This post at Amy Welborn’s is from a while back, but I must have missed it while I was in the midst of catching up on my blog reading after our long Texas vacation. Amy passes on a request from a priest who asks how parishes can better provide for the needs of homeschoolers, while balancing the needs of the parish school. There are some great responses in the comments section. I’m filing this away for future reference.
One of the comments suggested:
Probably the single best and most comprehensive thing that we have done to build up the community as a whole is to begin using the parish-wide Family Formation program out of the Church of St. Paul in Ham Lake, MN. This is a program that seems to fit everyone – it’s fine as a “CCD” program for the public school families, it complements the religious education that our school kids get and involves those families more (not just a “school” thing), and the home school families love it too because it combines both home lessons and monthly parish gatherings. So, when we meet for Family Formation, we have a great cross-section of parents who might not have gotten to know each other otherwise. So far so good.
I spent two years teaching CCD classes and Dom spent two years as DRE at our parish before various circumstances made it too hard for us to continue. Problems in religious education is a frequent topic of conversation in our family. We both think the current model, patterned after school and divided by grade level into classes is simply not working. Our biggest complaint is that it puts the burden of faith formation on the parish, rather than the parents. And how can a mature faith possibly be formed in one hour a week? A family-based model makes the most sense and is much closer to the actual teaching of the church that the family (domestic church) is the basic unit of the church and that parents are the primary educators of their children.