How to Help Your Child Choose the College that’s Right for Them

Notre Dame University

Choosing a college can be overwhelming, and it helps to know where to start. The United States alone has almost 5,000 higher education institutions — ranging from two-year and four-year schools to private nonprofits to public schools. Plenty of factors will weigh into your child’s future education: location, student population, programs offered, even whether to continue an Orlando Catholic school education. Whether your child is a freshman or a rising junior, it’s never too early to help them start planning for the future.

Location

Find out if your child wants to relocate and how far she wants to go. Local options may seem easier and more affordable, but sometimes moving out-of-state creates a better college experience. Consider the campus itself and the surrounding area. Use virtual tours to help narrow down the options, and visit the colleges that make the most sense.

Student Life

Going to college is like entering a new world, one where daily life will completely change. Student newspapers and social media are great sources for insight into campus culture. When possible, ask students about their personal experiences. Look up data like retention rates per year and graduation rates. This will give you an idea of how many students have an enjoyable experience at the school.

Programs

Look at which programs are available to help your child start her college journey. See which programs are emphasized, both inside and outside of the classroom. Most colleges allow students to take classes before declaring a major, and more times than not, majors change. Student organizations can enhance a student’s experience moving toward her future career and help her meet others with shared interests. 

Why Catholic College

With so many options available, narrowing the list down to Catholic colleges may be a safe bet. At these private colleges, expect smaller class sizes, a focus on individual students, and staff that prepare students for fulfilling careers. Catholic schools also provide an environment for spiritual growth, and students and faculty often share beliefs and values. This could lead to a more comfortable learning environment for your child. 

Your child has a difficult, sometimes stressful decision to make about their secondary education, but  with support from family and trusted advisors, the choice becomes easier. At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, we build up our students to prepare them for high school, college and beyond. 

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic School located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Apps for Children and Teens

Help Your Children Stay Connected to Church with These Digital Tools

girl and boy on phones

In today’s ever-changing world, we are always looking for new ways to connect. Every day, we use the Internet to keep us on track. Children and teenagers are no different. While in-person Sunday school and church services may not be available, consider these online options to keep your child connected to God. 

SunScool logo

SunScool

In 1958, missionaries Bert and Wendy Gray found a girl living in a remote village in Ireland who wanted to learn about God but had no access to Sunday School. Ever since, the couple has been creating accessible Bible lessons for children. The Grays adapted their lessons to modern times by creating the SunScool app. This app incorporates play and critical thinking with Sunday school teachings using word puzzle games, quizzes and coloring pages. Along with this app, available on Apple and Android, you can download the paper course called Bibletime for free at besweb.com

Life Teen

Life Teen is a one-stop online shop for teenagers and their families to form deeper relationships with Jesus Christ and His Church. While the website primarily sells spiritual growth programs, it also provides several free resources. Your teen can read relatable blogs with titles like “Step Up Your Friend Game” and “25 Ways to Keep Dating Simple,” or follow Life Teen on social media for inspirational quotes, images and videos. The Life Teen team believes that teenagers who encounter Christ through the beauty of the Catholic faith will change the world, and their goal is to guide teens on that journey. 

teen on phone with coffee

Staying Connected to Faith

While we work together to navigate the new normal, apps and websites can help keep families on track. Motivating children and teens can be challenging, especially with daily changes in the outside world. However, with the help of resources like SunScool and Life Teen, families can work together to build and sustain a strong connection to God. 

At St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School, we educate our students to excel in the modern world. We build our students up to focus on following their faith, and sometimes that means adapting to the times.

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic School located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Say a Prayer While Washing Hands

Your child’s safety and health has reached new heights this year. Handwashing has likely become tiresome for your child, and his hands may be peeling because of it. Continue warding off germs with gospel words and songs to remind your child that although germs are everywhere, so is Jesus. Cleanliness is Godliness, after all

Healing the Sick
Praise God while praying for your health and the health of those in your community. Offer your prayers to the sick by asking God to use His healing to give comfort and strength to them. In Psalm 103 of the Scripture, verses 2–3 reads, “Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget his gifts, who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills.”

“Amazing Grace”
This classic song is everybody’s favorite. It’s easier to become fearful during a time like this. With lyrics like, “‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved,” this hymn will remind and reassure your child that God is taking care of his safety and security. 


