Questioning Homeschools


I have posted before in often negative words my thoughts about homeschools. I agree that most, if not all, public schools are a lost cause. Unfortunately, far too many parochial schools are not up to snuff.

How do families that educate their children at home reconcile the situation that the parish school is a catechetical mess but somehow the liturgy is okay? It would seem to me that the same touchy-feely, wishy-washy notions that have watered down the catechetics, have watered down the Mass.

Likewise, since most, if not almost all, of the collection basket goes to the school, how do they tithe to support a school they can’t justify sending their children to? If they don’t tithe(or significantly support the parish financially) are they picking and choosing what to believe? Isn’t that the first critique made against heterodoxy? I don’t know any homeschoolers who see themselves as less than orthodox.

I agree that there needs to be a reform of both public and parochial schools. I disagree that homeschools are the answer. I also question whether homeschools are the “Catholic” thing to do. If there were no parochial schools it might be. However, I can’t see how a pastor can not take offense to the family that is at Mass every day but considers the school there “not Catholic enough”.

One can’t have his cake and eat it too. One of the strengths of our Church is the hierarchical system. That means we follow it not blindly but closely and faithfully. Homeschools seem very Protestant in their mindset to me.

I appreciate that times are tough and overall your kids are learning well but I think you are creating an individualistic mindset that will lead many of your descendants away from Rome. Isn’t the whole reason you teach at home is to have Catholic kids?


I think you are assuming that people who homeschool do it because they are desperate–there are no other moral options.

That is true for some families, but most hsing families do it for the benefits of hsing and not because they are anti-school.

Our parish school is very good, and I’m happy to support it. Our liturgy is also very good.


Why are parochial schools more Catholic than homes?

For the majority of Christian history, Catholics have been educated at home.

go a little deeper into history. :slight_smile:


My parish doesn’t have a school. Most parishes in my diocese don’t have schools.


Well, we couldn’t afford Catholic school even if we wanted to send our kids to it.

We actually have a very good parochial school. But, most of the moms have to work to afford tuition. Then, they limit their family size so they can work. So, I don’t see Catholic schools as supportive of true Catholic values for most middle class people.

I’m sure that this will turn into a very heated thread. :frowning:

The Church is very supportive of parents as primary educators.

Pushing parents to delegate this responsibility seems very unCatholic to me.



One can’t have his cake and eat it too.

I’ve never understood this phrase. Why would anyone go to the trouble of obtaining a cake they didn’t intend to eat? Of course I can eat my cake. It’s MY cake! Am I supposed to leave it on the counter to grow mold? What’s the purpose of an uneaten cake?!

That’s because it is misspoken.

It should be" you can’t eat your cake and have it, too."

Which make more sense. But, I agree: eating the cake is the point of having it.



As Catholics we have an obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, bad liturgy or not. We do not have the same obligation to send our children to the parish school.


Homeschooling is an option that a large numbr of courageous families have made easily available to us in much of North America. Where I live I also get some government education dollars sent my way to pay for my expenses.

I will be looking for a good catholic school equipped with nuns for my girls and priests for my boys when High School or junior high comes closer.

Public school was never obligatory. People have always educated their children at home. The difference is that now there is a wealth of material and support for the average mom to educate their children at home without having to pay a lot of money for private tutors and governesses.

Why is the OP so upset about others homeschooling? Live and let live. Or is the OP upset because they are questioning whether their own educational choices are the best for their children? Or is the OP looking at an empty school that has been vacated by all the homeschoolers and her kids have no more classmates? I really think that the OP needs to evaluate what is making her upset about homeschooling.

Homeschooling is not always the BEST for everyone.


Not all schools are a mess. Some are too expensive.

I have a friend who spends 30K/ year to educate 4 kids in Catholic schools. It’s great that she can afford that. Not everyone can. —KCT


Forgot to add . . . her parish school goes up to grade 8. She has 2 kids there and 2 in high school. One is in a very orthodox all girls high school, the other in a good, all male high school. She works 2 jobs to help w/ the cost.

My hope is that homeschoolers will raise up many vocations and in turn, those priests and nuns will work in Catholic schools, thereby making Catholic schools more affordable! I can hope, right? —KCT


The first mistake is the presumption that you know exactly what home education is, genealogist.

Home education is what the parents make it and allow it to be for their children, within the constructs provided by law in their state.

So, there are home schools that follow a strict protocol with desks and calling Mom “Mrs. Smith” or whatever the family surname during class hours; a classroom, homework, and even uniforms. There are home schools where the curriculum is thematic, and Science taught along with Religion and Reading and Math, not as separate subjects. There are home schools that are child-driven, in that the family studies lessons within the boundaries of the children’s interests. There are co-ops, where parents get together and teach what they can on their own, and what they can’t hire a tutor. And there are home schools that are not really schools at all, but where the family earns it living and derives any lessons much the same as they did in the 19th century, through daily life. There is the very rare situation where a parent might say a child is being educated at home, and no recordable learning takes place. Again, this is rare.

