I’m a senior in a public high school. And I’ve been reading some stuff by G.K. Chesterton, mostly things in his website,, and the book G.K. Chesterton: Apostle of Common Sense by Dale Alquist. I hope a lot of you read him, or else it might be tougher to answer my queries, but for those of you who don’t know him just go to and click the box that says, “who is this guy and why haven’t I heard of him.” Then after that, just read around so you have an idea where I’m coming from.

Anyway, I’m convinced that I should have my parents intrinsically involved in my education rather than just the government. Although I don’t know if its practical to be home schooled right now. For one thing, i don’t know if its the right thing to do with only one more year before college, and second, i don’t know if my parents would like the idea of homeschooling. Yeah, I have told my parents how we should become a better and closer family because of my reading from Chesterton, but I don’t think they fully grasp the gravity that they should be more central in my life because I don’t explain it like Chesterton. Okay, other than considering homeschooling, there is just getting more involved in my public schooling, but in such a way that they become more central to the schooling process rather than being on the side. But the fact is, this is public school, theres hardly any chances for parent involvement (idk if its different for catholic schools). I was thinking of just trying to tell them all the stuff I learn in school and we just go back and forth with whatever they have to say, giving whatever Catholic perspective they give. Although, I’m in high school, I don’t know if its practical to go through all those mountains of information and I’m not sure if that style would give them a central enough role. So basically, how do I make my parents my first and formost educators to get a real good education? Home schooling? Working the public school system? Some other third thing? And does anybody know how they handle parent involvement in Chesterton Academy in Minnesota? That would help.

On a side note, does anybody have any tips on understanding Chesterton’s writing more? I don’t have the best reading comprehension. For example, I couldn’t really follow Chesterton when he talks about why public education makes specialists or even why its better to be a generalist? Or even what specialist and generalist mean?


I haven’t read Chesterton myself, but I’ve heard fabulous things about him and have checked out that website before… but I’m not an expert by any means on what he wrote.

With that said… there are lots of varying opinions on homeschooling even amongst Catholics. There is not “right” or “wrong” way to go - at least from the perspective that the Church does not dictate that all Catholics should or should not homeschool. Some parents will claim it’s the only moral way, others will claim it could be harmful… so there’s a wide range of opinions.

What parents ARE required to do is to raise their children in the faith. They are the PRIMARY educators of the faith - regardless of whether they send their children to religious education at the church, or to Catholic school, or whatever - it’s the parents who are responsible for teaching the faith by words and by example. This *can *be done no matter where the kids go to school… hence why there’s no dictation from the church on the specifics.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be too hard on your parents… it’s a tougher job than you think. :wink:
Do you have siblings? Do your parents work? Do they have responsibilities that could keep them from volunteering or actively participating in the public school you attend? Do your future career aspirations at all reflect your parents choices? If not, then they may not feel comfortable teaching things they are not educated in themselves! :shrug:

Anyway… family communication is the #1 key. Family prayer, family Mass attendance, family meals - all lead to that closeness that will open opportunities for them to share the faith with you. Let them do their job as best they can… and pray for them!! :slight_smile:


Side note first: I don’t know the exact quote you refer to from Chesterton, but this is my guess of what he meant. “Specialist” is one who specializes in one thing; they know a great deal about that one subject, but they often know very little about anything else. “Generalist” is one who has a good knowledge about many things; they don’t know every intricate and minute detail, but have a stong over-all knowledge on a great variety of matters. There’s nothing wrong with specializing per se, but the problem lies in knowing very little about other matters beyond one’s expertise.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from Chesterton on the subject of education:
*“The purpose of Compulsory Education is to deprive the common people of their commonsense.” *

“Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”

I believe that parents need to be more involved in their children’s education than the government. That’s often easier to do in the younger grades and it may be harder to do as the child gets older. You had some good ideas on how to involve your parents in your education. Share with your parents what you learn at school, in general terms. If the school teaches anything contrary to what your parents have taught you or anything that confuses you, discuss it further with them. Ask them what they think and believe about various topics. Talk with them. Family meals are a natural place to hold such conversations.

Regarding homeschooling, I homeschool so I definately support homeschooling. However, homeschooling requires a great deal of time and commitment from the parents. You can mention that you’re interested in it, but I think it’s highly unlikely at this point in your education (senior year of high school) that they will want to take up homeschooling unless it’s something that already seriously considered doing. I suggest that you hold onto that idea for when you are a parent.

You may not realize it, but you are already getting an education outside of school. I can tell because you’re reading Chesterton, and his writing doesn’t typically show up in public school curriculum. Don’t fall for the misguided notion that education only happens in school. Education can happen everywhere.


With that said… there are lots of varying opinions on homeschooling even amongst Catholics. There is not “right” or “wrong” way to go - at least from the perspective that the Church does not dictate that all Catholics should or should not homeschool. Some parents will claim it’s the only moral way, others will claim it could be harmful… so there’s a wide range of opinions.

But there is a “right” way, in that there is a best way. An ideal. The chesterton site says it here:
“The family ideal Chesterton was defending cannot be equated with the industrialized consumer family, where the family members leave the home each morning by the clock and on a strict schedule to pursue careers, education, recreation, and so on. Chesterton’s ideal was the productive home with its creative kitchen, its busy workshop, its fruitful garden, and its central role in entertainment, education, and livelihood. Unlike the industrial home, life in a productive household is not amenable to scheduling and anything but predictable.”

The Chesterton academy site also praises homeschooling but isn’t opposed to the help of a good institiution: “We wish to combine the strengths of home schooling with the advantages of an institution.”


I like Chesterton, but what he wrote here is his opinion of what is the “best way”. That is not doctrine of the Church. If you agree with that opinion, that’s fine because that opinion is not contrary to the doctrine of the Church either. The Church teaches that parents are the *primary *educators of their children, but that doesn’t mean parents have to be the sole educators. There’s a lot of freedom within the Church for parents to find the best way to educate their children. Education is not “one size fits all.”


I hear in Germany that it’s illegal to home school. That said, I’m not convinced that it is a bad thing, however, having seen some of the products of home shools I’d walk a by more carefully down this path of saying its the best thing. Not all parents are as educated as the next. Not all parents are capable of being good educators. Education to some degree is a vocation that not all are called to. Someone has to do the farming, engineering, doctoring, etc. Most of these professions or vocations if you will required much education and usually require more than the average 40 hour work week. The human body is not designed to do this much, but we try.

Additionally, I commend you on yor recognition of the need for your parents involvement in your life. I too came to this realization early on, but much younger. Now, in an attempt to counteract the effects of their lack of participation I try to instill in my children that which I lacked growing up. It works. Parents need to be part of your daily life. But the public school, and Catholic from what I’ve discovered more recently is no substitute for good ole catechesis from daily devotional and talks about the faith. My son’s religion teacher is just amazed at how well he is performing. I told her that my wife taught him CCD. But what I did not tell her is that I read them bible stories everyday and teach them what the church teaches on their level.

Pray for your parents and tell them you want them to be more part of your daily life. That means you leave your room and go sit with them even if its in front of a tube. Think of it as a campfire. Talk about the shows, and try to tie your experiences in during the conversation. Hopefully they’re not so warn out that they just can’t take it.



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