Many Catholic homeschooling families find their experiences involving the home education of their children to be fruitful, fulfilling, and meaningful. Another perspective to contemplate concerning Catholic homeschooling is how such families are actually sanctified through the process. Let us consider the first part of verse 44 in Leviticus chapter eleven (New American Standard Bible):
For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.
For families who homeschool their children, the prayerful decision to educate young ones at home usually stems from parents’ deep desire to follow God’s will, hoping to ensure their children receive the spiritual and educational “weapons” needed in order to live holy lives and combat today’s questionable moral climate.
As a result of prayerful discernment regarding the education of their children–and no doubt promptings by the Holy Spirit–numerous Catholic parents take the plunge, venturing into the world of teaching their children to read, to write, and to understand mathematics in the home.
More importantly, however, Catholic homeschooling parents teach their children to know, love and serve Jesus Christ, allowing God’s Hand in every question, every assignment, and every project acceding to the fact that God is the ultimate educator.
It is through Him, with Him, and in Him that families learn how to battle the everyday rigors of academics, but even more significantly, families learn to seek God’s will and the meaning of everyday existence: the Lord’s purpose for their lives.
Keep Homeschooling Holy
As the Bible relays, we as Catholics are meant to emulate Christ in holiness, consecrating ourselves to our Creator. The term, sanctify, is defined as: “to make holy, [to] consecrate”.
So, how are Catholic families made holy through homeschooling? How do Catholic families consecrate themselves to the Lord through their homeschooling journeys?
There are many spiritual benefits and opportunities that present themselves upon embarking on the Catholic homeschooling adventure, for example the prospect of incorporating more family prayer time throughout the day, and taking advantage of the sacraments readily available at the local Church, such as more frequent Confession or daily Mass.
Many parents find the flexible homeschooling schedule accommodating to families’ already busy schedules. This point is particularly noteworthy for those families who are schooling more than one child in the home.
The joys of homeschooling are manifold, with families having increased opportunities to love and serve the Lord and each other, in addition to the strengthening of the family as a whole with closeness between family members as a result. It is most fitting to believe that God takes the opportunity to “fine tune” the hearts of His young followers who have the blessing and chance to learn in the home with an unabashedly Catholic curriculum and the benefit of their parents as the primary educators.
A Purifying Process
God may choose to refine the souls of families educated at home through times of elation; however, the process of purification is sometimes felt much more keenly during instances of adversity. It is our acceptance of God’s will during times of difficulty that shows our trust in Him.
While there are myriad advantages to Catholic home education, it is not easy, and parents as well as children must be willing to endure the hardships and sacrifices that sometimes surface during the practice of Catholic homeschooling. Such trials associated with homeschooling for parents and children might include “burn out”, falling behind in assignments, the feeling of being overwhelmed, enduring multi-tasking difficulties, or the challenge of trying to instruct multiple children at various educational levels.
Despite these possible setbacks, it is imperative to realize that God is perpetually present in our lives, especially in struggles. During times of tribulation, we should take matters to the Lord in prayer. Offering a rosary, or even simply exclaiming, “Help me, Jesus!” for our intentions are quite efficacious acts. It is through our own shortcomings and frustrations that the Lord acts to sanctify us and make us holy–in essence, to make us like Him.
We suffer well when we do so with forbearance and without complaint, uniting our travails with Christ’s sufferings on the Cross. It is when we are weak that His strength is exemplified; Jesus educates and trains us to be true soldiers of Christ who obediently follow His Word. We must, “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:13, NASB).
God desires Catholic homeschooling families to tenaciously strive for holiness, becoming productive members of the Body of Christ, regardless of trying circumstances, so that souls may be ready to receive His unnumbered blessings and graces.
What peace we feel when we come to the conclusion that all things–joys, blessings, trials and tribulations–come from the good Lord to aid us in spiritual growth and elevate our souls!
Excelling through Love
When pondering the supernatural connection between God and His people, perhaps we are reminded of an analogous earthly relationship between a parent-teacher and his or her child-student.
A conscientious parent-teacher cares for the whole person, desiring to develop his or her child’s fine and unique qualities so that the pupil may excel in school work (such as acing a difficult exam, for example) but also in life skills (living as a model citizen and Catholic, growing in wisdom, and making good choices in life).
A loving, good-natured, and able parent-teacher will encourage the student to strive to perform to the best of his or her abilities (while patiently recognizing, accepting, and taking time to strengthen the student’s weaknesses as well). Such is the case with God, the prime teacher. He cares for our whole being–mind, body, and soul. The Lord is a loving and merciful God who recognizes our strengths as well as weaknesses, and longs for us to grow intellectually, physically and spiritually so that we may be made holy.
When Catholic families assume the responsibility of teaching their children in the home, with its wonders and challenges, God utilizes the situation to sanctify the family, drawing family members ever closer to the Heart of Christ. The Lord, as the ultimate educator, wishes for us to excel not only in the homeschooling experience, but in all areas of life!
It is Christ’s deepest desire for us to gain salvation; God wants us to develop spiritual stamina and remain open to His many graces so we may one day ace our final “life exam”, with the reward of rejoicing with Jesus in our final home in Heaven.