ASK FATHER: Advice about homeschooling and High School

I’m out of my depth with this one.  I’ll bet there are quite a few of you out there who have sorted this issue. Hence, I’ll open this up to the readership.

From a reader…


My son will be entering High School in the fall and we have found the nearby catholic High Schools to be totally unsuitable.  Our daughter has been using an online Catholic home school program for two years and we are happy with it, so I see no reason why he should not join her.

Unfortunately, my husband feels our son will suffer if he is “stuck at home,” and that he really needs the sort of sports and other organized programs that the local public high school has to offer.

I fully recognize the benefits of such programs for boys, but at the same time, the thought of sending our son to the local public high school strikes terror into my heart.

I have several friends who are in a similar situation and feel equally torn.  We want the best for our sons but fear that public school would cost them their faith and their purity.  We would like to try to develop some sort of co-op amongst ourselves, in order to try and provide some positive socialization and to take advantage of pooled resources to “fill the gaps” for our homeschooled students, especially some opportunities for mentorship.

I am wondering if any of your readers have successfully created any sort of enrichment programs like this for their homeschooled children, and if so, what advice they may be able to offer in getting such a program off the ground.

Any and all advice would be very welcome!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. BH says:

    I’m not currently homeschooling my kids as we have an excellent Catholic elementary/middle school, but will have to deal with this in a couple years.
    With that said, I have friends who are in this situation. They have been able to use their preferred online Catholic education, while still having their son do sports and other activities at the local high school. Our tax dollars still go to the district, after all, so utilize the resources! I don’t know how to engage this way, but will ask my friend. I would imagine you can simply call the school and have that conversation.
    Not EXACTLY answering your question, but certainly an option to consider!

  2. JMody says:

    Your actions and lessons at home, both the formal and the “informal” life-example lessons, will count for more than the religious ed program at a high school. Do not fear the public school more than the “unsatisfying” catholic school, but merely look at three choices — home, public, private — and choose what is best. Speak openly with your son about your fears for his education in terms of values and salvation, then do your best and pray for the best, because he will make his own decision.

    I sent my kids to a fair-to-poor catholic school, and thought I provided a good home example. They now both skip Mass, and one of them sounds like she never heard of Christ (though the other gave a very good defense of the Real Presence and the Sacrifice of the Mass, so all is not lost).

  3. Ame E. says:

    I homeschooled my son for two years of high school and my daughter for one. You write:

    Unfortunately, my husband feels our son will suffer if he is “stuck at home,” and that he really needs the sort of sports and other organized programs that the local public high school has to offer.

    Check with homeschool legal defense, but your child is eligible as a homeschooler to participate in school sports, or town sports. As a homeschooler your child has the right to participate in a certain amount of courses or activities while not attending the school full time. Each state is different as is each school, but check it out with homeschoolers in your area. Also depending on your area, there can be potentially a lot of activities that your child may like to participate in, such as homeschool coops, classical schools, etc. I think with homeschooling during high school, at least in my state, the challenge was balancing their outside activities with actually getting academics done at home.

    I would check out the Catholic homeschooling groups in your state, also find out from your school district whether homeschoolers can take part in school sports, etc. Home School Legal Defense also might be able to answer a lot of your questions. I have not homeschooled now for six years, so maybe someone in the process of homeschooling their high schooler at home could better address your questions. Many of the homeschool families I know have their kids active in soccer and Lacrosse through the school and also private leagues. So check it out!

  4. SAHMmy says:

    I home schooled our youngest child from 10th -12th grade, and while she wasn’t interested in any sports she did take elective classes at the local high school. BH is correct. I found the HSLDA website to be a great aid while home schooling. This particular link pertains to home schooled students and sports, hope it helps.

  5. Josephus Corvus says:

    One topic to also keep in mind is what would be your son’s options for after high school? A number of things go into this including your personal finances, his interests, his temperament, and how much say you are willing to let him have. For example, if he at that point he wants to join the XYZ profession and only a small number of universities have decent majors in XYZ, will he be able to pursue that line of study? The concern is that the appropriate college for XYZ might be expose him to worse temptations than the local high school. Maybe by exposing him to certain worldly things while you have the ability to keep a close eye on his decisions (and enforce them while he is yet not an adult), might give him the tools he needs down the road. Of course, this also depends on his temperament today.

