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Catholic Education in America: Homeschooling is Not the Problem Comments

The "Catholic schools vs. Homeschool" attitude is tragic. Those who insist that Catholic parents have an obligation to send their children to Catholic schools need to stop guilt-tripping parents and impugning their motives and deal with reality. We're not the enemy of Catholic schools - we are Catholic schools. Continue Reading

31 - 40 of 87 Comments

  1. hartwood
    3 years ago

    Homeschoolers are very well prepared for college, that's a given. The cost of a Catholic education is steep, too much for most. I was shocked to hear of free Catholic education in Witchita. They have their priorities straight.

  2. holyfamilypray4us
    3 years ago

    First off...A most grateful "thank you" Mrs. Hartline to your husband for his service to our still great country, and to you and your family for your great sacrifices during his time of service. There is no way to adequately express our appreciation! And as a good friend of mine says, "May you be rewarded with many fluffy feathers in your nest in Heaven", for writing this article and many thanks to Catholic Online for running it and putting the video of the Raleigh Bishop's homily with it.
    WOW! Such a shot in the arm for this battle-weary family. My older children deeply appreciated it! I've been following all of the comments and am very renewed by so many showing an awareness of what is going on in our country's politics, schools, Church dioceses, and within the "Domestic Church"-our families. The majority of the comments thus far have repeatedly hit the same nail with many excellent, yet, different hammers. I'd like to add two points. We have ten children and counting...the Church teaches to only postpone pregnancy for seriously GRAVE reasons...and we, as parents, are the primary educators of those children. This "education" of which Canon and Catechetical law speaks is NOT refering to a K-12/college degree. (God doesn't require that before allowing us to take His entrance exam) It is referring to LEARNING to know, love and serve God in this world to be happy with Him in the next. (yes, that is from the ever faithful Baltimore Catechism) The reading/writing/arithmatic education, IF available at all to the individual, is to be used to aid the Catholic in teaching others to know, love and serve God, etc... The second does not exceed the importance of the fact if the first is not the goal of the second then the second does one absolutely no good and can actually be the very death of one's soul. My second point to add has to do with the receptivity of our priests to the homeschooling family. I've been at this for many years (our oldest is 18) in the same town... and parish ...with a school. The priest (or bishop) who ACTIVELY pursues holiness in their own prayer life and priesthood truly recognize the potential good to be had, and the unique contribution which is made to Holy Mother Church by Catholic homeschooling families. The priest (or bishop) who looks at their vocation as a 9-5 job sees the same families as a threat to their authority within their parish (or diocese) and a constant reminder pricking their conscience to live their vocation more authentically and faithfully Catholic. May we all be faithful to God, by His grace and keep our priests(this includes or bishops and Pope) in our daily prayers...their vocations are under attack in this spiritual warfare even more so than the traditional family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us; St. Michael, Defend us!

  3. John Gerardi
    3 years ago

    Great article. Really spot-on. As a formerly-homeschooled law student, this was a really wonderful read. The only thing I will point out is that Fr. Stravinskas was only REPORTED to have said that the pastor has the chief task of catechizing kids; he was not QUOTED to have said so in the OSV article. I think he makes a good point that the pastor has a unique and special task of catechesis for his parishioners, and that this task is derived from the Sacramental grace of Holy Orders; it is different from the obligation of parents to educate kids. However, I personally doubt Fr. Stravinskas, as wrong and as short-sighted as his opinions were, actually would be rejecting Vatican II's position here. What he overlooks is that a lot of pastors and a lot of schools have abandoned their obligation to teach the Catholic faith.

    He says that to homeschool shows a lack of trust in Catholic schools and pastors. DING DING DING! Correct! In many cases (not all), we don't trust them, we have no good reason to trust them, and parents shouldn't put their kids' souls on the line for the sake of engendering a false "trust." My parents lost trust in our Catholic school system after there was a debacle with horrible stuff taught in a sex-ed course for 4th graders in the elementary school, and after several big marijuana busts at the high school (which was loaded with heterodox religion teachers anyway). We lost trust in our pastor when he gave Holy Communion to a female Protestant minister who had delivered the homily at the Mass. Don't leave your kids' souls in the hands of people who would harm them!

