Susan and Pasquale Rocco are homeschooling their family in Pittsburgh, PA
Why is homeschooling important to your family?
Homeschooling is a blessing and the perfect choice for our entire family because it gives us the opportunity to be together.
Having our children live and learn with one another adds a dimension to their education and development that would be missing in any other educational format.
That time together is so important. There is no better way to strengthen the family bond.
Furthermore, homeschooling gives our children greater room to develop artistically and creatively alongside one another, as when they worked together to write and act out a short play about Our Lady of Guadalupe or when they danced together in a local Slovak dance troupe.
What made you choose Seton Home Study School?
Three years ago, and one year after the birth of our fifth child, we began our homeschooling journey. Although our fifth had been predicted to have Down Syndrome by the doctors, his arrival as a healthy 10 ½ pound wonder seemed to us a shout of encouragement from the Holy Spirit to get started with our homeschooling, as I had been wanting to do for some time.
As a first-time homeschool mother, I had many questions and a certain degree of nervousness.
I was very uncomfortable about just jumping in with no curriculum, so Seton seemed like the perfect answer. Seton provided all the structure we could need. When the books arrived and we realized how the Catholic faith is brought out on practically every page, we knew it was the perfect fit.
How has Seton Home Study School benefited your family?
Seton has allowed us to have that stable base on which to land, no matter where we might wander. Last August, we took all the kids to a shrine in Slovakia to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. (I have family in Slovakia and they took me to the shrine on a trip just after our wedding.
It was at that shrine that I prayed to the Blessed Mother to help me conceive a child. We decided to return ten years later with our five children!)
Having the lesson plans and texts allowed me to plan ahead for our trip, work in schooling along the way, and have an amazing family experience. Seton allows us to take school along wherever we roam.
Additionally, Seton has a well-established, easy-to-follow, age-appropriate curriculum that often intersects enough to provide time for group learning. Even when they aren’t learning together, the older kids have learned from the same books and, as such, can help with the younger kids who are working with those texts now.
What do you like most about Seton Home Study School?
The texts are truly Catholic. Each chapter of the math book (MATH!) has beautiful pictures to look at and talk about, often leading to further exploration of the faith. Seton is Catholic education…exactly what we were looking for when we decided to homeschool.
What role does your Catholic faith play in your schooling and family life?
Faith is first in our life. When I brought up my call to homeschool, my husband’s only comment was “teach them religion first, then math and reading.” Our decision to educate our children in the home was made, first and foremost, to steep them in the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith and steel them for the time when they must go out and defend it in society.
Seton texts make this so much easier; placing the faith front-and-center in every subject.
In keeping with this centrality of our faith, our trip to Europe was a pilgrimage in every sense of the word. We went specifically to thank the sisters who tend the Basilica in Levoca for praying for our desire to conceive, prayers we believe led to the five children with whom we have been blessed.
While we were there, I miscarried our 6th child who was then buried in the cemetery of my ancestors. The entire trip was led and blessed by the Holy Spirit and it was such a teaching moment for our children… to trust God in all things and He will be faithful.
This type of education is what led us to homeschool, and the desire to keep God at the center of all of our endeavors continues to fuel that decision.
What is one piece of advice you could give to other homeschooling families?
You are unique! Don’t spend any of your precious time comparing your family to other families. Develop close friendships with other devout friends so that you may build up one another. It is difficult to live as a faithful, practicing Catholic in today’s society, and choosing to homeschool can add another layer of “different” to your life.
So seek out support systems (both friends and programs such as Seton) that will help you on your journey.
As a homeschooling mother, never hesitate to run to the Blessed Mother for strength. Keep the Holy Family close in prayer as well.