Part 3 of the ‘Passing On The Beauty of Our Catholic Faith‘ series
There are days when homeschooling can be challenging, demanding and outright exhausting.
But because we know what is at stake, we seem to keep going by relying on our own strength (and coffee!) just to get through the day. And there are plenty of days that get so busy that we simply forget to invoke Heaven’s help when we need it the most.
The reality is that we need to ask Heaven’s help often, and we need to teach our children to do the same. What better way to do this than to introduce these simple and easy devotions that can be incorporated throughout their day, week and year.
The best part is that these simple practices are not burdensome at all and take only five minutes or less!
1 . Morning Invocations
After Mass, part of our morning ceremonies include the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of songs such as the Star Spangled Banner and Land of the Morning. Shortly after, we invoke the help of our favorite homeschool patron saints:
Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
St. Joseph Cupertino, pray for us.
St. Albert the Great, pray for us.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us.
2 . + J. M. J.
One beautiful practice is to teach our children to place the J. M. J. symbol at the top of every page as soon as they begin to write.
According to Father Brett Brannen, writing the cross and the initials of Jesus, Mary and Joseph allows children to dedicate their work to the Holy Family.
Writing J. M. J. also reminds them that the Holy Family is ready and willing to help at any time.
This sign can be written at the top of letters, homework, class notes, reports, and especially quizzes and exams!
3 . The Power of the Ave
Having to run errands throughout the week makes van schooling an absolute necessity in our homeschool routine.
Every time we hop in the van, we pray an Ave and an invocation to the Archangels and Our Lady Queen of the Highway for a safe journey. When we pass by an accident or hear a siren, we say an Ave and pray for the souls of those involved.
When we pass by a cemetery, we say an Ave and this beautiful prayer: “Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.”
Yes, even van schooling affords many opportunities to teach simple devotions and at the same time practice the spiritual works of mercy!
4 . Baptism Day
One beautiful practice to pass on our faith is to celebrate our children’s Baptism Day. According to Fr. Brannen, “The baptism candle, which was used at the actual ceremony, is brought out and lit, and the family recites the Profession of Faith. This can be done in five minutes, just after supper, and takes very little preparation. But the effect on the children will be indelibly stamped!”
5 . The Little Flower’s Tuesday Surprise
Tuesdays can be a pretty tough day in our homeschool schedule, as my children are still reeling from the weekend and have a full week ahead of them. So my children look forward to their Tuesday Surprise.
This ancient devotion to the Little Flower is the practice of saying the Hail Mary three times every Tuesday morning with special affection for St. Therese. One who does this can expect a special surprise through her intercession before the day is over.
Children love this devotion, and some Catholics have continued this practice even into adulthood. My teenage daughter has developed a very special devotion to St. Therese, and it all started with practicing the Little Flower’s Tuesday Surprise when she was a little child!
Ready and Willing
Despite our busyness, we must not forget that we are never alone in this journey. Taking the time for simple devotional practices helps our family refocus and reminds us of why we are homeschooling in the first place. Attaining Heaven is the reason why we do what we do, and the good news is that Heaven is always there…ready and willing to help.
Some excerpts are taken from “Help For Catholic Parents” by Rev. Fr. Brett Brannen. Used With Permission.