So, if Catholic parents teach their Catholic children, then the content of the school is going to be Catholic.

As far as liturgy goes: Not everybody has the choice of picking up and moving to another parish. They might live in a community where there is one Catholic church in the area. The priest brings us Jesus. If a family has to dig through the mire of poor liturgy to get Jesus, it is well worth the effort.

As far as supporting a Catholic school, or all, even most of the money from collections going toward it: Poor assumption. Not in our parish.

And no, a parent who chooses another option for their children other than public or parochial school is not somehow in error. They are not playing Cafeteria Catholics. They are not picking and choosing which doctrine of Faith they will or will not beleive. They are making the best educational choice for their children that they can afford. There is no doctrine that all children must go to Catholic school.

My best educational choice for my children, esp. my son who has several organic disabilities, was to home educate them. Did it cure those disabilities? No. But he can read at a post-college level, despite those disabilities. And his ability to be Catholic was not affected by being home schooled.

My best choice for my granddaughters is the Catholic school where we live now.

There is also the erroneous assumption that home educated children are hot house flowers who are (I hate the term) unsocialized. I have yet to meet a home educated child who could not politely go through an introduction, shake my hand with a decent grip, and coverse poiltely with me, even though I am an adult. I have met many children from both public and parochial schools who only knew how to socialize with their peers.


I truly and seriously do not see how homeschooling contradicts the hierarchical system of the church. If you’re teaching your kids the Catholic faith along with all the secular subjects, how can that undermine the Church? It’s not like choosing which type of education you want for your kids is the same as choosing which doctrines you want for your kids.

Really, isn’t the whole idea of an education supposed to teach the student to think for his- or herself? What we should be doing is teaching our kids why we recognize the faith of our fathers as being the true one. There is nothing wrong with being individuals-- we are all different, right? If you think homeschoolers are individualistic in the sense that we disregard the mainstream of society, or the hierarchy of the church, or the authority and knowledge of qualified persons, sorry, someone told you wrong. But then, I don’t discount the fact that you could have had a bad experience with people you may have met. Homeschoolers cover all spectrums, though, so don’t let a couple of sour apples spoil the whole bunch.

Could you perhaps expand upon what you meant as “individualistic?” I’m not certain I understand completely what your original intent was. :confused:


As a military family we move quite often. To minimize the impact of changing schools every few years and to ensure our children learn their faith, we homeschool them in Seton. We don’t have anything against Catholic schooling but this solution is the best for our kids and the whole family.

We also teach RE through our Parish. Our kids are consistently the most knowledgable about their faith among all their peers. I shudder at the lack of basic Catholic or Christian knowledge some have. Very few can name any of the ten commandments or several of the sacraments, and these kids are post-First Communion…


There is so much I could say to respond to the original post that I hardly know where to begin. So many have already made excellent points.

The op makes a great jump to assume that homeschoolers don’t support parish schools, and that pastors are offended when we don’t send out children to them. We do; he’s not. While my pastor and parish aren’t perfect, but the liturgy is certainly not “watered down”.

KCT made excellent points regarding the cost of Catholic schools, (especially regarding her hope that vocations from homeschoolers may help re-invigorate parochial schools.) Many Catholics who turn to homeschooling have large families. When I grew up, parochial school was extremely inexpensive and practically free for additional familiy members, but the loss of vocations brought about a rise in the cost. Expensive Catholic schools lead some couples to decide not to have more children because they think they can’t afford them. Homeschooling helps make Catholic education affordable again for large families. Rather than leading our descendent away from Rome, teaching at home allows some of our descendents to *exist. *

Some also brought up that some parishes don’t offer Catholics school or every grade. I turned to homeschool precisely because of that. My parish school didn’t offer the grade we needed when we pulled our children out of public school. Another Catholic school didn’t have space in the grade we needed back then. Another parish close to us doesn’t even have a parish school. We later looked at another Catholic parish’s school farther away from us, and I ruled that school out primarily because I observed liturgical abuses at the Sunday Mass we attended there.

Rob’s Wife made wrote a beautiful testiment to her family’s homeschooling when she wrote:"**The private schools could be free and amazingly wonderful in every way and I would still homeschool. Homeschooling is what comes natural and best for *my *family." **I agree that it does seem more natural to keep my younger children close to me to educate them. While I fell into homeschooling by “de-fault”, (having searched and found no other available alternative to public schools), I now believe it is the best thing for some children to be educated at home.

Jehanne Darc asked why the original poster was upset by others homeschooling. I’d like to know too. The arguments the op made against homeschooling are weak and based on false assumptions.


Note the picture of Dr. Mary Kay Clark with Pope John Paul II.

This is my school. You don’t know their education. It is the furthest thing from a Protestant education you can imagine. I have no doubt that other schools are similar, especially if the parents are designing the curriculum.


Seton has over 10,000 enrolled students–making them the largest Catholic school in the world.




It’s a way of saying “You can’t have it both ways”. Because if you eat your cake, you don’t have it any more–it’s gone.

Make sense? :slight_smile:

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