Wednesday, September 16, 2015

After-Atrium - Adolescent Faith Formation

Some rough notes for what to do with children leaving level 3 Catechesis of the Good Shepherd atrium.

Current book offerings: most of the USCCB approved textbooks include the Life of Christ and Church History for middle schoolers. The children in the atrium have a large majority of the Life of Christ and really don't need to spend an entire year on it. Church history is good - but the books used are ghastly.

In no particular order, thoughts and ideas gleaned from a variety of sources.

Please note in comments if you have additional suggestions, thoughts, resources to look into to meet a particular need, or another idea :)

Middle School: 

Continued Access to the Level 3 Materials: 
Children in a typical religious education experience will not have had more than 30 hours each year in the level 3 atrium (and many significantly less). They can continue to benefit from the materials and experiences they have not yet completed, as these materials are actually appropriate for RCIA programs.

Mass Study - Altaration:
This 4 week resource could be saved for the end of 8th grade or utilized in high school. The segment on vocations ties in nicely with the Vocation Tree. Not so much walking through the Mass, more focusing on the meaning of the Mass, some history and the true depth of what is happening.
Resource: Altaration
Connect to Level 3: Match index cards with noted Scripture passages to each of the prayers in the Roman Missal (Colored Base) material.

Bible History - Encounter:
10 week DVD/workbook lessons covering an overview of the Bible. This is the middle school version of Ascension Press's Bible History studies such as The Teen Timeline (for high schoolers) and Great Adventure Bible Study (for adults - varying lengths).
Resource: Encounter
Connect to Level 3: Review the 5 Typology Timelines at the pertinent moments in the DVDs; any additional studies of interest. Create a new typology timeline based on another Old Testament event or person.

Vocation Tree:
10 lessons of 40 minutes each.

Resource: The Vocation Tree
Connect to Level 3: Review the Rites timelines and materials for all sacraments; utilize Holy Orders and Matrimony Rites timelines and materials (review if used in level 3; add in here if not used in level 3)

Church History: 
10-15 weeks, going through 1-2 centuries each class. Look to events, popes, saints, apologetics, heresies, and connect to world history. This could be in story format, with options to explore areas of interest in art, music, literature and more.

Resource: no ideal one is currently available; there is one in-progress.
Connect to Level 3: Review 2000 Years timeline and create own version with key points from the stories (perhaps a few that are required to note, then additional events of choice). Continue to locate passages in the Scripture related to Parousia and the spreading of the Kingdom of God in our own time.

Timeline of the Life of Christ:
In small groups or individually, read through a chosen Gospel account and record the events of the life of Jesus on a timeline. Since not everything is dated just so, this will invite the children to look to context clues and make inferences. They may need to utilize other resources to understand the variety of ways to interpret the reading of the Gospels within the realm of the Catholic faith. This study could take as little as 1 class or as many as needed. Perhaps over the course of the 2 middle school years, all 4 Gospels are read by every child with all details added into their own timeline.

Resource: The Holy Bible! ;) and graph paper or other timeline of choice
Connect to Level 3: Review the Miracles, Teachings and Parables of Jesus; create a personal list, chart or diagram of each miracle, teaching and parable. Create a new Miracle timeline based on the style of the included Level 3 timelines.

Service Projects:
Whether part of religious education or youth ministry or in another capacity, the children should be actively engaged in community service and other projects, further exploring and sharing their talents with the world, as they prepare for their future vocation.

Chastity - Theology of the Body for Middle Schoolers:
8 week study of Theology of the Body directed specifically for 6th-8th graders

Resource: Theology of the Body for Middle School
Connect to Level 3: Looking at moral formation components, personal choice; also considering local diocese requirements.

High School: 

Spend 1 year each on an area of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, looking to apologetics and personal vocation within each one.

Resource: The Catechism of the Catholic Church 

Supplemental: Biblical Walk Through the Mass