Need advice on homeschooling option - please help and answer my questions!

:eek: Ok, I’ll try to make this short. My husband and I are ardent, orthodox Catholics. We moved due to his job to a smallish city in Minnesota a year ago or so. We have three children grades 4, 7 and 9. There is a Catholic school system here but very “Catholic-Lite” run by very liberal, dissenting, non-habited School Sisters of Notre Dame (ie we met with the superintendent who is a sister and within 5 minutes she informed us she thought women should be ordained) PLUS the Catholic school is weak academically at the HS level and is VERY expensive! SO…put the 4th grader in the slightly more orthodox elementary school and the 7th and 9th in the public school.

We want very much to instill Catholic values and help our children to fully convert and feel homeschooling could help with this. I have not been able to find a homeschooling co-op or any such thing here either. I looked at Seton homeschooling but that’s expensive too! I thought when you home schooled you bought the books and simply taught your kids, but here you pay tuition too! Ok, please help me if you know the answer to any/all of the following questions:

  1. Did you home school and what curriculum do you recommend?

  2. Do you have to enroll in a program and pay tuition or can you do it on your own? What are the pros and cons of each choice?

  3. Any other advice/thoughts you would share given your experience?? I’d be very happy for any info you can give. I know very little about homeschooling but am VERY interested!

Please help this confused Catholic mom. My kids are being drawn more and more into the world and all its errors and I must do more to raise them in the faith. Thank you and God bless you.

dd did this for a year and the program she used did charge tuition because they did testing, record keeping and recording of grades and progress to the state to comply with state regulations for home schoolers and so that academic credit would be given for graduation and college admission.

while you are resolving this, don’t delay in enrolling your children in a solid parish RE program to supplement what you are doing at home. Look for a good parish, some signs are: regular Eucharistic Adoration, presence of orthodox groups like KofC, Opus Dei, CUF, active pro-life apostolate, and the like (red flags on the other hand would be a Call to Action meeting, reiki classes). Look at the literature for distribution in the vestibule: Our Sunday Visitor good, national Catholic Reporter-bad. Just listen to the homilies for a few weeks.

This will help your kids make good friends, help you make friends with other parents who may be connections to home schoolers, or be helpful in other ways to a new family. As well as getting them on the right road for sacramental preparation, and be a source of a message contradictory to the morality they learn at school.

I am not an expert in homeschooling, because I do not yet have children to homeschool :). But my mother pulled everyone (5 younger siblings) but me out of Catholic schools to homeschool 8 yrs ago.

  1. My mom started out and still continues to use Seton Homeschooling. It is not cheap, but it is worth every cent!


  • It is solidly Catholic. Every subject uses Catholicism in it and really shows how our faith is in every aspect of our lives.
    -It is accredited. Your children receive report cards and grades and will never have a problem getting into high school or college due to whether or not they really were educated. My brothers just went full-time into public high school (they really wanted to, so my mom, after a year of praying and letting them go part-time, finally said okay) and they had no problem getting credit for the classes they took at home.
    -The money you pay helps also with help. They have assistance whenever you have a question. One of my brothers is dyslexic so they were able to come up with a program that fit his needs. When my mom felt overwhelmed or wanted to see if she could cut something out, she called and they helped and have been a great support.
    -Seton has a rigorous cirriculum. The children really learn everything. It prepares them for all the papers and studying for college.
    -It is structured. Some people can buy their own books and make their own cirriculum and that’s awesome. However, my mom doesn’t have time and they have everything laid out for you, with flexibility of course.
  1. You can do it on your own without a cirriculum given to you, and many are very successful at it. It’s really how you want to do it.

  2. I don’t know if your kids will be like this, but I know my mom had a difficult time during the first few years when she pulled my siblings out. They were very happy where they were and didn’t really want to change. One of my brothers was fine because he loved being able to go at his own pace, instead of waiting for others to finish or grasp a concept, but my other brother, it took a bit of adjusting to.

If there is no co-op near you, I would suggest, possibly trying to seek out families nearby who are homeschooling and starting a group. If that’s too much, get your children involved in things like Boy Scouts, dance, sports, youth group, etc. if they are not already involved. That way they’ll be able to make friends and have something to do - almost a “break” from mom after being with her all day.

