Sunday, September 14, 2008

Homeschooling: The Growing Trend

As I contemplated our 6th year of home educating our children this morning, a thought came to mind. Why is there such a growing trend in families resorting to this option for their children’s education? I know why I pushed to homeschool our children; one was to help our son get through school with dyslexia in one piece and with the ability to read like any other 12th grader at graduation. The other came as his sisters reached school age and Catholic education became too expensive for the household budget to bare. Then there was the period about the time our son was in high school when I became aware of the change in some of the children in our parish from innocent, kind and sweet-natured elementary students to having a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality as they climbed the grades in their schools. It became clear to me that these children had to change their personalities in order to fit in, not be noticed as different or weak. I also witnessed Catholic parents sending their children to the parochial school or parish religion program, but failing to take the time to be catechized themselves. The faith wasn’t being passed on, priests were not being raised, and Catholics were falling away in droves.

Maybe the reason many Catholic families are homeschooling now because they are called to do so. These parents saw something other parents aren’t meant to see, possibly. Maybe God has a plan for some to help others grow in the faith, by example or influence. Maybe the Church needs to be catechized anew and She needs to start from the ground up. After the Reformation, the Church didn’t stand up to the explosive changes caused partly by her own fault. The Church is human, of course, and she changes slowly, but the people saw a deep need in protecting and preserving her, so in response to this need, monasteries began cropping up with their main objective to educate the young.

So, possibly, the domestic Churches that home educate their children are like the monasteries of old, with the main purpose of educating the next generation; raising more priests, active citizens, and informed Catholic Christians.

The domestic Church homeschool invites those who do not feel called to home educate their children to not feel bad, inferior, or threatened, but to feel welcomed into their school rooms as those in historic times at the door of a monastery. We all have a role in God’s plan. Preachers, teachers, prophets, and kings.


Gretchen said...

Thoughtful post. I'm almost at the end of my homeschool journey, which started out a decade ago. I have often wondered if I had something to offer my parish via educating children. God willing.

Soul Pockets said...

Thank you for such a wonderful post. Our local Catholic School is working right along with us homeschoolers. I am grateful that they notice that one of the reasons parents are homeschooling is to keep the Church alive and well.

RAnn said...

I'd say the main reasons for the growth in homeschooling, both for Catholics and others are 1)the increasing difference between the values of the parents and the values the public schools are allowed to teach and 2) the increasing costs of private, including Catholic, education. Part of that can be "blamed" on the lack of teaching sisters; however the Catholic school I attended in 1971 had 35 kids in a class and one of the classroom teachers was only part-time (the nun/principal took her place in the afternoon and taught religion). The school had a resource teacher and two part-time moms in the library, and a part-time secretary. No one I know would put their kids in a school like that today.