  6. Ame E. says:

    Here are a couple of links to get you started. Meant to post these before. (there’s a list in here of support groups by state)

  7. Yes, in our diocese Catholic home educators have been able to organize and provide sports (and other) opportunities for high school aged young men. This did not happen overnight. But, at present our homeschool support group provides the opportunity to participate in flag football, track and basketball in the local Christian schools league. For men, it is vital that fathers step up to lead this. We are blessed with a few in our group who are strong in their faith, sports minded and have the flexibility to coach sports. I would ask your husband, since he is concerned with your son having adequate opportunities, what is he (your husband) able to give to make this a reality for your son and your friends’ sons? We have had things whither and die due to lack of interest and involvement. Year to year it is not guaranteed that the opportunities of today will be there. But with prayer and grace we do what we can.

  8. capchoirgirl says:

    I went to a local public school after 9 years of Catholic school (k-8). I can honestly say that I was treated better, and made better friends, at the public high school, than I ever did in Catholic school. Catholic schools are not this sort of safe haven people tend to think they are. Now, maybe some of them are, but not the one I went to. But I kept my faith, whereas my friends who went to Catholic school did not–they either became lukewarm, or don’t practice at all, or have even become Jewish or another religion.
    Yes, there are public schools that are better than others. But again, part of this is letting your child choose certain things. The kids I hung out with did not do drugs, they didn’t swear, we didn’t have premarital sex. I’m sure, in a school of 2200 kids, that some did. But the big part is picking the right friends and being aware of that. Bad friends can happen anywhere.
    From an academic standpoint, I was much better prepared for college work by attending my local public high school. I also got to spend more time with my family because I wasn’t an a bus for an hour every day.
    But what kept me Catholic was my parents and our strong faith life. A Catholic school is a not a panacea. And at some point, your child will be exposed to things you wish she wasn’t exposed to. But that’s the challenge–will it make her stronger in the faith, or weaker? The vast majority of my friends from high school were-and are-evangelical Lutheran. But this only strengthened my faith, because now I had to learn what I believed, and why I believed it. Public school was a huge net good for me. I didn’t lose my faith or my purity or my morals.

  9. Fuerza says:

    Regina Caeli is a hybrid program, where students meet in groups once or twice a week but everything else is done at home. If they have a chapter in your area it might be worth looking into. They cover everything from pre-K through 12th grade.

  10. capchoirgirl says:

    Oh goodness. I thought I proofread. “On a bus”…..sigh. Sorry!

  11. Southern Catholic says:

    Many states have “Tim Tebow” laws, but each state is different on how they apply, and some school districts don’t apply the law even if it is on the books, See Alabama. They may also give you a hard time about their grades, what grade they are in, etc. just because your kid doesn’t go to their public school

    For sports, there are all kinds of clubs and travel leagues that go up to 18 for soccer, basketball, and baseball that compete year around. Have you looked at co-ops around that are protestant? My wife’s brother currently does dance class and theater with them and they can be quite big in the Southern states where they can field all kinds of sports teams.


    Each person’s experience is different. I went to public school my whole life, and I was worse off morally because of it.

  12. Cliff says:

    You might try thinking outside the box. For example, my homeschooled kids all participate in swim team at the local pool. My oldest (now 13) is active in the Civil Air Patrol (an Air Force auxiliary where he learns about military discipline, aviation, and search and rescue), my oldest two participate in local drama programs offered through our parish, but open to homeschooled kids and those going to public and Catholic school. There are other worthwhile programs out there that do not involve or require a school. For kids that are a bit older, you might consider the local volunteer fire department or police cadet corp. Kids will make friends anywhere, not just school.

  13. MaHrad says:

    I intend to homeschool my 2 boys (so far), but they’re 4 and 1 so I don’t have any real experience. However, in my investigation of this idea of homeschooling, I’ve talked to people who do all sorts of things. People who homeschooled up to high school, people who wanted to homeschool but had to send their kids to public school etc. If I were in your situation, my first choice would be homeschool (some curriculums are great in having better records available for submission to colleges) and then use the public school system or other public leagues for the extracurriculars like sports (if possible, I don’t know what laws are like where you live so you’ll have to do some research). The next best option for me would be to use the public school system. If the catholic school was Catholic I would say do that, but it sounds like that’s not the case. Going to a public school, you at least have the option of explaining that any immorality seen there is probably because they are not Catholic students (obviously may not work in every circumstance) and explaining our faith to him in that context to make sure he understands he needs to live his life as a Catholic. In a catholic school, where the catholics don’t act Catholic, it would be more morally confusing I would think. So the last option would be the catholic school. All of the above are my opinions so please pray and do your research. Being a parent is hard enough in the secular, every day realm without even considering the moral duties of providing for your child’s salvation, so I truly wish you the best. Prayers will steer you right and I will offer mine for you as well in this decision.

