Educating your Children – Part 4
Catholic Candle note: This is the Fourth Part in a series on EDUCATING YOUR CHILDREN during the current 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: Investigates what choices were available to the next generation of our family, and how they met the challenge. Part II can be found here:
Part III: Examines what is involved in Home Schooling. Part III can be found here:
Part IV (this present article): Looks at some of the Benefits of educating your children at home.
What are the benefits of Home Schooling? There must be some, right? Well, it turns out there are countless extraordinary benefits, and we will examine some of them in this last installment of the Educating Your Children series.
But first, let’s take a quick look at the elephant in the school room. You know, the parent who is quick to say that she/he never taught before, doesn’t have a college degree, and isn’t sure she can handle it. How valid is that concern? If you find yourself assailed by that doubt, remember that God intended parents to be the primary educators of their children. He will help, for sure.
Practically speaking, with the pitiful condition of schools today, it would be hard not to have your Home School be an improvement over them. And if you think that you couldn’t teach everything that your children need to know, remember that the “outside” schools can’t do that either. The key here is that your teaching can give them the tools they need in order to succeed in life, but more importantly, to get to heaven.
One of the small points often overlooked is that the Home School teacher can and does (re)learn a great deal as she goes along. It was probably some years earlier that she mastered compound fractions and the provisions of the Bill of Rights, etc., and refreshing her memory with the daily school assignments might sometimes seem like re-connecting with old friends.
In Part III we talked about how it can be a means for developing a greater family unity. Once you get your Home School up and running, it tends to promote a closeness within your family. Not an us-against-the-world mentality, but a feeling that you can count on each other.
Let me digress a bit to enhance that point. Once when visiting the rural home of one of our daughters in another state, her two boys, about 7 and 9, took their younger sisters for a walk in the woods (on their property). They didn’t know I was watching, but I saw them help the girls over logs and tangled brush, and just generally make it safer and easier for them. You could easily see that it was the most natural thing in the world to them. I marveled what good brothers they were, and my daughter said, “Do you know why? It’s because they’re home-schooled. They don’t have anyone from school looking over their shoulders and whining, “How come you have to take your little sisters with you?”
Now this doesn’t mean, of course, that squabbling siblings will never disagree or argue, but it does mean that they tend to get along with each other; after all, these are their closest companions and friends. As a matter of fact, I have been greatly impressed over the years with how well the homeschoolers treat each other – with kindness and more like a friend than a sibling.
This brings up another subject. Some of your friends and acquaintances, well-meaning or not, will inevitably bring up the subject of “socializing” your children, meaning how will they learn to interact with other children if they don’t attend “outside” schools? There are several answers to this. First, is that they have family to socialize with, as mentioned above. And this includes cousins, good old (traditional Catholic) cousins. Our families were fortunate in having dozens of that precious commodity. There was hardly a week went by that some of them didn’t “exchange” children after Stations of the Cross on a Friday, for example, and “reclaim” them after Mass on Sunday. (Of course, that was when we could still attend the SSPX under Archbishop Lefebvre.)
(Now it’s true that not every family has “dozens” of traditional Catholic cousins, or for that matter, can devote one room in their house to “the school room,” or can fly off to a foreign country to check out their schools/churches, but if you’re trying your best to educate your children to be truly “children of God,” the good Lord will send you other methods of accomplishing this. For example, instead of flying off to Portugal or Ireland to learn the truth about the status of the Church, you have The Catholic Candle! Something that did not exist in those earlier days.)
Another means of socializing is sports. Playing Little League baseball or football (if so inclined) is generally feasible. Music, hiking, and chess club are also potential activities. Or a Science Club with other home schoolers. Of course, the corruption of bad companions can come from any direction, so potential companions should be thoroughly scrutinized these days. (This is not a “home school issue” as such.)
Another HUGE benefit of teaching your children at home is that you get to control the flow of information that finds its way into their minds. Thus, instead of learning about evolution and global warming, they will learn about God’s creation of the world and His control over the weather for these thousands of years. And you can see that your children learn American History and Geography, and they won’t think New Mexico is a foreign country.
One more substantial benefit is that your children are being taught by people who love them and are totally invested not only in their temporal welfare but, more importantly, in the salvation of their souls and their happiness.
However, as important as it is to see how your children can benefit from homeschooling, there is another benefit to consider. Grandparents make pretty good adjunct teachers in many home schools, so they are a good resource for the teacher-parents. But an additional advantage to homeschooling must not be overlooked. It is to the grandparents themselves! I have been helping to homeschool my grandchildren for many years, and I can’t stress enough how much benefit I have received from this. You get to know them wonderfully well. You build a loving relationship with them, a true closeness that can remain even after they are no longer “your” students.
Now it is an unfortunate truism that many parents may not be able to call on their parents to give them a hand in this most important endeavor for a variety of reasons, e.g., a job, poor health, or distance. But to those who are able, I can guarantee that the time and the effort could not be better spent.
A further benefit that probably might not be appreciated until you’re knee-deep in homeschooling is the satisfaction it brings to you, knowing you are doing your best. The peace of mind alone is incalculable.
Home-schooling is challenging and rewarding labor. Is it easy? Not so much. But is it worthwhile? You bet!
With God’s help it has worked for our family and others, and it will work for you if you will not settle for less than a solid traditional Catholic education for your children.
Should you choose to take this path, please know that you will be in our prayers every day.
Catholic Candle note: To assist parents in homeschooling, we call your attention to a new Traditional Catholic homeschool which is now accessible worldwide. Here is some information from this homeschool:
Angelic Doctor Academy
We would like to introduce Angelic Doctor Academy, a Traditional Catholic homeschool for grades 9 – 12 (lower grades coming soon). We think careful Catholics will appreciate our solid Traditional Catholic high school curriculum, which contains many new textbooks written across the subjects because we have had enough of problematic books. But even more, busy Catholic parents – especially mothers! – will appreciate our unique grading system which corrects everything – even the daily / weekly coursework – for the parents, so they can concentrate on teaching, explaining, and keeping order. Please visit https://www.ada.school to learn more.
Yours in St. Thomas,
The Angelic Doctor Academy Staff