Ah, homeschooling. Yet another thing to be added to the “things I said I’d never do” archives. I would love to tell you how thrilled and excited I am…or that God has placed this on my heart for years and years but to be honest, that simply isn’t how things worked out for us.
I did all of my schooling in the public-school setting while Liam did his in a Catholic school. I had no qualms with my schooling and Liam really appreciated the classical education he got and the all-boys high school setting for academic purposes. He expressed interest in sending our children to gender segregated Catholic schools early on in our marriage. Of course, we had no idea how many children the Lord will bless us with (and still don’t) and quickly realized that it could get rather pricey if we had more than the 2.3 child average. Unfortunately, the public school I grew up in 20 years ago (gasp!) is not the same as it is today. Interestingly, both conservative and liberal parenting communities alike are realizing how inadequate public education is becoming.
By now it is no secret that more and more states are opting in to a mandatory LBGTQ history/awareness curriculum beginning as early as the kinder years. Some parents could pull their kids out (if the teachers chooses to block out lessons and not to integrate it into multiple lessons throughout the year) or fight the school system but the fact of the matter is this—the public school is just that—public. Catholicism (in its fullness) is counter-cultural so Catholics cannot expect an education system funded by a secular culture to teach Christian values. Sorry, but that’s just how it is. Then there’s the sex ed… I know what I was taught was completely contrary to Catholic values but again… public school is meant for the masses, not necessarily the faithful.
A more liberal mom-blog that I follow has been highlighting how many public-school teachers are leaving the profession at alarming rates. Teachers are citing their own hurting marriages and families as main reasons for this…why? Because they are too busy fixing the baggage their students come in to class with. Only in the past few years have teachers become the make-shift parents…where parents are actually emailing them asking for advice on sibling conflict, screen time, etc. Parents are quick to complain about their children’s behavior but slow to get their noses out of their phones and actually read to their kids (or turn off the TV). A home where children are being raised by mom and dad is becoming more of a myth than reality… and it is truly tragic. It doesn’t take a psychologist to know that family problems lead to poor formation in children and to be frank, I’m not willing to take on other family’s problems when my child comes home with a bad habit or attitude from a toxic learning environment or student.
The Catholic schools where I grew up were an absolute joke. My only truly Catholic friend from childhood went to public school with me (and could write much better on holding fast to faith during that time than I could) and we both sat appalled with jaws on the floor after hearing most of the stories from the nearby Catholic schools. Everyone knew the best place to get drugs and girls was at the Catholic high 10 miles down the road. And at this point, most Catholic schools have embraced modernism so heavily that it would likely scandalize the children more than public school would (I would rather have them taught no faith than a heretical one).
So…here we are. Between a rock and a hard place. The rock(s) aren’t going to budge in my favor any time soon so we are choosing the hard which is homeschooling. But! By God’s grace, it doesn’t seem so scary/appalling/annoying/overwhelming anymore! It has taken me a few years and many prayers to get to where I am today: joyful acceptance. Part of our reason for moving to KC permanently was so that I could be apart of a homeschool co-op that has been here for generations. I am so fortunate to be around many mothers and grandmothers who have homeschooled 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+ kids—some of whom are college bound or even college graduates with their own success stories to share. I have spent hours of research on curriculums and know when/in what subjects I will ask for help in, whether it’s from the surgeon at our Parish willing to help out with AP bio, or friend who teaches collegiate math for advanced calculus lessons (thankfully we won’t be worrying about that for quite a while, though!).
We have not come to this decision lightly. It has taken months of prayer and spiritual direction to know that this decision is right for our family (Liam has felt strongly about this for about a year now, I’ve only recently jumped fully on the bandwagon!). I know this will not be the same for every family—and thank goodness I’m not tasked with getting your children to Heaven, only mine!
If you had asked me in college if I’d ever homeschool (or heck even last year) I would have laughed at you. But when I laugh it seems like God laughs even harder so here we are, the Fitz 5, future homeschool fam.