Never in my life did I ever think I would homeschool my children. I honestly never really knew anything about homeschooling or its existence really, and when I came to learn that families actually did this, my first thought was that’s just plain weird, who does that?!? I obviously had the same stereotypes that most of society has – they’re not sociable, they’re shy/awkward, ignorant of the real world, and wear pioneer-like clothing (because of course they make their own). I’m an idiot, I know!!! When in all actuality the children I’ve now met that are homeschooled are well mannered, smart and articulate.
Oh yes how the Lord has a sense of humor! Now I must endure these same ridicules and judgements. As the boys get older, closer to the age of 6, I always get the remark, “Oh he’ll be starting kindergarten soon.” I usually just nod and smile and think in my head, “Yes, he will, but just at home.” I’m still not real comfortable telling people we are going to homeschool (I’m working on that) because many times I know they’re thinking just what I used to think.
So how did we get here? My husband grew up in a small town where his parents were teachers. He attended the local, small public school. I grew up in a large city and since we didn’t live in the best area, my parents sent me to Catholic schools for my entire education.
I always knew my children would go to Catholic schools because that’s where I went. I also of course liked the fact that they’re Catholic, the small size and students wear uniforms. My overall Catholic school education experience was positive. Grade school especially was great! During middle school I had to change schools since my existing one closed due to low enrollment. Those years were terrible. The kids were just plain hateful and mean. But I grew and learned from it and never compromised my morals to try to fit in. There was plenty of bad language, bullying, drugs/drinking and sexual behavior going in middle and high school in a Catholic school, just like in public schools.
When it came time to decide on schools for our children, it was tough. We toured a couple Catholic schools and were generally happy with one. However, the reality of expensive tuition and fees with a Catholic education were looming ahead and I knew in the end we just wouldn’t be happy with the education and what unwanted information our children would inevitably pick up and be exposed to from their peers. I also knew teaching of the Catechism would be lacking as I really didn’t learn the fullness of my Catholic faith until marriage prep. The public schools in our area are highly rated, but they’re so large and full of the same immoral pollution that just seems inevitable in any school setting, that I couldn’t bear putting my children in such an environment. Many times I get the whole argument, you can’t protect them forever. One day they’ll know all about the ugly in society; it is everywhere. But as their parent, I know I should dictate when they are exposed to such knowledge and make sure they’re mature enough to process and handle that information and hopefully use their good morals to know what is right and wrong in such an immoral, chaotic world we live in. We want them to have a strong moral foundation that doesn’t get polluted by second grade with the knowledge of the world by some random kids in class on the playground.
So we’re homeschooling. Do we know what we’re doing exactly? Are we scared? Is it stressful? YES! But all the same questions and answer applies with sending them to public or private school. So far we’re using the Seton kindergarten curriculum and love their workbooks. The boys have really done well with it, especially for not being at the age to officially start kindergarten. We really enjoy being 100% involved in what they’re learning and what they’re struggling with. We learn so much from them as well. I’m always amazed at how well they reason and ask such insightful questions. They’re critical thinking and reasoning skills are way better than mine at my age. I feel when I was going through the school it was more about just getting an answer right versus truly understanding why an answer is right. We can really embrace what they’re interested in at the moment and work it into their school.
We’re fully aware of the challenges and know we’ll even be surprised by things we never thought of, but we know there’s a lot of joy in educating own own children too. We’re completely trusting in God to give us the graces to get through those hardships, especially when the kids just aren’t gettting it, just don’t want to do school or they’re just driving me crazy because I’m with them 24/7!
Deciding on public, private or homeschool education is no easy decision. We dwelled and prayed and discussed it all, over and over. I knew God was leading us there, just like He led me to stay home with my children. So if it’s something you’re thinking about and not sure how you would even begin to teach your children, don’t let that fear deter you. There’s a wealth of valuable information out there to help you. I highly encourage you to attend a homeschooling conference. We went to one last summer and that really sealed the deal for us. And pray!
– Lacy has lots of great Catholic craft ideas to do with your children and get them excited about the faith!
– Lots of great posts on general homeschooling life and tips/how to’s.
– We love the curriculum and how integrated Catholicism flows through all subjects. Support is great too. My only concern is that it is very workbook intensive which doesn’t always work well with boys. So I am always looking for hands-on activities to enforce workbook concepts.
P.S. There’s no easy decision when it comes to what road to take to educate your children. There are so many factors and circumstances unique to each family. I know this is what God called me to do, at least for now. Our diocese unfortunately doesn’t have a very strong Catholic education system in place, so in other areas, strong, affordable Catholic schools may be a real option, even though I’m sure some immoral behavior still takes place. So in the end, pray about it. God will lead you to the right place!