This a very popular religion series among Catholic homeschoolers. The content is solid and does not water down instruction as many other modern religion texts do. One thing I particularly like about the books in this series is that they follow a logical progression throughout each book. The big picture of God and salvation through Jesus is presented at each level, but the emphasis on other topics shifts from level to level. Many topics such as the Holy Spirit, Mary, and the Church are covered in some aspect at every level.
First grade, Our Heavenly Father, begins with the basics: creation, God, heaven, and the need for a savior. It also covers prayer, the Trinity, the life of Jesus, salvation, Mary and other topics. Second grade, Jesus Our Life, prepares children for Confession and First Communion with lessons on the commandments, forgiveness, salvation/redemption, the Eucharist, and the Mass.
Third grade, Our Life with Jesus, skims through the Old Testament and spends more time on Jesus, the commandments, and the founding of the Church. Fourth grade level , Jesus Our Guide, focuses on the Old Testament stories of the patriarchs and the sacraments, with more of an overview of salvation history than other levels. It helps children understand why Jesus came to redeem us.
Fifth graders follow the Creed as they learn more about their faith in the volume titled Credo: I Believe. Sixth grade level, subtitled Following Christ, covers the commandments in depth, the Mass, and last things, all with a focus on living a Christian life.
Grade seven, The Life of Grace, again provides an overview of the big picture but with an emphasis on grace and virtue as well as the interplay or reason and faith. Eighth graders learn about the Church's history, structure, and functions; the mystical body; Christian life; sacraments of service; and last things in the volume titled Our Life in the Church.
For those who might have checked out Faith and Life in the past, it is important to note that the recently revised editions of these courses all now have excellent, greatly-expanded teacher's manuals. Much of each lesson is contained within the manual, with the student book used for reading material. The student book material is good enough to stand alone, but there are excellent teaching ideas, expansions on topics, background information, prayers, brief biographies of saints, tidbits on Church history and Catholic tradition, and much more in the teacher's manuals. The teacher's manuals take three to four pages of text in the student books and turn them into very comprehensive lessons for an entire week. Lessons are cross referenced to Scripture and the Catechism. Suggested hymns from the Adoremus Hymnal correlate with lessons. These manuals are goldmines of information that truly provide a thorough religious education.
Lesson plans are written for four-day presentations and a review. The review will help you narrow down to essentials if you don't have time for all the material each week. This makes it possible to use this curriculum whether you have a once-a-week or five-days-a-week class.
There are approximately 30 lessons per grade level. The activity books reinforce the lessons learned in the textbooks. They are helpful, but not absolutely necessary.
The student texts are filled with beautiful works of religious art. (Art credits are listed in the back of the books so that the parent/teacher might easily incorporate the religious studies with art appreciation.) Each text ends with prayers to memorize and vocabulary words with complete definitions. The series also incorporates the questions and answers of the Baltimore catechism for memorization work.
You might also want to check out my review of the online courses based on this series. Click here.