  14. will99lang says:

    In Alberta, Canada, there are enough homeschoolers for several (well 15 of different sizes) homeschooler’s schools (yes there are school of homeschoolers by {former} homeschoolers for homeschoolers) to compete with one-another. Plus, there are the local homeschooling groups not affiliated with any of these homeschooling schools. The local homeschooling group is either a facebook, yahoo, or gmail group that makes activities together when possible. They will go ski, swim, play baseball, have paining lessons, visit museums, etc., together. Usually they get a discount as a group/school when available. There are three or four ladies who are in charge of the group and who’s job is to find activities for the group, sign everyone up, make reservations, and then collect everyone’s money to pay for the activity. Usually there is one activity every week, if not more.

    (AB has 4 million as a population, and is 1.56 times as big as California.) At my former homeschooling school of St. Paul’s Academy, where we were 1,500 students from grade 4 to grade 12, the school paid two coordinators to work full-time to make activities available everyday. If you get into the big homeschooling boards like Wisdom, where they are around 3,000 students, there will be activities and activities. Wisdom started as a local homeschooling group, but they expanded into doing activities with homeschoolers of neighbouring towns and counties. St. Paul’s Academy was a Catholic school that expanded into the online realms.

    You said you have several friends who are in a similar situation. Get them and yourself together, and try to find other homeschooling families of your local area together, including from protestant churches nearby. They will usually have a few families you do not know. Of course, your children and their children will get into debates about faith and science, as I did with my fellow homeschoolers, but do not worry as it will result in amazing debating skills if supervised so that it does not get out of hand. You might want to teach them what a proper debate is by making them debate on which football team has the best defence. The earliest the better.

    After you are a good sized group, one of you will need to become the chairwomen (presuming you are all moms) who will make a gmail list or a yahoo group, and who’s job is to send the email asking who are signing up for the activity, make reservations, gather the money, and finally pay for the activity itself. Then two or three other ladies will assist her by finding activities nearby, and helping her when required. They can also scout for other homeschooling groups nearby and coordinate some activities when possible. Of course all moms will have the job of keeping their eyes open to ensure that nothing undesirable will happen.

    The rest of the homeschooling families’ jobs is to find other homeschooling families to join. Of course, the main goal of the homeschooling group for the first few months will be to actively expand to include all local homeschooling families. (In Alberta, local can means up to an hour drive due to under-population, but for your circumstances it might only be half an hour drive.) If you can get the usual numerous families together, you will be able to find enough high-school boys to play hockey, eh, football together or against other homeschooling groups.

  15. MrsMacD says:

    When good priests stop thinking that they’re out of their depths and start opening boys schools, then we will have a solution to this problem.

    There are also the SSPX boys boarding schools to consider, not ideal but Catholic, and they’re not pretending that they can’t teach boys.

    I know we’ve got a stupid, maddening crisis, where wolves were teaching and abusing innocent boys but that doesn’t mean that the model was rotten. The model of good, holy priests, like John Bosco, leading and guiding and teaching boys to live lives of prayer, play and work, remains an ideal. We, as Catholics, need to strive for this ideal. Stop putting limits on God’s generosity!

    Mixed schools are unacceptable, “False also and harmful to Christian education is the so-called method of “coeducation.”” (Divini Illius Magistri #68).

    Read that encyclical and reject it not. You are not alone. We all need this kind of schooling for our children! We have to take our heads out of the bucket and realize that these schools don’t happen without, prayer and sacrifice. Make it happen! Trust in God. And get to work.

    Don’t discount the ideal. St. Margouerite Bourgeois, pray for us! St. Katherine Drexel, pray for us! St. John Bosco, pray for us! All ye Holy Angels and Saints, pray for us!

    And don’t be surprised, if you send your son to a Marxist school and he comes out Marxist, it’s not an accident. One of the top goals on the, now famous, list of the Frankfurt school is to, ‘take over the schools.’

  16. will99lang says:

    Oh and I almost forgot. You might think that your son has a right to be part of this decision. He does not.

