Sunday, January 26, 2014

Enhance Your Child’s Saint Studies With Ease! {A Review of A One Year Study of Saints for Kids}

{This post contains affiliate links.}

 I did not grow up learning much about the saints and have, thus, been thrilled to discover more about them along with my children. In fact, celebrating saint days has become part of our regular rhythm of life here. We celebrate our Name Days, enjoy liturgical teas, host saint playdates, do faith-based crafts... And, now, with thanks to Heather Bowen of Upside Down Homeschooling, we will be notebooking about the saints throughout the coming year with My Journal of Saints: A One Year Study of Saints for Kids.

Like me, Heather is a homeschooling momma who often creates tools that she feels will enhance her children’s learning. Recently, that meant putting together a journal for her children to use alongside the Illustrated Book of Saints by Rev. Thomas Donaghy. Heather gifted me copy of the journal to review and I am delighted that she did!

Saint Study Made Simple and Flexible! 
My Journal of Saints: A One Year Study of Saints for Kids contains 79 pages of saint journaling pages in chronologic order by the date on which each saint’s feast day falls throughout the calendar year. As I already mentioned, the journal was written to be used in conjunction with the Illustrated Book of Saints by Rev. Thomas Donaghy. However, due to its design, the journal can be used alongside any saint book or website, which is how my family will be using the journal. 

On most pages of My Journal of Saints: A One Year Study of Saints for Kids, there is an image of the saint.

On all pages there are blank lines for students to:

  • write the saint’s birth date (if known)
  • note where the saint lived 
  • capture facts about the saint’s life 
  • explain how the child can be like the saint 

There is also a brief prayer on each page that can be prayed aloud, used for copywork on a separate sheet of paper or used as a model for praying one’s own prayer.

Each page of the journal is simple and uncluttered, which, in my opinion, is a bonus for three reasons:
  1. Children can then focus their attention on writing out their thoughts about the saints without distraction. 
  2. Children can decorate the borders and white space on each page with signs, symbols and ideas related to the particular saint, thereby personalizing their journals. 
  3. Unnecessary decorations on each page will not eat up your ink! (Honestly, I love images and design details, but, all too often, I cringe at the amount of ink some printables take. So, I am quite happy to see that Heather’s journal includes “just enough” on its pages to keep the balance between effective and frugal-friendly.) 

Are there any drawbacks to the journal? 

I have printed out pages of the journal to use with my children this week and throughout February. In doing so, I noticed that the amount of saints per month varies so there is not, say, at least one saint a week. However, this, I think, is due to the fact that the journal was designed to match up with the Illustrated Book of Saints. My thought is, then, that if I want the children to focus on more saints I can always just create a few additional pages for their journals on our own.

When browsing the rest of the pages of the journal, I also noticed something that I know that my detail-oriented oldest son is sure to point out: not every page has an image of a saint on it. As I understand, the reason that some pages lack images is due to copyright permissions and, quite frankly, I’d rather see integrity than an image on each page. So kudos to Heather for researching which images she could include in a journal she would be selling at a fair price. I will use the journal knowing that integrity stands behind it (and that my children can always create their own images of saints on the handful of pages that don’t already include them!)

Finally, I noticed that on the permissions page of My Journal of Saints: A One Year Study of Saints for Kids it states that families may print only two copies out for personal use. For families with multiple children this might mean having to contact Heather for special permissions or purchase more than one copy of the journal.

Would I recommend that others invest in My Journal of Saints: A One Year Study of Saints for Kids?  

In a word: yes.

Heather has done folks a service by taking the time to find okay-to-share (and often traditional and beautiful!) images of saints, to format journal pages and to include concise, yet meaningful prayers on each page. I know from creating my own family’s resources that doing things like this takes time. Lots of time.

If you’re life is anything like mine, more often than not, time is short. Heather’s journal then can save you time and at a $2.99 introductory price, an e-copy of My Journal of Saints: A One Year Study of Saints for Kids is quite worthwhile, I think!

For those who do not like to be bothered by printing and assembly, Heather also offers a printed, bound copy of the journal with a $2 introductory discount, making the journal $12.99, plus shipping and handling.

My bottom line, then, is that, if you have some money in your budget and little extra time in your days, My Journal of Saints: A One Year Study of Saints for Kids is a simple-to-use resource that promises to compliment your family’s saint studies! I know it will do so for mine! If you’re interested in learning more about the journal or want to order it, hop on over to UpsideDown Homeschooling, where you'll find other helpful products, too!

If you're looking for saint books, besides the Illustrated Book of Saints to use with the journal, a few the books we reference regularly or will be using in February are:

What are some of your favorite saint study resources?

(If you receive this post via email and cannot see the linky, be sure to actually click over to the blog to read browse the rich catalog of ideas there.)


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