Our parish decided to use OSV's PandaMania, and we were very excited initially, that is, until we started looking into the details. The two most objectionable portions are the People of Faith cards and Connecting Kids to Justice.
The first of the People of Faith cards is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Ever hear of him? He's a Jesiut priest that has a lot of excellent scientific writings worth reading (the pope has said so); he is also in serious disagreement with the Church when it comes to his theology. The Holy See has issued a Monitum regarding his work that includes the following:
"For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers.” [Emphasis added]
Call me crazy, but an elementary summer school program does not seem like the place to introduce Teilhard.
As for Connecting Kids to Justice, it focuses on the Catholic Climate Covenant put together by the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change. This coalition consists of 12 organizations affiliated with some of the most notorious Church dissenters. Here is a sampling:
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. This organization has failed to concern itself with the moral decline of “Catholic” colleges. See here and here.
Carmelite NGO. While the Carmelite Order is wonderful, the Carmelite NGO supports UN initiatives to advance abortion and birth control services. The Carmelite NGO fully supports the UN Millennium Goals and lists them on their web site. If you click on #5 Improve Maternal Health it brings you UN Millennium Goals website. Article 5.6 lists an unmet need for family planning. The Carmelite NGO was a co-sponsor of the standing room only side event titled Consumption and the Rights of Mother Earth held at the UN on May 11, 2010. The website mentions nothing about the rights of the unborn child.
Catholic Health Association of the United States. The president of this organization is Sister Carol Keehan, who supported ObamaCare in defiance of the USCCB, and supported St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix after Bishop Olmstead sanctioned it for performing abortions.
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). This organization champions major dissidents of the Church, including Sr. Jeannine Gramick who spoke at their 2010 Leadership Conference. This is the organization that led to several religious orders to ask for a different leadership organization be formed, The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Conference of Major Superiors of Men (another coalition member) held a joint conference in 2004 in which the keynote speaker was abortion advocate Mary Robinson.
As part of the program, they won't recite the Creed but your children will take this evironmental pledge:
You can see the slides for all 5 days here (scroll to the bottom for the PowerPoints.) There's a lot of coaching your kids to go home and tell you how to behave. Could you imagine if we had a TCSP that told kids to go home at tell their parents that they are committing a mortal sin if they don't attend Mass on Sunday? Well, I know that might seem like a good idea, but would it be received as charity the way this environmentalism push is?
It seems to me that these organizations worship at the altar of politics dressed in Catholic social teachings. They take something that honest Catholics may be concerned about, like environmental stewardship, poverty, health care, or immigration and use it as a front to advance their political agenda that usually undermines Church teaching and authority. If anyone is going to indoctrinate my kids, I will; that's why I homeschool.
This is not the only alternative. Cat. Chat VBS has three wonderful programs, one on the Sacraments, one on the Mass, and one on The Blessed Mother. Catholic Heritage Curriculum offers 4 great Children's Retreats/VBS programs as well.