Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012-2013 School Planning: Faith and Character, Part One (Including First Grade Objectives)

Blessed with Morning Devotional Time
Although I haven't shared anything about our school planning for the fall since I wrote Planning to Plan, I have been living my intentions to:
  • honor the hours of these summer days when I can be present with my children without being distracted by an excess of work and appointments.
  • remain ready to take advantage of ten minutes here or fifteen minutes there to ready some of our supplies for the year.
  • utilize longer stretches of time once the kiddoes are asleep to reflect upon the past year and prepare for the coming one without doing so for so long that I see the night begin to turn to dawn.
As I have been doing so, I have realized oh, how I tend to dream so big that little becomes a reality.   

There is just so much I want to do that sometimes I set myself up to do nothing – or at least little beyond planning and re-planning, listing an re-listing, shuffling and then sizing up what I accomplish as “not enough”, which causes me to plan list again... 

It’s a ineffective cycle, and one I am not proud of.

Sometimes I excuse myself as a recovering perfectionist living in an extraordinarily imperfect state that prevents me from  accomplishing what I set out to do.  Then, I realize that I am the one who created much of the imperfect state.  (Just ask my husband about the condition of our bedroom!)  It’s not easy to own up to the fact, but I do.  I admit that there are a gazillion ideas and tasks that crowd my mind, and, sometimes, until I can get them all organized and delineated, I (for lack of a better analogy) spin my tires. 

I don't want to keep spinning, but old habits die hard and so I still find times when my brain spins and spins, kicking up lots of mud, but not moving us towards our goals anytime soon.  The perfectionist in me wants to create a faultless plan before taking action, so success is delayed.  Intention fails to become expediently realized objectives.  In short, there are too many times that I wallow – stuck – unable to create what I have pictured in my head and unwilling to accept anything less.

Such was the case with our Faith and Character studies last year...  I had plans – big plans, but many of the tools and resources I intended to implement remained but a dream.  
Yes, we participated in Mass, read some Bible stories and saint stories, sang along with faith-based CD’s, enjoyed a few Saints Teas and made inconsistent efforts with our Liturgical Tables.  However, formal study of the Catechism, focused Scripture Memory beyond Hide ‘Em in Your Heart CD’s, progress with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd,  focus on Character Trait/Values Studies, dabblings in Sacred Music Appreciation, attempts at Sacred Art Appreciation, consistent reading of the Catholic Children’s Treasure Box books, daily Devotional use, regular readings of the Psalms and Proverbs and weekly play with Bible felts, Bible Story toys or faith-based story baskets were all lacking.  Some of this was due to circumstances beyond my control , but part of it was also due to the fact that if I could not lay something out flawlessly, I set it aside for a time when I could and, well, that time rarely came.

And, let's be honest, perhaps I was hoping to lay out far too much!  None of the long list of ideas that I just shared are bad.  But, all together, they add up to a lot of mental and even physical clutter that takes away from the simple objective of teaching the children to know and love God and others.

Luckily, as I reflect on my failings of the past year of Faith and Character studies for my children, I also recognize grace at work.  Learning happened anyway.  Granted, I did not recognize all of it as it unfolded, because I sometimes I was too busy berating myself for what I wasn’t doing instead of getting out of my self-centered way to see the amazing things that He was doing.  

So, this year, I plan to let Him take the wheel on Faith and Character a bit more.  I will not set myself up for defeat by delineating such a long list of faith formation and character training ideas and activities.  I will quiet the buzz in my brain and not add to the clutter of my home.  Yes, I will pause, pray and choose one “curriculum piece” at a time to actualize as I feel led to do so.

Along the way, I am confident that the Spirit will guide our family to learn what we need to this year.  If within that learning, we hit upon some of the following Faith and Character objectives, which I hope that Luke, as a first grader, might meet, with Nina and Jack following suit at their own paces, so much the better!

Faith and Character Objectives for First Grade

  • Develop individual prayer life and relationship with Jesus.
  • Pray basic prayers:
-      Sign of the Cross
-      Our Father
-      Hail Mary
-      Glory Be
-      Table Blessing
-      Apostles Creed
-      Prayer to Guardian Angel
-      Morning Offering 
  • Recognize and retell various stories of the Bible.
  • Live the Liturgical Year through celebrating Mass, enjoying Liturgical Teas, creating Liturgical Table displays, learning more about the saints, etc.
  • Recite answers to the Baltimore Catechism questions for lessons 17.
  • Map some of the geography of Bible lands (in conjunction with other studies)
  • Memorize five or more Bible verses.
  • Actively participate in parish Generation of Faith program.
  • Continue to strengthen positive character.

Do you have Faith and Character goals or benchmarks in mind for your children this year?  What are they?

Note: It would appear that as I have been taking my planning in bits, I have sharing it that way as well.  The other portions of our planning to date can be found by scrolling through School Planning 2012-2013.

1 comment:

Lena ~ JOYfilled family said...

praise God for your surrender. prayers for a blessed school year.


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