“The Lord’s Prayer”
When Jesus’s disciples asked him how to pray, he responded with “The Lord’s Prayer.” It’s likely that you and your child know the words by heart. Keep the tradition alive by reciting the words to cleanse not only your child’s hands but his mind and soul. Lines like, “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us,” gives your child hope that God will not harm him.

Blessing Healthcare Workers
Your and your child can give your blessings to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. You can make your own prayer by simply saying, “Bless are all the healthcare workers, those who hold the heaviness of life and death. May God protect you during this.”

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Ways to Volunteer from Home

Service is a major part of the Catholic religion. Therefore, at St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school, our curriculum emphasizes ways to give back to the community. We have developed a list of ways your child can volunteer even while social distancing at home!

Coronavirus Care Packages
Contact your local homeless shelter to check in. Ask the shelter if they need any coronavirus supplies for their residents to remain safe, including masks, hand sanitizer, hand soap, disinfectant cleaners, and more. You can even make coronavirus care packages for anyone who is homeless that you may meet outside!

Grocery Bags
Some families are not visiting the grocery store right now or may be dealing with a financial crisis. Whether you’d like to visit the store or use a shopping service, donating grocery bags is an essential way of giving back to those in need. Fill the bags up with healthy and nutritious foods that can help combat viruses! Find a food bank near you on Feeding America’s website.

Adopt a Family
Adopt a family with children and have your child present during the process. Search for families online or through a faith group. Shop for the families and send them presents during the holidays! Online shopping makes it easier to stay safe with no-contact delivery. Demonstrating this sort of kindness teaches your child to be compassionate and loving towards other families that may be less fortunate.

Healthcare Contributions
In the event a person becomes sick, they may not have access to healthcare. Some healthcare centers may be unable to accommodate the growing patient population. Help ensure a healthy outcome for patients by paying for a bill or donating to agencies that collect funds for the low-income. Teach your child that a small gesture like this can have a life-impacting result!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. To help provide the very best Catholic education to students — present and future, please consider contributing a gift to our Spirit of Giving Annual Fund. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Fire Safety for Kids

A fire is an event that you can never expect. Taking precautions in the home and implementing an escape plan in advance can help protect your family. Stay safe from fires by teaching your child these tips for fire safety!

Fire Escape Plan
To create a fire escape plan, you must be sure that there are at least two ways to get out of each room, such as a door or window. Make sure there is a specific spot in front of or behind your home for you and your family to meet when you get outside of the house. Sometimes children hide when they are scared, so you must thoroughly explain that going outside and getting to safety is the best option. Remember: Only call 911 once you escape from the danger zone.

Introduce Firefighters
Teach your child about what firefighters do. Explain that their role is to help put out fires, assist in other types of emergencies, and help people get to safety. This will familiarize them with the firefighters and make them feel more comfortable if they are ever to be around. Arrange a meeting with a firefighter who can chat with your child. Come prepared with questions, and make it a fun interaction for your child so he won’t be scared.

Reading Material
Reading books about fire safety can bring comfort to your child. When he sees some of his favorite characters are implementing fire safety protocols, he will likely want to do the same. Take, for example, The Berenstain Bears visiting a firehouse. Or if your child loves dragons, we recommend “No Dragons for Tea: Fire Safety for Kids (And Dragons).” The story follows a young girl who meets a fire-breathing dragon and invites him for tea. After he accidentally sets the table ablaze, the little girl sprung into action. In the end, she was a hero, which will inspire your child to also remember what to do in case of a fire. Books like these are a gentle way to inform your child about scary topics.

Firefighter Coloring Book
Coloring books are an excellent way to deliver lessons to your child, and connect creativity to an important situation. There are many books you can purchase, such as this Firefighter Coloring Book that will allow your child to learn even more about fire safety, while also having fun. You can also let them trace printouts of fire trucks and firefighters!

St. Charles Borromeo, a top Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On the third Saturday of August, Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This commemorates Mary, the mother of God, was assumed body and soul into heaven and reunited with her son Jesus. Learn about the tradition and the ways you and your child can observe it.

Purpose
The doctrine of her departure states at the end of her life, Mary was taken body and soul, both physically and spiritually, from Earth to heaven. Our Blessed Mother’s body was able to go directly to heaven as it wasn’t stained by original sin.

Obligation
Many countries, including all of North America, celebrate this as a Holy Day of obligation and a festival. Every culture, from Roman Catholic to the Anglican Communion, celebrates on or around the same day. On these days, all faithful communities are required to attend Mass unless the day fall on a Saturday or Monday.

