Monday, February 8, 2010

WE are the primary educators of our children...

according to the catechism and John Paul the Great, but what does that really mean?

Lerin is pondering this at her blog and in her life. A recent change was made in their household from home school to public. Catholic school is cost-prohibitive.

There are lots of reasons that public, private, or homeschool might be a good option for your family. Perhaps your family is like mine, unable to afford private school but knowing for at least one child it's not an option anyway because Catholic schools in the area do not provide exceptional child programs or the therapies your child needs to be successful. And while homeschooling may be a nice solution, you're just not a good enough teacher to pull it off. So you are public by default. Or maybe you've made great sacrifices in extras, added a second job or even limited your family size to be able to afford Catholic school. Maybe, you're disillusioned by both and feel that you have to homeschool. Maybe your decision is one you made long ago and will stick to come "hell or high water" or perhaps it's ever evolving.

For our family, even without Shelby's needs we make too much to qualify for financial aid but not enough for tuition. And in these tough economic times, more and more families that might have qualified for aid just a few years ago no longer do. So, what's a good Catholic family to do?

I have found much peace in praying for discernment and realizing that, at this time, God is directing our family to public schools. We take very seriously the charge to be the primary educators of our children. But we also feel that for our family, the academic needs (in addition to Shelby's "special" ones) would be much better addressed in a classroom setting by a teacher. We would still be front and center with homework and classroom participation (I decided long ago to be the classroom mother for all my kids' classes). And family time is still a priority, a chance to teach and pass on the values we want our children to have.

People like to confront me with lots of objections to a public school education. (For the record, I was exclusively publicly educated, as was my husband who is a public school teacher.) The most common objection I hear is that my children will be victims of secular culture and will fall prey to bad influence. In addressing the secular culture question, I have to say that unless your children NEVER leave your house except to go to church, they are exposed and could potentially fall victim to secular culture. A simple trip to Wal-Mart will expose a child to more secularity than one can imagine. But by showing our children what is of God and what is not, we can combat this. The same way any other parent can if he or she chooses to do so. As for falling prey to bad influence, yeah it's a risk (one that Catholic school children are also in danger of facing) but along with that risk is great oppurtunity. My children have the chance to be the light for those around them. They have the potential to live a Christian life in public and show others the value intrinsic in it.

I can't in good conscience say that our decision is perfect, no one's is in all ways, but it works for us. It is what we are called to do. That may change as we allow God to direct our paths, but for now we are at peace. We are teaching our children what it means to be children of God and walk in His pathways, we are assisting in the academic realm and we are the primary educators of our children.


Kristi said...

We are in the same boat as you. The Catholic schools cant provide the services that our kids need.

But, I'm not to worried about it. First of all Jesus didn't hang out with the "righteous" (he was actually a bit critical of them;)) Instead he hung out with the commoners:) Nothing is more common than public school:) Secondly, I know of lots of kids who were protected constantly as they were growing up. And the moment they got out into the real world they crashed and burned. If your child only sees good, and is only around people that are like them....what do you expect to happen when they get out on their own? They dont know how to deal with it (sure you told them how to deal with it.....but did they have an opportunity to practice it?)
And lastly, a lot of private school kids are arrogant and think they better because they have the opportunities other kids dont. They think that they are "really good Christians"Arrogance is an ugly thing and lots of "good Catholics" are very arrogant in their attitudes about themselves and others. I have a "good Catholic friend" that honeslty beleives that Im lucky she is my friend, that she is better than me. Please!;)

SAHMinIL said...

I came across your blog via a google blog search. I was looking for "Catholic Homeschooling" this post made the radar because of my search terms. I just wanted to say well said!