Catholic Candle note: This is the Second Part in a series on EDUCATING YOUR CHILDREN during the crisis in the Church. There can be no more important concern for traditional Catholic parents today than how to best educate their children since it is so intrinsically connected to helping them save their precious souls.
Part I: Reflects on how one traditional Catholic family approached the gargantuan responsibility of this formidable task. Part I can be found here:
Part II (this present article): Investigates what choices were available to the next generation of our family, and how they met the challenge.
Part III: Examines what is involved in Home Schooling.
Part IV: Looks at some of the Benefits of educating your children at home.
What Are the Choices?
Homeschooling didn’t really enter our lives until our children began their families and were seriously looking at how they were to educate them. It was clear to all of them that if they were to raise good Catholic children, they could not expose them to the poisons in the schools. And by poisons is meant not only the drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, it includes bad companions, disrespect for authority, a left-wing agenda, no discipline, strange ideas/beliefs that you have no idea where they came from, etc. And this doesn’t even include the knifings, brawls, assaults, etc. in the public schools that threaten their physical safety.
It has become a world in which you send a nice, obedient little child off to school and get back a snarly teenager who questions everything you say. (And that can’t be conveniently attributed to “just being a teenager” as parents today are led to believe.)
Almost lost in the shuffle is the education factor. Figures that have only recently been reluctantly released testify that public schools, and even many private schools, have horrendous results educating their charges. Over 40% of public-school students cannot read at their grade level!
So, the next generation of our family were all independently on board with the knowledge that they could not send their children to the public schools, nor to the local Novus Ordo school, nor to any private school (like the N-SSPX) and “hope for the best”.
This brought them inexorably to Home Schooling. (To parents who have fought the good fight – educating their children at home – Home Schooling deserves capital letters.)
Our children began the long trek of Home Schooling about 25 years ago. Since they all have large families, they truly were in it for the long haul. (It’s probably a mercy that you don’t know at that point how long a haul it’s going to be.)
I recall asking one of our daughters early on how it was going, and casually asking her if there was anything I could do to help. When she took me up on it, I confess I was a tad surprised, naively wondering what I could actually contribute.
Well … time, effort, presence to begin with. For over 20 years I went to their Home School three days a week. (If I had it to do over again, I would have gone five.) I helped a little one (a different little one each year) master the intricacies of reading about David and Joan helping Mother with the twins. And how it was to live in the Little House on the Prairie. And how a larva transforms into a pupa. And why we need to learn about fractions and common denominators.
And while I was having all the fun with the little ones, their mother was in a different area of the house handling the “tough” stuff with the older students.
As it turned out, another of our children moved back into the area, and with his large family, had a lively, flourishing Home School of their own.
Flourishing? Yes, but as any homeschool mom (or dad) knows, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and she can always use another pair of hands and another brain and another red pencil wielder.
So, I lost one day at one house and gained two more at the other.
Fine, but how does that help you?
The first question you need to consider is: “How can you as a traditional Catholic – in today’s pagan world – fulfill your responsibility to educate your children?” You must begin by realizing that it is totally your responsibility. There is no question of being able to pass it off to any school system or religious society. Because Vatican II has so infected today’s world, finding a brick-and-mortar school is nigh impossible. Nor is it possible to send your children to a Novus Ordo school nor an N-SSPX school and, as said before, “hope for the best.”
Let’s discuss these three non-possibilities.
The public schools are obviously out of the question. The police presence in these schools attests to the almost daily violence that is commonplace, and which students are hard-pressed to avoid. They may have the latest in audio-visual equipment, computers, perhaps, and a first-rate football field, but these can’t begin to outweigh the damage they do with their left-wing agendas of evolution, global warming, birth control, etc. And these subjects are taught at the expense of the traditional educational building blocks of American History, Geography, Literature, etc., and even something as innocuous as Handwriting. (They are proposing to eliminate the teaching of cursive writing; soon today’s graduates will be unable to write their own names. And teaching of spelling, punctuation, and grammar is ignored, downplayed, and all but eradicated.)
So, that, along with the lack of discipline and order in the schools, and immodest dress, there should be enough to convince any good parent that public schools are not a viable choice.
These are very good reasons why NOT to send your children to a public school; so that would seem to leave Novus Ordo or N-SSPX schools. Assuming you as a traditional Catholic would never send your children to a Novus Ordo school, you may be interested anyway in seeing this example of what some of them have devolved into.
In Part I of this series, I mentioned Diocesan Directives and Guidelines. Two years ago, the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Wis., announced that the local Catholic schools would no longer be diocesan schools, but would instead be members of an “association” called Siena. (“Poor” St. Catherine of Siena must be “fuming” at this outrageous preempting of her name.) However, the schools would be expected to follow his “Guidelines,” which included these directives (quoted verbatim):
❖ Teachers will not determine grades based on the mathematical average of scores earned over time.
❖ Teachers will not consider behavior, effort, attendance, class participation, missing work, or credit when determining academic grades.
This is lunacy! … as any experienced educator or parent with common sense would recognize. The irony of this is that several weeks previous to this announcement, the chairman of the Board of Directors for this Siena Catholic Schools received a (presumably) prestigious award from the archbishop for his “dedication to ensuring quality Catholic education.”
Another nail in the coffin of a traditional Catholic’s hope that he might find a singularly conservative Novus Ordo school (if it existed), is the fact that they all use a bad conciliar catechism, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, put out after Vatican II.
It might seem tempting, then, to consider whether you could “get by with” sending them to an N-SSPX school. The trusting traditional Catholic parent who might look at a Society school as a viable alternative to Novus Ordo and public schools ought to scrutinize more carefully what the N-SSPX is offering.
First of all, you need to consider that the Society has said that it accepts 95% of Vatican II. This is much more significant than a mere troublesome statistic. The N-SSPX claims there is no doubt that “… many of the texts are traditional,” yet all 13 texts are thoroughly infested with error. The Society minimizes the evils of VC II, saying that it contains “no direct heresy and few errors”—whereas it is full of direct heresies.
Archbishop Lefebvre taught that the whole of Vatican II contradicts what the popes have taught for centuries. He said: “We have to choose. Either we choose what the popes have taught for centuries and we choose the Church (i.e., Catholic tradition), or we choose what was said by the Council. BUT WE CANNOT CHOOSE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME SINCE THEY ARE CONTRADICTORY.” (Emphasis added)
Pretty clear admonition.
Several other strictures to keep in mind: The N-SSPX has been working toward a hybrid mass, an unholy blend of a Latin Tridentine Mass and a Novus Ordo mass. That ought to give you pause. Plus, there are many other beyond-troublesome facts to jar you. Such as Bishop Fellay’s statement that he is “…very happy with a lot of what Pope Francis teaches.” And that he “…hopes that Vatican II belongs to tradition.”
But the overwhelming reason to not entrust your children to a Society school is that you can expect them to be slowly but inexorably indoctrinated into the conciliar church.
So, after much soul-searching and interminable discussions, you may be considering schooling your children at home. Gradually, you come to grips with the realization that that is the only solution to living up to your responsibility to educate your children.
In Part III, in next month’s Catholic Candle, we will look at the question: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO HOME SCHOOL?