SummaryTheresa Steinel shares that her first and foremost goal in life is to raise saints for God and homeschooling is making it easier for her to accomplish that.
We have just completed our twelfth year of homeschooling, and what a wonderful ride it has been! Before we knew about homeschooling, our two oldest children were attending Catholic school.
After a tragedy struck my husband and his family, I prayed for the Lord to direct us to a better, more peaceful way of life. I clearly felt God’s call to homeschool our children.
Since homeschooling was not something we ever knew or spoke about, you can imagine my husband’s surprise and skepticism as I bravely exclaimed to him at 5:00 a.m. one summer morning that “I think the Lord is calling us to homeschool our kids!”
After ten days of intense prayer and investigation into homeschooling, we wrote an eight page list of pros and cons.
On day eleven, as we sat down in a coffee shop and reviewed the pros and cons, it became clear to us that homeschooling was the choice for our family. The next step was to choose a curriculum.
Somehow, the Lord put us on the path to a Catholic homeschooling mom who stressed the importance of using a Catholic curriculum – she advocated strongly for the Seton Home Study School.
We loved the fact that everything we needed in order to give our children a complete education was included under one umbrella. We also loved the fact that Seton is accredited and comes complete with grading and a transcript.
There is also the comfort and confidence in the fact that Seton is available by phone for help in any subject.
Over the years, Seton has not just been there for me academically, but also spiritually and emotionally. Several of the staff members have become friends and confidant that I have turned to in difficult times.
I was also blessed to have enjoyed many a conversation with our beloved Father Constantine, God rest his soul.
So not only is the Seton staff there for my kids, but at times they are my sanity check as well!
Homeschooling is a wonderful way of life. Academics aside, how truly magnificent it is that my kids have been able to attend daily Mass and pray at random times throughout the day; that is just priceless.
My first and foremost goal in life is to raise saints for God and homeschooling is making it easier for me to accomplish that goal.
Homeschooling has allowed me to show my faith and teach the faith to my children in a way that I never could have if they were in a school.
Homeschooling has also blessed us with the privilege of doing special things like attending the annual March for Life in Washington DC, and going on field trips and vacations at off-times when most other kids are in school!
We have the flexibility to reach out to those in need. We have our very own aviary and watched a dozen birds hatch right in our very own home!
Homeschooling makes it easier for the children to delve deeply into their unique talents they may not have had the time to fully explore until college, like Sara’s directing of the children’s choir, Rebecca’s extensive piano rehearsals, Hannah’s theater and stepping up at just 15 years old to direct the church choir, and little Ricky’s amazing repertoire of card tricks and memorization of Pi to 40 digits!
My husband and I both received Masters Degrees in Engineering and Computer Science, so it is very important to us that the kids excel in math.
After hearing such great success stories with Saxon Math, we decided to do Saxon from the start. We purchased the Saxon disks for each class and our children use the disks for their math lesson.
We have learned that math is something that needs to be done first thing in the morning while the kids are the most alert.
It has paid off, as our oldest daughter is now majoring in Computer Science and, thankfully, is excelling in her college math classes with no problem!
The Beauty of Flexibility
I would like to share with you a couple of different versions of how a typical homeschool day goes for our family. It is my hope that you may be inspired to try some of these techniques for an even better homeschool experience!
When the kids were in elementary school we had a wonderful routine of school from 7:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. We began our day by lighting a candle and praying the Morning Offering and Act of Consecration of our family to Jesus and our dear Mother Mary.
When our youngest, Ricky, was just a toddler, the other three children would each take a half-hour time slot from their day to spend with Ricky (puzzles, reading, trampoline etc.).
At 11:15 a.m. we would stop our work, have a snack, and jump in the car for noon Mass. After that we were free to do lots of fun stuff!
Shortly before 3:00 p.m. we would tidy the house and pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. We prayed the Rosary at bedtime.
As the bigger kids got older and four hours was not enough school time, we changed our schedule to better meet our needs. The new routine consisted of morning Mass, and then school from 8:30 a.m. until 2p.m.
Many days we do school at our local library, which has the entire downstairs dedicated to a children’s room that is usually empty! It is amazing how productive we are at the library; this is due to the fact that there are zero distractions!
When we arrive home from the library, it is chore time: we walk together through every room and do a quick cleanup, and then meet in the living room at 3:00 for the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.
After that, the rest of the day is free time until dinner. It is hard to believe that we have finished homeschooling two of our children!
Even though we know that they received a topnotch education, it feels really good to see that reflected in our eldest child’s post- Seton accomplishments; after earning her Associates Degree, she has a 3.8 GPA, is the President of the STEM club, has been admitted to two honor societies, and was hired by the college to give speeches and work in the Computer Science Tutoring Center.
More importantly, on her very secular campus, she has defended her Catholic Faith and has introduced it to others.
As we see the success of our older children, we are confident that our younger children, having their roots in homeschooling with Seton, have a bright future to look forward to as well!
If I could just offer parents one piece of advice, it would be this: the Morning Prayer, daily Mass, Chaplet, and Rosary are the things that I hold dearest to my heart.
They are my fondest memories of the homeschooling years thus far with my children and I encourage parents to hold tight to these priceless faith-building traditions.