Celebration
Catholics all around the world celebrate the Assumption of Mary in different ways. For instance, in Italy and Italian-American culture, colorful processions and fireworks mark the celebration. Some Catholics carry a statue of the Virgin Mary through towns to a ceremonial floral arch. Here are ways you and your child can celebrate:

 

  • Attend a mass: Make it a priority to attend a vigil mass, usually held the evening before the feast. You and your child can display your love for our Blessed Mother and bring glory to her son.
  • Go to a procession: Processions for the Feast are either big or small. Go online and research how your area celebrates their love for our Lady. If you don’t find one, organize your own. Be sure to collect a statue, figurine, or image of Mary.
  • Plant a Mary Garden: A great bonding activity for you and your child, celebrate Assumption Day by blessing the summer harvest. Plant herbs, summer squash, fresh fruit, and more. 
  • Have a feast: Organize a special feast with your family that can be a picnic, formal dinner, cookout, or other dining activities. Be sure to use fresh herbs and vegetables from your Mary garden in your meal blessing, and incorporate the color blue, which symbolizes the heavenly skies.

 

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Safe and Fun Summer Activities

Your child may be feeling like he can’t do anything fun this summer due to COVID-19. However, there are plenty of things your child can do safely. Here are some safe and fun summer activities your family can enjoy!

Music Class
Carnegie Hall’s Music Explorers program offers resources and lesson plans to teach children new musical genres and cultural traditions. All of the programs include an interactive concert experience where students get to celebrate what they’ve learned. Chrome Music Lab is a site where your child can learn more about music through hands-on experiments!

The Outdoors
Get a little fresh air this summer by safely visiting hiking trails, parks, and botanical gardens. Leu Gardens has opened back up and is cashless. Take a self-guided tour of the garden, then have a picnic. State parks such as Little Big Econ are free and don’t see too big of a crowd. You can plan to camp at the creek.  

Learn a New Language
This summer, your child can learn a new language! Sites like Duolingo, English52, and Fabulingua teach language skills through video lessons and fun activities. Your child can learn anytime, anywhere by visiting the websites or downloading the apps.

Cook and Bake
It’s easy to fall back on good eating habits when you’re home more often. Teaching your child how to cook allows them to be responsible for their nutrition. The CHOC blog offers healthy recipes directly from clinical dietitians!

Start a Garden
Grow your own garden at home to reduce the risk of getting sick by going out. Start by choosing a spot in your yard, clear the sod, work the soil, and plant your seeds. Peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers are great for little beginners looking to get their hands dirty!

Summer Service
Summer is a great time to get into the spirit of giving. Volunteering shows your child how to make a difference. Even during a time of social distancing, your child can make an impact on the world. Our blog includes summertime services ideas, including delivering groceries, making blessing bags for the homeless, doing yard work, adopting a family, and helping an animal shelter.

Online Learning
Our website also includes a list of educational resources your family can enjoy remotely. The list includes opportunities to take virtual tours of places like the Orlando Regional History Center and the Central Florida Zoo. Your child can also color with Crayola, learn more about marine life from SeaWorld, and watch films via the Enzian Theatre.

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Prayers Your Child Should Be Saying in the Morning

The Scripture has a prayer for every situation. Morning  prayers, also called Lauds, are one of the most important hours in the “Liturgy of the Hours (the official prayer of the Catholic church).” Here are some prayers your child can say in the morning! We start it off with the Morning Offering written in 1844 by Father François-Xavier Gautrelet, S.J., one of the founders of the Apostleship of Prayer.

Morning Offering by Fr. François-Xavier Gautrelet, S.J.

“O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day

for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart,

in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,

for the salvation of souls, the reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians,

and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.

Amen.”

“Children’s Morning Prayer” by Mary Fairchild

“Lord, in the morning I start each day,

By taking a moment to bow and pray.

Beginning with thanks, I then give praise

For all your kind and loving ways.

Today if sunshine turns to rain,

If a dark cloud brings some pain,

I won’t doubt or hide in fear

For you, my God, are always near.

I will travel where you lead;

I will help my friends in need.

Where you send me, I will go;

With your help, I’ll learn and grow.

Hold my family in your hands,

As we follow your commands.

And I will keep you close in sight

Until I crawl in bed tonight.

Amen.”

“Good Morning, Jesus” (Author Unknown)

Jesus, you are good and wise

I will praise you when I rise.

Jesus, hear this prayer I send

Bless my family and my friends.

Jesus, help my eyes to see

All the good you send to me.

