I have sort of hit a wall trying to decide what to do for Religion in our homeschool this year.
All my school-age kids are enrolled in parish religious education, a good program that uses the Faith and Life series. I am confident that the basics are being covered there, but I like to supplement it at home. My second-grader is, of course, preparing for First Confession and First Communion this year, and there's so much take-home work that we're not going to do anything "extra" for her, but the others have me flummoxed. Since the "basics" are covered at church, I should have room to get into things that interest them particularly or that develop other skills, but I think I am overthinking it.
When my oldest was nine and ten, I used the Baltimore Catechism as memory work, since I wasn't doing any other sort of memorization with him. That went really well; he enjoyed the challenge and he's just the sort of kid who likes questions and answers.
My current almost-10-year-old, however, is not that kind of a kid, and H. (my partner in co-schooling) has been doing poetry memorization with all the four-to-eleven-year-olds. (She divided them up by gender and went with what they responded to. Last year the girls did assorted poetry heavy on the nature themes -- my daughter developed a taste for Wordsworth -- and the boys learned Robert Hugh Benson's Old Testament Rhymes.) So there isn't a memorization-gap that needs to be filled. He is pretty interested in stories of saints (the bloodier the martyrdom, the better) but he doesn't like to read very much even though he's quite capable of it -- he is plowing through Harry Potter and completely bored with every other book in the Entire World.
I was originally planning to have my history-buff 8th-grader do a survey of the OT but he said he didn't want to do that this year (even though we spent last year putting it in context with a history of the Jewish people...) and I am trying to be flexible. What he really wanted to do was Church history. But all the good curricula I can find are upper high school. Normally I am cool with putting together my own curricula for things but I am kinda swamped right now and would need a LOT more time for that one. I suppose I could narrow the scope. He is, I think, mainly interested in understanding the story of the Protestant reformation (both German and English flavors) and the Counter-reformation. A commendable goal for an 8th-grader. I don't know where I would start. Other than assigning him Come Rack, Come Rope!, which is sitting on my shelf waiting for the right moment.
Wait, I just now while writing had one idea. Maybe we could use Hilaire Belloc's The Great Heresies as a sort of "spine" and do a unit on each and attack Church history that way. If you aren't familiar with this book, it's a not-very-long one in which Belloc considers in turn Arianism, Islam, Albigensianism, Protestantism (as seen from Europe in the beginning of the 20th century -- so the American evangelical flavor is not really represented), and "modernism." The book has a number of features, though, which make me reluctant to promote Belloc as a particular, central authority. He has an opinion and he is going to give it to you with wit and clarity, which makes him persuasive and fun to read, but... I like my history resources to have a more neutral tone unless I am either (a) ready to endorse the author's entire attitude as exactly right or (b) illustrating one point of view among several.
(And no, I am not saying that I teach that all points of view are equal, but it is important to me to convey a strong impression that multiple points of view exist about historical events -- i.e., one should never take it for granted that there is One Acceptable Interpretation of Events -- and that reasonable, well-meaning people can hold to different interpretations.)
I have thought about using the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church simply for a jumping-off point of family discussion -- me, my 13- and 10-year-olds, my husband from time to time. Not from the very beginning, but specifically the third section, which is about living the Christian life. Just sit down a couple of times a week with a pot of tea, read what it has to say a few questions at a time, talk about why it matters, maybe assign some journal entries or writing assignments. There is definitely something about that which appeals to me -- partly because I could maybe manage both boys at once -- but it's so much more spontaneous than I usually roll that I feel uneasy about it. I might find myself brushing it off from week to week because of less time to sit down with that tea. I always get wrapped up in the things to do and write and see and plan that it is very hard for me to just sit down and spend time with the kids. Which maybe is a reason to go ahead and do it. I haven't been able to find any pre-prepared curricula based off the Compendium (or off of YOUCAT -- even though I would rather use the Compendium, anything based on YOUCAT should work too since they have exactly the same structure), which would force me to be much more freewheeling than usual. And it has the disadvantage of not being a response to what either boy suggested he would be interested in studying. Although I could maybe send each one away with different reading to do, tied to what we're discussing together, but reflecting their individual interest. How did such-and-such a saint Iive out this commandment in a heroic way? How did such-and-such a historical event present particular moral challenges to Christians affected by it?
If I don't come up with anything better, I may have to do it that way, if only because I won't have time to come up with anything else!