  4. JeanCatherine
    3 years ago

    Check out the Cardinal Newmen Society. Excellent website about who is traditional when it comes to Catholic Colleges.

  5. Judy
    3 years ago

    Dear Carl and others concerned with the quality of education pursued at home,

    Sandor's beautiful response says much of what I would respond with regard to homeschool education. I would only add that homeschool co-ops and other connections in the community provide wonderful resources for things such as Biology lab (our sons did dissections on the kitchen table along with four other homeschooled children, and it worked just as well as the lab tables in my Catholic high school.), foreign language study, and higher math. Home Science offers more than enough options for thorough Chemistry and Physics labs, as well.

    As the product of Catholic education from first grade through law school, I can attest the the high quality of education in secular subjects that I received in the Catholic schools in the 70s and 80s. My faith, however, was received at home. The things I was taught in high school religion with regard to contraception and other Catholic morality (by a nun, no less!) were shamefully contrary to true Catholic teaching.

    Nevertheless, my husband and I decided to make the monetary sacrifices necessary to send our children to Catholic schools. Our oldest two children attended our parish's Catholic elementary school in the beginning. But more than 50% of the students in the school were non-Catholic, and the independent board felt it more important to cater to the non-Catholic sensibilities of the parents of those children than to provide a Catholic education to the parish's students. Our children were offered the opportunity to attend only one Mass in the 4 years they were in that school. And I do not need to address the other deficiencies we found. I can see that unfortunately, many others have had similar experiences in many places around the country. A wise parishioner said to me that he understood completely why parents were pulling their children out of the parish school. If they were paying for an education at a Catholic school, they should be receiving a Catholic education. If the school doesn't offer a truly Catholic education, it is very little different from the nice little Christian school down the road. And the school board seemed okay with that. But my husband and I felt called by the Lord to sacrifice more of our time and talent and less of our treasure for the sake of our children's souls. We wanted to offer a much richer fare than was on the parish school's table: a Catholic education in which the Faith is integrated into every subject that we teach.

    And that is what is most important. The buck does not stop at the parish school when my husband and I stand before God and report our efforts to impart the Faith to our children. It stops with us. God has entrusted six souls to our care, and we are obligated to give them the Truth as taught by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. And nothing less. They were receiving much, much less at our parish school. And they receive much, much more from our family's home school using authentically Catholic materials from Kolbe Academy and Mother of Divine Grace/Emmanuel Books.

    After 8 and 10 years of homeschool education, our two oldest children are both dean's list honors students at Catholic universities. One is very open to the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood. Our third child will start high school at home in the fall. And I am confident that the Lord will continue to bless our efforts, and hopefully through them, the Church, with His loving care and guidance.

    I know that there are orthodox Catholic schools in the United States. And I would love someday to be able to live near one and send my children there. In the meantime, the only fully-integrated Catholic education available to my family is in our family room.

    In Jesus through Mary,

  6. italianeyedoc
    3 years ago

    My only child (adopted) just graduated from high school. He was in Catholic School from kindergarten through 12th grade. All three of these schools were diocesan affiliated schools. His academic and social education was excellent. We were blessed with a child who has not only been physically challenged, but academically and artistically gifted. We were pleased with his education. However, the religious education he received was abominable. It has been a continual struggle for us as parents to teach and exemplify the true Catholic faith at home. We had to teach him to say the rosary, about sacrificing during lent and abstaining from meat on Fridays. He never learned these things in school. When in high school, he had lay religion teachers who promoted their own beliefs with regard to the mass, Catholic tradition, etc.. For example, one teacher talked about how he hadn't been to confession since 1990 (this was in 2009 mind you) because he can't see how a priest who is just a man, can forgive his sins! He then proceeded to mock and criticize the Tridentine mass and tell his students why he was so glad that they got rid of that "piece of crap. It was a joke of a ceremony. No one knew what the hell was going on!" Those were his exact words. I complained to the prinicipal. The teacher toned it down, but never corrected what he said or admitted how wrong he was to say such things. Of course, there were also non-catholics (some of whom professed atheism) in the class and joined in the mockery, which he also did not correct.
    My son never learned what a sacrilege was. He was never taught that should he miss mass or commit any other mortal sin, that he should go to confession before receiving communion again. Some of his religion teachers told his classes that all you have to do is tell God your sorry; you didn't kill anyone. And then they had a social justice course that made Nancy Pelosi's views look like a right-wing evangelical christian! I got my son excused from this course and had him take a church history course instead. While it was better than the social justice course, I found the text book to be far to the left also. This textbook took every opportunity to promote church reform by finding fault with the Catholic church of the past two millenia. I had to go through the textbook and correctively discuss the propaganda with my son.

