Thursday, August 1, 2013


I have been thinking about our home education plans lately.  A lot of people wonder why we are choosing to homeschool and live this counter-cultural lifestyle.  I thought I would share our reasons, and explain why we believe it is the best fit for our family.  And it will be good for me to be able to look back on this and remember my reasons on days when I want to quit and send them for a ride on the yellow bus :)

The primary reason we are choosing to homeschool is to give the kids a thoroughly Catholic education and to help them cultivate a strong relationship with Christ. God entrusted these precious souls to us, and it is our job to return them to Him.  Therefore, we need to do everything we can to keep our children on the path to heaven (an increasingly difficult task in today's world). Strong catechesis and a faith-filled and Christ-centered family life are the best ways to provide a solid foundation for our children so they can go out in the world and be the people God wants them to be. My children are the only thing of eternal value that I get to help create and mold.  At home they will be taught by the person (me) who loves them, knows the weaknesses they needs to overcome, the strengths that need to be encouraged and praised, and whose deepest desire is for them to become all they are capable of becoming, both in intellectual and spiritual development.

The most common question/objection is, of course, about socialization.  The thing is, socialization doesn't mean a bunch of kids hanging out together.  It is about learning how to function in society, and I would rather have my kids model themselves after virtuous people like the saints and mature adults, rather than their peers.  And if the typical problems in public schools (cliques/peer pressure, violence, bullying, drug use, etc.) weren't scary enough, I read two stories last week that made my stomach churn.  One was about a case here in CO where a young transgender boy won the right to start using the girls bathroom at school.  Imagine the could potentially have a teenage boy sharing a restroom with a young girl if the school was K-12.  Yikes!  The other story was about a school district that was teaching homosexuality to kindergartners. One of the titles on the booklist was "Karen Has Two Mommies" or something like that. And I am sure sex education in the older grades, along with the advocation (or at least acceptance of) pre-marital marriage and contraception, is becoming a political promotion of homosexuality.  Things are only going to get worse and worse as society becomes more liberal.  Plus, I just don't see how segregating children by age is going to help prepare them for adult life where they will work and live with different types of people of varying ages. I'd rather have them develop strong relationships with their siblings.  Of course, friends are important, and one of the benefits of homeschooling is all the extra free time that can be spent doing lots of (supervised) extra-curricular activities with other families.  We are blessed with a large and active Catholic homeschool group in the Denver area with lots opportunities for the children as they get older.

One of most attractive features of homeschooling for me is the flexibility in everything.  Most importantly in the curriculum choices and methods of teaching.  What can be better than one-on-one tutoring where each child's learning style can be taken into account, and the schedule and pace tailored to the needs of each child?  Perhaps Alex will excel at reading.  We would be able to move at a quicker pace than in a school setting and he won't be left sitting around while other children learn to read.  Or maybe he will struggle with math.  I will be able to adjust our schedule to give lots of extra time and attention to make sure he understands what he needs to.  Because of the efficiency and the lack of wasted time (spent going to/coming from school, busy work, waiting while the teacher spends time dealing with difficult kids, for example), our "school time" will probably take no more than two to three hours a day up until high school.  This means the afternoon will be free time to play and explore other interests, go on nature walks and field trips, and do household chores.   I want them to be learning all day though, and to really develop a passion for learning.  A lot of teachers are only concerned with test scores these days, and with socialized education (aka Common Core) creeping into schools it will be harder for the teachers that do want their students to develop a love for learning to do anything because their hands will be tied with all the rigid standards and inflexibility in how and what they can teach.   There is also flexibility with the way the year can be scheduled. We can do year-round schooling so some things don't have to be re-learned at the start of the school year, or move ahead of schedule and take several months off when a new baby comes or other things come up.  Family vacations can be taken during off-peak times to save on costs, and field trip destinations will be less busy during the week.  We can also start late some mornings so that we can go to daily Mass at least once a week.

Lots of family time is another big benefit. I know some people can't wait for summer vacation to end so they can send their kids back to school, but I don't want to be away from my kids all day.  I want to be the one to experience the joy of watching them grow and learn.  And homeschooled kids don't have homework to do in the evening, so that means more time with daddy :)  I look forward to relaxed days relishing the short time that they are children.

 I just want my kids to have a wholesome, decent education where they learn and grow and are happy and nurtured, without negative influences that try and chip away at the values we are trying to instill. Church teachings will be a part of our every day school life... with everything based around LOVE :)


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