SummaryAmanda Evinger, homeschooling mother of three (and with one on the way) and author, helps us reflect on why we can be grateful for homeschooling this year.
“In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.” –St. Teresa of Avila
A wise friend of mine, who homeschooled her nine children and has her doctorate in counseling, once told me that studies show again and again the incredible power that gratitude can have on the human psyche.
Aside from all of the spiritual benefits a grateful attitude will bring about, being thankful has proven to lift even the most downcast and miserable souls from the depths of depression.
I read that persons with severe mental health problems and depression showed improvement when asked to give thanks for ten things a couple of times a day.
After a few weeks, a large percentage of them found themselves to be considerably less depressed and just plain happier all around.
Top that information with all we know about how important gratitude is to one’s relationship with God, and you’ve got a real winner on your hands. In my book, “gratitude” rhymes with “attitude” for obvious reasons!
This being said, this time of year is an ideal time to ponder why we can be grateful we’re homeschooling.
In the tumbling throws of the school year, when you find your toddler has fed your teenager’s homework to the chickens (it was a science project) and your son’s battle with dyslexia has grown more intense than ever, keeping a truly grateful heart can feel, well, almost impossible.
At these times, making a list of what you are thankful for when it comes to homeschooling can be helpful. In fact, it could be a monthly practice!
Here are some of the top things about homeschooling I’m grateful for this year:
1. It’s legal, and it will likely stay that way.
Phew! According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s blog, Trump mentioned homeschooling at the Family Research Council’s annual Values Voter Summit. In the middle of a discussion on education and school choice, Trump said, “School choice means that parents can homeschool their children. 100%.”
2. It does wonders for family life.
Those of us who homeschool know just how many precious moments we share with our children as we watch them grow to love learning, develop their characters, and progress in virtue.
Although being together all day can bring its challenges, by far, homeschooled children have tremendous opportunities to become best friends with their siblings, cherish the newborn baby, and grow close to Mom and Dad in a way they never could if they were at school all day.
When they are grown up and out of the house, we parents will have a huge stock of family memories to treasure and most likely, a stable and firm foundational relationship with each one of our homeschooled children.
3. It makes the home truly a home.
Let’s face it — homeschooling gives us parents plenty of fantastic excuses why we need to stock our home with all those Beethoven CD’s, Saint DVD’s, gorgeous art books, craft items, fine literature, funky instruments, and unique devotional items we’ve had our eyes on.
4. One word — curriculum!
Homeschooling parents in this day and age are blessed beyond measure with the stash of curriculum materials out there, especially the Catholic ones, that have taken decades to create and perfect. This year, I’m personally grateful for my “stash” and God’s providence in helping such beautiful materials wind up in my home!
5. It makes you tough, not to mention holy.
Homeschooling encourages an attitude of self-discipline and mastery, both for parents and for children. It is also very conducive to the spiritual life and a life of continual prayer.
6. It usually makes a grateful child.
Children who have parents who live a life of sacrifice so that they can homeschool are likely to know how much they are loved. This feeling of acceptance cultivates a reverence for their parents, and normally, a grateful heart!
7. It protects our children from the harmful anti-Christian attitudes and influences so prevalent in today’s culture.
As homeschooling parents, we are able to decide what sort of information and influences our children are exposed to, and at what ages. This allows us to live out our vocational call as stewards of the gift of our children, as well as their rightful “primary educators.”
8. It gives our children the opportunity to flourish and develop their God-given talents.
Homeschooled children have a lot of time and breathing room to explore their deepest interests and develop their skills on many levels, in many different kinds of ways, without being stifled.
9. It allows us to live out the most profound teachings of Mother Church on parenting and education.
When we homeschool using an orthodox, challenging Catholic curriculum, we know we are living up to the teachings on education that the Church has given to us in encyclicals over the years.
For example, in the Christian Education of Youth, it states “It must be borne in mind also that the obligation of the family to bring up children, includes not only religious and moral education but physical and civic education as well, principally in so far as it touches upon religion and morality.”
To close, this quote from St. Clement I is a wonderful way to remember why we can be thankful at all times, everywhere, especially as are homeschooling!
“Having prepared for us bountifully before we were born, He who fashioned us and created us brought us into His world. Since, then, we owe this all to Him, we ought to give Him thanks for everything.”
So, what is on your list of things you are grateful for when it comes to homeschooling this year?