Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Theology of the Body: Middle School Edition - #Catholic @cwestTOB

Theology of the Body Middle School 01
Theology of the Body:  Middle School Edition
  • Program for Boys and Girls in Grades 6-8
  • This IS NOT a Biology Course!
  • The Course Focus is Catholic Teaching and Virtues  
  • Video Lessons are Delivered by DVD in Eight 15-20 Minute Segments
  • The Leader's Guide Provides Lesson Enhancement
  • The Student Workbook Includes Reading and Exercises Related to Each Lesson
  • The Parent Guide is an Overview of the Entire Course so Parents Can Continue the Discussions at Home
  • A Product of Ascension Press, Released in May, 2011
  • Based on the Teachings of Blessed Pope John Paul II
  • Bulk Orders are Discounted
  • Visit the Web Page For Pricing and Ordering (www.thetheologyofthebody.com)
  • To Speak With a Customer Service Representative Call (800)376-0521
  • Email Questions to sales@ascensionpress.com
I remember Middle School - wow!  What an awkward time!  I would certainly not be in a hurry to relive those days again and I think it is probably even harder today.  It seems like kids are way more street smart than we were and they have even more pressure to conform.

I am watching my boys go through so many changes right now as they grow into young men.  If I am going to be honest, a part of me is NOT ready for this!  Unfortunately, time won't stand still while I gather myself up emotionally.  It is my duty to prepare them for the world as they are starting to understand it.  The eyes that used to see cooties now see pretty girls.  The minds that were once focused on trucks and Legos now imagine career choices and families.  The same boys who spent hours at my side while we shared books and stories now love video games and iPods.  They are living on the border between childhood and maturity.

This stage of parenting is not easy by any means.  I set up guardrails and they try to hurdle them.  So far my boys are mostly good and I am very blessed in that regard.  However, even the best children test limits, and I am also well aware that "good" kids have a target on their back.  When they were as young as seven and eight years old, their peers were able to exploit their naivete.  

So, what's a mom to do?  I plan to give them armor.  I will teach them, I will talk to them, and I will pray for them.

The current layer of armor is the course Theology of the Body:  Middle School Edition.  Based on the beautiful teachings of Blessed John Paul II, this eight lesson course can be taught in a school setting, as a group, in CCD classes, or at home.  This is not a course on biology.  There is no graphic discussion and the sensitive topics are covered with discretion.  Be prepared to go beyond biology and into the heart and mind.

Students learn that their bodies are a reflection of their Creator and made for greatness.  They get to know themselves and hear about healthy relationships.  The Catholic teachings of marriage as a sacrament and the sanctity of life are also discussed.  Secular world view is held up against our belief system, questions are answered, virtues and morality are elevated and shown as the model we strive for.  Of course, included in the teaching is that fact that forgiveness is always waiting for those who seek it.  Always.

Yes, my kids have heard all of this from me already, so why do we need this course?   Well, for starters, when I say these things, it's Mom going blah, blah, blah... Sometimes they listen, sometimes it makes them cringe, sometimes they tune out, and other times they want to run away from me.  Our lifestyle of homeschooling sometimes makes them feel as though we are the only people in the world who think and live the way we do.  It's good for them to see that we aren't alone and we aren't the only people who have these beliefs. The videos also have just the right tone.  The topics are serious, but never boring, and there is a good dose of cool factor mixed in.  Before you groan, I promise - they manage to pull it off!  It's not adults trying to be cool but coming off completely corny and embarrassing - the presenters are authentic and my boys enjoyed watching and listening.  

It's hard to capture, but let me try.  I think it would be accurate to sum it up as:  "Hey, this is important, so pay attention!  Oh, no..  don't worry - we aren't going to bore you to death!   To start, I will confess that we are all human, and we are all flawed... so here's the help you need - because without these tools it's really hard to navigate the world.  Just promise that you won't give up, okay?  Because you are really amazing, God loves you, and if you love yourself enough to take good care of you - your life will be amazing, too!  Oh, and see all these people?  We have all felt like you do, and we don't want you to ever feel like nobody understands."  

I definitely give this the Catholic thumbs up, but since I'm just the mom, you'd probably be more interested to know that the Middle School Edition has been granted the Imprimatur by Archbishop Gregory Aymond, of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The leader's guide and the student workbook are very user friendly and they compliment the videos well.  Most kids won't balk at the exercises. Some are tougher than others, but the program builds up to the harder topics.  By the time the difficult subjects arise, there has been some foundation placed to build on.

To get a better idea of the tone and flavor, you might appreciate this video.

See?  Everyone is smiling and laughing.  The delivery is fun and loving.  It's even interesting!  Kids and parents alike will feel the care that went into producing this, and I have profound gratitude, as well.

For older children, there is Theology of the Body: High School Edition.  Information is also available for college aged kids, and adults, too.  You'll find it all on the website, thetheologyofthebody.com.

I think this is a great resource for all Catholic families, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to families with Middle School aged children.

I was able to use a copy of this program provided by the company in order to write an informed, blogged review.  I was not paid to write this post and my opinions are genuine.