Thursday, January 31, 2008

Religion as a Core Subject

Someone recently wrote to me:

If there is a drawback to this book, I could only suggest that a Religion section be added to the next edition. It is my personal belief that Religion is a core subject, and I would be very interested in finding good books for my children in that area of study.
I've been waiting for this question as it is a question I asked myself over and over again as I worked to complete For the Love of Literature. I do firmly believe religion is a core subject. In fact, as stated in A Catholic Homeschool Treasury, I believe it to be the 4th 'R (religion, reading, 'riting, 'rithmetic).

However, as I wrote in the How to Use This Book chapter, I wanted the books in the other core subjects (math, art, music, science, history) to reflect our Catholicism. Instead of pulling religion out as a seperate subject I chose to make sure the books in the other subjects raised our hearts to God.

For example, books on creation found their way into the history section. Books on the spiritual lives of Renaissance artists found their way into the art section. Biographies of Catholic scientists found their way into the science section. And so on. You will find many good books in the study of religion in For the Love of Literature, but they will be intertwined with the art, music, math, science, and history books rather pooled together into one separate section.

I believe our Catholicism should be reflected in everything we do, not just church on Sunday. And so, we should teach it that way. It should be meshed with all school subjects. I want religion, for my own children, to be a natural part of their lives. Not something that is pulled out separately and kept in a box.

The problem I had with this approach was that adorable books like The Princess and the Kiss didn't make it into For the Love of Literature. But then again, I have another book in my head that would cover "literature for enjoyment" rather than "books that teach core subjects" and it would include The Princess and the Kiss, The Squire and the Scroll, The Hobbit, LOTR, etc. I may share more about that book project with you soon, but perhaps I should mention it to my publisher first.


Mathochist said...

"I have another book in my head that would cover 'literature for enjoyment' rather than 'books that teach core subjects...'"

I am excited to read this! I would definitely, definitely buy this book!!!

I finished LOL last week and it is great! I was so excited to read it! (Okay, really, skim through it for books marked 'P'. My oldest just turned 3.) We have begun checking out some of the preschool books from our library! I would never have known about them if not for your book. Thanks also for the tip about the Library Elf. It is great!

Maureen said...

Thank you Mathochist -- btw love the name! I guess the Math section of the book peaked your interest.

One of the things I love about Laura Berquiest's book Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum is that you don't have to read the whole book at once. You just read the grade level that applies to you that year. Then, the next year you pull it out again and about the grade level that applies that year. That's what I tried to do with LOL.

I love the Library Elf too! Isn't an awesome service!!! An absolute must for library patrons.