Editor’s note: These are selections from a letter written by a homeschooling mother, expressing what she learned as she taught her children at home.The reason I began to homeschool is not a single reason. I was disheartened at the level of education my eldest son was receiving in the public school.
In addition, we were staunch fighters against the so-called “family education,” which was nothing more than a cover and masthead for sex education.
And, in our local parish, our son’s CCD education was quite the joke.
My Reason for Homeschool
I happened to meet some homeschooling families. They gave me all sorts of reasons to homeschool, and I had all sorts of reasons not to.
One of the biggest arguments to homeschool came from one friend: “Oh sure, opt him out of all those sex-education classes. But what do you think the other students will be talking about on the playground during recess?”
When we decided to homeschool, we did so because we really wanted to prepare our son for battle in the world.
Homeschooling became a spiritual and family issue, and the fact that my children would be educated along the way became a bonus, not the central reason to homeschool.
So we approached homeschooling as a spiritual undertaking. We sent off to the best Catholic program we could find: Seton Home Study in Front Royal, Virginia. Wow!
Getting off the Ground
When we got that first box of books, to say we were overwhelmed was an understatement. The educational materials were tough, but they were also infused with a Catholic flavor in every subject. Spelling and phonics, reading and writing, history and art – all were Catholic to the core. I loved that!
After the first few months, we didn’t seem to advance as far as I would have expected. A serious review of the case made me realize that I was always adapting our school schedule around other things – the laundry, a clean house, a birthday, the opportunity for a park day, the dentist – and school came in second place. That was my first error! School should be our first priority.
Yes, [homeschooling] is to be a part of family life, but it should be the main focus of each and every day. Family life should center around homeschooling.
And there should always be deadlines… bus schedules, project schedules, the starting time for a factory, airline schedules… life is about scheduling our time and using it wisely. I have failed in bringing that to my sons.
And I plan to rectify that!
Always Getting Better
I made schooling too much fun. My sons love homeschooling and that is partly because I am still a kid at heart and I love to learn … teaching your children lets you learn over and over again… and for me, it never gets dull! But I sort of slipped over some basics … I will not do that again!
It is important for their future … to be able to conjugate verbs; they need to know simple fractions and algebraic equations; and they need to know the truth when it comes to the history of this country.
All these subjects are crucial to their successful future out in this world of ours. And I am afraid I made it so much fun, their formal understanding of some things was lacking.
I would never change the fact that I am a homeschooling mother. I would never want to go back and put my sons in school. I will rearrange my approach and [keep in mind] what I am doing it for. Spiritual strengthening is the primary reason.
I was given custody of these souls and God will hold me accountable in how I deal with them. But He also expects me to carry out that job as much vigor as I approach their spiritual education.
God has given me the graces to accomplish this through the sacraments. He has given me Baptism, Confession, Communion, and Matrimony.
The promises inherent in those sacraments are mine for the asking. All I need to do is pray for the graces to accomplish the tasks before me.
I am sharing all this in order that others may perhaps learn from the mistakes I have made.
I struggle with the sin of sloth, and I think it has crept into my homeschooling. Lent has been a good time for showing me how deeply inherent sin can be.
Only through grace can we parents accomplish what Our Lord has set before us. Only through continually relying on Our Lord and His Blessed Mother can we truly teach our children and prepare them for the battles they will face as adults.