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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

School Marmalade

One would think that since we are in Ordinary Time now, it would be a great time to get our ducks in a row. I don't even know where our ducks are to line them up. We never did get that tarp on the roof. Thankfully, it has hardly rained, but that's not a good thing, really. Our garden is an overgrown mess again. That crazy morning glory has taken over both sides of the house.

I had a friend who used to say, "Every time you see a light at the end of the tunnel, they build a new tunnel."

There has been one great stride. Our plumbing, which is a constant struggle that often ends in a hallway full of raw sewage, is working better than ever, thanks to this clever device. It is an air plunger that shoots an air bomb through the pipes. It worked when we were at our wit's end. Even after a plumber had walked on the scary roof and snaked the drain the tub wasn't normal. It took so long for the tub to drain, no matter how fast we tried to shower, that we had to change our schedules around the tub drain time.

Now the tub is on Ordinary Time, too. We don't even know how to behave.

What is your take on public/parochial/Christian/homeschooling? I'd like to know a nun's official view. We're struggling to find the best education for our children and public school just isn't cutting it. Private is good, but on one, not very substantial, income it's daunting trying to find a place we can afford. Based on the tuition scales I keep telling my husband we need to have another child and convert in order to afford it.

I have said before that I think you are right out of your cotton pickin' mind to want to homeschool. Since you asked.

First, you have children of all ages. An actual teacher in a classroom only has to deal with one set of physical, social, psychological and educational needs. Everyone is learning to add or everyone is learning algebra. Everyone is learning to share or everyone is wondering about their first kiss.

At home, you may be learning to add, learning shapes, changing a diaper, surfing the internet, choosing appropriate reading material, reading it all yourself first for all six grade levels, or seven grade levels or however many school age children you have, burping the baby, American history, world history, growing an avocado tree with toothpicks in a paper cup, geometry, long division, cutting shapes out of construction paper, geography and trying to stop the baby from running out of the house naked.

And you still have to be the mom.

And you have to teach them all about Jesus and the Catholic Church.

Your home must be a little like the Italian plate act. You remember that. Some guy has a whole
line of poles and he takes a plate and puts it on top of the first pole and spins it and then he puts a plate on top of the second pole and spins it and the third and so on. By the time he gets to the fourth or fifth plate on the fourth or fifth pole, the first plate is slowing down enough that he has to dash back there and give it a good spin and then run back to the seventh pole and put another plate on and then he has to run back to the second and third poles and give them a spin and then back over to the sixth pole and spin that again and put on a new plate and then run back...

Welcome to home schooling!

Where did all the teaching nuns go? I don't know. They must be with our ducks somewhere.

My hat's off to homeschoolers. I wouldn't want to do it. I would much rather have a room of thirty kids or more all doing the same thing, except for that one kid who won't sit down no matter what I do (I'll just make him the window monitor and he can open and close the windows all day and grow up to be the school janitor). Children herd very well once you teach them how to make a straight line. Ducks have nothing on a roomful of second graders.

Since there aren't any nuns to herd your children into the fold anymore, it does seem to me that homeschooling is your best option, God help you. It's very noble of you to even consider taking it on.

There is a very special place in heaven for you, I'm sure. It's very quiet. All the chairs are comfortable and someone else makes all the dinners and brings them over to you. You are never tired and there is no dust, no clutter and no one's nose is running.


Anonymous said...

It's good to know there is a special place in heaven for me, since I am a noble homeschooler. :-) I certainly don't want to get into an argument with a nun, so please don't take this the wrong way - I am genuinely curious about about your perception of a public school classroom.

It amazes me to think that a classroom contains just "one set of physical, social, psychological and educational needs." Even in the small classes I have taught, the same-aged children have shared pretty much only two things: their age and the assignment I have given them. Everything else is different. The way they feel inside, their physical and psychological needs, the way they approach learning and the special needs they have related to that, the manner in which they interact socially ... They're definitely individuals, not herding animals.

Trying to manage the different needs of a class of children within the scope of a generalized curriculum is so much more difficult for me than facilitating individualized education in the comfort of my own home. And so I can honestly say my hat's off to school teachers. I don't know how they do it.

By the way, it's very quiet here in my homeschooling home. The chairs are comfortable, making dinner is fun with little hands helping, there's certainly no dust, I like clutter, running noses get promptly blown, and I'm only tired because I stay up too late reading blogs.

:-) :-)

Sarah - Kala said...

What Sarah said! God bless you, Sarah!! - another home schooling mum, solidly Catholic, and loving all of it!

Anonymous said...

