Over the years we have utilized many homeschooling resources, but the religious education books that we've used for sacrament preparation have pretty much remained constant with all of our children.
I have found that one of the best preparations for each of the three school-aged sacraments - Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation - is practical experience.
Of course, you have to start with your first child from scratch, but when you have multiple children who get to watch the older children prepare and then receive the Sacrament, it really makes an impression on them. It seems that my younger children are ready at a much younger age for their Sacraments because they've lived through it so many times.
Aside from that, there are a few religious education books that we've used over the years to make sure they really have that solid foundation.
Like I said, with your first child you have to start at the beginning and build a solid foundation. In addition to exposing them to as many real-life situations as possible, there are some good books that we have used over the years that I would like to share with you.
If your child is enrolled in your parish's RE program, then consider using some of these books as supplements to the education they will be receiving in their classes.
There are so many great books out there written by the Reverend Lawrence G. Lovasik, S.V.D, like this one on Reconciliation, that I can't even begin to list them all. I have an old one that we have used for Sacrament prep called "What Catholics Believe" that I love because it is full of little snip-its about the faith that are very clear in their teaching. You can just skip around from section to section so it makes it a great reference book for the Sacraments.
This book on Confession is one in a huge series of books that he has written for young children. There is also one on the Mass and Holy Communion. Begin your collection when your children are young and by the time they are ready to prepare for Confession and Holy Communion, you'll have a large compilation of good books to teach them with.
My number one pick for preparing your child for this great Sacrament is this book. I like the Q & A format of this book. It seemed to work well for us and provided a solid foundation for the reception of the Sacrament. A lot of homeschoolers use this book so search the internet for additional resources that people have created to go along with it.
In addition to the St Joseph book, I found this book, "Little Catechsim on the Eucharist" by Fr. Roberto Coggi, O.P. This is another question and answer type book that covers a lot of ground. It is a little more in depth than the St. Joseph book so it will definitely require you to go over it with your student. There are stories of Eucharistic miracles and Saint stories related to the Eucharist that make this book worth adding to your collection.
Confirmation prep books are a bit harder to find. We have used a book from Seton called "Confirmation Preparation for Young Catholics" that I like. It has a lot of good information as well as some good prayers for the student to pray in preparation for receiving the Sacrament.
In addition to using the appropriate sections of "The New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism", I also added a book similar to the one I found for Holy Communion called, "The Sacrament of Confirmation". This book covers information about Confirmation as well as breaks down the Creed into questions and answers. At the end there are some very interesting stories about martyrs for the faith.
There are so many ways to impart the faith to your children and prepare them to receive their Sacraments. Even if your parish requires your child to participate in their program, there is still so much you can do at home as a family with such a wide variety of religious education books. I hope that these suggestions have gotten you excited for this special time in your child's life.