    This decision is to be taken by the Father and the Mother only, as parents you decide where your son will go. If he does not like it then he move out of the house. Until he is 18 you decide where he goes to mass, which friends he hang out with, if he can date or not, if he drives, and which school he attends. Do not forget that you are one out of only two parents to which God gave a soul to grow and nurture. That soul, as long as he is under your wings, is under your responsibility. If you get angry when Priests ask people what they want in church, it is because that Priest is including people in a decision they do not have a place in.

    Oh course, after your child turn 18, oh wait it is 21 in the states? You will have to let him decide. But if Jesus left home at 30, you should not be afraid of being the boss of your child until he is an adult. Oh and for all of you who think that I am disconnected of today’s youth reality, I am 19.

  17. THREEHEARTS says:

    One of the better priests in the diocese of Vancouver never went to a Catholic High School. His mother taught him well. He is the only priest in this dioceses and I do not doubt there were others who defended Humanae Vitae

  18. beelady says:

    I can’t answer your question directly but I would like to encourage you to treat your daughter the same as your son in this regard.
    Please look for sports and other enrichment activites for her too.
    Girls/young women need physical activity and things to do away from home every bit as much as boys do.
    I am speaking as a mother and also as someone who was homeschooled in High School.

  19. Luminis says:

    DON’T DO IT!!!! We allowed our kids to attend public school from 2009 thru 2015.
    It was the biggest mistake we ever made.
    We were struggling financially and I was forced to work outside the home for several years. Actually where we lived in NJ ,the local catholic schools were just as bad. We should have moved to where we are now in PA, where our last 2 children attended Regina Luminis Academy. This is a classical catholic school.A gem!!

    We have 6 children. Our eldest never attended public school and she was fine.
    The next three spent some time there and it seriously influenced their ideas and morals. I know for a fact, 100 percent that 90 percent of these public school teachers hold progressive ideas and they most certainly are trying to indoctrinate the children. They are very successful at doing so.
    My one daughter transformed into a militant atheist, vegan, radical feminist, social justice activist,Marxist radical!!! By the grace of Almighty God (many many Masses, Rosaries,Tears and Prayers) she has found her way home to Holy Mother Church. My daughter would be happy to speak with you about the tactics of these teachers who appear to be good people but really only have a political agenda.
    Thankfully 5 of our 6 are practicing Catholics, however much ,much damage is done to them in public school.
    Look into John Dewey ,the mastermind of modern public education in the progressive model!!
    Fr John Hardon wrote a great piece on public education ,you can find it on . Please take the time to look into this and prayerfully consider another way. Your child has NO say in this whatsoever.You make this decision without your son’s input.
    I will also pray for you to reconsider. Feel free to reach out to me if you wanted to talk with my daughter about her experience in public high school.
    Her conversion story is also powerful. Thank to The Virgin Most Powerful and Infant of Prague!!

  20. BigRed47 says:

    I echo what BH said. You pay local public school taxes; those resources are available to you.

  21. Luminis says:

    Please read “The Dewey Method of Public Education ” by Fr John Hardon SJ

  22. Luminis says:

    Sorry the article is actually titled”The Dewy Legend of Public Education ”
    by Fr John Hardon SJ

  23. capchoirgirl says:

    Sure, Southern Catholic, that’s why I noted that every public school is different. So you do have to check and do your due diligence. There are certainly places in the US where, if I lived there, I would definitely homeschool my kids. The problem is when people just paint with a very broad brush and say Catholic school/homeschooling is superior, always to public school, and that’s just not true.

  24. msc says:

    WE did not home school, but know people that did, and I have tutored some home schooled children in Latin, Greek, and English grammar, so I know a bit about it. In most communities there are many sports organizations not associated with schools. If one lives in any normal mid-size community there will be bound to be every major team sport outside of schools, plus many great single-player ones such as racket sports, fencing, even shooting clubs. There will be running clubs, swim clubs, etc. I’m not sure why the writer of the letter seems puzzled by this. If money is an issue, take up running with your kids — cross-country is great — or even just make sure you go for long bike rides together. Almost every child I’ve met loves mountain biking, or riding trails.

    I will just add that my friends found it easy to band together with other home schoolers for the odd group activity. But home schooling parents should not overlook the benefit of exposing their children to adults and adult activities. By learning to deal with adults in situations like volunteering at a hospital, an animal shelter, etc., and even by having a job, they will put themselves ahead of their peers that are coralled into groups of children their age.