I have raised four kids in the public school system and wouldn't change it for the world. I have found most-not all- but most home schooled children lack social skills. I have also found a chemistry lab cannot be properly made in the home. It is just too expensive and complicated. Nor do either my husband or I, both college graduates, have the ability to teach the difficult math and science subjects. Our two oldest children are both regents scholars and on their way to vet school. We could never have taught them the necessary back ground to succeed as they have. The two youngest are still in public school and doing very well.
They encountered peers with liberal views while still under our guidance. This has only strengthened our Christian teachings. They learned to stand up for themselves,as we all have to at some time.
That being said, I live in the midwest where most people have a church. Our schools have Christian based groups like TEC-teens encounter Christ and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Wednesday night is church night. A small school to the west has a 90+% Catholic student base, religion classes are held in the school. If I lived in a liberal area I might feel differently.
My point is do you really feel you are capable of teaching your child everything they need to know to succeed at whatever they want to do? Can you teach them all the necessary background to become a doctor? engineer? nurse? President?
If we keep hovering over our Christian kids, protecting them from every temptation then where are our Christian leaders going to come from? How will the child learn to resist temptations after leaving home if never exposed while still under our care?
Our kids are Christian examples to all they meet. They are our light, they are shining for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm glad you benefited so greatly from public school. And I'm sorry you haven't met the many charming, socially graceful, kind-hearted homeschooled children I know.

You asked about whether I/homeschoolers feel capable of teaching our children everything they need to know to succeed at whatever they want to do. No, I don't. I am neither a genius nor a walking Google. What I can do, however, is teach children how to go about learning everything they need to know about any subject they choose. I can organise specialist teachers, science classes in community schools, maths websites, mentors, work experience. I believe in teaching the learning process rather than the subject directly, even when I am leading classes outside the home.

I'm glad you are so proud of your children.

evenshine said...

I'm with Anon. Many moms can't do the homeschooling thing, and many don't really even do it. You didn't mention Catholic school, except to say that it's not done by nuns. Is Catholic school only good when nuns do it? It seems the parent should be considering the educational needs of the child, whatever form that education may take.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, my hats off to you. You've taught your children well despite not homeschooling them. It can be done - but I would venture to guess that you are the exception to the rule these days.

I don't really care so much whether my son learns physics or chemistry - although there are plenty of ways to give him a course in those subjects... what I care most about is his soul.

And I wouldn't farm it out to the public or private school system for anything.

God gave him to me and my husband and because we have the ability, resources and desire to teach him ourselves, I believe it is proof-positive that it is our vocation as parents.

Sarah - Kala said...

Anon - congratulations on your success. You have obviously not met many of the wonderful kids I've met who are home schooled. If it's done right, the kids get plenty of socialization (not that the family dynamics aren't enough for that - not to mention just exposing kids to the people on the streets, museums, community college classes they're signed up for, church groups, Boy Scouts, etc.). Fortunately, there are ways around the lack of a lab: community college. I had my eldest tested at Sylvan before enrolling him in the local high school - in many of his subjects he scored two years advanced. Of course, in public schools that doesn't count so he's a freshman. But fortunately, he is not struggling with the curriculum even though some of it can be challenging. My kids have been exposed to both types of schooling - BOTH need parental involvement for there to be success. My kids success is theirs - hard earned. I am a proud home schooling supporter!

Jennifer said...

Another "noble" homeschooling mom here.. I love this post! LOL! Yes, the plate act is EXACTLY how I feel with four students (kindergarten through middle school), a preschooler and a toddler! Easy? No, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

And to address the original question.. having another child and converting could be just what you need... ;-)

Jade Dunlop said...

I was raised in the public school system in a secular humanist household (no church!) and wound up being a happy, practicing Catholic. I thought my parents were going to pass out when I told them - at age 19 - that I wanted to be baptized. My point is that the most important things a kid can learn about life aren't taught in a school, but by the parents at home. If you provide a stable, safe and nurturing home for your kids they'll usually turn out to be fairly good people whether they attended private, public or homeschool...or not.

Claudia said...

I do not understand how someone can do all the work involved in homeschooling. I have a BS in Education and I know I could never do it. I have to agree that perhaps I could teach one thing or two but no everything. Another mystery is that the education system has all kinds of requirements and hoops to jump thru for teacher certification, so how can teaching be done by a person with a high school education?

Anonymous said...

I am a Catholic homeschooling mom and we are succeeding at it. We are also enjoying it. Yes, I am capable of teaching my children everything they need to know through highschool. Doctors, lawyers and engineers are made in college. Besides, there is a vast network of help available if I get stuck. Yes, life can get a little crazy but no more than anyone else's...just different. We might be very busy during the day but I do not spend my evenings stressing over homework. My children are free to pursue other activities.

My children have plenty of social interaction. They are active in sports, bands, church groups, theatre groups and other social groups. For the record, we did not choose to homeschool to shelter our children from the world. They are still exposed to plenty of negative influence but I have more time to spend counter acting it. I brought them home precisely because the teachers in classrooms of 28 plus kids were not able to address the individual learning styles and needs of my children.

