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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Building Bonds – Our Family’s Mission at Home and Abroad


The flexibility of homeschooling and the Seton curriculum has allowed the Stengel family to fulfill their love for the missions.

My husband Adam and I met while doing mission work in Honduras with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. We were married and lived there for several years. I am from Honduras, and Adam is from Arkansas.


Adam and I have a heart for the missions, and we want our kids to experience the joy of the Gospel through serving others. Often, we think doing mission work is to help others, but in the end, every experience makes us grow as a Christian and see each person as a child of God.

Inspired to Homeschool

We were inspired to begin homeschooling because we have known many homeschooled families and saw their strong family bonds. We wanted our family to have that experience, too. We also wanted the flexibility to continue to travel on mission trips, visit family in Honduras, and be more able to develop and cultivate our God-given gifts.

Besides the flexibility, we have found homeschooling’s greatest benefit is discovering how each of our children learns best.

Individualized education made it so that each one can recognize their gifts and explore those fields more, and at the same time recognize their weaknesses and overcome them. Also, it gives us more freedom to live the year liturgically, celebrating the various seasons and feast days.


In our discernment to homeschool, we attended multiple homeschool conferences led by Seton. We spoke with people who were using the curriculum, and we were able to explore what they offered at the conferences.

What we love most about Seton Home Study School is its wholesome and challenging education, and Seton’s books in every class are full of Catholic content. The lesson plans are very easy to follow, and the counselors are always helpful when needed.

We were looking for something true, good, and beautiful, and the ability to do it from home as a family. We found all that in Seton.

At Home

We live on a farm, so our homeschooling day begins with the kids going out with their grandfather to feed the animals around 7:30 am. At 8:30 am we do morning prayers and read aloud. Adam comes in for breakfast at 9 am, and we have breakfast together.


School will start around 9:20 am and continue until noon. At noon, Adam comes home for lunch. We pray the Angelus before eating, and school continues after lunch until about 3 pm.

After schoolwork is finished for the day, we do our afternoon chores (feeding the chickens, cleaning the house, etc.). Then, it’s free time until supper. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we attend Holy Hour and Mass in the evenings. If the weather is nice, we do Rosary walks down our country road after supper.

The flexibility of homeschooling and the Seton Home Study School curriculum has also allowed us to fulfill our love for the missions.

“YOU DID IT TO ME,” the words that Mother Teresa called the “Gospel in 5 fingers.” God is the center of our lives and our family; we want to reach out to Him by helping and working with the poor.

We have done many missions, fundraising for them through the sale of crafts and donations from friends, family, and members of our local parish.

Ours is a small but incredibly generous parish in Arkansas, with everyone willing to help through donations or craft sales whenever we have a project or mission. For the sales, our son Thomas made wood-engraved Rosaries and key chains. Our daughters Maria and Ana made candles, crochet bookmarks, and jewelry.

And Abroad

Our first big Honduran project was in 2005. Our US parish helped us build a small home for an impoverished mother expecting triplets. We provided formula, diapers, and food for one year. Mom was able to go to college and has a teaching job, and the triplets all graduated High School two years ago.


Our second big project with our parish was in 2011. We helped build two classrooms and a covered outdoor area for a parish in a remote community called El Paraiso in the mountains of Comayagua, Honduras. The following year, we furnished the classrooms with 100 desks and bought school supplies for the kids.

In 2014, we took clothes, toys, and shoes to poor families in the mountains of the same location where the school was built. In 2016, we helped two families that had lost their fathers—single moms with 5 and 6 kids each. One of the moms was pregnant when the husband passed.

In 2022, we helped the Missionaries of Charity with a First Communion Retreat. Three hundred kids were preparing their hearts to receive Jesus in the retreat. The following year, we provided food to 17 families; school supplies, uniforms, and shoes to 43 kids; outfits and formula for six babies; and food and money to the Poor Clares and the Missionaries of Charity.

We are hoping to do another mission trip in the summer of 2025. That is the summer before Maria, our oldest daughter, goes to college and our 20th wedding anniversary.

Finding Your Family’s Mission

Our advice for homeschooling families that want to do something like we have done is that you don’t have to go to another country to serve the Lord. We need an open heart to listen to the Holy Spirit about what we need to do.

Since we live in rural Arkansas, we discovered that many people don’t have a reliable vehicle or are too sick and weak to leave their homes.


That moved our family to help start and run a food program at our parish. Now, our parish delivers an average of 65 boxes of food every month to needy homebound people in our community.

You can start by visiting a nursing home. Maybe there’s an elderly neighbor with no relatives nearby. You can volunteer at a homeless shelter, help a family with young kids, etc.

Pray and ask God to show you what you are called to do. Don’t be afraid!

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