SummaryIf your goal is to “raise virtuous boys,” then here are ten tips on what to prioritize in your homeschool education.
One of the most important questions to answer as a homeschool mom is your “why” behind your decision to homeschool. Raised as the oldest daughter of eight children in a loving Catholic family by an attorney and an intensive care nurse, I’ve always highly valued faith and education.
As an adult, I achieved a Master’s Degree in Science as a Family Nurse Practitioner and entered motherhood with a desire for excellence in education.
As I began researching education options for my oldest son, I found homeschooling to be “the most academically advantageous” option and was sold! Freedom for hours of individual pursuit of interests and for me to hand pick classic texts, options for advanced classes, and afternoons spent filling my children’s minds with the truth, beauty, and goodness of knowledge!? Yes, yes, yes.
A New Beginning
I began homeschooling my oldest from the beginning, enthusiastically teaching him to read at three and searching for an academically rigorous curriculum. Thankfully, my husband was on board, mainly because his faithful mom had coincidentally homeschooled him through Seton! He attributed his strong moral formation and passion for the Catholic faith to this experience. He voiced that his main goal for our sons was for them to become virtuous, faithful men and explained how a Catholic homeschool curriculum would play a big role.
As I continued my research, the Lord worked on my prideful heart. I soon came to re-evaluate my goals as a homeschool mom and agree with my husband.
What good was all of the knowledge in the world if not formed to live the virtuous life God intends for us? Like the popular Christian homeschool tagline goes, “Our goal is heaven, not Harvard!”
A Growing Family
As our family grew and we were blessed with more sons, my research shifted specifically to parenting boys. If my goal was now to “raise virtuous boys,” what must I prioritize in education? How would this change my approach? I learned that a virtue is a habit of character toward choosing the good and saw how Jesus is, of course, the model of virtue.
My desire led me to enroll our boys in Seton Home Study School, with my prayer prioritizing rigorous education, primarily in faith and virtue formation.
Opportunities to weave Jesus’ teachings, saintly heroes, and teachings of our Catholic faith in every subject was exactly the kind of education I desired in helping me raise virtuous boys!
Raising Virtuous Boys
In addition to the Seton curriculum, here are some of my top tips for you to try as you also journey to “Raise Virtuous Boys.” The world certainly needs them.
- Call them virtuous! Name the virtue you see in them, including self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, and faith. Compliment them behind the scenes: “That was very courageous of you!” “I noticed how hard you persevered through that!”
- Provide virtuous male examples. Give them a male leader they know to aspire to. For example, “I hope you are faithful, honest, and loyal just like your dad!”
- Read and tell them virtuous stories. Fill their heart and mind with heroes, holy Saints, and underdog men who overcame obstacles and pursued virtue. Many of these are woven into the Seton curriculum! The Bible, The Book of Virtues by William Bennet, and authors like C.S. Lewis are on the homeschool book lists.
- Show physical and verbal affection. Boys need hugs and kisses from their mothers and need to hear, “I love you so much.” “I am so happy you’re my son.” “I love the way God made you.”
- Model your mama apology and forgiveness as an example. Apologize as soon as possible for your unvirtuous behavior. “I’m sorry I said or did that. Can you forgive me?” “I’m trying to be better about losing my patience and working on self-control.”
- Learn their unique God-given temperament. This helps us understand why some virtues come easier or harder than others. It allows us to continue tailoring education to their nature and become their “first spiritual director of their soul.”
- Let them be boys! Encourage their desire for physical activity, play, and work. Give them space, freedom, and tools to run, wrestle, build, create, be loud, dirty, and learn healthy and natural ways to help them express their testosterone. The world might call this toxic, but we know it’s an honor to foster their God-given masculinity.
- Give them boundaries. Help them become virtuous by setting clear and consistent rules and consequences. Hang them on your fridge and read them aloud to the family.
- Teach them about Jesus, their ultimate model of virtue. Use a curriculum like Seton, which easily help place this as a priority.
- Pray for and over them daily! Remember the power of a mother’s prayer for her sons.
As I prepare to welcome my fifth son this Christmas and continue our fifth year of homeschooling, I want all sons’ mothers to be encouraged! Try these steps and remember your “why” as the goal of raising holy, virtuous sons for heaven.
May God continue to bless your efforts in education and faith as you pray to our Mother Mary, the ultimate boy mom. And turn to her Son as the model of virtue for our sons. All the best!