In my experience, people who have the loudest opinions against homeschooling have done the least amount of research into the actualities of it. If you do not want homeschoolers to use the percentage of teachers who get paid simply to show up and teach a classroom of students who aren't expected to pass the class as our picture of public school then please do not use the small percentage of homeschoolers who live isolated lives and can't master the material to teach their children as your example of homeschooling.

Homeschooling is a great option for your children. The CCC lists the parents as the first and primary source of education for the child. There are tons of resources to help you do it successfully and homeschoolers test very high on national tests.

God bless you and guide you in your decision for your children.


Anonymous said...

The reader who said she couldn't afford private school for her children should go visit her local Catholic school. The four Catholic schools I've been associated with take pride in making Catholic education available to everyone who wants it. Scholarships are nearly always available--sometimes not for the full cost, but at least part. Sometimes families (or older students) work off their tuition through tasks like painting classrooms or other special projects. If your family wants a Catholic education, we can make it happen!
As for public vs. private education, I've done it both ways, and so have my kids. We vastly prefer smaller class sizes, more individual attention, more parental involvement, fewer social pressures, a commitment to public service and to our faith--all of which comes with our Catholic school. I admire those who have the strength of mind to tackle homeschooling, but I don't have the math and science background--and sometimes I don't have the patience! A private school is the best of both worlds, as far as I'm concerned.

Anonymous said...

It was fun to grow up in a school system where my father was a teacher and my mother stayed home and took care of matters at home, (and her schoolmarm background kept her up to date with all the educational activities). Certainly as my siblings participated in running, swimming, skiing, wrestling, debate, track, etc. band, choir, Girl and Boy Scouts, National Honor Society, academic teams, etc., there was no way that my folks would've been able to afford all the taxpayer-provided opportunities necessary for us to grow up with our well-rounded public school education to provide our society with entrepreneurs, artists, nurse, teachers, biologists, physicians, and nuns.

But, cannot argue FOR the Catholic school education though my mother had one, and cannot argue for any other situation. As a parent, someone has to go out and earn the money, unless independently wealthy, and someone has to be there for the children, and whether or not a scholastic program can be superimposed is the daily struggle for the homeschoolers.

But, I do have to say that my husband and I prepared our children for their formal education as well as we could and the kids knew how to read English, do math, and read music before they entered school, they could read the Bible and look up whatever they wanted to know about in the encyclopedia and knew the history of dinosaurs as well as the Latin names, etc, before they entered the kindergarten. And, yes, they were the kids that stared out windows while the teacher was doing group reading, and occasionally raised their hands to ask why samarinds circled counterclockwise, and if there was a ladder to God,

Schools provide a valuable educational program for the majority of pupils, and work 'really well' when there is strong parental involvement. As a parent, I could NEVER let a teacher dictate what my child would believe, because there was strong communication, and any school matter was discussed in depth at home. I strongly believe in the internet communication that can be made available in some well-funded districts with clear foresight.

Anonymous said...

I don't need to teach my children to be a doctor - that's what college and medical school are for. But I can teach them enough to succeed in college.

And as for sending them out: they are children, who often can't resist the temptation to put the booger on the wall instead of walking 2 feet to get a tissue.

FIRST we form them. THEN we send them.

slimsdotter said...

I bought a plumber's snake for under 20$ at the hardware store. I used it twice just yesterday and it makes me feel so frugal and clever. It is about 15 feet long, but I have never had to use more than one or two feet. It is very flexible and you just stuff it down the drain, and pull it back out. (Coat hangers won't work, I tried).( Also I have heard you can tie a wad of plastic grocery bags on to the end, and send it down your dryer vent to clear out lint. Haven't tried this yet.)
Perhaps your drain is plugged closer to the tub at the entrance to the main drain? I suspect my dishwasher drain deposits stuff at the outlet where my sink joins the main drain, so it tends to clog up. Yayy for the snake.

Anonymous said...

In my daughter's 4th grade public school class last year, there were 21 students ranging in age from 8 to 11 on the first day of school. On the first reading assessment, six students scored at 9th grade reading level (highest the test would score). Five others were ELL (English Language Learners), and three of those spoke NO English at all (Russian, Farsi, and Korean instead). Religions ranged from born-again evangelical through mainstream Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, and Muslim to fanatical atheist. Most came from "middle class" families but several children lived in million dollar homes. One lived with six siblings in an apartment, and one child was homeless for part of the year. Two girls started having periods by the end of the year, and another was placed in foster care due to sexual abuse. LOL about the one set of physical, social, psychological and educational needs.

Gray Eyed Scorpio said...

Thanks for your honest perspective.