Hope this helps! :slight_smile:


Another great messageboard - Catholic:

  1. I homeschool - my son is in K. We are registered with Kolbe Academy
    I love Kolbe so far.

  2. You can do it on your own. You may or may not prefer to enroll with a provider. Also, there are some, like Catholic Heritage Curricula that tell you what books to get and sell lesson plans, but don’t offer enrollment or services that would go with enrollment.

You’ll find differences in the order in which history is taught (chronologically is common for “classical homeschoolong,” whereas a school like Seton follows a study order more similar to your average puplic school), as well as differences in other emphases (word?). For example, some schools rely heavily on textbooks, others prefer to use original sources instead. Some schools try to have all of their materials be specifically Catholic, others use secular texts for things like Math etc.

There are a lot more variations among the different providers. I’d recommend going to a homeschooling forum where you’;; have a lot of experts. Also, check out the other providers, and see if the servoces they offer appeal to you. Browsing through their book lists will help you get a feel for the choices out their as well as help you start to hone your own preferences.

May God bless your discernment!

Be sure to go to a Catholic homeschooling conference.

Here’s one for Minnesota

I homeschooled my niece and nephew, who are now 15 and 20, when they were 5 and 10 years old. We used Our Lady of the Rosary homeschool program and I liked it. They use Seton now and it is just a little harder.

I believe you get discounts on the tuition according to how many kids you have and they have a payment plan, that is Our Lady of the Rosary School.

Here is their website if you want to check them out:

This is a really good link to a page that summarizes several well known Catholic curricula. There is even a distance-learning virtual Catholic HS that sounds GREAT! (Regina Coeli Online Academy)

There are free homeschooling curricula out there, although they are secular. I haven’t researched them thoroughly, but Charlotte Mason began one called Ambleside…I don’t want to give wrong info, but here is a link that might lead to more info:
CAVEAT: I don’t know much about this and can’t vouch for philosophy, etc. There is also a Mason-based Catholic curriculum in that first link, too.

Another option is cyber schooling. That’s what we do. My daughter is enrolled in a public school, Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School, and the support is WONDERFUL. I could go on and on. The cyber school model is different from traditional home schooling. We have a teacher we teleconference with 2x month, there are outings, we have a family support coordinator who helps wiht non-academic school issues, etc etc. We don’t pay a dime for tuition or materials, (including computer, monitor, printer, microphone, all peripherals and manipulatives and even internet reimbursement!!!) because it is a public school, and paid by school tax dollars. This is really the only way I could home school, given my present state in life (I work days, DH works nights, we split the teaching and tag team). I would love to use a curriculum that is 100% Catholic (Seton, for example) but I can’t afford it and the cyber school is structured in a way that takes a lot of stress off of me (like state-mandated testing, etc), while still allowing me to be my child’s teacher. I feel confident in this, because I know my daughter is getting an excellent, rock solid traditional Catholic catechism education at our church (Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community).

Check out this link:

This is the curriculum my daughter’s school uses, and there is a Minnesota Virtual Academy in your state that uses it, too (but only k-8). They are expanding rapidly in to the upper HS grades. In any case, it’s an option, to be considered with all the others.

Regardless the curriculum you choose, if you decide to homeschool, the key is support. (To me, anyway.) It’s hard work, and will completely restructure the way you use your time w/your kids. Homeschooling 1 is a challenge, but three can be very daunting. Patience is really important, too!

My comments are probably going to be pretty useless. But my parents homeschooled me since I was in 5th grade. I homeschooled through high school graduation and then I went to a large university. I am actually trying to study for my last final right now. I will graduate on Saturday with a Bachelor’s of Science in Zoology and Biomedical Science, and am also getting a History Minor. So what, you’re asking?

Homeschooling is what you make of it. My parents weren’t trained teachers but they had the drive to get me through. We started homeschooling through a christian private school in the city where I live (we were the only Catholic family in the place!!!) After the first “trial year” my mom went “off-road” and bought her own books. I used Saxon math and several other books for history, english, blah, blah, blah. I don’t really remember what companies we used. But I was prepared for college. My parents started homeschooling my brother from first grade on. He has had a harder time learning the basics but your kids have the basics already.

