Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Christine Sacchi

1/14/2014 (6 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 (6 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 July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More Living Faith

Papal visit to US not confirmed, but archbishop confident

Image of Pope Francis coming to Philly next September!

By Catholic News Agency (News Consortium)

Lets all Pray that Pope Francis comes to visit us here in the United States of America. Philadelphia, PA  (CNA/EWTN) - Reports that Pope Francis will travel to the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families in 2015 remain unconfirmed by the Vatican; however, ... continue reading


Catholic should be a way of life, not just a Sunday thing

Image of Catholic means universal. It's time to apply that to how we live.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To know the way forward, we must look to the past. As the very first chapter Ecclesiastes tells us, "there is no new thing under the sun," meaning that everything we think of as new is actually old and whatever we can imagine has been imagined, and even tried by those ... continue reading


Let the Holy Spirit Teach us How to Become Prayer Watch

Image of St. Paul wrote to the early Christians in Greece, telling them to pray without ceasing. (1 Th. 5:16-19) They did not live lives of ease, in any sense of the word. They had families, occupations, bills, and yes, difficulties and struggles beyond what many of us could imagine. They also suffered greatly for their faith. Yet, he instructed them to Pray without ceasing. Did he really mean it? I believe that he did.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

When the Spirit dwells in a person, from the moment in which that person has become prayer, he never leaves him. For the Spirit himself never ceases to pray in him. Whether the person is asleep or awake, prayer never from then on departs from his soul. Whether he ... continue reading


Pope Francis meets, blesses Sudanese woman condemned to death for faith Watch

Image of Meriam Ibrahim was sentenced to death for apostasy, but has since escaped her sentence and left Sudan.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has met and blessed the Sudanese woman who was recently condemned to death for her faith. Meriam Ibrahim was condemned to death in Sudan for the crime of apostasy. VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis has met and blessed Meriam Ibrahim at the ... continue reading


MIRACLE IN ENGLAND: God's face smiles over Norfolk, or is it Sean Connery or Karl Marx? Watch

Image of This image is suspected to show the face of God in clouds over Norfolk, however, it may also be the face of Karl Marx or Sean Connery.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The English have long thought themselves special, and a new photograph from Norfolk in England may just prove that God does indeed smile on the English. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Amateur photographer Jeremy Fletcher took an image that shows a face in ... continue reading


Pope Francis to visit Mafia stronghold this weekend Watch

Image of Pope Francis' stance against organized crime is seen as remarkable; the Mafia and the Catholic Church have previously been seen by many as having

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Incensed about the loss of innocent life in his immediate surroundings, Pope Francis plans to travel to the Mafia stronghold of Caserta, near Naples this weekend in an effort to set things right. The murder of three-year-old Nicola "Coco" Campolongo, a boy who ... continue reading


Pope expresses regret with exodus of Christians from Mosul Watch

Image of

By Elise Harris (CNA/EWTN News)

In his weekly Sunday Angelus address Pope Francis mourned the fleeing of the last Christians from the Iraqi city of Mosul, who were told by ISIS forces last week to either convert, pay the Jizya tax or leave. (CNA/EWTN News) - "They are persecuted; our brothers are ... continue reading


Your Catholic Voice Foundation delivers for Sisters of St. Joseph

Image of They're on their way, thanks to you.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An order for 350 Bibles for a Catholic school in Grenada has been shipped to the sisters free of international shipping charges, thanks to you, the readers of Catholic Online. The shipping charges stood at approximately $800, and was covered by donations. Now, Your ... continue reading


This is Ch__ch. What is missing?

Image of What's missing? You are!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What's missing from this church? You are! Are we mistaken? Show up and tell us you are already there and get your daily prayer and more for FREE as our thanks.Click here now to say you're there!Now you can share this question with your friends. Are they at church? continue reading


Unaccompanied migrant children need our help

Image of This is an image of immigrant children presently housed in conditions that would be unconstitutional for convicted felons. These children are without their families, alone and afraid and without control over their future, they are the victims of many culprits.

By Tony Magliano

Tens of thousands of children fleeing desperate conditions have entered the United States asking for help. And many more are coming. What kind of welcome is being offered to them? The answer to that question is still largely undetermined. According to Human Rights ... 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, Jeremiah 13:1-11
1 Yahweh said this to me, 'Go and buy a linen ... Read More

Psalm, Deuteronomy 32:18-19, 20, 21
18 (You forget the Rock who fathered you, the God who ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:31-35
31 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2014 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... 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