I love teaching as a profession, and I certainly love my son. My husband and I both have advanced degrees, but we cannot imagine undertaking home schooling. We simply are not expert enough to instruct him in all of the essential areas.

Public schools certainly have drawbacks, but a student gets back whatever effort they put into their education, regardless of setting. We'll be supplementing cultural experiences and enhancing his education any way we can, but trusting trained professionals for his formal education.

(PS, I attended parochial and public schools.)

Anonymous said...

I have never 'farmed out' my children's souls to anyone. My daughter took on the history, yes history teacher, on the theory of evolution. He said she opened his eyes.
I am very exposed to many homeschooled children. My cousin had two, one who could barely tackle college after 'testing above age level' for years. The other who finally went to community college to get his GED.
I also have had several homeschooled families AT MY HOME for field trips. I found they couldn't answer simple questions because they don't have social skills. They would look to their parent to answer for them. Simple questions like, 'what's your name?' got blank stares. The lack of social skills has held consistant for several families in three different states.
I recently had my mom in the ER. The ER doctor told me he wanted to be a vet but found out early he wasn't going to be in the top of the class to get admittance to vet school so he became a doctor instead. The ratio of vet schools to med schools is roughly 1 to 4. If I hadn't researched which of my local schools provided the best education then maybe my kids wouldn't have been admitted to vet school. My son wants to do mission work after getting his DVM. My daughter has known since she was 8 she wanted to be a vet. You have to prepare the WHOLE child, soul, body and mind for his/her future. That is serving God in the parental vocation. I have seen a few homeschooled kids who were able to function as individuals not just extentions of their parents. The have been the exception, not the rule.
I am passionate about this because my cousin's wife, who was homeschooled, and took five years to get through college barely gained admittance to vet school. She was 'released' after just two months because of her poor grades. There goes her life long dream because she lacked the educational background to succeed.
Again, do you really think you are qualified to teach everything your child needs to know to succeed? My husband graduated college with high honors. He earned a duel major, one of them in education, and he KNOWS he couldn't have prepared our kids.
Again, this is being said from the midwest where I had options of multiple good schools to choose from both public and private.

DaveW said...

We live in a rather large suburban area with a highly rated public school system.

If God appeared before me today and said "Dave, you get one mulligan. Pick one thing over the last twenty years that you did and I'll let you do it over again differently." without hesitation I would choose putting my daughter in the local Catholic school rather than our wretched, drug infested, sex-filled public schools run by people that could not care less about your kids.

I'm not blaming every bad thing that happens on our rotten, immoral public schools. Just keep in mind that for 8 hours per day they're going to be taught that Christians are superstitious medieval morons. A lot of people manage to raise good, solid, well adjusted kids despite that. Some of us aren't strong enough to accomplish that and could use some help.

Either home school or find a way to get a scholarship for your kids into your parish school. If I had it to do over again I'd crawl through broken glass to do it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks be to God we are free to home school. My 13yo son spent this winter teaching himself calculus, just for fun, not as a part of his home school math curriculum (that's college level predictive statistics this year). I am a degreed engineer and my 13yo autodidact son understands calculus better than I ever did. In a public or private school, this child would be toast. Thanks be to God for our freedom to educate each child according to his or her God-given gifts.

And I have to laugh at Claudia and all the other certified educators out there. What you learned in your certification process is not about education -- it's about crowd control. We home schoolers are fortunate in that our crowds are smaller and more tractable, leaving us free to respond to each student individually instead of: Straight lines! No talking! Hold hands with your partner! Suzy go to the end of the line! Really, where do you see people behaving like that in real life? Where in real life are people segregated by the accident of birth date? Only in institutional schools. And you have the gall to gripe about socialization -- sheesh.

Maureen said...

I could write a book answering all the concerns raised here regarding homeschooling, but then again I already did that.

I would like to, however, answer one concern brought up by an anonymous commenter.

My oldest son, homeschooled all his life, earned a perfect score on his science ACT. He is a straight-A nursing student at Franciscan University with aspirations to go onto medical school.

Interestingly enough, I am not a science geek. I admit that I do not begin to have the science knowledge of my son (or my other children who are all turning into science geeks themselves). However, as their mother and the one who loves them more than any other human on earth, aside from their father, I make sure that I find the necessary resources to help them succeed. Science museums can help in providing lab experience. We participate in Science Olympiad. My high school kids utilize the Teaching Company lectures on DVD. etc.

Sister, I love the post. You are so right that homeschooling is not for everyone and that it is hard. But it is also amazingly rewarding.

My children are well-socialized, well-educated (90 percentile on their CAT's), and in love with Jesus and His church. Gosh, I couldn't ask for more.

Well, except for a nice long nap :-).

Anonymous said...

