Homegrown Catholics is an excellent resource for religious education teachers, homeschoolers, and parents. Here you'll see all my lesson plans and project ideas on many Catholic subjects as well as school topics. If you would like to read about my adventures as a Home Educator, click on the St. Brigid's Academy tab above.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learning is Taking a Flight

Just a few days ago we ventured over to the airport for a field trip with some other homeschoolers. The kids enjoyed going into the hangars to see the planes up close and watch a few take off.

St Cloud Airport field trip

St Cloud Airport field tripSt Cloud Airport field trip

In the training center they had coloring, historical and dot to dot plane books for the kids to work on. It was a nice addition.
 St Cloud Airport field trip St Cloud Airport field trip    

St Cloud Airport field trip St Cloud Airport field trip 
  Little trooper who stayed with me and napped in the training center.
St Cloud Airport field trip   
It’s a lot of fun for the parents too!
St Cloud Airport field trip

Add to your day with paper air planes, propeller science, and a lesson in the history of air travel!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Festival of Nations: Brazil

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

Our local homeschool group had their first Festival of Nations.  It was a hit with my kids and 15-20 other families. I highly recommend it for other groups, or families who like the idea of focusing on one area and really diving deep into the culture, geography and history.  Our family traveled to Brazil in South America via books, videos and music. Here is just some of our favorite resources to get you started on your journey!


The Display Board

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

The board covered almost everything we learned about. We featured Country Facts, Geography, Resources, Sightseeing, Rainforest and Natives. Dozens of fun facts are all over the board. I think we learned the most while making the board, as the kids had to re-research the tidbits of information to add. But how did we piece it together?

I started by looking up images online of rainforest animals, Yanomami natives, Brazil maps and flag, Rio De Janeiro, Carnival, Amazon River, Amazon Proper, Amazon Rainforest, The Pantanal, Iguacu Falls, etc. Saving the images, I resized them onto MS Publisher pages and printed them out for the kids to color.  I labeled the sections of the board, added basic line drawings of trees, a river, falls, parade float, etc and they filled in the rest. The Natives section is wood craft sticks and raffia. Most of it is colored pencil or marker.

Did you know that most of our oceans fresh water comes from the Amazon River?

Did you know that most of our fresh air comes from rainforests, such as the one in Brazil?

Did you know that mahogany and teak wood is taken from rainforests in Brazil [deforestation], endangering the hundreds of species of animals and insects that live there, as well as our air?

Did you know that the city Curitiba was built to be a global model for future cities? The most "livable" city.

Top Destinationsbrazil map

Rio de Janeiro

Rio hosts popular beaches, such as Ipanema and Copacabana, as sung by Frank Sinatra and Barry Manilow. Just about anywhere you'll bump into people dancing the Samba or Capoiera (Judo/Dance Fighting), especially at Carnival the week before Lent. Visit one of the seven wonders of the world when you see the Christ the Redeemer statue. It is also becoming popular to walk the streets of the hillside favelas which are homes to the lower class citizens.


The long panorama is a line drawing from IllustratedMaps.info of Rio de Janeiro that I stretched to a few pages. Each child plus myself colored one section.


[Photo credit to Mystery Wallpaper]


[Photo Credit RioDeJaneiro4u.com]

The Amazon Proper

Amazon ProperAmazon Proper2

Where the Negro River and Amazon River meet, the two do not mix waters for 4 miles!

Iguacu Falls


Miles of waterfalls can be found in southern Brazil.

A Taste of Brazil

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

We sampled a trail mix of cashews, chocolate and coconut. We also featured "guess that food" jars with fabric lids, inside was coconut, cashews, coffee and cocoa powder. Brazil is a natural resource for many fruits, nuts and beans (cacao and coffee).



The people of Brazil cherish their time spent sunning, dancing, playing music, playing futebol (soccer), visiting wildlife, and hosting thousands of guests from all over the world. Tourism and Exports of food/wood/latex/coffee are their main sources of economy, (aside from illegal drug smuggling.) Their main religion is Catholicism, seconded by African spirituality. The natives are the most unique, left almost untouched by modern society, people of our time.

Brazil at NWMH Festival of Nations

After reading 123 Suddenly in Brazil: The Ribbons of Bonfim,  we did some research about the ribbons. It began as a Catholic tradition of honoring saints and Jesus by wearing these ribbons as a witness to prayers answered. Recently they've become more of a lucky charm or wish ribbon. But we had fun sharing this history and opportunity with those who stopped by! I did not order the ribbons from Brazil because I thought it up too late. So I made ours from satin ribbons from the craft store and added the words in permanent marker. Everyone got a ribbon tied on with the history and explanation on a flyer (in the resources & ideas section below entitled "Wishes for You").

