Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Christine Sacchi

1/14/2014 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

If you haven't been to the conferences, you've read the books. They tell of families that rise with the sun, attend daily Mass, return to a hot breakfast, then tackle Latin, catechism, grammar, algebra and science before lunch. After lunch they create art while listening to classical music. The eldest child teaches the second to play violin and mom does her needlepoint while the pies cool on the window sill.

There's a downside to seminars and lectures by accomplished and prominent home schooling figures.  On the one hand I looked up to Laura Berquist, Mary Kay Clark, Miki Hill, Mary Hasson, and Kimberly Hahn, to name a few.  These ladies were better than rock stars to me. They pointed the way to successful academics, healthy spirituality, and happy, holy family life. They also burdened me with crushing anxiety as to how I was ever going to live up to such sterling examples.

The question comes down to this: Can the disorganized, the anxious, the sincere but unsaintly, Catholic succeed in home schooling? Yes, I think, we can. I don't mean to sound like I'm advocating setting the bar low. I'm saying that being a home school mom is probably the most rewarding job at which most of us will always feel inadequate. And very few of us will regret having done.

The question comes down to this: Can the disorganized, the anxious, the sincere but unsaintly, Catholic succeed in home schooling? Yes, I think, we can. I don't mean to sound like I'm advocating setting the bar low. I'm saying that being a home school mom is probably the most rewarding job at which most of us will always feel inadequate. And very few of us will regret having done.

Highlights

By Christine Sacchi

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/14/2014 (8 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Homeschool, homeschooling, education, praental choice, school choice, Laura Berquist, Mary Kay Clark, Miki Hill, Mary Hasson, Kimberly Hahn, education, Christine Sacchi


MIDDLETON,NY (Catholic Online) - My husband and I attended a home schooling conference for fourteen years, from 1994 to 2008.  It allowed us to see how others do things, buy curriculum and most of all, recharge our spiritual and emotional batteries after school years which had presented challenges academic, relational, and spiritual.

But there's a downside to seminars and lectures by accomplished and prominent home schooling figures.  On the one hand I looked up to Laura Berquist, Mary Kay Clark, Miki Hill, Mary Hasson, and Kimberly Hahn, to name a few.  These ladies were better than rock stars to me. They pointed the way to successful academics, healthy spirituality, and happy, holy family life.

They also burdened me with crushing anxiety as to how I was ever going to live up to such sterling examples.

If you haven't been to the conferences, you've read the books. They tell of families that rise with the sun, attend daily Mass, return to a hot breakfast, then tackle Latin, catechism, grammar, algebra and science before lunch.  After lunch they create art while listening to classical music. The eldest child teaches the second to play violin and mom does her needlepoint while the pies cool on the window sill.

I have encountered two distinct reactions to these admirable examples of Catholic home school life.

The first is overwhelming anxiety. The would-be home educator compares her home to the ideal and decides she can't do it.  This troubles me deeply. Year after year younger moms visit our support group and tell of self doubt, guilt, and fears. I assure them that anxiety is their worst obstacle, more than any task involved in home teaching.  I ask them whether they passed first grade math and they smile and say, "yes." I suggest that they can teach it and remind them that there are many excellent curriculum choices available, not to mention online courses and private tutoring.

A related tale of woe is the mom who couldn't give her second child the attention she had lavished on her first, such as fewer trips to the library, science experiments, nature walks.  My response is that the best thing the firstborn received from all that pre-school age academic work was time with  mom. The little scholar will probably not remember much, if anything, studied at the children's museum.  But they certainly have a loving bond with an attentive and caring parent.  And the second born, while enjoying less one on one mommy time, has something the eldest did not have, a sibling.

The second and opposite reaction to the ideal home school is skepticism. Some moms have announced that they don't really believe these prominent families do the things described in lectures and books. Hints are made about skeletons in closets. This position is equally as troubling as crippling anxiety. Just because a tight schedule and a clean house are goals rarely attained does not, after all, mean nobody does it. We can admire and emulate the organized without beating ourselves up. Can't we?

The question comes down to this: Can the disorganized, the anxious, the sincere but unsaintly, Catholic succeed in home schooling?

Yes, I think, we can. First, we have to offload the guilt and anxiety. Why go to confession if we insist on carrying guilt?  Our Lord tells us not to be anxious for anything. You can teach the early grades with the help of a good curriculum. There are informative websites and local support groups. Later on, most of us use online courses, community college, tutoring, or cooperative classes.

It's great to read the books and hear lectures as long as we don't expect to emulate perfectly the role models who address us. Take the advice that works and leave the rest. St. Paul tells us there is one Spirit but many gifts. We can't all be good at the same things. Give yourself credit for what you do well.  Set smaller daily goals which allow you to build confidence.  Tell the children they can have recess after three subjects.  Or one,  or two.  Tell yourself the whole house doesn't have to be clean but just your home school space. Make one daily Mass this week or make a point to get to First Friday Mass.