I've kind of experienced this issue from many perspectives. I was raised in the Catholic school system, my kids went to public school k-8 and now attend a Catholic high school. My husband and I are very active in our church and in their religious education. We chose the Catholic high school for them mainly because of the higher academic standards. However, I was also thrilled as I walked down the hall and saw the statue of Mary and realized they opened their day with prayer, and had mass occasionally.

One thing, however, that really stood out to me and to my kids is the other kids that came from Catholic schools. To say they are cliquey is really an understatement. Anyone that is slightly different is not to be talked to, at least not for a certain amount of time. There really didn't seem to be any kind of compassion taught to them, any kind of 'reach out to your neighbor' kind of thing. This really went beyond the typical clique-ness of high schoolers, it was downright mean sometimes, and there was definitely more bullying going on than in the public school. Honestly, I feel like the public schools here did a better job at teaching my kids compassion and loving action than the Catholic students apparently got. Eventually, my kids have 'broken in' to a group and they have friends now, but there were definitely some hurtful times. We never encountered such treatment in a public school, and truly, I don't think the teachers would have allowed it. Maybe I'm in a unique situation, I don't know.

By the way, I now have a second career, I'm a teacher in a public high school. I'm VERY grateful my kids are in a Catholic high school.

Anonymous said...

Remember that the principle is to take responsibility for your children's education. Methods differ, some parents homeschool and some private or public school but all of us want our children to have the best education they can.

insubstantial said...

In my view, the very small class sizes and lessened restrictions in Catholic schools often hurts them. I went to a Catholic school from Kindergarten-7th grade. I was eventually put in public school because the Catholic school was far behind and refused to cater to more advanced students.

At public school, I was able to advance and by high school, could take college courses tuition free at the local state school. In the end, it takes a motivated learner and parents who help make the student motivated. From then on, they can do whatever they want at school and that will determine how they succeed.

I agree with the cliquey statement as well. As I grew more independent, I became very liberal in my views which were completely not tolerated by Catholic friends who stayed in Catholic school. Sometimes they aren't the best learning environment because they are so single minded. In public school, each teacher had a different viewpoint.

As for homeschooling, I'm strictly against it. I hated high school but it would have been beyond a parent's ability to home school me. As I said, a little guidance and the kid will learn on their own outside of school. Give them some spiritual guidance and I'm sure they'll be a good Catholic or at least make an informed decision about their faith.

I have a cousin who is homeschooled by strict Catholic parents. She is the most socially inept and immature girl I have ever met. She isn't exposed to the world or conflicting views. It's good to have class with other Christians, Muslims, Buddhists from all different backgrounds. It's great to instill faith in a child but it's also great to instill free thinking and decision making. That way, when they continue in the Catholic faith, you'll know it's because they've given it some serious thought rather than just following the only path they know.

Claudia said...

Well, we certainly had a good discussion with that topic. It is good we can disagree, give opinions and without any bad word or rants....I guess that separates the the civilized from the fanatics.


Anonymous said...

You mean to tell me that all public school children are well-socialized and are never shy? They always look you in the eye and willingly give their name when you demand it?

Forget all the anecdotal evidence given here -- what do the studies say? The ones I've read say that homeschooled kids are just as well socialized if not more than traditionally educated children. But then it may depend on who is doing the study. Also, the stats I've come across indicate that homeschooled children score higher on academic achievement tests.

What it all comes down to, imo, is that parent need to have the freedom to choose homeschooling, private or public schooling. You know better than anyone else what is best for your child. (However, you do not know what is best for my own child.)

The CCC tells us that we are the primary educators of our children. Sometimes that means turning the academics over to others who are more knowledgeable than ourselves. Yet, it also means that we are to be diligent in their education, especially their spiritual and moral education.

So, I guess that means we are all homeschoolers no matter where our kids get their academics.

Heaven first, Harvard second.

Mary G said...

I've been a parochial teacher and my dh teaches now too ... I've had my children in parochial school and have also homeschooled ...

The more I homeschool, the more I appreciate homeschooling. I know that some children do better in school setting ... that some parents can't homeschool.

But, grace of God, we're able to have me home and home-educating the children while dh teaches in a diocesan high school.

The benefits to home-educating OUR children are greater than sending them to school. BUT, if that ever changed, where there is a better school than I can do at home ... than so be it.

But, as with all things ... we leave it up to God to show us the way and we then try our best to joyfully embrace His will.


Sarah - Kala said...

My gut instincts are that if people with degrees in education do not feel they can teach their own children, why the heck do you think you can teach anyone else's children? I think it has more to do with "I don't really want to teach my own children" . . . and I also think that's okay!

MacBeth Derham said...

