Saturday, March 9, 2013

~Homeschooling Reflections: An Article from the Archives~

Hello there!
Welcome to my corner of the web on this lovely March Saturday! 
 At this point in the school year, I've been feeling the need 
to rethink much about our goals, our daily schedules and 
home rhythm. What we have accomplished and in the time left before our much needed summer break, what is left of our curriculum to learn, enjoy, master, explore? 
I'd love to share  my 
 article which appeared as the "Parting Glass," in 
 the one-of-a-kind Mater et Magistra.
~From the summer 2011 issue~

"Without Which …"

          Our homeschool is electric, alive, brimming with clarity, energy and momentum. There are bolts of lightening and swells of creativity. They are so real, so palpable.
Tut exhibit Dec 2010 NYC
          In my dreams.

          Oh, there are strings of moments, yes. Sometimes these moments  even tumble into hours. There are occasional Thoreau-like jaunts into the woods wherein we produce. We compose. We invent. We revel.
          But very few bolts.
          Sometimes, the productivity, the insightful nature of our work, is actually startling! Making the uninspiring times all the more empty and frustrating.
          Inspiration, it seems, does not come in a bolt. Nor does understanding, nor the patience required of each family member to the others. Nor the rhythm that is the framework of a homeschooling family’s day. It comes quietly, slowly. It requires opportunity to flow. Optimally encouraged by introspection. And of course, by begging guidance from our Lord.

Christmas 2009

          Educating a child’s mind is a primary goal of education. Yet, the heart, mind and soul each require educating. We all know this. Ponder, though, our country’s educational system. It emphasizes memorization and acquisition of unrelated facts. It is, arguably, a failing system. Yet it is the heart and soul of a child that we, at home, touch.
          A well educated child has a heart for lifelong learning. This child, through our vocation of homeschooling, we pray, will not only be equipped with the skills he needs to learn for a lifetime, but, to directly and indirectly, evangelize others in the Faith along life’s journey.

Spiderman does his math 2008
          Education at home works so well because parents naturally dedicate their hearts and souls to touching the hearts and souls of their children. We can’t and shouldn’t make a child into what a curriculum designer thinks he should be. We are not on a state committee, regulating a standard one size fits all text book of facts. Conversely, we have been given the blessing of tailoring the curriculum to our child’s needs, interests and to our family’s faith. To help our children become as close to the ideal image God has in mind. Working everyday toward raising up children who are not solely academic fact gatherers, but soul-healthy worshippers of God.

          As we seek direction in our vocation as parents and educators, we will be brought to our knees praying for God’s direction for our children and for our families. Our children will, thus, learn to seek direction, as well.
          I have found, in my family’s homeschooling journey that I need to learn to be dependent on the Lord. Frequently. THAT lesson may take me a lifetime. The bad days teach me humility. They teach me that without Him, I am merely losing my temper and checking off items on my self-inflicted-I’m-my-own-worst-enemy checklist.  Without Him, I cannot begin to accomplish the daunting task of educating my children in the Faith.
          With Him, I can do all things. WE can do all things.
          Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. It is the undeserving who requires it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. Exactly at that moment when hope ceases to be reasonable, it begins to be useful.
          G.K. Chesterton

          The bad days?  We can take those days with their imperfections, their clutter, their out-of-rhythm jolts, and place them at the foot of the cross. We can beg the Lord to soften our imperfections, to make us more merciful, more tolerant. More in His image.
          We can ask Him to educate US in an atmosphere of love, as it becomes evident that home education is not only about the education of our children. It is also about us, we find, along the journey.
          How much of the Punic Wars do we really recall?  Formula for the area of a circle? Solving for an unknown with fractional coefficients? How about Claudius’s mounting remorse toward the climax of Hamlet? Or Linnaean taxonomy?  Isn’t it beautiful, crystalline, really, to rediscover this world of knowledge with our children? But isn’t the beauty of growing in, more importantly, humility and charity, a shining truth for us? Growing in the virtues, as a family.
Christmastime in NYC-St Pat's Cathedral 2009
Without love, without charity, there is simply and completely, nothing. Without this, this foundation, upon which our days rest, our children are just robots gathering facts and spewing information. 
          With love, charity and the Truth and alongside the spirit and the story of our Savior, well, with these, they are armed with the foundation for a well lived life.
          Love for Jesus, charity toward our family, this is the one necessity of each day. Once this is embraced, isn’t it clear how our day falls into a rhythm and grace that is the path on which He leads?

Charity is that with which no man is lost and without which no man is saved.
          St Robert Bellarmine – Patron saint of catechists
March 2012

Oct 2012

May 2010

Reprinted from summer issue 2011~ Mater et Magistra

Thank you, friends, for visiting....... I hope you'll visit again next week to enter 
my book giveaway!

Until next time,



  1. You have such a gift with words, friend! I have done some serious "evaluating" this year, too. One thing I have learned is to be much easier on myself. A friend told me that times have changed. Children have a wealth of information at their fingertips, and perhaps, the need for memorization is less, but that means that we can encourage their creativity, imagination and independence more. I'm sure working on it. Not sure how good of a job I'm doing, but I'm trying! :-) God bless, friend, Lisa

    1. Lisa
      You're a doll; thanks for the kind words
      Yes, I do love your's this kind of sharing that keeps me on track in our HSing journey! That DOES make a lot of sense! I guess it's all about balance, too.
      Forget "trying;" you're doing great things!
      Love ya


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.. .....
I will reply right here in the combox; so please check back if you'd like to continue the conversation.

Unfortunately, I've had to reactivate comment moderation due to frequent spam. So sorry you have to deal with this inconvenience.

If you'd like, you can contact me instead via email ~
campfiresandcleatsATgmail DOT com.