Reading, Writing, 'Rithmatic

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By Rebecca Teti

Fridays: Education

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Whether your children attend school or are homeschooled, this is the spot to ask questions about curricula, religious education, parent-teacher relationships, or academic concerns of any kind.

Please join us!

Rebecca Teti


  • I have been teaching 8th grade Faith Formation classes for five years and have seen a decline in number of students attending. I would like to implement some kind of program with parents since they have the responsibility of making sure their child receives their Catholic faith. Has anyone done something like this or have any ideas?

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 8:32 AM by unknown

  • Unknown, our parish has what they call "Whole Community Catechesis" to promote lifelong faith formation. About 6 times a year we have intergenerational gatherings with age-appropriate breakout sessions. I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for, but it's pretty popular in our church. And a question of my own -- I am looking for a Catholic daily devotional that I can read with my 13-year-old daughter. All I can seem to find are geared toward middle-aged women (like me!) or are too evangelical for my comfort. Is there anything out there for Catholic girls?

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 11:33 AM by Anne in NC

  • Yes, my husband is Catholic (not sure how that pertains to my question, though). I have a couple of Christian devotionals that are okay but are not really what I am looking for -- they use different Biblical translations (e.g., KJV, NLT), never mention the saints, and seem a bit shallow to me. I just want something I can read with my daughter without having to discuss nuances and interpretations at length.

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 12:33 PM by Anne in NC

  • Have you tried The Word Among Us @ for the daily devotional?

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 1:44 PM by Tessy

  • Hi there! My 4th child is 3 1/2 and cannot hold a pencil. The others didn't have this issue so I didn't have to teach it. I keep trying to show him but he can't seem to get it. Any advice?

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 2:22 PM by KMB

  • UNKNOWN: My sister's parish used a program of family catechesis called Generations of Faith. It might be worth checking into. I think a huge problem with children failing to come for parish-based religious education is that their own parents are poorly catechized themselves. ANNE IN NC: Have you tried using the Magnificat with your daughter? I have several friends who used it & really love it. We use a monthly journal/devotional called Theosis: Spiritual Reflections from the Christian East, put out by Eastern Christian Publications. Our teens (13, 15, 17) like it. KMB: One of our sons has an odd(?) way of holding his pencil, but he has nice I don't worry too much about it. As a leftie, I was always being told that I was holding my writing utensil incorrectly. Since your little guy is just 3 1/2, I think you still have plenty of time to work on his pencil grasp. Have you tried one of those triangular rubber pencil grips? I recall children using those when we were young.

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 2:49 PM by Patricia

  • KMB, a couple of my children struggled with their pencil grip. Our kindergarten teacher introduced us to a rubber grip that slides on to the pencil. It is triangular in shape, with special indentations to show where you rest the fingers--and that helps the kids to figure out the right grip. She gave us the first one, but I have since seen them at many places--not just education supply stores, but I think on the counters at a couple bookstores too. They're inexpensive--maybe $2-3? That would be my suggestion--if you can find it.

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 5:25 PM by Mary Therese

  • KMB, some children, boys especially, learn to hold a pencil later than others. Three and a half seems pretty young to expect good pencil grip. I actually asked a friend who teaches special ed for advice on how to get my son who will start Kindergarten this fall to hold a pencil correctly and she suggested time and a thick pencil. My husband bought him Legos to work on his fine motor skills and between that and the thick pencil, he's doing a lot better.

    Posted on Jun 21st, 2013 at 5:35 PM by Alice

  • KMB - We dealt with this with our youngest son. We bought extra short pencils from Handwriting Without Tears. It's much easier to maintain the right grip on a short pencil. A homeschooling blog recommended cutting paint brushes and crayons down to about two inches. This definitely helped us.

    Posted on Jun 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 AM by Kelly @ In the Sheepfold

  • Thanks for the suggestions! I know he's still young but if he's got fine motor skill issues, the sooner I work with him the better.

    Posted on Jun 22nd, 2013 at 4:22 PM by KMB

  • Anne, when I was 13 my mom gave me a little booklet called "The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary". I loved it! I was like a shorter version of the Divine Office. I would say one of the little hours whenever I had a few minutes free. I don't know where you would find it today but you could google it or try amazon. It would be really nice to say with your daughter.

    Posted on Jun 22nd, 2013 at 9:04 PM by Monica (momof2)