SummaryThe dignity of the person and their spiritual, academic, social-emotional, and physical development is the inherent value of homeschooling.
Editor’s note: In March 2023, the National Catholic Register and LifeSiteNews featured 2019 Seton grad Jacinta Hamilton’s work to build awareness of World Down Syndrome Day.
In the National Catholic Register, she said, “It’s World Down Syndrome Day, and I’d Like You to Meet My Brother Gabriel.” We thought you would like to meet Jacinta and learn what motivates her to do great things.
Tell us about your Seton experience.
I was homeschooled K-12 through Seton. I loved that the Catholic Faith was integrated into every subject’s content and the sacred art. I am also extremely grateful that it was all accredited, making it easy for high school dual enrollment and college applications.
What did you do after high school?
I am in the final semester of my senior year at the University of Iowa, majoring in Elementary Education. I will be graduating with highest honors in May. I am currently student teaching 4th graders in a Christian school, and it is extremely rewarding.
How did Seton prepare you?
My Seton education gave me a firm foundation in my Catholic Faith through full integration into every subject and whole-person development.
Knowing how to take the initiative and work independently is a huge asset and lifelong skill for anyone in college or the workplace. I am so happy I have naturally gained this from being homeschooled.
What are you doing now?
I am finishing student teaching and will graduate in May with my BA in Elementary Education from the University of Iowa. I have accepted an elementary teaching position for the fall, which is exciting! I will start my Master of Education in School Administration from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, this summer.
I have been a ballet instructor since my senior year of high school, which has been an absolute joy! I have taught and created courses and curriculum for students aged 2-70. I teach multiple weekly classes with students typically spanning ages 5-9. Teaching ballet is a passion of mine, and I plan to continue.
What motivates you?
I have always had a specific interest in being an elementary school teacher, and this is an area where I can thrive because it utilizes my gifts, skill sets, and talents.
Being the oldest of seven children in my family meant I naturally helped my younger siblings with life and learning, which I enjoyed. Gabriel, my younger brother who has Down Syndrome has positively influenced all areas of my life. He has shown me in a profound way the necessity of whole-person development and the beauty of authentic diversity in learner differences and modalities.
As a teacher, I want to value who my students are as children of God and not just what they can do. I want to positively influence children’s lives during a developmentally pivotal time. It invigorates me to imagine working with children every single day. They make me a better person, for which I am grateful.
I want to be a teacher to reach children, help them flourish, and thrive spiritually, academically, emotionally, socially, and physically—and most importantly, let them know they are cherished. My Seton education profoundly helped me cultivate my skills and talents for teaching in various environments, and I am eternally grateful!
Any advice for Seton High Schoolers?
Value the curriculum’s structure, but don’t become consumed by it. Realize the eternal perspective of education—education is not the end, in and of itself; however, it should be a beautiful means to guide us toward Heaven.
Realize that the time spent together as a family will be rewarded even if the day-to-day work feels daunting. Seton High Schoolers should feel confident they have the skills to do well in all areas of their life because they prioritize faith, family, and a healthy school, work, and life balance.
The ability to be self-motivated, take the initiative, and find intrinsic motivation in what you are doing will serve you well in all areas of your life. Seton’s content and structure prepared me well for that. Realize, too, that you are developing and growing as a whole person.
The dignity of the person and their spiritual, academic, social-emotional, and physical development is the inherent value of homeschooling. I believe it is a path that addresses these elements that make us whole persons. I cannot recommend homeschooling with Seton more highly.
A Parent’s Point of View
Editor’s Note: Jacinta’s initiative and fortitude made quite an impression on us. Her accomplishment piqued our curiosity about her family’s philosophy of homeschooling. Marcy Hamilton, Jacinta’s mom, kindly provided some background.
Mrs. Hamilton, thank you for speaking with us. From Jacinta’s story and the photos you’ve shared, we can see that you and Mr. Hamilton have been great stewards of what God has provided. We have three questions for you.
First, upon what principle have you based your children’s education?
We have based our children’s education on the principle that every gift they have been given is from God.
It is our duty as parents to help them discern how to use those gifts to know, love, and serve God so as to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. We have always wanted to guard and protect the innocence of their young minds. It has been a blessing to learn with them and share their individual joys, struggles, and challenges.
Second, please cite an example of how Seton has assisted you in your homeschooling journey.
It is tremendously reassuring to have a curriculum that is rock solid and authentically Catholic. I think that if every member of the Catholic Church took the Seton Kindergarten Religion course, they would be amazed at what they would be learning. Catholic content is delivered throughout the breadth of the subject matter in creative ways. For example, our college-aged children still remember some of the Catholic history inserted into handwriting practice lessons. We’re very thankful that Seton continues to put time and resources into developing new curriculum, books, and a more user-friendly online presence.
Seton’s accreditation and our children’s Seton diplomas and transcripts made the transition from high school to college simple and seamless—whether the college was a public Big 10 University or a Newman Guide Recommended Catholic College. Seton has even done the work of being accredited with the NCAA, which made the process of our son enrolling at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND, as a recruited NCAA Division II football player extremely easy, as well.
Seton’s commitment to each student is very evident. One Saturday morning, our home phone rang, and instead of a telemarketer, it was none other than Mr. Bruce Clark, co-founder of Seton Home Study School. Bruce saw we had a question about one of the assignments, and he called to speak with my husband about the history course and assignments. I knew how much he valued each of his students, no matter how many hundreds or thousands of miles away they were. I truly feel that just as we read about St. Elizabeth Ann Seton or other saints starting schools, Bruce and Mary Kay Clark and their family will one day be in the history books for being the modern pioneers of the Catholic Homeschool Movement.
Third, what advice would you share with a family discerning a decision to homeschool?
Make sure that your curriculum is solidly Catholic. As great chefs always say about cooking and preparing a meal: start with the best ingredients! If you use materials rooted in solid Catholic teaching, what your child will be putting into their minds will be very pure and sanctifying. Even if you do not receive a lot of worldly praise for this homeschool journey, you can go to bed at night with peace of mind that what filled their minds that day was decent, moral, stimulating, and valuable. Even on the most chaotic of days or weeks, there is a reason you are homeschooling, and that is simply to have them draw closer to Jesus and all His Angels and Saints.
Do not compare your homeschool or your kids with others. You know your child and their learning needs and capacity best. As the Church teaches, parents are the primary educators of their children. We can trust that if God has given us the responsibility to educate our children, he has also given us the grace to do it.
Know that each year you homeschool will be different, and as the family gets older, you can incorporate more things into your day. The ability to be flexible and meet our individual children’s needs and learning styles has been a huge practical benefit.
Always have a good sense of humor. Remembering to laugh more and worry less is a good way to give it to Jesus and demonstrate our trust in Him.