Thursday, May 31, 2007
This is our first year of homeschooling and I spent HOURS looking at each Catholic provider (Seton, Kolbe, MODG, OLVS, and CHC). There are so many GOOD options out there for Catholics!!
To develop in my children a Catholic Conscience (not merely a perspective) I am motivated to use curriculum that is Catholic for as many subjects as possible. That’s the reason we began homeschooling! We read the papal documents that insisted that a Catholic education must be pervasive in EVERY subject. (Dr. Mary Kay Clark’s Catholic Homeschooling book and Keeping it Catholic by Marianna Bartold are replete with support for homeschooling from cited papal documents.)
For our first year, I am so very glad that we went with CHC. I would very much recommend CHC as a great program for a new homeschooler. My children are very good students and hopefully, when their recent Terra Nova tests results come back, their levels will have remained the same…or better! But for us, homeschooling is more than test scores. It’s a change in thinking about education in general. Homeschool is not a replication of “school” at home, for us. We have come to really embrace the idea that it’s not about educating them for Harvard but educating them for heaven!
CHC has given us the option of daily Mass fitting into our schedule. We can take “off” First Fridays for a homeschooler’s Confession-Adoration-Mass and luncheon. We can find the time to fit in a monthly Holy Hour of Children’s Eucharistic Adoration every 3rd Monday from 11-12. We are drawing closer to our faith in the excellent Catholic focus of homeschool materials. Now, no education is without it’s gaps. We could kill ourselves trying to make it perfect, rather than holy. Gratefully, we’re not feeling stressed…in fact, this has been an incredibly UNstressful time! We wake up AND WE’RE HERE, no rushing anyone, no hours of homework, school lunches to pack, forms to fill out. We are strengthening relationships. Our 2 year old is getting time with her 11 year old brother that she would not have had otherwise. (Maybe the stress will come in the highschool years. ...smile.)
Next year we’ll be using OUR LADY OF VICTORY ( http://www.olvs.org). In choosing curriculum, the hard part is that just about every Catholic curriculum program has something I could see us using! As I talk to many moms using many of these wonderful programs (both from online groups and in our local 30 families) I hear that they each love their programs. Over time they may have tweaked or changed perhaps.... but shouldn’t it be a process of uniquely identifying what is BEST for EACH child? And beyond that…here’s the radical thought my husband and I have.….Is any of it a requirement for heaven? That’s our litmus test.
As we try to truly CELEBRATE our Catholicism, to make it the focus of our life, living the 1st commandment, we feel very detached from the “world” and the lies it propagates. We want to raise strong Catholics who know WHAT their faith teaches, and follow that teaching and can DEFEND all the beautiful answers to *why* we believe what we do. We want our children to LOVE learning. We’d like them to excel and learn and yet….we don’t really wish Harvard on them! Our concern is that it will take them away from their faith. Studies abound that College is where young people lose their faith! Ideally, a Catholic college that nourishes their faith would be our desire. At a truly Catholic College they might discern a calling, or meet another FAITHFUL Catholic to marry. The Ivy League MIGHT take them down the wordly road….where their future might be measured by success in salary and materialism. Is any of that a requirement for heaven??? You could lose your way more likely.
That’s where we are right now and it’s not to say that we don’t want to see high profile Catholics. Praise God for them! There IS another way of thinking about Academics…like CHC says, a gentle approach…EDUCATING FOR ETERNITY…this life is a blip….the next one is FOREVER!