Salvador da Bahia

Poster I made (with Patron Saints I chose reflected the desire):

Wish Ribbons


Craft Ideas


Carnival Masks (eye masks with feathers and gems)

Beaded Necklaces (Colorful beads or macaroni on string)

Maracas (dried beans or macaroni between paper plates)

Christ the Redeemer paper statue (link to printable at website)

A few favorite coloring pages to get you started!


Rio - dancing Brazil Carnival

Yanomami Man Warrior 基本 RGB



Brazil Worksheet


Books about Brazil, the Rainforest and the Amazon River


Amazon River by Anne Fitzpatrick

Brazil ABC’s by David Seidman

Brazil: Enchantment of the world by Ann Flieinrichs

Brazil: Faces and Places by Elma Schemenauer

Countries of the world: Brazil by Leslie Jermyn

Count Your Way Through Brazil by James Jaskins

Cultures of the world: Brazil by Leslie Jermyn

The Rainforest Grew All Around

Rio De Janeiro by Deborah Kent


1,2,3 Suddenly in Brazil: The Ribbons of Bonfim by Maldonado

Amazon Fever by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Grk and the Pelotti Gang by Joshua Doder

Magic Tree House: Afternoon on the Amazon by Mary Pope Osborne

Terror on the Amazon: The Quest for El Dorado by Phil Gates


Great Websites for Kids






Check out this Virtual Tour which features one of the seven wonders of the world - Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio!

The Rainforest



Teacher Resources




Nossa Turne da Netflix!

Amazon & Brazil Based Movies

Go Diego Go (TV Series)

Rio (G)

Barney: Celebrating Around the World (G)

Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (G)

Three Caballeros (G)

IMAX: Amazon (NR)

IMAX: Tropical Rainforest (NR)

The Mission (R)

Anaconda (R)

The Emerald Forest (R)


Movies with scenes in Brazil

Jungle 2 Jungle (PG)

Moonraker [Bond] (PG)

The Incredible Hulk (2003) (PG-13)

Fast Five (PG-13)

Twilight: Breaking Dawn (PG-13)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick and the Holy Trinity


Have a special day with your children on St. Patrick's Day! There is a plethora of resources online, but here are some of my favorites. Why on earth would I make up any more of my own with so many to choose from?!


Homegrown Catholics: St. Patrick's Day Activities


Hide gold coins around the house for children to find - with the intention that they have to clean up as they go! :)



Pin the Shamrock on Saint Patrick


St Patricks DaySt Patricks Day

Celebrate with an Irish Party - Green and Rainbows

and maybe some Corned Beef & Cabbage?

St Patricks Day

Food Fun

St Patricks DaySt Patricks Day

St Patricks Day


Other Ideas from…

Catholic Mom: St. Patricks Day Resources

Catholic Icing: St. Patrick's Day Activities & Crafts

Homeschool Classroom: St. Patricks's Day Resources

HotChalk Lesson Plans: St. Patricks Day School Lessons (Art, Math, Science…)

Spoonful: St. Patricks Day Crafts


st-patricks-placemat-craft by Spoonful

Shamrock and Rainbow Placemats




Homegrown Catholics: St. Patrick's Day Activities

Catholic Icing: Shamrock Trinity Craft (all "Trinity" activities on CI)



Young children connect best with God the Father as our creator. There are so many lessons about creation and Genesis, I suggest starting there.



With Palm Sunday the following week, I suggest this lesson on Palm Sunday for a lesson about Jesus.

Ministry to Children: Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Crafts on Pinterest, my favorite being the Hosanna Palms from Mustard Seeds' blog



During Lent, we are preparing our souls to be worthy of Christ's Mercy. "Our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" I would suggest a lesson plan on the Holy Spirit: Our Life, His Home.

Ministry to Children: 4 Lessons Plans on the Holy Spirit

Wonderfully Made CD by Rob Evans, The Donut Man (includes "Our Body is a Temple" song)

You Tube: MelSoulTree's This Body is a Temple song


St Patricks Day

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Resolutions and Repentance Lesson Plan

Light the Fire 2013
Every year, people have had a New Year’s tradition to have Resolutions. These are ideas to do something different or better in the next year to improve upon yourself. Many really do try to keep their resolutions, but often times their motivation is lost after only a month.

