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Catholic Homeschool Articles, Advice & Resources

Mom, Why are We Homeschooling?

My son in 7th grade cannot understand why we are homeschooling, or why we need to be different from other families.

Explain that the type of teaching on a one-to-one basis has always been and always will be the best kind of education because it is the best way for anyone to learn. Learning in a group in a classroom means each student must move at the rate determined best by the state department of education, not by the needs of the students in the classroom.

Your son should understand that with homeschooling, when he needs help with a math problem or writing a book report, you and your husband are available to answer his questions when he needs the answer. He can take two or three days if needed to review any difficult concepts.

At the same time, if your son can advance more quickly in spelling and vocabulary, he can do those more quickly on his own, which cannot be done in a classroom. In reality, it shouldn’t be homeschoolers who need to explain why they teach in the best way for each student; it should be schools which need to explain why they don’t.

Hopefully, you are able to take your son to Mass often. The graces from frequent reception of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, frequent confession, and an active Catholic family lifestyle will help your son to recognize that Catholic textbooks have lessons that are valuable to him. Through the lives of the saints and through daily practices of the Faith at home, your son can be strengthened against the difficulties that Catholics must endure in our secular society.

In high school, you should consider educating your son about the problems that students have in the schools of America. We receive calls and emails from parents about either the lack of, or the attacks against, any teaching of Christianity. We hear about the pressure from other students for early sexual experiences, even pressure from teachers to accept same-sex “marriage” and other anti-Christian lifestyles. Students are pressured to accept legalizing drugs and abortion. In many high schools, students must endure bullying, gender-neutral bathrooms, and conversations most Christian adults would not want to endure.

I have two students in high school. One gets his work done, but the other does not seem to care at all about his schooling.

Teens need to learn to accept personal responsibility. Most young men eventually will become either priests or fathers, both positions for which there is tremendous responsibility. We parents need to be responsible ourselves by giving our high school students good examples of responsibility.

Perhaps your husband can take your sons to see him at his daily job. Sometimes sons can help their fathers in their jobs, so if that is possible, have them do that. Some fathers have the kind of job where their sons can not only help with their father’s work, but also time can be scheduled during their “work” day to do some schoolwork! Your husband can emphasize how their schoolwork will help them in their own future work, whatever that may be. Dad can emphasize that their schoolwork can give them more choices for a job in the future.

Tell your sons stories about the hard work and responsibility of their grandparents or others in the past. My husband started working in his father’s butcher shop before he was a teenager, taking a bus in the dark early morning, and returning home in the dark at night. He saw the daily hard work, the lifting of heavy meat, the carrying of the meat down the stairs to the huge refrigerator in the cellar. He learned how to talk with the customers, how to please them, how to make “city chicken” and how to trade with those low on money! At his mother’s insistence, he learned to play the piano, and at sixteen, was paid for playing in a restaurant lounge. By 19, he saved enough money to purchase the first car ever owned by anyone in the family.

Every family has a teachable story to tell!

I see the list of the Seton Catholic college partners, but we really cannot afford to send our daughter to college. Is there a Catholic homeschooling college?

Some Catholic colleges are offering online courses, but they are “supervised” by the college professors. I suspect Catholic college students will need to attend classes in person for at least the senior year. For now, you should investigate all possibilities for financial aid. Contact the local and state Knights of Columbus to see what they will do to help Catholic students. Don’t take no for the final answer! Keep asking.

If your student has excellent grades, many Catholic colleges will do everything they can to help. They want excellent students!

Contact your family members who might be able to help, but also contact close friends or even businesses in your town, or someone in your town or area who has given donations to schools or other educational enterprises. There are people with money who want to help good students go to college. Do some serious investigating, and keep praying!

Many people don’t like to take loans, but bear in mind that the federal government gives extensive (some might say profligate) college loans. These loans are either subsidized (lower interest rate) or unsubsidized (higher interest rate), but they are widely available. Although some may rightly question the wisdom of a student graduating from college with loans in excess of $50,000, it is an option that is available to most students.

My daughter is starting high school this summer. She wants to know more about the graduation at Seton.

Seton holds a high school graduation every year in Front Royal, Virginia. This has proved to be very popular, and approximately 100 graduating students attend each year. Students have come from as far away as Hawaii, Dubai, and the Philippines in order to attend.

In addition to the actual graduation ceremony, we have a Mass for graduates, a Friday afternoon pizza party with moon bounces and pony rides (yes, pony rides), a reception with the staff of nearby Christendom College, and a family dance. It’s quite an event, and we believe it helps our families to understand that Seton Home Study School is a real community of families striving toward the same goal of giving their children a great Catholic education.

If you’d like to see more about the graduation, including lots of pictures, visit our 2014 graduation celebration. We also have a very nice video of the 2014 graduation here that explores Seton from the student’s perspectives.

My children’s grandfather would like to make a donation to Seton. He wonders what in particular Seton might need.

Seton has many expenses, as you might imagine. One current extra expense we have is that we are developing online high school courses as well as online tutorial videos for courses. That is in addition to our everyday expenses of maintaining equipment, buying books, and paying salaries.

Many people like to donate to our scholarship fund, which allows us to give financial aid to families who might not otherwise be able to afford our program. This is a way to give very direct help to those in need.

Seton is a 501c3 charitable organization, so donations are tax-deductible.

About Dr. Mary Kay Clark

Director of Seton for more than 25 years. Dr. Clark left Mater Dei Academy and began teaching her children at home at seeing firsthand the opportunities and the pitfalls of private schooling. Meet Dr. Clark | See her book
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