Ten years ago, I attended a Catholic Bible Study in Kansas. It was open to everyone but the vast population were Catholic Homeschoolers.
The little kids had their own class called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. When the kids walked in the room, they were in complete silence. There were different stations around the room and the kids would rotate stations alone. One station would consist of dressing up a small dummy in priest vestments in the proper order. Another station would be to pour water from a cruet into a water bowl and do that repeatedly. It was a great training in patience. The kids had to discipline themselves so they never dripped. The class was silent the entire time. The kids LOVED it. They felt like little grown-ups. They were given duties in their actions and character that were equal to mature and disciplined adults.
The teenagers were in a Bible Study class just for them. They would study the same book or books that the adults were studying.
I had such fond memories of this class. Nick (only 10 years old) and I would read the scripture lesson together and answer our questions during the week. I loved this time with him. We would ALWAYS start talking about something else, mostly about life lessons based on our readings.
On top of all the readings and homework, I also had a collection of tapes and cd’s of theologians that walked me through my studies. I felt like a cheater because I would walk into class and share my incredible “insights” with the group of moms.
One particular year, the Bible Study was on Jeff Cavin’s Great Adventure Through the Bible. It was a 24-week study that took us through all of salvation history from Genesis through Acts of the Apostles. It took us through 14 books of the Bible that walked us through the history. We learned how the other 59 books fit into the story. If any one of us had a good chunk of time on our hands, we could read the other 59 books as they fit into the story. (Ex. We could read Psalms at the time we were reading about David in the book of Kings. Or we would read Corinthians while we were reading about Paul visiting Corinth in the Acts of the Apostles).
I understood the Bible better than I ever did before now that I knew HOW to read it. And reading it from front to back wasn’t it!
Understanding the Scriptures opened doors and windows for me that I never thought could be opened. I could now open up books that I considered “over my head” – particularly, anything written by any of the Popes! I understood the Cathechism now. I was able to move on and study church history. And the most exciting benefit – I was able to defend my faith & using the Bible to do it. Heck, just learning the history of where we got the Bible, who wrote and who said it was inspired was enough apologetics for me!
I was so excited about what I learned that I started teaching it to High Schoolers in my homeschool loop. I spent hours upon hours preparing for that class. I wrote out my own questions for each lesson that were more child friendly and less thought provoking. I listened to all of the CD’s from Jeff Cavins and took notes. I made a gazillion color-coded timeline bracelets so the kids could keep track of the order in history. I watched dozens of Bible movies and found just the right 4-8 minute clips to have my students watch to help them get a real visual about the Old Testament stories. And just today, I finished up 29 Bible Timelines for the next school year’s class.
I have one student take home a Eucharistic Miracles book each week and do a short report on one Eucharistic miracle to present to the class just to keep their faith alive and well throughout the year.
I am pretty sure that the reason this class has been so successful for the past 4 years has to do with WHERE I prepared. 80% of this class was prepared in adoration – right there in front of Jesus Himself.