Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Christine Sacchi

1/14/2014 (2 years 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 (2 years 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

Worldwide Christian persecution among four vital issues behind Pope and Russian patriarch's visit Watch

Image of Both the Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church have spoken out clearly to stop the

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

The first, historic meeting between a Pope and a Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church does not come from nowhere. Both the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate and the Holy See have been working on such an event for decades. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - In at ... continue reading


Can we set aside our differences?: Catholics and Russian Orthodox Patriarch unite for the first time in 1,000 years Watch

Image of Patriarch Kirill will meet Pope Francis on this historic day (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Vatican recently announced the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The meeting is set for Friday and will be the first time the heads of the Catholic and Russian ... continue reading


Oldest copy of Old Testament recognized as world treasure Watch

Image of The oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew Bible has been officially recognized.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The oldest surviving copy of the Old Testament was officially recognized as a world treasure by the United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Aleppo Codex is the oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew ... continue reading


More than a thousand 'super confessors' released by Pope Francis to tackle 'reserved sins' Watch

Image of One of the Pope's

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Those who commit "reserved sins," transgressions that are deemed especially egregious by the Catholic Church, will have another chance this Jubilee Year. Those who have committed such sins previously only pardonable by the Pope may now seek out the 1,142 ... continue reading


'What could happen if every church would rise up in prayer': Christians join before U.S. Supreme Court to call for prayer Watch

Image of Texas Loves Life stands to protect the unborn (bound4life).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christians stand together outside the U.S. Supreme Court to call other believers to pray the pro-life law passes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While the Supreme Court considers a Texas pro-life law, Texas Loves Life calls for Christians to pray for the fates of ... continue reading


If 'Jubilee doesn't arrive to the pockets, it's not a true Jubilee,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of In his continued catechesis on mercy as seen in Scripture, the Pope noted how the Jubilee year is an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

For Pope Francis, mercy is not just spiritual, but is something that ought to be expressed in concrete acts of service and in sharing one's goods with the poor, which was a key tradition during Jubilee years throughout Scripture. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


'You can't have Jesus': NASA accused of censoring use of Christ's name Watch

Image of NASA announces the use of Jesus' name in e-communications is a violation of the First Amendment (SacredHeart).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of the Praise and Worship Club, composed of NASA employees, were shocked to receive a notice from NASA ordering they cease to include Jesus' name in their religious e-mails. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of Jesus' name came up in May 2015, when ... continue reading


MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Santa Muerte gains popularity throughout Mexico - Will Pope Francis react during his visit? Watch

Image of Santa Muerte's popularity has spread throughout South America (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Despite the Catholic Church openly saying Santa Muerte is not recognized as a saint, the death saint continues to spread in popularity among Mexican citizens. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Santa Muerte is an absurdity," Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Mexico's ... continue reading


Bible-themed luxury resort to be built in San Diego? Watch

Image of Televangelist seeks to build Bible-themed resort (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Televangelist Morris Cerullo has been attempting to build a Bible-themed luxury resort for the past few years - and now there is only one more hurdle to jump. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After purchasing a foreclosed Mission Valley hotel, Cerullo's plans for ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 26:4-10
4 'The priest will then take the basket from your hand and lay it before ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:1-13
1 Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus left the Jordan and was led by the ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 10:8-13
8 What does it say, then? The word is very near to you; it is in your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 14th, 2016 Image

St. Valentine
February 14: Click Here for St. Valentine Prayer's Saint ... Read More