  25. moon1234 says:

    In Wisconsin there is the option of the virtual public school. You attend from home and most of the courses are online. You get your books for free. Tests are done online. We have several friends who have less than stellar Catholic schools and/or cant afford catholic schools. They have all reported very positive results without any of the indoctrination of a teacher lecturing. It also makes it very easy for parents to review ALL the material their children are being presented with.

    You can thank our previous governor for this option. The just sworn in one is trying to get rid of it. Apparently the local unions don’t get any money when the kids attend the virtual public school. Check in you state. You may have the same option.

  26. bobbird says:

    As a RETIRED public high school teacher and coach in various sports with 42 years of experience — and now a home-school tutor — I am sorry to say that it depends on your geographical and cultural environment: are you rural or urban? East coast, southern, midwest, west, west coast? All have different value systems within their schools and different state laws about home-schoolers participating in sports. If you do not have a “Tim Tebow” state, get your kids into a recreational program. If you are rural, have them learn outdoor skills, both summer and winter, as an outlet for manly, extroverted activities: hunting, trapping, fishing, wood-cutting, bird watching, even farm work. Get them into performing arts (altho that can certainly be dicey, too), with music (both vocal and instrumental), maybe acting. Be careful of dance studios. They can be athletic and manly, but are often feminine and feminist. And without knowing your son’s athleticism, perhaps he wouldn’t be able to make the team. If you let him try, and he fails, he will not have the “if only” regrets. But locker rooms and bus trips can be a veritable hive of sexual temptation, dirty jokes, vulgar language and sin. You are right to be cautious. It’s a tough world and you must make the call and take the risks. May God guide you through the intercession of Sts. Joseph and Sebastian.

  27. NBW says:

    We homeschooled our daughter for high school. It was a wonderful, yet challenging experience. She went on to college and did very well. I urge you to check out homeschooling groups in your area and see what they have to offer. They may also know where there are more homeschool activities.
    In my area we have: Math club, Gavel club, Football, Track, Concert band, scouts program(Catholic),and a Teen group, just to name a few.

  28. restoration says:


    My wife and I are homeschooling our six children ages 13 and below. My oldest son has recently reached a point where we have begun to explore non-homeschooling options. Fr. Ripperger notes in one of his homilies that while girls can usually be homeschooled forever, many boys see diminishing returns from homeschooling after puberty. Simply because your daughter has had a good experience, doesn’t necessarily mean her brother should join her. So, I think your husband has a point to an extent.

    We wouldn’t touch our local Catholic high school with a ten foot pole. The local public schools are out of the question morally to attend on a daily basis, but we would allow our kids to participate in non-coed athletic teams with close supervision by us. Most states require access for homeschoolers since you pay taxes. So, registering your boy for a team while keeping me out of the public school could be a viable option.

    We have a local “Catholic Home Educators” group that has regular “teen time” events that have been great to plug into. Our recently ordained parochial vicar has built a strong altar serving crew around the Traditional Latin Mass that has provided strong fellowship among the boys. A TrailLife chapter would be another avenue to explore.

    Still, we are finding that a Catholic boarding school for boys may be a good option to develop him into the kind of man he is called to be.

    1. There is a wonderful program that recently started in Ft. Scott, KS called St. Martin’s Academy. A classical school on a working farm. Very cool concept rooted in Professor John Senior’s book “The Restoration of Christian Culture”.
    2. Our Lady of LaSalette Academy south of Chicago has a great reputation as the SSPX’s premier boys school.
    3. Louis de Montfort Academy is a TFP school near Harrisburg, PA
    4. Gregory the Great Academy in Northeast PA is another strong option.

  29. Man-o-words says:

    My wife and I were faced with a similar question recently, though we have home-schooled 4 of our 5 children (the youngest hasn’t started yet) for the past 5 or so years. When my daughter was approaching high school, my wife and I agonized over the decision of whether to send her or continue home schooling for all the same reasons your husband shared. It was a tough decision.

    Ultimately, we decided to continue to home school her and continue to watch for signs that we may have chosen incorrectly. To our surprise, it has been anything but a mistake. Where we thought she might get bored, she has actually blossomed. I think it does help that we have 5 kids – they certainly interact a great deal and are very close. I have also found that involvement in a co-op has been a big help.

