Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Christine Sacchi

1/14/2014 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Living Faith

YOU CAN'T BELIEVE IT -- Is Pope Francis really about to endorse THIS man? Watch

Image of Although Pope Francis is celebrating Mass next to an icon of the Cuban revolution, that does not mean he is endorsing it.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Cuban officials have given the go ahead for the papal altar to be erected next to a giant outline of Che Guevara for the world to see. Work has already begun on the project and the placement of the altar will provoke commentary from those who accuse Pope Francis of ... continue reading


Catholic priest who blessed atomic bomb crews -- and his conversion

Image of

By Tony Magliano

Seventy years ago, on August 6, 1945, the single most destructive weapon ever unleashed upon human beings and the environment - the atomic bomb - was dropped by an American B-29 bomber on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing approximately 80,000 people. Three days ... continue reading


Pastor Tullian Tchividjian breaks his silence: Admits life felt like a bad dream after recent affair scandal Watch

Image of Pastor Tullian Tchividjian is the grandson of famous evangelist Billy Graham,

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida broke his silence after his recent moral failure admission and stepping down from his post. Billy Graham's grandson wrote an open letter to his supporters and friends, ... continue reading


Pope Francis warns of 'genocide' as Christian Persecution increases globally Watch

Image of

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Christians all over the world are suffering from increasing prejudice and persecution. It is no secret that Islamic extremism and repressive governments are trying hard to perpetuate the oppression of Christianity. Pope Francis has been moved to warn of "a form of ... continue reading


'Let Jesus satisfy your hunger for God': Pope Francis encourages people to make offers to God Watch

Image of Pope Francis reflected on the Sunday reading from the Gospel of John in which a vast crowd follows Jesus, but lacks enough food to eat.

By CNA/EWTN News

Jesus Christ's miraculous multiplication of the loaves shows that he offers "fullness of life for hungry man," Pope Francis said Sunday. He encouraged everyone to offer what little they have to God so that God can multiply their gifts and good deeds. Vatican ... continue reading


What to wear to church: What's more important, physical or inner beauty? Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Wearing your best outfit or putting on a little makeup in preparation for Church isn't too looked down upon. A leading Christian writer shared with Crosswalk.com what she has realized over years of church participation. Although she loves beautiful clothes and make-up, ... continue reading


'Nothing can separate me from the love of God': The first American Ebola patient shares his profound realization on deathbed Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

He was the first American who contracted the deadly Ebola virus - fearful and sick, Dr. Kent Brantly came to realize something important for Christians and their relationship with God. Amid the pain and moments of uncertainty, from being diagnosed positive with ... continue reading


J. Matt Barber: The Meaning of Life

Image of Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law.

By J. Matt Barber

So this was rock bottom. The day, which yet again wore into night with fast food and old Bonanza reruns, would end like all the rest. Where were my car keys? As I searched in preparation for another trip to the liquor store, I made my way to my bedroom and opened ... continue reading


'There is no hope, no life, no hope for an end': 'Donor fatigue' setting in among those helping Christians in Middle East fleeing ISIS Watch

Image of Refugees now realize that they will be unable to return to their homes in Iraq or Syria.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With no end in sight, "donor fatigue" is setting in for those trying to help Middle Eastern Christians fleeing ISIS. There appears to be no solutions, only increasing refugees and more need. The refugees' situation is only getting worse. Refugees now realize ... continue reading


Giant cross at veteran memorial to stay standing with game-changing agreement made Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Legal battle over the issue of a giant cross standing over a veterans' memorial has been a long and tedious fight, but an agreement may now put it all to rest, keeping the monument on the land. Atheists and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have filed legal ... 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, Numbers 12:1-13
1 Miriam, and Aaron too, criticised Moses over the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 12-13
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:22-36
22 And at once he made the disciples get into the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 4th, 2015 Image

St. John Vianney
August 4: St. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day - August ... 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