SInce I have readers from nearly every country, from Australia to India and Nepal to many Middle Eastern countries, (thank you readers!) who all represent many different religious, I don’t write a lot about the spiritual component to our homeschooling. This site is about child development, healthy families, and healthy education other than to say that spirituality is an essential part of our humanity not to be ignored or cast aside. However, every now and then I put a post out about what we doing with our religious studies, so today is an offshoot off the 2018 post about the Episcopalian/Anglican homeschooling according to developmental stages.
This year with our fourth grader, we are in the stage of Belonging/Heroes that I feel goes with the ages 7-14. As a refresher, this is originally what I laid out for this age:
From Ages 7-14, Episcopalian homeschooling is about BELONGING and HEROES.
- We are still modeling BELONGING by the way we act toward others in daily life. In this stage, we not only expect our children to model our behaviors that include and help people, but we hope to start to be able to see this action on their own.
- We still are going to church and celebrating the church seasons, the Eucharist, the feast and fast days, and we see now the stories in the Bible as a deeper level of encouragement in our own walk for loving ourselves, each other, and the Earth.
- As older children question things, we talk about how we use our intellect and experience as part of our experience with God. Faith, tradition, reasoning, and experience are all part of being an Episcopalian.
- We get our older children to participate – older children can acolyte, participate in Children’s Choir and the Royal School of Church Music Program, help with the nursery, attend Sunday School and Vacation Bible School and summer camps. We help and encourage relationships with the other children in the parish. My parish is pretty large, about 800 families, and I think there are probably close to 20 schools or more represented, so school attendance isn’t the deciding factor for friendship in our parish.
- We still use the Book of Common Prayer in daily and weekly life.
- We still spend lots of time in nature. Some at this stage will chosee to look for Episcopal summer camps – they are all over and provide incredible immersive experiences into nature and closeness to God.
- We develop more faith by participating in the life of the church. We get involved with causes, with the classes and offering of the church, and if what we want is not there, we step up as parents and get involved.
- We start learning the stories of the heroes of our faith – the people who made the Anglican faith what it is
- My little mini-rant about Heroes of the Faith: King Henry doesn’t count. I shudder actually when people talk about that as if they don’t know any of the real ways and real heroes that made this strand of Western Christianity different than anything else. Anglicanism was different than anything else because of where it happened – The church was aligned with many Celtic beliefs and moved toward the customs and beliefs of the Western church with the Synod of Whitby, but in many ways still retains a good deal in common with its Celtic beginnings and with the church before the split of the Reformation. So in a way, it was and still is its own thing! If you want to debate me about King Henry, I will just delete your comment because it is a source of contention to me that people don’t know more about either their own denomination or others can’t be bothered to find out and just comment on things they haven’t researched. #sorrynotsorry
- Heroes from the Holy Bible, and yes, the Feast Days of Saints that we celebrate (and the idea that we can all be Saints! A little different concept in the Anglican Communion)
- Toward the end of this period, I like to talk plainly about the 5 Marks of Mission of the Episcopal Church of the U.S., which are:
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
- To teach, baptize and nurture new believers
- To respond to human need by loving service
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth
- We can start to talk to older children (7th and 8th grade) about the history of the church as involved in the Social Gospel period of history, our role in the Civil Rights Movement, our role in equality for LBGTQ people, and our positions on civil rights, the environment, and more.
So, for this year for fourth grade we have used these as our main resources (outside of attending church, singing in our children’s choir and volunteering):
- The Holy Bible
- Book of Common Prayer
- General Missionary Stories that correspond to our liturgical calendar
- “Plants Grown Up” which is more a Reformed Protestant source, so I modify it to suit our needs
- “How The Bible Came To Us” by Meryl Doney that talks about the structure of the Bible, and how translating the Bible came to be – would be good for fifth graders as well.
- We are finishing the year studying the first part of the book of Daniel from the Old Testament and using Kay Arthur’s book, “You’re A Brave Man, Daniel!”.
For next year, fifth grade, I have plans to continue down the same vein by using the first four resources mentioned and am still researching our other plans! We will probably be working with the last of the 5 Marks of Mission by working with the environment, which also fits in well with our plans to study botany in fifth grade.
Blessings and peace,