Choice between the world and the spirit


I have three daughters whom I am really trying to raise in the Catholic faith. Our home environment is already quite countercultural and my girls have adjusted (and rebelled) quite well–eventually accepting that the right choice is the Catholic one. They practice modesty, cleanness of heart and all the other virtues we have discussed. I have tried to send them to Catholic Schools until we moved to a smaller city in the midwest where the only catholic option is to join a homeschooling school where there are volunteer teachers supported by the parish. Like so many smaller cities, this one lost its catholic high school way back and because of financial constraints, the archdiocese could not support a new catholic high school.
The problem I am getting to is that my girls do not feel that they are challenged enough in this school. They do not offer AP classes and inorder to take the AP exam, we will have to review on our own. This is quite a challenge. I am really torn between this and sending them to the public HS which is academically superb but not a good moral booster for my children. Unfortunately, we cannot homeschool by ourselves. There are several excellent catholic high school in a city 1 1/2 hours away but this would require probably moving to that city which would be almost impossible. I was praying that if there is going to be a choice between the world and the spirit, I would choose the spirit but I have no right to choose for my girls. Please advise on options. If there is somebody who knows somebody who can help me fulfill these academic needs outside of the regular school, I would appreciate suggestions.


If I were you I’d check into a homeschool/public school hybrid.

Many states now have allowances whereby homeschooled kids can take certain classes at the public school, academic, sports, fine arts, etc.

So, they could be primarily homeschooled but then take one or two AP courses at the public school.

Also, check into your local community college-- many offer dual credit courses, those that count as high school and college credit.

Make an appointment at the public school to talk to the principal or guidance counselor, and same at the community college.


Do the colleges they are considering accept the AP credits? Will they still have to take the courses in college? Are they planning on double (or triple) majors and need the time for other classes?

I ask this because I, personally, do not see a huge benefit to taking the AP credits. My BIL is a freshman and still has to take all the courses that everyone else does at his school, in spite of the money and time he (and my in-laws) spent on the AP classes.

Maybe a couple of courses at the community college are a possiblity if they are ready for some college courses. Those would actually transfer with them.


What specifically do you know about the public H.S. that has you so worried? (not generalized fear or rumors) Have you made the effort to speak with parents of children who attend the school? Have you asked specific questions about their experiences–positive and negative? Are the challenges you have been made aware of something you think your girls could not handle? Are your girls a challenge to discipline?

I don’t quite understand the fear mongering I see all too often on these forums. Yes…there are problems–some worse, some less in our public schools. However, I believe that in a healthy, solid and morally sound family environment we do not have to “fear” that outside influences will seep into our homes and kidnap our kids out from under us. The H.S. years are the beginning of a journey these young people will be on the rest of their lives–that of assessing their goals, values and how their own choices and the character of those they choose to have around them will influence what and who they become. They will make mistakes. They will make a few bad choices. But you, as their parents, are the loudest and most consistent voice they hear. Keep talking to them, be involved with their activities, friends, parents of their friends and you will have nothing to fear nor need to isolate yourself from the rest of the world.


If, after you have explored all the options, and opt for none of them offered here (and these are ALL good, valid options)…Consider checking with the other parents in the co-op (because that’s what you have, a cooperative school) to see if there are others who might benefit from advanced courses offered through the co-op. Together, ask that those courses be taught. Have a written outline prepared with scope and sequence, terminal goal, objective goals, etc. Be prepared to split up the costs involved for the tutor or instructor.

I would vote for either community college dual credit; OR getting the materials and studying at home for CLEP tests, if the school(s) the girls intend to attend accepts CLEP. Another choice is Exelsior College (formerly New York Regents Albany), which now offers its own courses.


Well, it’s easier to get accepted to many selective colleges if the student has AP credits (although the lack of AP classes may not harm the student if the student was never given the opportunity to take them.) I agree that many colleges will not accept AP classes in the place of regular coursework (and honestly, why should they?) However, most colleges will allow a student with AP credit to begin classes at a higher level, freeing up more time to take advanced courses.

Also, beware that classes taken at a community college might not transfer either. I took 5 courses at a community college before starting college. 3 of them transferred and 2 did not. More “generic” courses such as Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to Anthropology, etc are the most likely to transfer.

Many states allow high school students to take community college courses for free – have you looked into this?


In our corner of Iowa, our local public high school has an agreement with some of the local colleges that allow AP eligible students to take classes at the college. They receive both high school AND college credit for the class. And what’s more, they get to take the classes at a much reduced rate. Most of the classes are offered on-line, so they don’t even have to leave home to take the courses. My two oldest daughters are eligible to take these courses at our school, and they are so excited about taking COLLEGE classes on-line, and getting a leg-up on college credits. Maybe your local public school offers something similar?

Some of our home schooled children are duel enrolled in the public schools, also. They do much of their work at home, but they are also able to join in some classes and activities at the public school.


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