My parents always complained about the cost of textbooks but my college books have been more expensive then those! And, you can recycle the books for the rest of your children. Homeschooling your kids is worth it.

I was really suprised how close I was to my friends who were in public school when I went to college. I did my homework like a good homeschooler but I wasn’t obsessed with it. However, I was at about the same educational level as my peers. That was a relief. Since then, I have been very successful in college and I have been preparing to enter medical school next fall. However, as God always does, I have realized in the last few months that I think I am being called to the priesthood. I am starting the application process after the January 1st.

I like to believe that by homeschooling I am the person I am today. I have a very close relationship with my parents and siblings and I also have a huge amount of respect for my parents.

Try it out for a year. You will be pleased and it only gets easier as the years go by!!!

We use a mix of Seton and CHC
My kids aren’t enrolled with anyone. Be sure to check out your state laws.

  1. Did you home school and what curriculum do you recommend?

HS for 1 year now. With dd in grade 1 and another dd in K “lite”. I use a mix. There are many good resources. I recommend that you forst read up on homeschooling to see what YOU want to do. Find out what the various styles are and see what appeals. YOU can only teach WHAT moves your heart and mind.

google or search for catholic homeschools. There are tons. A few I didn’t see mentioned so far: (not catholic but classical and has good ideas and articles)

Catholic Heritage curricula. Very nice website, hreat looknig curriculum, not expensive Great advice if you write them a question. has great deals and lists books from many homeschool curriculums.

Our Lady of Victory. Totally orthodox, traditional…

Angelicum home school Great books. Cheap. catholic, classical charlotte mason (my prefered style)

for history look at: RC history. Great biblical history course that will make you want to omeschool just so you can do this.

  1. Do you have to enroll in a program and pay tuition or can you do it on your own? What are the pros and cons of each choice?

It depends on your personality and confidence. You may want to enroll for one year and then quit when you see you can do it your own and have a good idea of what YOU want and it will not be what others tell you.

  1. Any other advice/thoughts you would share given your experience?? I’d be very happy for any info you can give. I know very little about homeschooling but am VERY interested!

Read a few good books on hokmeschooling. Find YOUR way. Ruth Beechick has the books The three R’s that are totally amazing.

Homeschool is NOT like school. I mean you can do it like school, but it may not be possible depending on how many kids you have and if you have money for a cook, maid nanny etc. If you want to run a household, diaper babies and teach kids you cannot do it all and do what they do at school. You can do a great, even better job by integrating school into your life.

Peel potatoes and listen to a child read, use lines as a punishment and writing practice, school all year round so you can take it a little easier in general. etc.

Hmmmm…is this Rochester?

You’ve gotten a lot of good advice, so I’ll just mention a couple of things not suggested yet. First, try the Yahoo chat groups, cathswap and cathswapCHAT. The first is a used currriculum buy/sell group, and the second is its sister group for discussing homeschooling and whatever else people want to talk about. You can get lots of help there. Second, no one here has mentioned using the Latin-classical approach, so I will. We use Andrew Campbell’s guide, “The Latin-centered Curriculum.” Memoria Press ( sells it, and it is a Latin classical publisher. By Latin classical I mean true classical education, which is the way everybody was educated in the Western world for centuries, including Catholics. It has Latin as its foundational subject, along with related subjects, such as Roman history. It is not Catholic, but it is compatible because, again, it is the approach used for centuries by everybody, including those in the Church. We add in catechesis and Bible study/memory work, and we study ecclesiastical Latin. As for expense, there is no boxed curriculum you can buy. Memoria Press is the only Latin classical publisher, and they are too new, yet, to have a full program. But their materials aren’t very expensive, I don’t think, and you can often buy them used. There is no support besides their forums, and Campbell’s website/forums on and the LatinClassicalEd Yahoo group. So you can’t get accreditation or diplomas or anything like that; that doesn’t matter to me right now, but it might to you. However, it keeps the cost down! Also, the approach is light on textbooks, so you can often use real books that you might want to buy anyway. Hope you find what works.


Briami, your comments are very useful! It sounds like a success story to me!

