As one school year comes to an end, some families are beginning plans for the next school year. These are homeschool families and planning ahead and getting materials together early helps families have a successful school year. Homeschooling is a great option for those who want a religious education for their child, but don't live near a parochial school. Other families homeschool for other reasons.
We became a homeschooling family before we became a Catholic family. I chose homeschooling for my daughter, Courtney, for a number of reasons.
First, my daughter can advance at her own rate which in most subjects is faster that that of public school classrooms. This had been a concern of mine since her first day of kindergarten. Courtney came home in tears. When I asked what was wrong, she replied, "They didn't teach me how to read." I called the teacher, to ask when they would start exposing the children to basic words, and she said not until first grade. Her class would only learn the letters of the alphabet. I had no news to console my child, so we went to the public library to stock up on books, especially the books with read-along tapes. And we worked on reading at home.
Another concern of mine had been exposure to sexual behavior and values that I think are bad, dangerous or, at least, inappropriate. When I was in seminary in the early 1980s, I helped a religious education major with a project to design/plan a retreat about marriage and sex for middle school students. She sat before me a stack of sex education books commonly used in the U.S.A. I was supposed to look for ideas and I found some that appalled me. One homework suggestion
was for 14-year-olds to find a partner and practice
certain intimate acts with each other. No one has yet to satisfactorily explain to me how kids can practice intimacy
without being intimate.
. And I am still very unhappy with the thought of people practicing
, as in using
, each other as objects
. This article is supposed to be about homeschooling, so I won't elaborate any more on that.
Beyond the textbooks, there is the actual behavior of students. When Courtney was a toddler, we lived in a large U.S. mid-Atlantic city. After work, I'd often take her to a family clinic in our upper-class neighborhood for ear check-ups. Other moms with their high school children would be there, too. They would be there for their birth control, abortion, and pregnancy issues. I got really tired of overhearing the conversations about who was sleeping with whom, who was pregnant, who was keeping their child, etc. I knew I didn't want my daughter to go to the neighborhood public high school, but where do you go when you already live in a wealthy U.S. suburb and you suspect the private schools have the same kinds of behaviors (the kids just have even more money)? You end up going home! (In that metropolitan area where we used to live, over 8,000 students are now being homeschooled.)
Then there's the violence (I won't even get to drugs). My daughter was so nervous at public school. You never knew who had a knife or gun. And you never knew who might punch you. In the third grade she was knocked unconscious by an angry young man who just exploded with anger at school because of problems at home. Courtney happened to be in front of him in a line when he started punching people.
One day when Courtney was in the fourth grade, I was getting out of my car in our driveway when I suddenly got a vision of her with ther skull cracked laying on a sidewalk at school. My first impulse was to drive to the school, but I decided to pray and sit by the phone instead. I never got a call and picked her up as usual after school. She had two skinned knees and explained that she had been pushed down some steps at recess, but had managed to break her fall by grabbing a rail or pole with her hands and hanging on. She said if she hadn't, she would have landed on her head. I am a believer in angels and prayer. Another little girl from our church was not so lucky that day. She was pushed down in the same place and suffered a severe concussion.
I could go on and on. I truly believe that the "conditions" in many of our public schools are worse than the "working conditions" that most adult face. And I'm not willing to continue to be a parent who says, "It's really bad, but I don't know what to do." I've been hearing that a lot lately. I think it is imperative for parents to take some responsbility for their children's safety, morals and education.
"The righteous walk in integrity - happy are the children who follow them!" (Proverbs 20:7*)
We have been using the curriculum of the Calvert School in Baltimore, Maryland, for several years and love it. But since converting to Catholicism we have been looking at Catholic curriculums. Here is what we have found on the Internet:
1. Catholic Heritage Curricula
2. Kolbe Academy
3. Little Flower Home Education
4. Our Lady of the Rosary School
5. Redemptor Hominus Curriculum
6. Seton Home Study School
A number of families have web sites to share information and encouragement. The following are some of my favorite family sites:
1. Catholic Homeschool Family Website by the Koehler family
2. Center for Family Learning by the Lathan family
3. Christina's Cyber Cottage by Christina Biegel
4. Holy Family Homeschool by the Robles family
5. Homeschool Teacher's Lounge by Terrie Bittner (non-Catholic)
6. Our Lady of Perpetual Help, classes and more
7. Peggies's Place by Peggy Bohanon (non-Catholic)
8. PetsNPeople, our family pages. Check out our bookstore homeschool selections and Courtney's Reading Links for Children.
9. Roman Express, by Rachel Szilagyi
10. TORCH, Traditions of Roman Catholic Homeschoolers
Here are some sites with free items that I have found recently:
1. Home School Dad Magazine, site is down here is the info:
HomeSchool Dad Magazine
609 Starlight Drive
Grand Junction CO 81504
2. Dyslexia: 61 Coping Strategies, free book
3. The Wild Ones, free conservation magazine for teachers and students
I hope these links are helpful to you! Please feel free to share your own homeschool experiences and questions with me, or with the ABCs of Faith