    The biggest thing that sold me is that, looking back, all of the things that we were afraid of her missing out on (sports, social opportunities, etc) were of little consequence in her adult life, and what we kept her from (peer pressure, toxic environments, liberal/socialist indoctrination) has been critical to her future.

    Is it possible we made the wrong choice? Absolutely. I’ve made a lifetime of them before and probably won’t stop any time soon. But she is happy, healthy, confident, helpful, and blossoming, where I see so many of her peers struggling.

    It seems to me that, when in doubt, remember that nobody is going to care about your child’s soul and future as you will, and with only 4 years left to do whatever you can to get your child on the right path, err on the side of homeschooling. I don’t think I’ve ever run across a person who was home schooled through high school and regretted it, but I know many, many people who would point to their high school years and say, “that’s where I started going off track.”

  30. Lusp says:

    As some others have alluded to, there are a few boarding schools that are quite traditional. I graduated from:
    and cannot recommend it enough. The education has served me well in my professional life and I’m still a practicing Catholic 19 years later, as are all of my classmates. Plus I hang out on Fr Z’s blog, so I can’t be all bad, right?

  31. The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education has a map of member schools (elementary and high schools) that offer a classical curriculum. Many of these schools are somewhat “under the radar” of conventional listings of diocesan schools, and may have eluded this family’s search for a school near them.

    I can personally vouch for the high school located in Boonton, NJ (shameless plug!). Although they are too small to offer organized sports, the main thing about high school is the education and the culture it offers. The boys there (whom I know personally) are thriving and many do sports (swimming, karate) outside of school.

  32. benedetta says:

    My son has been homeschooled through high school. He is quite happy and has done very well. It’s amazing what small communities of like minded parents can put together with a little planning. My son has not lacked for extracurricular or sports opportunities through local homeschool groups (not all of them Catholic but some). A plug: Angelicum through Ignatius Press has a fabulous Great Books series of courses for high school starting with an Ancient Greek year. My son is in his senior year with this terrific program.

  33. RunsOnDecaf says:

    I homeschool our children and am at the same critical moment with our oldest, a boy. Our state had a recent governor so hostile to homeschooling that he vetoed a law allowing homeschoolers to participate in public high school sports and activities. The current governor is no better on the issue.

    If you feel you have no options that are morally sound, I say get this group of friends together and do exactly as you say: develop a co-op! Does one of your parishes have classroom space (maybe used on nights and weekends for CCD) that you can use during the day one morning a week? I’m sure there are talented people – mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc. – in your group that can think of something to teach or instruct. Maybe someone has a chemistry degree or was an Eagle Scout. If there is nothing, start something! The fact that you have “several friends” in the same boat is the perfect start! It doesn’t have to be a full-blown co-op or make up an entire sports team. If recreational sports are a need, rent out space — a basketball/racquetball/wallyball court at a rec center for an hour a month/week.

    Make a date in the next month to get these like-minded friends together for coffee and see what happens. Godspeed!

  34. TonyO says:

    There are a great many resources and elements of excellent advice here, so I will try not to repeat those. I have some basic advice. We have homeschooled from kindergarten on through high school, for all of our kids (one still in HS). We used Mother of Divine Grace, but there are other good resources out there too.

    First: my husband feels our son will suffer if he is “stuck at home,” and that he really needs the sort of sports and other organized programs that the local public high school has to offer.

    It may indeed be true that he will suffer the loss of some good things if he schools at home instead of in a brick-N-mortar school. The question is not whether there are some trade offs, the question is whether they are worth. Dad needs to get thoroughly educated on the Catholic understanding of education, via documents like Militantis Ecclesia which says: “Religion must permeate and direct every branch of knowledge.” The Vatican’s document Catholic Schools states “Reference to Jesus Christ teaches man to differentiate between the values which ennoble man and those which degrade him.” Familiaris Consortio states “the parents have been appointed by God Himself as the first and principal educators of their children…their right is completely inalienable.” “It is the duty of parents to make every effort to prevent any invasion of their rights…and to refuse to send (their children) to schools in which there is a danger of imbibing the deadly poisonof impiety.” (Pope Leo XIII, in Sapientiae Christianae . Christ himself tells us “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” The problem is that the public school acts like it is teaching all essential subjects, even though it quite intentionally leaves Christ and the spiritual & (true) moral dimension out of the picture, so students who imbibe the public school picture of the world imbibe materialism. No wonder, then, that 1/2 of Catholic students who go to public universities come out no longer even notionally Catholic (and another 1/4 don’t actually try to practice their faith).