Since many, many children have been educated at home, and since many (if not most, or all) of those home-schooled students have succeeded, and continue to succeed, becoming doctors, lawyers, engineers, musicians, plumbers, parents, priests, sisters, etc., and since most if not all have amazing social skills (as determined by several outside, unbiased studies), this discussion is a non-starter. When you begin with a premise like "XYZ does not work" and anyone, anywhere can show you example after example of XYZ working, and working well, how can you continue to say that XYZ does not work? I would not say that public education does not work; that would be just as absurd. The fact is that many models of education can and do work. I am not sure why there are people who continue to deny the obvious.

And chemistry at home is not difficult...working on it right now ;) .

Anonymous said...

SMM, there's GOTTA be a good Catholic Plumber somewhere in the area!

Anonymous said...

What a great discussion! I've enjoyed the points made by both sides. I homeschool my four and love it. Three of them are very well socialized. One is mildly autistic and thus has a few "issues" socially. A large number of special needs kids end up being homeschooled, so perhaps that sometimes skews perspective of how well-socialized hs kids are? My kids are very much into music and sport. The time they spend on those hobbies would make it difficult for them to attend school full-time. They have all made incredible progress academically since we moved them over from public school, despite the fact that I'm not the best organized. We often have 3-4 kids sleeping over on weekends, so socialization is not such an issue. I think most public school teachers are very good people and I have nothing against public school. It's just that I think I can tailor my children's program better at home.

Anonymous said...

One of my four was also mildly autistic and speech delayed. He had a fabulous special ed. preschool teacher in the local public school. She literally worked miracles. Our son is now in high school and an A/B student.
Did you know theatre/drama classes are a new "therapy" for autism kids? It teaches expressing emotion, voice inflection, eye contact, personal spacing, etc.
I am blessed my son's high school drama teacher is another fabulous teacher who has done amazing things for him.
Even if your child is very young use a home camera and your family to act out familiar stories. He will see himself and his behavior as it compares to others on your own TV.
I am sure God has a reward in Heaven for the parents of special needs kids. The secret parents of 'regular' kids don't know is how well the 'special needs' parents have already been rewarded.

Renee said...

I homeschool my five children. My eldest is going to college in August with a full scholarship - four years of tuition/room/board plus a book stipend and a summer abroad program. My youngest dd has ADHD and possibly other issues that were worse the year she went to school. My dh and I can't afford Catholic school or we would have considered it; never mind the fact that we've moved every 1-2 years for the past 17 yrs.

Claudia said...

Just to clarify....I am a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and a clinical instrucor for grad students in two program that are preparing them for their clinicl portion of of administration of anesthesia. I do not teach in a regular school area and never have. I think teaching people who really want to be there is great, and I do not get paid to do this teaching. I feel that it is something that is necessary to perpetuate the occupation/career. They need to know how to safely take care of people, make their patients surgical experience a good one, and alleviate pain, and complications and give them a good outcome to let them go home safely.

Anonymous said...

I apologize to "anonymous" for inferring that she "farmed out her childrens' souls" by sending them to an institutional school. That wasn't fair.
What I really mean is that if I were to send my son to a school - other than homeschooling him - especially where I live, I would feel as though I were giving his soul to someone else to form when I feel as though my husband and I are the ones that should be doing the job.

Bottom line is what "Macbeth Derham" said in her comment above mine here.

Yvonne said...

I believe we all tempt sin when we use specific instances to condemn, or even support a broad idea. Most parents are very concerned about their children. Sometimes they make decisions with little thought to alternatives. And sometimes they have too many alterntives to choose from, and hesitate to make a firm decision.

We have homeschooled, successfully, our three oldest and have two remaining at home. I have also taught high school CCD classes. In all instances, whether interacting with my own kids, public school kids, or Catholic/private school kids, they all just want an adult to be the adult. They want the truth. They was respect. In short, education comes from more than just parents, teachers, schools, parishes. Education should not be confused with just learning facts, and working figures.

Caution, please, and charity always!

Anonymous said...

Have you considered charter schooling? Most people don't know this, but it's often available for middle school - high school aged kids.

Helenrr said...

