Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Juxtapositions: Homeschooling

January 26th, 2018 by G.

I’m a mom of three homeschooled children. My older two daughters are living at home and attending local universities, and our youngest son is still homeschooling and taking classes at the community college to fulfill some high school requirements. Because of this arrangement we have a close-up view of life on campus in our Age of Discontent.

My eldest began her college experience at a respected Catholic university and transferred to a much less expensive public university, after she discovered that life on the Catholic campus was about little more than casual hook-ups, drinking and the disease suffered by seemingly all post-millenials: Social Awkwardness By Cellphone Disorder. We were all shocked by her experiences at that school and steered her sister away from it and to another, smaller, Catholic college where we hoped for a different experience.

Nope!

A Dreher reader. Bad colleges, but a homeschooling success.

She continues:

We have friends here, a family of incredibly faithful Catholics. Members of our parish. Active in ministries. Kids in church every Sunday. The oldest went to [prestigious Catholic university] and has completely lost her faith. The second went to [local Catholic college] and is fallen away and living with a drug dealer. The middle child is a drug addict living on the streets. The youngest is still at home but the entire family has stopped going to church and has decided, based on the youngest child’s direction, that atheism is the rule of the day.

I’m not kidding, this is all TRUE. And they began homeschooling their middle and youngest children years and years ago. so that was no protection. I mean, my Lord!! The father is from a large Catholic family and has a brother who is a priest! It’s not uncommon that this is what happens to Catholic families today.

If our children stay faithful once they are adults I will be shocked. And why?! Not because we haven’t tried. We’re active in church. Faithful attendees. The children have participated in liturgy, service and religious ed. I teach them more re here at home. We have media limits. No cable. No violent video games. Limited social media and no cell phones before 16. Grace before dinner. Observe the liturgical year celebrations. Fast during Lent. Discuss everything, address all questions, admit to our sins and un-knowing, ad nauseam. To the point of mental exhaustion because, as you know, three teenagers in the house is quite a trip.

And yet! The world just pulls them in! It’s inexorable and my husband and I feel completely helpless in the face of it. But we still try and I guess that’s something. Isn’t it?

Not a homeschooling success. I’m afraid for my kids like the woman is.

Comments (4)
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January 26th, 2018 07:58:38
4 comments

Bookslinger
January 26, 2018

Oh man. I recommend reading the whole thing at the link.


E.C.
January 26, 2018

Y’know, that’s a risk of teaching children to think for themselves – that they will choose differently than you did.
On the other hand, if they’re able to think things through and have an interest in searching for truth (not just the most popular recent opinions), then it’s likely that they’ll find their way back to it even if they wander lost for a while . . . the caveat being that most people aren’t really interested in seeking out and finding truth, because the truth can be hard to stomach.


Agellius
January 26, 2018

“If our children stay faithful once they are adults I will be shocked.”

I, on the other hand, would be surprised if my kids turned away from the faith. They’re in their 20s, one graduated from a Catholic college and the other soon graduating from a state school, and still going strong by all appearances.

That said, conversion must happen with each person individually and there’s no way to guarantee it will happen. In earlier times being Christian was more or less the default, and people claimed the name regardless of whether they had actually experienced conversion, if for no other reason than not to appear eccentric. Whereas nowadays, professing oneself a Christian is the eccentric thing to do. So it takes an effort to do, and one needs to feel that it’s worth it, meaning you’ve got to really believe it. The fact that more kids fall away today doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s harder to be a devout, committed Christian today than at any other time. It’s just that the lukewarm ones are not as afraid to drop out as they used to be.

I have long been aware that modern institutional Catholicism is largely corrupt, especially colleges and universities. As Dreher points out, there are some places where that isn’t the case, but where I live it has been true for a long time. But I was aware of this from the time my kids were young. We sent our kids to our local diocesan school since we had a good pastor, and at least there were crucifixes in the classrooms — it was important to us that they be in a place where the faith was assumed true, and secularism wasn’t.

However by the time my older son was ready to start high school, I had a strong feeling that the local institutional Catholic high schools weren’t going to cut it. I began searching for an alternative, and found it, albeit on the opposite coast. We flew out there to visit the school, liked it, and were on the verge of moving across the country for the sake of our son being able to attend a school that wasn’t lukewarm about the faith — when we discovered that a similar school had been founded in our own backyard, rendering relocation unnecessary.

My point is that you get what you pay for, in a sense. Someone who is fervent about his faith should be able to detect when a school is not. It shouldn’t be something you don’t notice until after your kids’ faith has been destroyed. Where there no warning signs? Did you visit the place beforehand, talk to people, read their website? Have you not heard of The Newman Guide [link]? Were you willing to do whatever it took, go wherever you had to go, to avoid places like that?

I have a simple test for judging how good a Catholic school is likely to be: Read their mission statement. If it says things like, “We educate the whole child in order to build global citizens” and claims (as an afterthought) to do so “in the Catholic tradition”, turn and run. Whereas a good school will say things along the lines of, “We’re here to help parents impart the true Faith to their children in faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Church and under the patronage of Our Lady — oh, and we’re also good academically” — where faith is the main thing and not an adjunct.

Yes, it’s awful that one has to be careful and can’t rely on Catholic institutions to be, well, Catholic. But there are good institutions out there, you just have to be willing to find them and go to them.


Agellius
January 26, 2018

This is the link I intended to insert in my comment:

https://cardinalnewmansociety.org/program/the-newman-guide/

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