puts the Gospels in sequence. AKA. Instead of having Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc. it tells the story in the order those events (probably) occurred. I think that makes it a lot easier on little kids to learn the outline of the Gospel stories in sequence.

I grew up with these movies, and I think they still win for teaching little kids about saints via media.

The kid version of Magnificat, it's a monthly subscription geared for kids 6-12 years. 

From their website: "Every week, MagnifiKid offers:
  • All the readings and the prayers of the Sunday Mass with explanations of the difficult words and the meaning of the rituals;
  • A suggested prayer for Morning and Evening;
  • Many suggestions on how to live the entire week with the Lord;
  • Various games, a comic, and activities to help children learn about Christian life and culture;
  • A page intended for the parents with suggestions for family prayers."

I could see this being a fantastic gift for a kid's First Communion!

But the ultimate faith formation resource is YOU! Nothing beats having a parent who is also learning and growing their faith. If you want a simple place to start, check out Catholic Truths for Our Children by Patti Armstrong


Your turn! Answer the questions in our own blog post or in the comments. 
Here they are again:
1. Do your children attend your parish’s religious education program? 
2. Do you or have you ever taught religious education? Tell us about it.
3. What are your favourite religious education resources for kids?


  1. "The ultimate faith formation resource is YOU!" So very true, and definitely something I think parents overlook (not in a bad sense, but in a "I didn't realize they are learning from me" sense).

    Great article, and I concur - I think many of us fall into the three categories you listed in the beginning. And, I am sorry to hear your only faith formation through your parish is during Sacramental years. RE is always a nice way to meet other like-minded families, who share the same struggles of raising children in faith amidst a heavily secular world.

    1. I'm bummed about it too! It's just one more layer of difficulty in the already difficult arena of making friends with other Catholic families.

  2. We also use Family Formation-- and it's an awesome tool for converts, cradle Catholics, reverts, theology majors, everyone! I appreciated the way that hard topics are broken down so children (and parents!) can understand. I've learned so much!

    1. I remember you mentioning that y'all also used Family Formation! I love how it's on 3 year cycles, so I'm looking forward to working through these same topics as the kids get older.
      I've been so thankful for that first page or two of the lessons that teach the parents about the topic! I don't think I ever heard the phrase "Precepts of the Church" in CCD growing up. Thank goodness for the cheat sheet!

  3. Wow, Little Lambs from Family Formation sounds like a really cool program! It's too bad that your parish doesn't do it, but I think it's fantastic that you guys can do it as a family.
    My little guy is too young to attend the parish's faith formation stuff, but when he's a few years older, I hope to send him to Catechesis of the Good Shepherd-it's an awesome program, kind of Montessori-ish, which seeks to bring children to experience God, particularly through Scripture and Sacraments, and they use lots of tiny, kids-sized models.
    I taught religious ed when I was in high school, as well! I took a theology class as a sophomore that was all about being stewards, and a requirement was to teach. Then, since I liked teaching RE so much, I did it for the rest of high school. Over those 3 years, I had one year each of 3rd grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten. Then, the summer of 2012, I taught Totus Tuus, a program where college-aged adults travel around, spending a week at each parish to teach kids about the Rosary and the Faith. I really love this kind of stuff, and I think grades 3-4 are my favorite to teach-old enough to get stuff on a deeper level, but young enough to not be too sassy.
    Oh, those CCC videos! Classic, and so good. We also had a bunch of animated New Testament stories when I was little, which I like a lot. I'm also a huge fan of saint books for kids-learning about (and falling in love with) the saints is so important in the religious formation of children!


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