As a former homeschooler (16years) I feel that it is up to the parents of the child(ren) to make the best decision given the circumstances. God entrusted the souls, bodies and minds of my children to me, and I do not take this job lightly! As for those who disagree, well, that is fine that disagree with me, as long as one does not force me to live my life as one would decree it. I respect others differences of opinion, as I would hope they would mine.
We came (backed rather) into homeschooling because my daughter was quite advanced pre-kindergarden. After screening all the schools, realizing on one wage we could not afford private school, it soon became the choice. Since we choose this radical route my dd was able to skip a grade (well, actually do 2 in 1 year), was awarded a governor scholarship, and was the speaker for her graduating class in 8th grade (we did utilize a very unusual program providing homeschool materials and resource specialist in a public alternative school with an approach that recognized parents as teachers, each child is different). In hs she attended public school in her senior year, being the only student with an A in chemistry (we did modified labs at home, utilized local classes and the JC), and was in the top 50 students in her graduating class. She just graduated from SFSU. She is quite active in music, dance and much more. Whew...and that is just one kid. The next one was dysgraphic and the next one was in the middle, and after graduating 8th grade, is very successful in the local hs (the only one I would let him attend). This is just my family and I personally know many other families and kids that homeschool that are great and are the opposite (for the most part) to the negative examples given.
As far as missing a subject or not learning to do something, after observing the education in my state for 16 plus years, I had no qualms about teaching my dk at home. What we did not know we found the resources for, or utilized the local collage, or...there is tons out there. What it has shown me is that the educational system in this country needs revamping, that it is not the best and there could be a lot learned from the successful homeschoolers out there!
I personally know many public school teachers who are not threatened by homeschooling, who recognize it is up to the parents and who also know that in the central coast of California, it might just be a really smart idea. (check out news reports for Salinas, CA) I could go on..but won't. (incidentally, I include the local parochial schools in this negative assessment due to extra large class sizes, lack of Catholic teachers and solid Catholic teaching....)
All forms of schooling require the parent to be involved, and to find out if the local school choices are going to work for his or her child. If a parent is not cut out to take on homeschooling, they usually don't last long...and that is fine. It is not for everyone, but it should still be a choice.
P.S. We also had an awesome Catholic Homeschool Support Group including military and local families :)

Anonymous said...

My kids go to school in South Dakota- which I consider one of the hidden treasures of the U.S. Great schools, no state income tax, affordable family living and we haven't been hit hard by the economy like other parts of the country. The Sioux Falls Diocese is building up a fabulous retreat center called Broomtree. Wonderful people, clean air and open skies also make South Dakota great. Of course last week we had -41 degree wind chills but we are a toasty 37 degrees today!!! Is relocating a possibility?

Ouiz said...

I'm one of those crazy homeschooling moms -- 7 kids, 11 yrs old and under.

Yeah, it can feel like a zoo around here at times, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Suburban Correspondent said...

You are thinking of homeschooling as being like traditional classroom schooling, an understandable mistake for a teacher. I took many teacher certification courses and realize that most of those courses train you to learn how to manage a classroom full of kids. That is the skill essential to being a good schoolteacher. It is not a skill required of a home-educating mother, however. She just needs her own mothering skills, thank goodness.

I have never needed to read ahead for a child's lesson! If I don't already know basic arithmetic, I'm in big trouble, don't you think? And our lessons don't take any more than 10 minutes. That's because tutoring one child is vastly different from teaching 25 at once.

Sometimes it is a pain to be responsible for the children's basic education; but sometimes it is also a pain to change their diapers or cook them dinner. What homeschooling adds to my plate as far as responsibilities go is more than balanced out by the responsibilities it relieves me of: getting the children dressed and on the bus on time, volunteering in their classrooms, helping with their homework. Most non-homeschooling parents I know spend at least as much time on their children's homework as I spend on home educating mine.

As far as teaching them the Faith...the home is a domestic church, is it not? It doesn't take much more than living a Catholic life to imbue them with what they need to know.

Anonymous said...

I've done all three - I've got teens in the public HS, I homeschooled for 12 years, and I've got 2 elementary school kids in the local catholic school. I got tired of spinning plates (and the 8 year old HATED homeschooling) so I sent them off, and between the volunteer hours required (40), the 'profit dollars', the homework, the projects, the drop off and pick up, etc. I find that sending them off to school is as much work as homeschooling, but the responsibility of their overall education is less, and I like that they are part of a Catholic community, which I couldn't find for them while homeschooling. I know they're out there, but it never worked for us here. Homeschooling works best if there is a good community with co-op classes etc to participate in, an involved dad, and regular mom's nights out.

Anonymous said...

If I had to do it all over again, I'd have waited to have kids until age 30, after a successful stint into my chosen career choice, dropped 'out' during BEFORE the peak (high wage-earning) years, then after acquiring wherewithal for an independently wealthy lifestyle, would've had my 2.5 children, staying at home and gently guiding the little cherubs in the best way for each one's learning style for the next 10 years through entrance into college or whatever educational system allowed them to continue on in their own path to success in this life.

Too bad I didn't meet the exactly correct spouse who could have come up with and collaborated in this plan.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sister what do you think of plastic surgery for the dead? Yep, a little botox for uncle Frank so he can look 10 years younger in the coffin. What will they come up with next?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sister Mary Martha for your candid view of homeschooling. LOL It's not always easy or fun, but that's not the reason we do it.

