Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Updates on Catechesis and Life part One

Its been a long while since I've said anything about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, the Sunday School Program we are using at Good Shepherd. For those of you who are not interested, you might as well not read on because I'm going to get technical and possibly a little whiny.

Way back when, I started this blog as a complaining space because I was in school to earn a second MA in theology specializing in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I did, I recall, two and a half full courses and then, finding myself pregnant with baby #4 and not terribly happy with the program, I dropped out. My unhappiness came largely from having been to seminary for an MDiv. The program turned out to be a review of everything I'd already done. So it was boring, and a lot of work, and not up to date, and not really about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd so it seemed good to me to drop out.

Also, it was hard to be in school and pregnant and trying to start Kindergarten with baby #1, who wasn't a baby any more. (I was pregnant with baby #1 my last semester of seminary, and I don't think I actually learned anything, I was so unwell and throwing up). Those of you early readers of this blog saw on the side bit the word 'homeschooling' which is no longer there. Baby #1 ended up going to school this year to a very nice private Christian Baptist school where she is really learning to read, instead of me going out of my mind while she explained to me, carefully, every morning, that she already knew how to read and so we didn't need to be doing what I thought we were going to do that day.

In the process of dropping out of school and dropping out of homeschooling and having another baby, I also dropped the ball on Catechesis. Not entirely. I had enough ground work laid that I have been able to get through almost a whole year of Level Two without making any new materials or doing any new presenations. But I had other hiccups this year.

First, I lost my excellent Level One helper (she moved away)
Then I lost my Junior High school teacher (she got married),
Then we hired a real live youth minister who needed space to teach Sr. High, i.e. the Library where the Jr. High had been meeting.

We basically only have 4 spaces for Christian Ed on Sunday morning (the parish hall where Matt does Adult Ed, the Library, and the attic with its small room and big room).

So I was faced with Level Two and Junior High in the same space.
My first move (in the heat of summer and 3rd Trimester) was to flip my atriums. I moved Level One into the tiny postage stamp Attic room and Level Two into the big room. And then to divide the space visually, though not in reality. I have all the Level Two materials in one half, and a plain table and posters in the other half with the prayer table in the middle. I've already posted pictures here and here. Trouble was, it was loud, and everyone was consistently really late, and I was handing off an album page to my helper for level two and then trying to handle the Jr. high without any curriculum (I thought we would do some Old Testament, and I thought they could paint some stuff).

I struggled along unhappily through the fall. But then, the first Sunday of Advent, for whatever reason (it went so well it must have been the Holy Spirit) I combined the groups at my big table, lit the first candle and asked if they knew what Advent was. They didn't. They didn't have a clue. And so, in the course of an hour, I shared the gospel straight out. We talked about Jesus coming the first time, and the second time, and what that might mean for them personally, and how then we ought to live. Of course, the second Sunday of Advent there was bad weather (or maybe it was good) and nobody came. And then they were back the third Sunday and we did Synthesis of the Prophecies, all together, and then the fourth week I had Jesus be born. In other words, since then, I've had the groups together and I always go in with an Album Page and most often a material to go with it, BUT usually I end up chucking the whole thing and trying to keep their attention for the hour.

And I haven't had any time to make materials, much to my unhappiness. to feed the baby, but don't want to loose this so will just post it, agh, more in a few minutes...


Anonymous said...

IT IS WORKING--just because it doesn't look the way that Sophia Cavaletti's atrium looks, or some of the larger churches who have room--IT IS WORKING--the kids are discovering, on their own what it all means.

You have stripped it down to the bare essentials and that's okay.

(I admit, I was just lamenting the other day of the Atrium I left after getting it finished.)

The children we work with don't know what other atriums are like.

Shalom, my friend. Do what you can and enjoy the kids as they are learning about our Lord and Savior.


At A Hen's Pace said...

As a later reader to join you, this little glimpse of history was enlightening! Good to know a little of your journey.