Question of the Week: July 14, 2015



QOW for FI

From the Forums: We had the following question from a reader. Please share your thoughts and insights on what’s working in your parish:

My question is: home schooling for religious education verses weekly classes at the Church. Have you heard anything from other parishes? Over the years, the other teachers and I have noticed that the kids really have no interest in sitting through classes on Mondays. I have heard that some parishes have taken to ‘home schooling’ and having the children come in once every month or two for testing. Have you heard of this? Our priest has been with us for 2 years, but really has offered no input. We have moved the days and times over the years with no real success! Also, do you know much about the Blue Knights and Little Flower programs?

Please share your answers and experiences in the comment box below.


Copyright 2015 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan, managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at Her three children range in age from high school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.


  1. Wow! I can’t believe I actually know something about both of the things you are asking about.
    Yes, our wonderful parish in Houston (St. John Vianney) has the option of homeschooled CCE clases. I have tried both at home and in parish clases and I think the only thing my kids missed about the classes at church was the music lesson they got once a month. The program works great, you get more flexibility teaching at home and get to know exactly what your children are learning. The whole family can get involved with certain activities and service projects.

    And then our wonderful friend Katie Hartfield ( decided to start a Little Flowers group at her house. We just finished our second year and the girls LOVE IT. They are learning a lot about virtues and the life of many saints and they really look forward to their meeting every month.

    I hope this helps! Good luck and God bless your endeavors!

  2. Jonel Leger on

    Very few churches near us still have weekly catechism. Each church handles homeschooling differently–classes for parents once or twice a month to review material, classes once a month for parents and children, etc. I’ve done it both ways as a parent. Two years ago I homeschooled as that was the only option. Last year, my second grader went to weekly classes, but for first penance and first communion, the church had a home-school program (which we loved). Our church offers the option of weekly classes or home-school. I am torn as to which to do. Having done both, I know that dedicating time to the lessons at home takes determination. However, I felt like many of the kids in my son’s class last year were disruptive. Still he did learn. If you and your team decide to go with home-schooling, my suggestion is that you require parent classes, but keep them to a minimum–perhaps 3 or 4 per year. Also, keep the testing of kids to two or three times a year as well. That makes it all manageable. These meetings should be after work hours. One thing some churches here do that parents love is a week in the summer. Another church does 3 hours on a Saturday, one Saturday a month. I know parents who really like that set up too.

  3. Hi Barb,

    As one of the coordinators of our Family Religious Education Program @ St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Flint, MI, I can tell you first hand that home schooling is not only a wonderful option, but the best option. In fact, the Catechism CCC2685 tells us that The Christian Family is the first place of education in prayer. And, the family is the “domestic church” where God’s children learn to pray “as the church”. It is our Christian responsibility to teach our children the Catholic faith and let the church and the congregation support us. The once-a-week drop and run has it backwards where the church educates our children and the parents “supposedly” supports it.

    At St. John Vianney, the Family Religious Education Program is for everyone ages 9 months to 99+ years. Parents MUST attend with their children. Our once a month program not only introduces the monthly theme to the children in their classes, but it also educates the parents on the monthly theme in a class designed specifically to show parents how to reach/teach/share the monthly homework assignments. Breakfast, fellowship, Mass, works of service, and resource give-a-ways are also an integral components. God has blessed our program abundantly. We will be celebrating our 10th year of F.R.E.P this 2015-2016 school year.


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