I just had baby #9 2 weeks ago, my oldest just turned 14 last week and today they are doing their school work and chores just like any other day. With the exception that grading waits until mom and youngest sibling wake up from a nap and nursing session.

It's not for everyone. Some people just hate the balancing plate thing. I found public or private school made it far harder to balance the needs of even just my 2 oldest than homeschooling the entire clan.

For us, there's not a balancing act and there's no comparison to public/private school. This is just life as we know it and we are very happy with it.

One day, there will be no plates but my own to clean, no clutter or dirty faces to deal with. And I will miss these hectic, exhausting days and the kids that have grown up and out of my home.

Until then, homeschooling allows me to do more than just educate my kids in academics. It's a chance to have a million comversations and make memories that we might miss if they went to a school.

Sarah said...

Sending my kid to school was harder for me than juggling 3 kids at home. Keeping up with Funny Hat Day and Send in Money for the PTO and Sell Wrapping Paper and figure out why Kid had to "pull a card" (chewing on string from sock) get principal involved when Kid was harassed in washroom, get teacher to recognize Kid and figure out why Kid was so far behind in reading, get teacher to acknowledge Kid, get teacher to get back from lunch on time and teach, get teacher to finish prescribed curriculum, sort 80,000 pieces of paper from backpack every day AND get up at 6 am?

Oh no, I think homeschoolingis WAY easier. And with this kid, mroe successful too.

Anonymous said...

To the homeschoolers...you all described your choice of choosing this type of education for your children honestly and with a tone that was not judgmental.

I agree with whomever said that the *choice* of homeschooling should always be an option. Unfortuately, I have heard there are actually states where they are making it tougher for those who choose to homeschool. It's almost as if government is *afraid* of homeschooling. All, imo.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to all you homeschooler moms. It's amazing that you all think you're intellectually superior and a teaching degree is a joke and you don't need one. All those teachers that spent all that time earning a degree for nothing. Because of you, your kids will never see the diversity that makes up this world (and how to deal with it). They will know only your views through what you choose teach them and what you choose to shelter them from. They will see the places and people you choose for them to see or not to see. And good luck to your kids when they are of college age to know how to learn in a classroom setting and be socially mature enough to make it through college and actually graduate. You may all end up with children who are janitors (which is apparently a bad thing according to your precious Sister Mary Martha).

Jennifer @ Mom Spotted said...

While I tend to agree with a lot of the Anonymous poster said I think they could have done it in a much more tactful way that wasn't insulting. I think to each their own in the end. Our children, our choices.

Pam Barnhill said...

Well, I have a teaching degree and have been a very successful classroom teacher. With all due respect to the hard-working teachers out there who strive everyday to do a good job, it does not take any kind of "intellectual superiority" to get a teaching degree. In fact, I will strive to not let the narrowness of my teaching education and experience inhibit my ability to effectively homeschool my children when the time comes.

What the rude anonymous poster and many others often forget (or maybe never learned in history) is that mandated public education is a fairly recent invention. Until the middle of the 19th century, the vast majority of students were *gasp* homeschooled. A select few had access to private institutions. Homeschoolers include Ben Frankiln, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison among many others. Somehow they all managed to muddle through despite never having the opportunity to "see the diversity...yada, yada".

This grand experiment in public schooling has, for the most part, failed. There are those who manage to be successful despite the failures, and I applaud them. I also give thanks daily that I have the choice not to participate. In the words of Mark Twain, "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."

Anonymous said...

In the never-ending discussions of public vs private vs home schools, I like to remind one and all, we have indeed had homeschooled U.S. presidents. Google the history of public education in America and you'll see that it's an innovation of the late 19th century. Although schools existed before then, they were primarily church-run. By 1918 all states have compulsory education laws.

One of my favorite presidents Theodore Roosevelt was educated by a string of tutors because of his frequent bouts of illness. Abraham Lincoln had a few months in a one-teacher school and was largely self-taught. No one knows how or from whom George Washington was educated, but we have his school papers.

Given that our public educational system--lower and higher grades--seems to be vocational, I believe more time should be spent on what education means: preparing for a job in the marketplace? Or preparing for a life spent in giving oneself to family and neighbor?

Christina Bell Art said...

Lord help us... please! We have four children. We have carried on three generations of tradition by enrolling them in Catholic school. Now, with one in High School and three in grade school our tuition is over 20K a year and we are a middle income family. We are struggling to survive. Our children love their schools. They have become part of a beautiful family over the past eleven years. Their schools were founded by the Sister's of Charity but now the meaning has been lost. Tuition is phenomenal and sadly, if you cannot afford full tuition you are not welcome. There is no financial aid available to us... can't imagine why though... we don't make much money. We are so sad. Where is the answer to our prayer?

Though, were I to have to leave for financial reasons... I would join all of my friends who have left for such a reason and homeschool!