Among my seven kids there are now two Associate's and three Bachelor's degrees. One is working on a doctorate in cognitive neuroscience, another is a full time artist. When they were young there were many things I should have done better. I have to make my peace with that. Yet they have done well in college partly in spite of what they got at home and, in part, because of it.

I don't mean to sound like I'm advocating setting the bar low. I'm saying that being a home school mom is probably the most rewarding job at which most of us will always feel inadequate. And very few of us will regret having done.

-----

Christine Sacchi, who lives in Middleton, NY, has not yet finished homeschooling all of her seven children. A horn player, she blogs about opera at bassobuff.blogspot.com and attended The King's College and the Manhattan School of Music.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Living Faith

Saint Theresa of The Child Jesus: Love to The End Watch

Image of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus: The Little Flower

By F. K. Bartels

Then, nearly ecstatic with supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my proper place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I ... continue reading


Tough Lessons for Real Life from the Book of Job Watch

Image of Job was right. He was living in the heart of God's will. When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake. Jobs fair-weather friends told him that his loss and difficulties were his fault, but Job knew better. In his unwavering hope in God's love and mercy we find the example of purified, living faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

When Job was stripped of what his fair-weather friends believed were the -proofs- of Gods favor, he found the greatest treasure of all, the beautiful poverty of purified Love. He found the richness reserved for those who love God for God's sake, for Love's ... continue reading


Interesting facts about the 400 years old Bom Jesus Church in India, the final resting place of St. Francis Xavier Watch

Image of The Basilica of Bom Jesus Church is more than 400 years old.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Located in Old Goa, India, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foundation stone was laid on 24th November 1594, and completed on 15th May 1605. It was raised to the status of a minor Basilica in 1946 and is considered to be one of the ... continue reading


Bombing Islamic State is fueling the violence

Image of Civilians inspect the rubble of a building destroyed by Allied airstrikes in Syria. We cannot bomb our way into the hearts of people.

By Tony Magliano

We need to do something! With the barbaric Islamic State now controlling large portions of Iraq and Syria, and inflicting rape, torture and even beheading on those who do not conform to their fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, it is imperative that they must be ... continue reading


Pope Francis to try case of pedophile archbishop in Vatican court Watch

Image of Former archbishop and ambassador Josef Wesolowski is under  arrest at the Vatican.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Vatican will try one of its own for child abuse. After decades, possibly centuries of abuse and cover up, the use of the Church has a cover for pedophiles has finally ended. Former ambassador, Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski will now face trial for abusing boys he met ... continue reading


Pope Francis says to listen to God's word and put it into practice Watch

Image of During his homily at daily, the Pope urged Christians to read God's word faithfully and to truly listen with our hearts to what He has to say.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to Pope Francis, living the Christian life is simple: listen to God's word and put it into practice. "These are the two conditions in order to follow Jesus, hear the word of God and put it into practice. This is the Christian life, nothing more," the ... continue reading


Pope Francis appoints five women to major theological council Watch

Image of Pope Francis, who has been critical on the Catholic Church's failures to adequately include women in theological discourse, has appointed five to a major theological council that is charged with aiding the pope and others with theological policy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The International Theological Commission, established in 1969 to study doctrinal issues faced by the Catholic Church and to help the pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has just received five new female members, raising the number of female ... continue reading


Pope Francis asks new bishops to avoid self-promotion, to love their congregations instead Watch

Image of Pope Francis meets with bishops for an audience. The Holy Father had important advice for a group of new bishops yesterday.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has admonished a new generation of bishops against seeking promotion and instead asked them to look after and love their congregations. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During an address at the Vatican yesterday, Pope Francis spoke to 138 ... continue reading


POPE IN ALBANIA: Pope Francis denounces religious militants during one-day trip Watch

Image of On his first trip as pope to a European country outside of Italy, Pope Francis made no direct reference to Islamic State militants who have seized territory in Syria and Iraq.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his one-day trip to the chiefly Muslim nation of Albania, Pope Francis soundly denounced religious militants, declaring that no one act as the "armor of God." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Let no one consider themselves the 'armor' of God while planning ... continue reading


If Christ Has Not Been Raised Our Preaching and Our Faith is Empty Watch

Image of We too,you and me, will be raised from the dead. Only then will our redemption be complete. We are works in progress. However, that new life can begin even now for those with eyes of living faith, hearts filled with His presence, and minds renewed by the Light of the Truth which Jesus has fully revealed and imparts to those who love and follow Him.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When we learn to embrace the implications of that empty tomb, and allow grace to work within us, we are made ready for eternity - by living differently every day. The Resurrection provides a framework, a hermeneutic, a lens of meaning, for everything that happens ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 23:20-23
20 'Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Leger
October 2: Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter