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Handmade Children's Catechism Book Review by Charlotte Gochnauaer

The Purple Carrot
Mary Lee Sonke

Training children is such an enormous responsibility, and something that is very necessary, yet can be so hard to know how to implement. Now I am not so much talking about parenting methods here, but the things you would use to teach your children about Christianity.
I am talking about the basics of our faith; about the commandments, prayer, or what the sacraments are.

Catechizing: what is does it mean to catechize our children? The definition of catechize is “to instruct orally, by means of questions and answers, especially in Christian doctrine.” I think you might not realize how much you actually do catechize your children, without even knowing it. During your Bible times, you might ask them who created the earth, or what sin is. Asking questions, we all know, is an excellent way to teach our children truths.

And there is a wonderful resource out there that has all these wonderful, simple, questions-and-answer entries to help you teach your children. It is called the Catechism for Young Children, and was originally published in 1840 by Joseph P. Engels. Meant to be used as an introduction to the doctrines of faith, it is based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Mary Lee Sonke, who operates and owns The Purple Carrot on Etsy, gave me a beautifully, handmade copy of the Catechism. This book, which measures 4.25 by 5 1/2 inches, is a sturdy made, hand stitched, hardback book. There are many different varieties of covers you can choose from: Oriental Red, Fleur d'Lis, a retro striped one, or even denim. The inside cover has a complementing pattern, while the stitched spine is made of sturdy string that on some of the books contains beautiful beads. Each book conveniently has a bookmark, and opens easily. I also appreciated that the book, when I put it on the table, stayed open to the page I had turned to.

Inside these lovely pages are the 145 question and answers. They cover God the Creator, the fall of man and sin, Christ and redemption, the Ten Commandments, the Sacraments, and the Lord's Prayer. Each double sided page has both the question and the answer, in a pleasant font, with the answer in bold print. The age range for these questions is from early preschool age through elementary age, but even older children who have not had any catechizing could benefit from these questions.

A few years ago, we went through the Children's Catechism with our older two, so this was perfect timing for our family to use this with the younger ones. We spent just a few minutes a day, going over the question and answers. I like to have incentives, so each time they were able to memorize a question and answer they would get a sticker. I chose to review all the questions weekly; this ensured that they truly were memorizing the information.

These beautifully handmade books are sold at The Purple Carrot for $20 and would be the perfect gift for a new baby, the mom of a young toddler, or someone who is looking for solid doctrine in which to train their children. It is precious enough to become a family heirloom; to be handed down to the next generation of cherished learners.

You can also follow The Purple Carrot on Facebook, and definitely take a look at the other fun and creative things that Mary Lee has made. She has whimsical handmade backpacks, crayon roll-ups, and darling clothes hanger tags.

But above all, remember the importance of disciplining your children. They are so impressionable at an early age. Don't neglect their training and the imperative responsibility you have been given.

Product Review by Charlotte Gochnauer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, 2013