    My wife and I are the products of catholic education from the mid-1950's. We hold fast to what we had been taught both formally and by tradition. My tuition was $10 per year to cover book rentals at that time. Of course, my father's take home pay was only $50 per week at the time. Our teachers were nuns, Missionary Zealatrices of the Sacred Heart. They were excellent in every way. I pray they are all in heaven and wish now that I could thank them for the gift of Catholicism that they gave us.

    I don't truly believe that many or our current bishops understand why catholic schools are dying off in the United States. The examples I gave of my son's experience clearly demonstrate to me that catholic schools are anything but catholic anymore. If there had been a good public school in our area, I would have sent my son there. At least there he would not have gotten any religion, and I wouldn't have had to argue about who was right--- the teacher or his dad. I am by no means a theologian, but I am a traditional, orthodox Catholic who is less than perfect, but a forgiven, striving member of the flock.

    My son goes off to college in September. You guessed it. He is not going to a Catholic college or university. I pray, and I hope you will pray for him too, that he remembers the faith my wife and I taught him and continues to practice it. Catholic bishops, please give us back our real catholic schools so someday my grandchildren can grow up to be real catholics!

  7. Theo
    3 years ago

    We have educated all five children in the Catholic School system within our community. Our university aged children still faithfully attend weekly Mass, sometimes celebrating daily Mass, and sharing in a personal relationship with Jesus our Christ.

    Much to the chagrin of our traditional faith community our children are fully integrated, active, and alive in our Catholic Faith. Many home-schooling families and parents have told us through the years that Jesus would spew our children and us from his mouth because we chose to send our children to Catholic schools. Honestly. We have on numerous times had to defend Catholic theological teachings of Catholic school teachers from blatant lies, exaggerate gossip, and false accusation against teachers.

    Have we met misinformed Catholic School teachers? Absolutely. Have we met misinformed Home School parents? You betcha.

    Catholic School are wonderful. Catholic School Teachers have been and currently are a blessing to our children and family.

    We are all members of the Body of Christ.

  8. Eileen Frances
    3 years ago

    Excellent article. I sent all four of my children to Catholic elementary and high school and have said often that if I were starting now, I would home school, for reasons of both cost and curriculum. Unfortunately, Catholic teaching does not occur regularly in Catholic schools. I could never surrender my children to government school where their souls are ignored. I pray for all of the families that struggle and sacrifice to provide their children with a Catholic education.

  9. KK
    3 years ago

    Dear Bishop Vasquez, Exactly how many subjects in your Catholic Schools are CATHOLIC? The means of receiving Federal Funding did not justify the end of throwing out Catholic teaching from the schools (except Religion class.) When the Bishops did that, it was the beginning of the end of Catholic education. Don't blame us, we just want truly Catholic Teaching in ALL subjects, YOU made a deal with the...Feds and we all lost. Fix it. We may come back.

    respectfully, a product of 1970's and 80's watered down Catholic Education and now proud homeschooling mother of 10 CATHOLIC kids

  10. K Bowen
    3 years ago

    This is a good resource for more information on the Church's support and encouragement of Catholic Home Schooling.

    Thank you for the fantastic article.

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