Mea Culpa to Homeschoolers


#1

I have have been a frequent critic of homeschoolers. I have criticized their choice of foregoing institutional education provided by the government and parish. I have stated that those insitutions only get weaker when families leave and do not fight back. They still get to spend your property taxes or donations even if you are not there.

After several months being frustrated with my current local gov’t school district, I appreciate why many have left. It is the District’s way or the highway and kids grow too quickly to get in there and fight all of this nonsense.

What I have realized is that I will have to educate my child protecting from the known errors and correcting the unforeseen. Due to my non-Catholic spouse and my own limits as a teacher neither homeschooling or the parish school are an option.

What I have discovered is that the administration calls the shots and the school board rubber stamps it. There is no apparent effort to gather opinions and ideas and see what the parents and property owners want and then get out of the way and let the Superintendent do his job. Instead, we have a school board where 4/6 come from the wealthiest neighborhood and the other two come from the next two wealthiest areas. 7/10 of the neighborhoods have no effective voice on the Board.

We are told that our city had many districts and that provides choices. Really the only choice is do you want to be in the district with a bunch of minorities or not. That is the only choice. I would gladly send my kids on a bus to the urban part of town if they would offer the anti-Jay Bennish(sp) approach and be pro-America, pro- family and pr-proven teaching methods in the depressed areas.


#2

The true choice you have no matter where you are, is to raise your children in the faith regardless of what surrounds them and you. YOU raise them. Not the teachers, not the community, not the media. YOU.

So, having to send your kids to the evil public school system makes your job harder, that’s ok. You’ve got Mary and all the saints to support and guide you, just as I did.

I came from a Catholic school upbringing, but I’ll tell anyone my children have learned more about being Catholic because of the public school system than I did in my entire 12 years of Catholic schools.

It’s because the opportunity to teach is constantly present. Every day a new challenge to the faith arises while they’re at school. They come home and talk about what they learned what took place and that acts as the springboard for me to teach them the Church’s position on the very same topic. So what ended up happening was my children were getting dual educations - they got the secular view and the Catholic view. Better yet, they had concrete evidence in their own choices to remain faithful that the Catholic way works better than the secular way.

This is something I didn’t get until I was in my 30s. Having been surrounded by like-minded thinkers I grew up unchallenged and unprepared to deal with real-life issues when I went out on my own. Not my kids. With the grace of God, the support of our parish and their youth programs, my 10th and 12th grade children have entered into a personal relationship with Christ and are devoted to the faith.

I thank God that we did not have the choice because His plan for us bore more fruit.

Do not despair at your lack of choice. Trust in the Lord that this is best for you and your children. Remain vigilent, remain faithful, remain strong and you will be blessed.


#3

I am a high school dropout yet managed to homeschool my two youngest children for 3/4 years respectively.

A lack of formal qualifications does not mean a lack of intelligence or an inability to teach. My sister was talking to me about the teacher she works with (she’s a teacher-aide for special needs children). He uses much the same methods I used to teach my two, but on the whole class.

This guy was given the most babdly behaved 9/10 year olds in the school. After less than 2 months his class has zero absenteeism and his kids come early and start work before school starts and without needing supervision.

He tells them what he wants, how to find the information they will need to do the work etc. He apparently spends maybe 10-15 minutes per day actually instructing the class.

As a home-schooling mother I saw myself more as a resource person. When my older girl decided she wanted to return to school at 13, she scooped the awards at end-of-year prizegiving. I had allowed her to work at her own pace in each subject and she studied for the enjoyment of learning.

The most dangerous thing about kids who have been homeschooled is that they have been taught to THINK rather than just having been spoon-fed information, so they don’t fit a mold.


#4

I had horrible experiences in public school. It was even worse when my first daughter was in kindergarten. I had already expereinced all the things you mention with my kindergartener, and knew it could only get worse. We have been homeschooling for three years and it is a far greater blessing than I could ever have imagined. Sure, we have our own crosses to bear and our own challenges but they pale in comparison to what we would be battling if my children were in public school

Most children who are successful in school are successful because of parental support, parents are willing to help their children learn, help them with their homework and help them study. A huge portion of the workload is done outside the classroom in the form of homework, because teachers need to spend so much class time babysitting ill-behaved children and catering to government required testing. There is no way for a teacher to meet the needs of each individual child. Every parent I know whose child is in public school is teaching their child nearly as much as I.

Everything I do is for the benefit of my children, their spiritual, physical and mental well-being and their education. If someone wants to criticize me for that, I have come to understand that they are completely ignorant of the homeschool dynamic and movement so I don’t value their opinion enough to let it bother me.

I know several other parents who were once highly critical of my choice who now homeschool their children.

I give all, I empty myself completely, and my children are growing in leaps and bounds in ways I could not have imagined!


#5

Thanks, op, for your humility. I’m so sorry that you are caught in this bind. Would it be possible to move to another school district?

It may be that homeschooling is still an option for you. My dh is not Catholic, but we homeschool. There are a lot of correspondence programs that do the work for you. Besides it is fun to learn/relearn all this stuff. I tell people that I’m only in sixth grade. I can’t believe I’m finding math fun!! I think my little brain wasn’t ready for it back in school. Or, maybe I missed some fundamental concept that now I’ve learned!

I negotiated hs with my dh by asking for one year. He wasn’t willing to commit to a lifetime, but one year he could risk. Since then, we’ve done it year by year. That is smart anyway since life circumstances change so much as time goes on.

You might consider hs in the summers. It would be a good test for you and it might be effective. I think you’d have to do it in a more unschooling format, though, so as not to burn them out.

Reading a hour a day is one thing that every family could do. Just make it fun, moral reading. My kids like the Vision books, the Bethlehem books, and classics like Little House on the Prairies. We read a lot of junk, too. But, I sense you want to counteract some of the negative influences of school. If you want I’ll hunt up the links.

I had a fairly good public school education. At least, I did well in College without much effort. I didn’t have much spiritual formation. However, the school district I attended went to the dogs when the local school pop. exploded.

One advantage to hsing is that you are flexible as where to you can live. You don’t have to consider the local public school quality.

God Bless. Sending a prayer your way.


#6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.