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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Reframing Our Collections


Yes, to build anew and start again can be daunting but bits and pieces of old things can be worth preserving, in order to make them into something new.

We all have our own pastimes, things that we do that make us unique or at least (hopefully) interesting as individuals. One of my favorite hobbies is collecting lumber from salvaged buildings.

Woodworking was but a gateway for me to begin amassing large quantities of reclaimed lumber. Pretty much all of my wood piles have come from structures built 100 or more years ago—barns, cabins, and farm houses—that I have helped salvage over the years and save from the burn pile.

So what does this have to do with homeschooling? At a glance, perhaps not a whole lot—unless you are doing an independent study on dendrochronology (the dating and historical classification of specific wood species) or are trying to create your own lumber yard.

Both of those are laudable tasks in my book, but my lumber collection presupposes something else: the construction of new structures using old materials.

To Build Anew Again

This indeed is analogous to homeschooling. Whether that takes place in a home where a culture of homeschooling is well-established or one that is totally fresh and new to the process, at some point we are faced with the prospect of starting the new season of schooling. To build anew and start again. This can be a daunting task, even if we have been at it awhile.

Drudgery, a time for excitement, or something in between often describes what homeschoolers and their parents feel come Fall. Sometimes families, quite understandably, fear what comes next, or they don’t know how they will make it through the year successfully, given their particular situations.

All of these experiences are natural. They are part of the process. They prompt us to reflect on our experiences and consider how to do things better.

When we take this inventory of our homeschool, we can see what worked in the past and gauge how that will fare in the future. Our collections of experiences (not to mention our collections of seemingly ubiquitous homeschooling materials) can guide us on how to proceed.

Sound Homeschooling Advice

If we are new to homeschooling, we can take advantage of the experience of others who have been doing it for years and who are happy to share their advice. Many Facebook groups exist for this purpose. Seton also has a list of families who have volunteered to be contacted by other homeschooling families in their area.

And when the going gets tough, we can contact a Seton counselor for advice.

So many of us in our day and age do not want to start a task until everything seems perfect. While perfection is wonderful, that is not a luxury afforded to most people throughout history. Indeed, a close inspection of old buildings reveals that many who came before us rarely made the perfect the enemy of the good.

They built structures that have lasted for centuries; and even as those structures came down, their leftover parts remain durable and useful.

So, as we roll up our sleeves for another homeschooling year with Seton, we should take encouragement from America’s pioneers. Provided that we put forth our best efforts, we have reason to hope for our children’s future and the Church.

As a matter of fact, one day our homeschooling efforts will be the monuments we leave behind.

About Nick Marmalejo

Nick Marmalejo
Nick Marmalejo, a history major, graduated from Christendom College in 2001. He holds a Virginia Teacher Certification and lives in the Shenandoah Valley with his wife and three children.

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