On Ditching Homeschooling - It's Not What You Think
It’s perhaps disconcerting to think that, on this little website of mine, by far the most widely read post I have ever written was an April Fools’ Day entry titled: On DitchingHomeschooling. I suppose most people think we, well, have ditched homeschooling.
Let me clarify: although the school I teach at (I am currently on a parental leave) is a block and a half away, we still homeschool our kids. And we will continue to homeschool our kids.
It is tempting to simply make the excuse: we want a Catholic education for our kids. Of course we do. But I would be teaching catechism to my kids either way. It’s too important to simply pass off teaching the faith by handing it over to a teacher, even a good teacher. My eternal salvation, and that of my kids, can hinge on properly catechizing them. No, simply wanting a Catholic education is not the main reason why we homeschool.
The reason is, in fact, twofold.
What is avoided? Daily eating meals laced with arsenic. I have to be careful what I say. Thus, I will punt on the explanation and instead direct you to other sources. Read anything Anthony Esolen has to say on the matter, such as through his fine books (here and here). Or, Matt Fradd has an interesting interview with Steven Rumelsburg on the topic here. I am not saying we are to shelter our children from all evil. Not at all. But we are to give them a fighting chance in this life.
A young mind must be formed to think properly. First principles are needed. So too exercising the brain in logic, math (that makes sense), grammar, history, and yes, philosophy. The approach to learning which for centuries worked wonders for the Western world, until John Dewey’s progressivism invaded education in the 20th century, is why we homeschool. A classical liberal education (in the true sense of the term) is irreplaceable.
Further consideration: to make up for what is lacking. It is difficult to have good friends while homeschooling in a small town. It is also a challenge to experience sports properly. Extra effort is needed, such as renting gym times and having parents (especially dads) show up and teach the children new sports. Also, driving places to meet up with other good families is essential. Nothing is easy. But the best things in life require effort.
Homeschooling would be one of them.
NB: I am not attacking those who send their children to public school. Everyone has a different situation. But I am saying that, if you do send your children to school, you must be very involved as a parent.
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