This month we welcome you to an interview with Amy Thomas, a military wife who converted to Catholicism. She and her husband pursue a homeschooling adventure with their four children.
Why is homeschooling important to your family?
Sometimes, as a military family, you get stationed in places where the schools are not adequate. We were stationed in a very remote area and found the schools to be lacking in many things that were important to us. So, because I could not work, I decided to try homeschooling.
We figured it would be a temporary situation until we moved out of the state. I started out homeschooling my oldest when she was in 3rd grade and here we are with her entering high school! It has become such a blessing to our family.
It’s important to us because it’s another level that brings us closer as a family. We eat together, we play together, we travel together, and we learn together.
What made you choose Seton Home Study School?
I had been using a different curriculum, but needed to find a new one because what we were using didn’t go past 7th grade. One day, I was at my friend’s house and she introduced me to Seton. She let me look through her handbook and showed me the website.
It really struck a chord with me, so when I got home, I went online and researched the website. My husband Dustin and I really liked the accreditation aspect and all the help that Seton offers. It seemed like a great fit for our family.
What do you like most about Seton?
1) I love that it incorporates our faith into our learning. So many times, we as Christians become only “Sunday Christians.” We forget that our faith should permeate everything. Seton brings our faith into our children’s education and our daily lives. The fact that my children read all these wonderful stories about true heroes—the saints—helps them to see what it means to be on fire with the Holy Spirit.
2) The curriculum is wholesome, yet challenging.
3) I also truly appreciate that the books are honest and upfront. For example, the history and religion books give a very balanced look at people and events. If a Catholic person did something wrong, the textbooks acknowledge that. What we learn shows the positive side of history, yet also shows where sin and error had their effect.
This is important for our kids. They need to understand that we all struggle with sin, yet by God’s grace can still do great things. So I like the fact that the curriculum doesn’t hide from the truth. My husband and I stress to our kids that they must always seek truth even if the truth is painful to hear. The Seton curriculum does exactly that.
What role does your Catholic faith play in your schooling and family life?
When my husband and I were married, I was Protestant and he was Catholic. I was staunchly against Catholics, so much so that I thought it was a cult. But God has a way of working miracles, doesn’t he? Nine years into our marriage, I converted to Catholicism. So, it hasn’t been very long that we have been extremely active in our faith as a united Catholic family.
It’s been just within the last several years that we have really started living out the Catholic Faith in the best way we know how. Now we really enjoy reading about our faith and sharing what we’ve learned with each other. We pray together; we listen to Catholic Answers on car rides; we visit basilicas for field trips.
We see how important it is to make sure that each part of our life is led by Jesus.
How does a homeschooling day go in your family?
We usually have breakfast together around 7:30 a.m. Then the girls do their daily chores. School usually starts around 9:00 a.m. We work until lunch. We are blessed in that most days we have all three meals together as a family. After lunch we resume work until it’s time to leave for gymnastics.
My girls are competitive gymnasts and they practice several hours almost every day of the week. Homeschooling allows us to accommodate their rigorous workout schedule without foregoing family time. We also incorporate piano lessons and at least one field trip a month.
As a military family, we are only stationed in a place for a few years. We love to get out and see what each state has to offer. Homeschooling allows us to travel with Dad at times and really immerse ourselves in the culture and lifestyle of each place we live.
How has Seton benefited your family?
I think it has taken my kids’ learning to another level. I really believe they are getting a quality education. My oldest just finished 8th grade and I know that she is ready for high school and even college. She is learning valuable skills that I wish I had learned in my public school education.
More importantly, Seton has opened our eyes to the richness and fullness of the Catholic Faith. I converted to Catholicism in 2009, so I feel I like am still learning so much about the Faith. This has been a unique and special learning experience for my kids and me as we explore this new territory together.
Several times a week we find ourselves saying, “Wow! That is so cool!”
What is one piece of advice you could give to other homeschooling families?
Some days will be great. Some days will be trying. But every day of homeschooling is a blessing. Although these blessings are accompanied by sacrifice and struggles, those sacrifices are utterly worth it. Our children are with us for only a little while before we must send them out into the world.
It is very comforting to know that because of the choice to homeschool, they will be armed with a solid, rich foundation in their faith before they leave.