Formation of Children
Home-Schooling: Necessity and Feasibility
Public schools do not allow for God, let alone Catholicism. In addition, such schools may very well be infected with the enemies of God, among which are included: evolution, persistent temptations of un-chastity from half-naked classmates and sex-education, lying, via promotion of functional illiterates, contrary to the Biblical warning in Proverbs 12: 22: "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord: but they that deal faithfully please Him."
Private schools not affiliated with any religion offer no satisfactory alternative to public schools, even if the former are better than the latter. The admonition below comes from Pope Pius XI:
"It follows that the so-called 'neutral' or 'lay' school, from which religion is excluded, is contrary to the fundamental principles of education. Such a school moreover cannot exist in practice; it is bound to become irreligious." (Encyclical Divini Illius Magistri, n. 79).
Private schools, affiliated with a religion other than Catholic, cannot possibly serve the purpose either, regardless of whether or not the school acknowledges Jesus Christ as the Son of God. This same Jesus said, "Upon this rock I will build my Church” (Mat 16:18). Notice the singularity of the last quoted word; thus this unique Church, founded upon the Apostles and known for many centuries as the Catholic Church, dare not allow the precious mind and soul of a youngster to be molded by a non-Catholic religion.
What about Catholic schools? From my personal experience, and from what I have heard-read-seen, I believe that out of all the United States schools claiming to be Catholic, at most a very small percentage would meet the main criteria of the above Encyclical these days (Spring 2007). For those schools which would not, admittedly some advantage still exists in patronizing them, but not necessarily enough to warrant the expenses and travel. In particular, be very careful in examining the Catholicism taught there, because the Catholic Church in the last few decades has been - and still is - in the midst of a catastrophic crisis (the last two words attributed to the late Fr. John O'Connor, O.P.).
Catholic ambiences no longer provide elements for a growth in virtue, as in the ordered classroom taught by nuns in pre-Vatican II times
Treatments of the crisis in Church and/or in Catechesis and/or in "Catholic" schools abound on many websites and in print (TIA has links to some of those sites). Right now I want to mention two excellent articles, appearing currently on this same TIA website: Crisis in Catechesis and Yes, Crisis in the Church! both by Fr. Stephen Somerville. In the first, he offers Biblical foundations for religious home-schooling, and also indicates behind-the-scenes sources contributing deliberately and cunningly to the demise of our Church.
Given the contemporary rampant immorality in general society, it follows that by blindly sending children in their critical formative years to interact daily with unknown teachers, unknown peers in the classroom and school bus, parents run the great and real risk of having the children drift farther and farther away from the Catholic Faith and from civility - this in addition to the huge amount of time spent in travel.
Just as food, clothing, and shelter for children are the responsibility of parents, so is education. In examining conscientiously the arguments contained in the preceding paragraphs, the reader hopefully will conclude that, in the great majority of households, home-schooling is the only sensible and holy way for parents to meet their obligation in the learning arena.
Feasibility of home-schooling
While the project of teaching children at home is formidable, it is quite feasible; and of course it entails great personal satisfaction in observing the mental and spiritual progress of your offspring.
On a per-pupil basis, home-schooling can be accomplished at a tiny fraction of the cost incurred in a regular school setting, because in the latter you have no:
- Salaries and no fringe benefits for administrators, teachers, bus drivers, coaches, guidance counselors, librarians, maintenance personnel, nurses, psychologists, secretaries;
- Expenses for athletic equipment and uniforms, auditoriums, bands, cheerleaders' uniforms, gyms, interscholastic games, maintenance, majorettes' uniforms, parking lots, public address systems, school buildings, school buses, school utilities bills, stadiums, swimming pools, etc.
Besides books, tapes, and videos, much material is available these days, including teachers' manuals, tests with answer keys, and even entire curricula 1-12. Two suppliers are:
Home-schooling, a healthy solution for the formation of your children
Our Lady of the Rosary School ; 1010 Withrow Court ; Bardstown, KY 40004 ; Phone 502-348-1338.
Our Lady of Victory School ; 421 South Lochsa ; Post Falls, ID 83854 ; Phone 208-773-7265.
The same sources might also check homework and/or administer tests; and a high school Diploma is issued if requirements are met. There is also long-distance learning from home, via correspondence and/or computers.
It may be possible for a family to pool resources with other families, and to have older children teach some classes to the younger ones. Such teaching experience would constitute superb training for future parenthood.
The first task is to teach the child some elementary Catholicism by word of mouth, so he can pray as soon as possible. Along with this comes simple reading via phonics, and then simple reading with comprehension. This consists in asking the student to read, and while reading, to simultaneously try to retain the main points; at the end of an appropriate passage, he is asked to summarize what was read.
It seems to me that something of crucial importance is the ability to read with comprehension, coupled eventually with mathematical progress. As these abilities are gradually developed with increasing sophistication, the task of the home-teachers becomes much less arduous and much less time-consuming because now the student has the background to study virtually any other subject.
My congratulations to home-schooling parents and their children!
Posted May 2, 2007
The pleasure TIA has to publish collaborations of our guest columnists
does not imply that it endorses all the opinions expressed in their articles.
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