Homeschooling, in it’s best form, starts from birth. It’s a parental mindset of being in charge of your child’s education and faith formation from day one.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6
If you’ve already decided you want to homeschool your children, getting them baptized in the Church can really signify the beginning of your homeschooling journey and is arguably, the most important step! If for some reason, you didn’t have your child baptized in the Church as an infant, don’t worry, it’s not too late. Contact your parish to find out the next steps.
Teaching children about their faith from a young age, in my opinion, is THE most important part of homeschooling. If it all starts with God, everything else will cascade with ease.
Montessori At Home
I use the Montessori method of parenting from birth. This sets the stage for a lifetime love of learning and a level of independence that is needed for self responsibility. This makes homeschooling from the ages of 6-18 years old much easier!
If you aren’t familiar with the Montessori Method, I urge you to check out the following books:
Faith Formation From The Start
Whether your child is 6 months old or 6 years old, it’s never too late to start with faith formation. The earlier the better! The younger they are when you introduce them to the faith, the longer they will have to grow in their love of God, their understanding of the sacraments, and their appreciate of the Church.
Start by making sure you have plenty of religious, doctrinally sound and interesting age-appropriate books for your child. Read to them, read with them, read to their siblings, and make learning about God a central part of your life, instead of an after-thought.
Check out one of our posts about our favorite religious children’s books. You can check our our Amazon list for links to many of our favorite titles as well.
Bring Them To Mass!
Here’s the tricky one for parents of young children – bringing them to Mass! I often have mother’s message me and ask for tips and tricks on bringing their kids to Mass and keeping them involved in what’s going on without boring them or allowing to cause a stir.
If you have been to Mass, you know you don’t want to be THAT family. You know the one that everyone stares at, knowing they are going to miss part of the homily because their child is squirming, complaining, and talking out loud for the whole congregation to hear while their toddler whines and cries before finally bolting down the isle the first opportunity they get. The reality is, you might be that family, and it’s okay! You know why? Because you actually WENT TO MASS.
You have to just begin. It won’t be easy at first, but like all things, you train your child to accept that they must sit, they must not interrupt, and they must behave while in Church. It won’t happen overnight, but neither does teaching them to use a potty or teaching them how to read.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.”Colossians 3:23-24
When my first-born was a baby (15 years ago) I avoided going to Mass because she always cried that she couldn’t get down and run around. I was embarrassed that I didn’t have any control over my child and that everyone was staring at me, hoping I could quiet her down. This is certainly discouraging to a new mom that is learning the ropes of parenting on top of figuring out how to convince a small child that sometimes we just need to be quiet.
Fast forward 15 years and now there are plenty of amazing resources like Catholic activities, toys and products to keep little hands busy during Mass!
Check out what’s in our Mass Bag:
One of our favorites items in our Mass Bag and a favorite of many other Catholic parents, is a silicone rosary from ChewsLife (pictured below).
For links to all of our favorite items to put in our Mass Bag, check out this post.
No matter how hard it seems at first, bring them to Mass anyway.