How to Use a Catechism?

This version of A Catechism for Boys and Girls is divided both according to subject matter and according to age. The ages listed or merely recommendations, and you may find it helpful to move more quickly or more slowly with your child. For series’ of related questions, short explanations are given or hints on how to explain them to kids. These explanations are set apart in italicized type and may be used for teaching concepts and the meanings of words or ignored completely.

I recommend teaching children 2-3 questions at time, and adding more as those are mastered. Previously memorized questions should almost always be reviewed before working on new ones. The name of the game is repetition.

In doing this, you’ll find that little actual time is required. Five to ten minutes before bed or in the morning should suffice for learning new questions and reviewing the most recently learned. A little more time may be necessary as your child makes progress and needs to review a large number of questions. Parents will find that they too memorize the questions and answers fairly quickly; reviewing as you drive the kids to school or when you’re waiting in line at McDonald’s can be fun and extremely helpful!

The goal in teaching the catechism is initially simple memorization. Don’t get hung up on explaining every term and giving illustrations for every truth. Some words will certainly have to be defined in simple ways (and many of these are provided in the explanations), and you will find it helpful to explain some very important truths to your kids as they memorize answers. However, don’t feel the need to explain everything or give an illustration for each answer. Often, understanding will occur later.

I have found it most helpful to reference previously learned catechism questions when teaching at other times. So, for instance, when my son once asked me why God made elephants, I asked him, “Why did God make you and all things?” He answered, “For his own glory.” I then asked, “Why did God make elephants?” and he answered, “For his glory.” Then we had a fun discussion of how elephants show us how great and 3 powerful God is. You don’t have to be a theological genius to make use of this kind of teaching method. In fact, that ‘s the genius of the catechism: it instills truth into the minds of children so that it can be applied and expanded upon later.