Let's look at your question from this angle. When you are using your curriculum what is the underlying message that the children are receiving from the texts? Are they learning an underlying message of Catholic value? Many times children are doing the worksheets, etc. and may not even be aware that they are learning much about their faith. If you are going to teach spelling, etc., then why not teach the words with a base of Catholic and certainly Christian value in the background?
There are some subjects that do not lend themselves to this as easily as others. I am thinking of Math. Math is straightforward. However when we are teaching grammar, history, spelling, language arts, the skills which we want our children to master can be just as efficiently mastered with Catholic thoughts.
I am reminded of my years in Catholic school. Our reading textbooks, for example, spoke of children going to Mass, holydays, and religious values that were very familiar to me. It was comforting and reaffirming. The skill that was being taught was certainly reading comprehension, but the deeper message was much more important. I felt such a connection to the children in the books.
My mother has a great saying that she loves to tell about her many years associated with Catholic school. There were six of us children that she and my dad gave a Catholic education to, starting in 1958 and ending in the mid-seventies. (I went to Catholic grade school, highschool and nursing school.) She says, "Church, home, school all teaching the same thing." She affirms that this made her job of parenting and bringing us up to appreciate and love the Catholic faith much easier. Interestingly enough my mother is my biggest supporter of my efforts to, in some real way, replicate this ideal with Catholic homeschooling.
I feel very strongly that when possible we should choose Catholic materials and curricula for our children. I am homeschooling because I feel that the Lord has called me to do so. I want to remain open to His call in all ways. If He has called me to a Catholic homeschooling lifestyle then in my mind it only stands to reason that He would want me to teach my children in the Catholic faith as much as possible.
I feel that homeschooling is a major commitment upon a family requiring much time and sacrifice. I do not want to spend this time at this most important task half-heartedly. If I am going to make the effort to teach my children in the Catholic homeschool then I want to do it 100% where the resources and materials allow.
Children leave the Catholic homeschool all too soon. One day you look up and your "little ones" are filling out college registration forms. When our children enter the world, this time spent in lovingly and sacrificially giving them as much of our faith as we possibly can will seem like a small price to pay for the peace of mind that is gained.
Naturally I recommend CHC materials.They strive to help parents "educate their children for eternity." I think they are well written, truly Catholic and academically sound. I use them for my children where I am able. I feel such a peace when teaching my children about spelling or grammar and they are getting a valuable lesson as well as a reaffirmation of their faith in the process. It seems like a super bargain! Lest you think I am biased towards CHC, I want you to know that there are other fine companies who are working very hard to bring Catholic homeschooling families high quality materials that will impart the Catholic faith while teaching valuable academics. Research these companies and see what you think.
I admire your dedication to Catholic homeschooling. This is a beautiful witness. Sometimes Catholic homeschooling families are so far apart from one another that the isolation can be difficult. When you reach out and share your questions and thoughts as you have done, you are really giving more than you know to the community of mothers/teachers that will read your thoughts. I thank you and I want you to know that I am praying for you each and every day.
Jesus, though we are only with our children for a short time in their lives, help us to use this time fruitfully and with respect to the glory that we are educating them to attain. Please make it possible for all homeschooling families to have the resources necessary to give a Catholic homeschool education to their children. Lord, show us the empowerment of the Holy Spirit as we go about our homeschooling days. We love You, Lord Jesus, and trust in Your care and guidance. Amen.
Sending out a prayer,