Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Home or The Parish School

As I awaken to the online community of Catholic mothers (which supports me tremendously, I might add) I am struck by how many of them homeschool. In this world, it seems I am in a minority by sending my kids to our parish school.

I am thrilled with our parish school. Since my kids are in 2nd grade and Kindergarten, I haven't had to deal with any family life issues yet, and I understand that this is the point where many families break with their parish school. For us, though, right now we couldn't be happier with the religious instruction or the academics.

Our school is CATHOLIC. My Kindergartener can name and explain all the mysteries of the rosary and do a decent job with the Stations of the Cross from pictures. While we say daily rosaries at home and have the stations on our own walls, her academic knowledge of these things is from her school.

My 2nd grader knows and can write the Ten Commandments, in order, right along with the Act of Contrition and all other "major" prayers. I'm sure my kids have nothing on the children of homeschoolers in this area, but I am certain that they have leg up on children attending more watered down parish schools which, unfortunately, are all too common.

I have yet to meet another devout Catholic family, outside of our own parish, that is happy with their parish school. I am grateful that we are so happy but also wonder if there is no one else, anywhere, who is happy with theirs. Am I missing something here?

For reasons totally unrelated to the quality of education at our parish school, I am planning to homeschool my oldest, and only my oldest, next year. To be perfectly honest, I am scared. I can't imagine I will give him an experience as rich as the one he is getting now. But, I know with God anything is possible. He will give me what I need to do this, I am confident.

I have read many books on homeschooling, including those by Hahn/Hasson, Mary Kay Clark, Rebecca Rupp among others, and can clearly see the reasons one would choose homeschooling for their families. But the reasons are not as numerous when there is a good alternative, such as I believe we have. I love being a part of the Sacred Heart School community and would miss the "extracurriculars" that our family looks forward to as such. We parents are nurtured by the school too. Special masses with liturgy of the word read by the children, carnivals centering on our Lord, all-school assemblies that feature the Kindergarteners as a living nativity. These things are reverent and good. I would miss them. Of course, I would never allow these to take the place of what I felt was truly best for my children, but at this point I am not certain that is not staying right where they are.

I have a feeling that this is an evolutionary opinion, and one that will vary by child. We shall see.


Michelle said...

The two biggest reasons I homeschool are the lack of a fantastic parochial school and my husband's military service which involves moving. Praise God that you have a school you and your children love. Good luck with next year's challenges. It isn't easy - don't let anyone tell you it is.

nutmeg said...

Hi Sylvia....I'm "Megan" from Danielle's blog. I have a feeling I've found a cyber-kindred-spirit!

I homeschool all of my kids save one, my oldest. He is 8, in second grade at a private Catholic school and doing wonderfully there. My other 2 school aged kids are in First and Kindergarten. And then there's my tornadic 3 year old and her partner-in-crime, my 19 month old.

My life is crazy.

But. It is do-able. We have a huge support system, with many of my friends, and lots of extra-curricular stuff just for the homeschoolers........almost too much stuff!

Why do we homeschool? Our reasons are more "philosophically" based. (I just tried to write it out....but it's sounding all "I think parents who send their kids to school are going to hell"....and that is NOT what I think!) Anyhoo.

That said, we are in discernment about whether to send them all next year, b/c we really love the school. However....... $$$$$$$$$$$$$ :)

Good luck!

nutmeg said...


I meant "Suzanne" not Sylvia!

Great way to start a friendship, eh?