Jesus, help my ears to hear

Calls for help from far and near.

Jesus, help my feet to go

In the way that You will show.

Jesus, help my hands to do

All things loving, kind, and true.

Jesus, guard me through this day

In all I do and all I say.

Amen.”

Morning Prayer for Children (Author Unknown)

“For this new morning with its light,

For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food, for love and friends.

For everything Thy goodness sends,

We thank Thee, dearest Lord.

Amen.”

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

 

Easy Catholic Snacks for Your Child to Make


Developing cooking and baking skills is essential for your child’s upbringing. Start teaching her how to work in a kitchen with these Catholic snacks. These delicious recipes are perfect for First Communions, Holy Thursday, and more!

Unleavened Bread
You don’t need to be a master baker to make unleavened bread. In fact, the process is simple and doesn’t involve yeast or rising. Not only does it provide a lesson in baking, but it also gives your child a lesson about the Last Supper. This recipe creates about 12 pieces and requires:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 8 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients, except the flour.
  3. Add the flour slowly and knead until bread is elastic.
  4. Put oil on your hands, then shape the dough into balls. Flatten them into a patty, and poke holes with a fork.
  5. Grease a pan, and then put the bread on it.
  6. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until golden brown.


Caramel Cross Krispy Treats
For any holiday, we recommend this caramel cross recipe. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • 3 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 package 10-oz marshmallows
  • 1 box purple Fruit-by-the-Foot candy
  • ½ cup caramel ice creaming topping

Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  2. Add marshmallows in, and stir until completely melted.
  3. Remove from the heat, then stir in the caramel topping.
  4. Add in the Rice Krispies, and stir until fully coated.
  5. After oiling your hands or spatula, press evenly into a pan that is coated with cooking spray.
  6. Allow cooling for a couple of hours, or put them in the refrigerator.
  7. Once they are firm, use a cross-shaped cookie cutter.
  8. Cut the purple fruit snacks into strips, then drape them over the crosses.

 

St. Brigid Irish Tot-chos
If your child loves tater tots and nachos, then this snack for her! Perfect as an appetizer, it layers potatoes — an Irish staple that represents the Irish saint St. Brigid. St. Brigid was the patroness of dairy maids, which is symbolized by the sour cream and cheese piled on to cooked tater tots. She is also connected to pigs as well, which is represented by the layer of bacon bits. Finish it off with guacamole and green onions to symbolize the Irish green!

St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teach Your Child Religious Poetry

Poetry can teach your child all about creative writing, spelling, grammar, comprehension, structured writing, and more. Writing poems can be a part of your home learning schedule. Poetry is a great teaching tool to show your child literary elements, such as rhyme and similes, through language and expression. Use this guide to learn more about teaching your child religious poetry.

Picking the Poems
So that your child will be more likely to enjoy the experience, allow him to choose the poems he studies. Give him some control and independence so he doesn’t grow to resent the activity and experience. To prepare for the lesson, read it in advance before you share it with your child. Have discussion points like metaphors and topics ready. There are many great poems for children about Jesus and prayer, including:

 

“Pray Today” by Roger W. Hancock:
Before each day remember to pray,

 

that we be safe at play.

Pray at night, for it is right,

then sleep within God’s light.

All through the day, remember pray,

Jesus will guide each day.

 

“Bless the Father” by Prayers for Special Help:

 

Dearest God,

thank You for giving us

joy and love.

You have given us children

that gives us all we need

Happiness and joy

through all our days.

Bless Your name

and all your works

for without You

we will live in sadness

and madness will be with us.

Read Together
After your child chooses the poems and you’ve reviewed them, read them together. This creates a bonding experience, which makes your child feel more comfortable learning a new activity. Encourage your child to relax by creating a comfortable space and lighting candles.

Discussions
Start a dialogue about the poems. Ask him what he enjoyed about the pieces, or what he didn’t understand. Then get into literary points, such as tone, theme, and so forth. Then, re-read the poem, much slower than the first time. Have your child point out the literary elements as you go along. Pointing them out himself will give him a better understanding of what he’s reading and make him feel confident. Continue the process and have him memorize the poem so he develops his rhythm. 

Use Examples
When it’s time to write his own poem, use the poems he selected as a guide. Break down the structure of the poem into sections. Makes notes highlighting writing mechanics. Then, have him follow the guideline piece by piece.St. Charles Borromeo, an Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, is more than just a place to learn; it’s a community. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.