I wish I could homesvchool again. I can’t say enough good about it. My son is in his 3rd year of school after the first 3 years of homeschooling. I miss it so much. I loved researching curriculumn. I loved the Miquon math for K-2, then I was going to switch to Saxon (as Saxon is not the most reccommended for younger grades). Also Getty-Dubey Ittalics and Laura Berquists Classical Education.

make sure you check out!

Another thing I would suggest is to at least look at the Home School Legal Defense Association to find out what you are required to do in your state. Some states require that you register under an “umbrella school” or have certain teacher requirements. A quick look at the laws in Minnesota is here.

Also check out for help in getting some of those expensive text books.

Thanks to all of you who replied to my post. I have read your advice and will continue to pray about this. This issue is a difficult and complicated one. Please pray for me and my family if you have a moment.


  1. Did you home school and what curriculum do you recommend?

I just wanted to add on another recommendation for Seton. We also use it for our 8th grade son and our sophomore daughter. The thing that’s so nice about Seton is that the lesson plans are all set - you just read what to do for each subject that day and get going. NOTE: (and this is important) Be aware that there is room for flexibilty within the lesson plans. My son is LD and has troubles with writing. It can exhaust him mentally to write a lot, so many of the quizzes or questions after a reading passage we do orally. Also, as he is very adept at math, there are some days when I do not have him do every single one of the math problems. As long as he understands the math and does well on his tests, I don’t worry about every last problem. So keep flexibility in mind if using a set curriculum from a company!

  1. Do you have to enroll in a program and pay tuition or can you do it on your own? What are the pros and cons of each choice?

You can do it on your own, and many people have very successful homeschools using the public library, used books, online materials, etc. There is so much out there. This option takes more planning, but can be very economical. It can also be much more flexible. For example, some families I know like to do what they call “unit studies” where they take one subject or a part of one subject, and do only that for several weeks or even months. An example would be ancient Egypt. You could spend many weeks exploring all aspects of this subject - going to museums, reading books from the library, doing arts and crafts with hieroglyphics (sp?), studying maps of the ancient world.

  1. Any other advice/thoughts you would share given your experience?? I’d be very happy for any info you can give. I know very little about homeschooling but am VERY interested!

Don’t be afraid! Read about other homeschoolers online or from books on the subject at the library. It can be done, and it can work beautifully. I started when my son was in the middle of 5th grade at public school (we were on a misguided detour away from the Catholic Church during those years, so did not have him in Catholic school - happily we are now back “home”!). He was having academic issues due to his LD and was being bullied. When the bullying was not resolved by the district, we took him out. He has enjoyed homeschooling, and his confidence in himself has built up greatly. So much so that he wants to try going to the local Catholic high school next year.

I feel that he is really going to be prepared for the work, especially because of using Seton this year. I wish we had used it for his 7th grade as well. But he is learning loads of good things to prepare him for high school.

Good luck with your decision!

Hi, this is the first time I am responding to a question so I hope this is actually the way.

I have homeschooled my children for 12 years. It was very important to me to give my children a good Catholic education and avoid all the worldly nonsense that is out there. I could probably write a whole essay on our experience and outcomes. But I’ll try to be brief.

I live in Arizona where there is no state regulation on what we do. You need to check with your state to find out if you must do an accredited program such as Seton or independent. In our case, I always made my own curriculum devised of either good secular materials or texts from Catholic sources. I did not use Protestant materials. This was an extremely economical way to go. I probably spent no more than $300 a year on materials and now I have so many books that I bought nothing this year. I have two boys still going (1 in 8th grade and 1 in 12th).

My boys never complained about being homeschooled. They have never rebelled against our faith. My oldest is a junior at a state university and teaches RCIA in a local parish. Everyone is glad to be Catholic. However, they are not saints. The world has a way on finding your kids no matter what. I’m disappointed that my children are still so selfish and pleasure oriented. Perhaps I failed somewhere. Nonetheless we are called to persevere.

Finding good friends has been a perennial problem. In our area there are few Catholic homeschooler and they seem to be either all girls (I only have boys) or not our age. We have had a few good Protestant friends but it’s been very, very hard. So often we felt left out and on the fringe as most Prostestant homeschoolers kept their distance from us.

As anything, pray much. I really think God will give you peace about making the right decision. Just ask for wisdom.

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