In our Christian faith, we are called to Repentance. This is similar to resolutions, in that we figure out what we would like to change about ourselves, and make an effort to be better. But in repentance, we are sorry about the things we did that pulled us further away from God’s grace. We resolve to be better not for our own selfish or worldly reasons, rather for bettering our relationship with God.
The bible says,
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distress, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

This means that when we are weak, we can be easily overtaken. When we reach out for God’s grace and mercy, He fills us with it and makes us stronger in a holy way. But at the same time, that weakness without God, can open us up to making weak choices through evil temptations.

Take a moment to think about your weaknesses. What holds you back from being your best self? Have there been times when you were too busy to let God lead your life? Were there times when you felt helpless or alone? God asks us to let go of our pride and let Him shine through our lives.

   "Many years ago, large packs of wolves roamed the countryside in Ukraine, making travel in that part of the world very dangerous. These wolf packs were fearless. They were not intimidated by people nor by any of the weapons available at that time. The only thing that seemed to frighten them was fire. Consequently, travelers who found themselves away from cities developed the common practice of building a large bonfire and keeping it burning through the night. As long as the fire burned brightly, the wolves stayed away. But if it were allowed to burn out and die, the wolves would move in for an attack. Travelers understood that building and maintaining a roaring bonfire was not just a matter of convenience or comfort; it was a matter of survival."
   We do not have to protect ourselves from wolf packs as we travel the road of life today, but, in a spiritual sense, we do face the devious wolves of Satan in the forms of temptation, evil, and sin. We live in dangerous times when these wolves roam the spiritual countryside in search of those who may be weak in faith or feeble in their conviction.
Saint Peter said "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
  We are all vulnerable to attack. However, we can strengthen ourselves with the protection provided by a burning testimony that, like a bonfire, has been built adequately and maintained carefully. Because none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes and create bad habits. These bad habits and sins can be like a bucket of water on our souls burning for Christ, if we don't repent. By taking the time to cleanse ourselves spiritually, we can grow and become stronger.
[Excerpt from a Mormon site, but a great resource]

How can you ignite your own bonfire to survive in our moments of weakness?
*Have faith in the Mercy of Jesus Christ, and the power of God’s Grace.
*Have a humble, and sincere Repentance by going to Confession regularly.
*Seek help from our Heavenly Saints and Mary, Our Lady of Grace.
*Follow the example of Jesus and his disciples. Follow the Commandments.
*Make a fresh start and don’t return to sin. Don’t wait until the New Year.

His promise to us is:
Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10)

As Saint Luke wrote, Jesus did not come to save the righteous and the holy, he came to save the sinner in hopes they will find repentance.

Divide up into groups and talk about our Resolutions and how we plan to Repent. We are going to make posters we can hang up at home to remind us of our goals.
Repentance Poster
Worksheet inspiration from: ThirtyHandmadeDays.com created a brilliant Resolution Worksheet for adults/teens and kids. I just combined them and added a few things for this lesson.


Use red, orange and yellow ribbon or embroidery floss to tie through a hole on the top of the bookmark.
[As a farewell gift or project] I had the older girls make these for everyone while the younger ones had their story time.
Repentance Bookmarks


Veggie Fire Bowls - slice up red, yellow, and orange peppers and arrange like flames in a bowl to snack and dip.

Sin No S'mores from Rethinking my Thinking

Pentecost Cupcakes from Catholic Cuisine

First Reconciliation Activities

Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit while teaching my children (and a class) all about Reconciliation I have come up with some ideas to share! Please note I'm just a mom, not a theology major or religious education director. Please review materials before distributing. All of these ideas are free to print for home or school use. If you share these ideas, please remember to acknowledge me with a link to this page. Thank you!

Faith Folder
Lapbook nameplate example
Creating a special folder full of spiritual information is SO helpful in the process. One child had a file folder lapbook, another a note book. Each is decorated by the child, with things pasted inside to help them remember prayers and other things related to Reconciliation. A notebook is a great idea, because it can be used as a journal. Encourage them to daily add 2 things they've done well and 2 things they did not. Before confessing, they can look back on the list.

Click to Print your lap-book pieces. It includes name label (for meaning of name, bible verse),  important prayers, Ten Commandments, and more. Pages for one student, or pages for multiple students included in the file.
Note: The 10 Commandments for Kids in this lap-book was created by me for my children. You may decide to use the 10 Commandments verbatim in place of my version, which I do not have avail to print. Also some churches may teach a different Act of Contrition.

