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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources
How Patriotism Begins in the Home - Mary Ellen Barrett

To Protect Our Freedoms – Patriotism Begins in the Home


Mary Ellen Barrett says homeschool families have a unique opportunity to instill a love of country and nurture a child’s natural instinct toward patriotism.

It has been said that the strongest weapon we have, as a country, is patriotic Americans.

The freedoms that we enjoy have been purchased with the lives of countless men and women committed to a cause greater than themselves.

The fact is extremely humbling to consider and begs us to teach our children why those who made that choice did so and what makes America a country worth loving and respecting.

I love this country and making sure my children love their country and know how to show that love and respect is extremely important to me.

Unfortunately, the news is full of stories of prominent people using their celebrity to call attention to their particular political causes (which is their right) in ways that are also disrespectful to our nation (which is disgraceful).

Instilling a love of country will translate into better citizens and homeschool moms and dads have a unique opportunity to teach their children these values.

We don’t have to be fearful to do so nor are we encumbered by the politically correct nonsense that has paralyzed school districts.

Here are three ways to instill a love of country and a natural instinct toward patriotism in your children.

1. Teach actual history.

Stay away from materials that minimize America’s contribution to the world. Teach the history of our country using as many primary resources as possible and teach it from a Catholic point of view.

Primary sources may be any of the following: an artifact, a document, diary, manuscript, autobiography, a recording, or other source of information that was created at the time under study.

Most of our founding fathers, while not Catholic, were God-fearing men who used Biblical principles to craft the seminal documents that guide our nation.

You will not, unfortunately, find that information in most history books these days. You won’t even find it in movies, documentaries, podcasts or historic fiction. Teach your children history as it actually took place.

This means that you also teach that, as a country, we have often made mistakes, egregious mistakes, and we have paid the price for those mistakes, but our core principles must always remain the same.

Reading actual diaries and documents written by the founding fathers as well as visiting the various battlefields upon which our freedom was won is a very moving and effective way of instilling a reverence for the kind of sacrifice that has led to the freedoms we hold so dear.

Try making a field trip or including this in one of your summer vacations.

2. Teach the children respect for the symbols of our nation, the flag in particular.

People who believe that they are helping their cause by desecrating or disrespecting our flag as a form of protest are sadly mistaken.

Those who fought under that flag and the families of those who died in its service are deeply offended, as well they should be, by these protests.

It’s our right to protest but disrespecting the flag is the wrong thing to do. Flag etiquette used to be fairly common knowledge but that is no longer the case.

The website,  is very helpful, but a more interesting way to learn about the proper handling of our flag is to contact your local American Legion and ask for a demonstration. The men and women involved in this organization are delighted to pass on this kind of knowledge.

3. Teach the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem.

It is astonishing how many people do not know the words to either of these. Nor do people seem to realize the proper posture to assume when reciting or singing them.

Watch any sports event that begins with the anthem and likely you will see many hats on heads, people checking their phones, talking and laughing throughout the entirety of the song.

To this phenomenon is now added the almost daily protests by professional and collegiate athletes who kneel or lock arms to draw attention to injustice. This should concern us greatly. This website has a list of the proper etiquette for the National Anthem.

To teach my children the song, I enlisted the help of my piano playing daughter. She taught the younger children the National Anthem, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and “This Land is Your Land”.

Even if you don’t have a piano playing daughter, you can certainly learn the tunes via iTunes, YouTube or, if your children are young, the Wee Sing America CDs are great fun. Try to begin your day with the pledge and a patriotic song, and if there is a homeschool group event, endeavor to make this a part of the program.

These are just the most obvious ways to instill patriotism in our children, and as with most things the lessons really begin with us, the parents.

Speaking respectfully, behaving reverently and keeping our political rhetoric polite will go a long way towards our children not only respecting their country but also those who live in it that don’t agree with us.

To maintain those basic freedoms, to speak, to gather, and worship as we wish we must carefully guard the rights of those who don’t agree with us as well as our own, because then we are all free.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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