My mother had her teachers credentials from Illinois, but only taught philosophy for a short time at Toronto University before she married my dad. She also was trained in the Montessori school paradigm. She strongly believed that each child learns differently and at a different pace. She also did not believe children were to start studying till they were in 1st. Grade and that they would catch up very quickly when they are older.
Once she married my dad, she stayed at home and homeschooled us through grammar school, way before it was allowed or popular. In order to not get in trouble in those days with the school district, since we were not in school, my mother would advertise as a private school and have other children come and study with us. No one ever studied with us. I then went to Catholic high school for 3 years and finished at the public high school. From there I studied 2 years at Cabrillo College and graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa Ontario Canada.
Since there were 17 of us children to start with, and my dad was working, my mother had to organize all the studying, (and most of the time it was very disorganized). We also traveled a great deal, (twice lived in Mexico building schools for the poor and another time in Fowler building a Catholic Church), so it helped that we were homeschooled. Nevertheless, the routine was pretty much always being disrupted, as many on you who are homeschooling now see happen all the time. Life is just one big succession of interruptions.
We older children helped the younger children do their reading and math. I remember a lot of homemade flash cards with math and vocabulary on them. I also remember that I learned mostly on my own working in the workbooks. So what I am getting at is that children survive fine in chaotic homeschooling environments because they are basically smart. But that is if you will not allow them to waste their time on TV, Video games and computers. They learn to play, but not to read, write or add. We were never allowed this.
Today, the morals, the immodest dressing, the homosexual agenda in and the common core curriculum in the public schools, makes Catholic homeschooling seem to be the only option, (other than a good Catholic school, which is very rare today). But even there, many do not teach Catholic teachings and you also have the huge added expense of tuition. 1917 Canon law had that all parishes were to have parochial schools.
Many orthodox people do Charter School homeschooling because it is free, the books are free and they also get money for extra-curriculum activities. There is also a limited amount of supervision by the charter school staff, so that the busy mothers do not have as much to do. But the text books are from the public school and they will soon have common core as part of the education. And in this system, there are no Catholic religion classes or Catholic material in the other areas of learning, like reading and history.
Many families avoid Catholic homeschooling because the programs and books cost money and the parents have more of the responsibility to make sure their children are keeping up with the assigned school work. But in these Catholic courses, there are religion classes, always going deeper and better with each grade. They also have Catholic themes in all other subjects as well. For this reason the Catholic homeschooling programs are the best option, as costly and difficult they may be.
Many mothers are concerned about public schools and would like to homeschool their children, but are afraid to do it, because of all the responsibility and they feel that they are not educated or qualified enough to be able to teach their children. Although they are rightfully concerned about the responsibility and their lack of knowledge, this should not stop them from homeschooling. Many of their children are not learning to read or write or do math at their public schools right now anyway. Many of the children in public schools are way behind. Better save their souls than be able to teach them perfectly.
Finally what is of dire importance is to keep in contact with other homeschooling families. Besides socializing at church, these children need to be able to make friends and not be too isolated. What we started at St. Patrick’s in Escalon/Ripon, Calif. and is still working well, was a homeschooling cooperative. All that meant was that during the school year, one day a week, the families would get together for some common classes, socializing, eating, outings and the Christmas program. It is very loosely organized, has a year schedule and you do the best you can.
Another option, for those who can afford it, is to hire a helper who comes to your house and tutors your children in the subjects they are struggling with or that take more time. And another thing that is working for my friend homeschoolers is to go to a teacher’s house, pay a small tuition, and she teaches all the children at once the common courses they all need.
I want to really encourage everyone to homeschool. Yes, it is a big sacrifice. Yes, it takes a lot of work. Yes, it cost money. But it is worthwhile. Your children do not need to be super stars. But they do need to get to heaven. It is much more likely that they will have fewer exposure to sinful ideas at home. Here is a simple link that tells you everything you need to know about Catholic homeschooling. Catholic homeschooling resources.com
Here are a few of the most popular Catholic homeschooling vendors;
- Seton Home Study School
- Mother of Divine Grace School
- Kolbe Academy
- Our Lady of Victory School
- Our Lady of the Rosary School
- Memoria Press
It may be extremely difficult, but we are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to be able to form children into great christian people of the future world and Church.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.