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Savoring the Gift of Seton - Amanda Evinger

Savoring the Gift of Seton: The Evinger Family Story

4 minutes

Summary

Amanda Evinger tries to spend her homeschooling days giving glory to Almighty God, who is so gracious in endowing His children with talents and gifts.

At our house, we celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day several times a year—in a way.

You know: plastic wrap flying here and there, Styrofoam making clouds, and excited kids giggling over a new batch of workbooks and Catholic learning materials.

That is, whenever I place an order with Seton Educational Media, we relive the joy of St. Nicholas’ Day in our home. Over the years, using the Seton curriculum has been a grace-filled blessing in our lives, and I can’t wait to see all God has in store for us in the future.

For us, the idea to homeschool was a ‘no-brainer,’ but the choice of curriculum was tough. My melancholic temperament, coupled with my passion for seeking the truth, made me ruthless in scanning curricula for the ideal fit.

My husband Michael, one of ten children, was raised on a ranch in western North Dakota and had been homeschooled over 30 years ago, when it was basically unheard of. His parents were real pioneers in the homeschooling movement. When our daughter, Mariam (7), and our son, Matthias (4), reached school age, Michael was certain he wanted them to be homeschooled as he had been.

I had quite the opposite experience growing up, but it had the same effect. Having received a staunchly atheistic public school education, I definitely didn’t want our children to go through the same thing. I knew homeschooling was God’s will for our family.

Savoring the Gift of Seton - Amanda Evinger

Overly enthusiastic to begin homeschooling, I doused my first daughter Mariam with several different preschool and kindergarten programs, even though she wasn’t yet four. Yet after trying each curriculum, I felt frustrated.

Either there were too many hands-on activities that I couldn’t keep up with, or the programs weren’t challenging enough, or the texts weren’t as Catholic as I had hoped.

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I finally tried the Seton curriculum, and immediately fell in love with its challenging academic texts that so beautifully and fully integrated Catholicism.

Over the years, I have done loads of research on the philosophy of education and on different learning styles. I believe that the various curricula out there have their benefits, but I believe God put the Seton curriculum in our lives as a perfect match for our needs. Deo Gratias!

For one thing, we live in a rural area where there are few opportunities for faith formation, and not many homeschooling families.

After reading a number of Church documents and other writings on the meaning and practice of Christian education, I had become convicted about using a time-tried curriculum that would bring my children the truths of our sacred Faith in every way possible.

Sky-high standards notwithstanding, I finally felt I had found a publisher and a homeschool to which my husband and I could entrust our children’s minds and souls.

The more I used Seton, the more I felt it was a spiritual fortress that would raise up my children to be secure, successful, and strong. To this day, I am so grateful that as my children use Seton texts, I know they are being enlightened with the tools they need for academic success, while at the same time preserving their innocence and realizing their talents.

I am thankful that I don’t have to censor any of their learning materials or wonder if what they are reading is nourishing their spirit or tearing it down.

Not only has the Seton curriculum provided a unique way to enrich my children’s journey of faith at every turn, but Seton Home Study School has given us the spiritual, social, and academic support we have needed. I love reading the inspiring articles of the writers at setonmagazine.com.

My children continually benefit from the faith-based literature, educational toys, and other Catholic items offered by Seton Educational Media. In fact, one phrase comes to mind when I see my SEM catalog come in the mail:

“Deo Gratias!”

Of course, another major bonus is that Seton counselors are caring and wise, and they are willing to help in many ways. Truly, when you decide to homeschool with Seton, you become part of a large network of devout Catholics who care about their children—and yours—with the love of Christ.

We are blessed to live in a day and age when Seton has built its curriculum and its educational offerings to such a marvelous degree. My mother-in-law would be the first to tell us we are seriously spoiled!

Yet another reason we appreciate using Seton is that it is a very orderly curriculum that allows the student to work independently.

Savoring the Gift of Seton - Amanda Evinger

I need to work from home an hour or two each day, so I need my children to complete some of their work without constant attention. I have found Seton to be consistent and user-friendly, which enables the children to complete work on their own.

In spite of its orderliness, however, we still find creative ways to use the Seton curriculum. I have learned to ‘roll with the punches,’ especially when our toddler, Mariella Grace, decides she is doing school with us.

A Typical Homeschool Day

Our typical homeschool day usually begins the night before, when I staple the pages each child needs into packets I keep in a folder. Unless we go to daily Mass and Adoration, we usually begin school with morning prayers and some spiritual reading.

Halfway through the morning, we have recess, which we may spend in visiting the Blessed Sacrament or the Good Shepherd Shrine at the Oratory next door. Then we finish our morning assignments and top off the day with favorite stories, or one of Ginger Himes’ art videos, and possibly a piano lesson.

Savoring the Gift of Seton - Amanda Evinger

Sometimes we just get together and dance to music or play some of our collection of instruments. In the afternoon, we do plenty of reading of beautiful literature, Catholic books, poetry, and non-fiction books. We also go for nature walks, during which we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and collect all kinds of ‘nature goodies’ for later investigation.

We paint, and craft cards for people who are suffering or in need of prayer. A relatively new project we’ve undertaken is making prayer blankets for the elderly and sick.

Because our children are home all day, they are able to enjoy all these activities, while staying engaged with a serious academic program, and also learning from their parents the skills needed to be successful in life.

Recently, they have learned to put math into practice by watching my husband build an impressive garage from scratch as well as a shrine to the Good Shepherd.

They’ve also had the joy of field trips to hunt for shed antlers on the open prairie with their father, another activity made possible by homeschooling. Because of homeschooling, our children know how to run a home business, keep a large garden, tend an orchard, fix nearly anything, sew, and so much more.

Savoring the Gift of Seton - Amanda Evinger

In all we do, however, be it manual labor, academic pursuits, or fun family activities, we try to spend our days giving glory to Almighty God, Who has so graciously blessed our family.

About Amanda Evinger

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Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Amanda Evinger now lives in rural North Dakota with her husband Michael and their three young children. Together, they have two home businesses, keep a bountiful garden and care take St. Clement's Oratory. Amanda is passionate about being a Seton homeschooling Mom and dedicated homemaker. She also works from home as Senior Writer for Catholic Stewardship Consultants. Although raised Calvinist, she became Catholic in 2001, and then spent several years living with Blessed Mother Teresa's sisters and the Contemplative Sisters of St. John. She holds a Bachelor's Degree from Hope College in Spanish and Theology with minor studies in Creative Writing.
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