SummaryCheryl Hernandez shares, “The biggest blessing, because we are following God’s call to homeschool, has been growing stronger in our Faith as a family.”
Homeschooling has been an incredible blessing to our family for the past 22 years.
We have homeschooled each of our nine children from kindergarten using Seton Home Study School and, so far, have five Seton graduates. Currently, we have four children at home, ages 17, 15, 13, and 9.
Three of our other children are in college; one is a college graduate working full time, and our eldest is a religious sister, who will, God willing, be professing her final vows in about a year.
Honestly, we did not begin homeschooling to teach our children their Faith. In fact, as a convert, I knew little about the Catholic Faith when our eldest was ready to begin kindergarten.
My main argument against sending her to school was the way students, in public and private schools, were being taught to read.
Being an advocate of a strong phonics-based reading program, I thought I could do a better job. God must have used my “pride” in this area to set us on our adventure with homeschooling.
Learning this Wonderful Faith
At that time, we knew only a handful of families who homeschooled, and one of these families told us about Seton. They showed us some of their books, and we were impressed. After reading Dr. Mary Kay Clark’s book, Catholic Homeschooling, I was fired up and ready to begin. My husband supported this decision, and his support has sustained me all these years.
It wasn’t long before I was learning this wonderful Faith of ours, right along with our young daughter. I loved how all her subjects incorporated the beauty of our Catholic Faith in the lesson plans and books.
The Seton books were wonderful, even back then, and they have improved so much since then. During our first year of homeschooling, with four children ages five and under, I was grateful for the simplicity of the Seton curriculum and the organization of the lesson plans.
Twenty-two years and a few more children later, I can say the decision to homeschool using Seton was the right one for our family. When I look back, it seemed, at times, like a whirlwind of babies, preschoolers, pregnancies, and very little rest. But the one constant was our schooling, for which I am so grateful.
The curriculum is flexible enough to allow for changes when needed or more time to complete when necessary but challenging enough to ensure academic growth.
I know, at the end of each school year, when the last papers are handed in, we have accomplished something awesome. In the busyness of family life, being enrolled with Seton has helped me to stay accountable and not worry things might be falling through the cracks.
When our eighth child was born with Down Syndrome and a serious heart condition, it was a challenging time in our lives. There were so many doctor appointments needed, and I was exhausted, physically and emotionally. But never have I been so grateful for the structure and ease of the Seton curriculum and lesson plans.
My mom, who wasn’t familiar with homeschooling, came to help watch the children. She was amazed at how the older children, having used Seton since they were in kindergarten, knew how to follow their own lesson plans and carry on working. The older ones helped the younger ones, having “done” that grade before.
At a time when I thought God had given me more than I could handle, I was richly rewarded with experiencing some of the many blessings of homeschooling — family unity, strength, and love.
Since then, we have used the Seton books with my special needs daughter but at a different pace. She loves school and has been a joy to teach. My husband helps by teaching her math each night, and she looks forward to this special time with her dad.
A Day In Our Life
A typical school day for us begins with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, praying our morning offering and the Rosary in the car then home for a quick breakfast, clean up, and school time. Having our school books set out, ready to go, and a few simple chores done before we leave for Mass helps us to start right away.
Around noon, we take a break for the Angelus, chore time, then lunch. Music lessons and practice, team sports, gardening, and having fun playing outside take up much of the afternoon, as well as finishing homework for the day. No one likes doing school in the evening, and they try hard to get it done early, so they can spend their evenings reading, working on a project, or playing a game of chess with their dad.
Homeschooling has also allowed the time and opportunity to pursue other interests and God-given talents. The high standard of Seton Home Study School has challenged our children to work hard in their studies but also to put that same high standard into all their pursuits, whether it be athletic, artistic, or musical.
Over the years, our children have done exciting things, like participate in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., make it to State Championships in track and cross country, participate in dozens of musical competitions, including two of our children winning organ scholarships. One of our daughters had the privilege of studying iconography for several years.
Seton’s curriculum challenges them to dig deeper into their Catholic Faith. The American Government class devotes the entire 3rd quarter to an in-depth study of the Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade. Our high schoolers have traveled to Washington, D.C. every year for the March for Life, putting their Faith into practice.
They have earned the money to make pilgrimages to some of the places they have read so much about – Lourdes, Fatima, and Rome. They are always excited when they see, in real life, the cathedrals and paintings they have seen in all their Seton books!
The challenging level of Seton academics has prepared our older children for their college level studies. Perhaps even more important, Seton encourages high school students to be self-directed in their studies and take ownership of their education, which is critical for success if they choose to go to college.
Without a doubt, the biggest blessing, because we are following God’s call to homeschool, has been growing stronger in our Faith as a family. Each of our children is being given a foundation that will carry them throughout their life, and my husband and I thank God every day for this tremendous privilege.
Daily, we look to the Blessed Virgin Mary to continue to guide us on our homeschooling journey.