Here are the basics for assembly:
  1. Take a file folder, open fully. Fold the two short ends into the center. 
  2. Opening it up again, you'll have a left flap, center, right flap. [[]]
  3. The ribbon for their name and its meaning goes on the outside left flap or the back side.
  4. The Examination of Conscience goes in the inside left flap.
  5. The Center is for the Reconciliation, Ten Commandments for Kids, and Act of Contrition. Print and cut the prayer/words and glue them onto the inside center panel. Chose either the color image or outline image to color, then tape that on top of the matching prayer/words so they can "life the flap" to expose the prayer.
  6. The Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be and Holy Spirit prayers are pasted onto the inside right flap.
  7. The empty flap or backside is a good place to put stickers when they practice or memorize their prayers. The whole folder is great for taking home worksheets.
  8. If you print out the Ten Commandment match-up cards included in the file, those can go in an envelope glued to the folder. (I had a hard time figuring out images for those, so use at your own discretion)

A Taste of Confession
I just love how this project turned out. I have children who process information through hands on and senses. Now they can associate a taste for each part of their reconciliation experience.
Taste of Reconciliation
1. Examination of Conscience: Hot Seat Cinnamon
2. Reconciliation: A Sour Patch Sorry
3. Contrition: Prayer Pretzels
4. Penance: Refreshing Acts Mints
5. Forgiveness: Melt Away Our Sins Chocolates
Taste of Confession

Another food idea is to serve ALL WHITE FOOD or treats, as a symbol of purity. You can see my Sacramental Cakes at our Michalek Kitchen blog.

Wipe Board
Decorate a sheet using the words "God wipes away our sins." Then laminate it. Ask the kids to draw all over it and wipe it clean again and again.


Make a Faith Aid Kit

Decorate a canvas mini tote, then add the items listed below along with a copy of the description.

The Bandage reminds us that Jesus heals the wounds of the heart.
The Cotton Balls remind us that Jesus blots away our sins.
The Tissue reminds us that Jesus wipes away our tears.
The Antiseptic Wipes remind us that Jesus cleanses our hearts.
The Lip Balm reminds us that Jesus softens our hard, dry hearts.
The Holy Water reminds us that Jesus blesses us.
*as seen on More Than Enough blog

Lord Have Mercy

While reviewing the parts of the Mass, I made this coloring sheet for the children to color and hang at home. Hoping they'd see the words and remember to participate at Mass more often. To make this, I typed up the text and added an image of Christ from an online coloring page. Here is a version I created using my own art for you to print.

Kneeler for Reflection
"When life gets too hard to stand.... kneel."
Homegrown Catholics: Kneeler
Whether you use this as a place for a Time Out, a place for prayer/rosary, or in teaching how to make a good confession - your child will enjoy this DIY kneeler. Dollar store garden pad and puffy paints is all it takes! (inspired by Catholic Icing's post)
Ten Commandments Match-up
I'll be honest, this is a work in progress and not my favorite. Feel free to use the idea as a starting point for your own cards. The 10 commandments mean such different things to children, it was hard to choose an image to convey it broadly.
 10 Commandments 4Lapbook pg110 Commandments 4Lapbook pg2

Carve a Cross
Need: Soap bar, plastic knife and toothpick
Directions and picture on All Things Beautiful blog.

Ten Commandment Tablets
Ten Commandments Tablets craft
Directions on Crayola.com

Sin vs Virtue
First Reconciliation Gift Ideas
*Rosary or Rosary Bracelet
*Crucifix for Room (or kit to make a cross rosary hanger)
*Craft Kit: above activities or First Communion Banner kit
*Quiet in the Pew: Catholic Mass Seek and Find Cards

Arma Dei - Equipping Catholic Families has wonderful faith-learning products and freebies. My favorite is converting ordinary games to Catholic learning tools!

What is a Catholic Confession?

To order Brother Francis's "Forgiven" visit BrotherFrancisOnline.com

Other Links
Homegrown Catholics: The Soul Diet: Keepsakes, Quiet in the Pew, Celebrating Sacraments, and more
The Catholic Toolbox: Sacrament of Reconciliation
That Resource Site: Meeting Our Lord in the Sacrament of Reconciliation booklet
Sunday School Network: Hard to see the light through a sinful heart

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