    That’s not to mention sex ed. Public schools, even the best of them, go off the rails at the high school level. Even if you have the ability to opt your kid out of their evil classes on sex ed (you many not), the OTHER kids are not opted out, and your kid will be spending 8 hours a day with them. Do you think your kid won’t get the material by osmosis? Read The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.

    That is not to say that it is impossible to morally send your kid to public high school. But it is very, very difficult: you have to essentially plan to spend 1 to 2 hours PER NIGHT de-programming your kid, finding out what kids in school are talking about, and putting him into better environments on the weekends – which will seriously curtail at least some of the school activities any way. We have seen people who homeschooled until high school, and then put the kids into public school. To my recollection, it is (a) due to one parent’s strong emphasis on sports or some ancillary aspect of education (as explained in the above documents), and (b) rarely as good an idea as they thought it would be.

    Social development is a real and germane issue for the kid, and you DO need to think about meeting his needs for friendship and outside activities. High schoolers should be extending their understanding of the world to new venues and in larger groups, if possible. But there are vastly many different options besides those embroiled in the school itself. Most counties have a large plethora of community activities that are not centered around school as such, and there are national organizations with chapters as well: Civil Air Patrol served some of my kids well, but it wasn’t for everyone. The MAJOR defect of social development in the school environment is that it is unnatural, artificial: your kid will spend many hours with 20 to 30 kids his exact age. In the real world, this will never happen again, you spend time with people older and younger than you 99% of the time. A kid should model himself on adults, not on the most popular kid the same age as him. School is a social pressure-cooker. Non-school activities are far more likely to be balanced and socially realistic. (My response to public school families who (always) ask “what about socialization” is “why would I want my kid to become socialist?” It is, unfortunately, only half a joke: even aside from economic and political theories, marxism has made huge inroads on the pedagogy of school education.)

    In addition to the options for homeshcool groups mentioned above, there are also (depending on the state) the option to join various charter schools that allow you to design the child’s curriculum. These are not always a good idea (HSLDA, which you should look into, is against them because they can subject you to state oversight), but they can be helpful for some needs – especially if you have a special needs or gifted child.

    In any case, it’s not a decision you make only once. Every year, indeed every week, you have the option to change prior decisions if it’s not going the way you planned. You have to keep on top of everything to make informed decisions all the time.

    Yes, there are public schools that are better than others. But again, part of this is letting your child choose certain things. The kids I hung out with did not do drugs, they didn’t swear, we didn’t have premarital sex. I’m sure, in a school of 2200 kids, that some did. But the big part is picking the right friends and being aware of that.

    It is indeed possible for a public school to be better than a poor Catholic school. For example, my Catholic high school had only 60 kids per class, and so if you could not fit into one of the three cliques, you were OUT. But if none of those cliques are wholesome, you’ve got problems. Whereas in a public school that is decently run, there will be SOME groups your kid will hang out with (the qualification of “decently run” implies that when your kid hangs out with other kids that don’t do drugs nor drink nor are into having sex, they are not bullied for it). But, again, you still have to de-program your kid for the intentional and inadvertent nonsense in the formal curriculum – which means you have to spend LOTS of time keeping abreast of it all.

    DO involve your son in the discussions, but DON’T imply the decision is his. It is your obligation. You want his input because you want to “keep his heart”, keep him fully convinced that the choices you make are for his best welfare, and to enlist his help in KNOWING about what difficulties and defects are present (in whatever program you decide on).

    And pray. And keep praying. And keep going to confession, and taking your kids to confession.

  35. Veritatis Splendor says:

    So, I’m 21, and went to one of those “catholic” schools through grade school and high school. I suffered a lot, because I was so headstrong and unwilling to give into the peer pressure. But it was that recalcitrance which made me into the strong Catholic I am today. I didn’t fit in, and so I fought for my ideals, studied them, prayed, and fought the good fight. Did I suffer? Yes, but it hopefully took time off my purgatory. Was I tempted? Yes, but so was Jesus in the desert. Would I do differently if I could tell my parents something different before? No. Looking at the state of the world now, would I homeschool my children when I have them? Yes, though honestly this is more due to a disgust at the general quality of education than at a fear of them losing their faith.

    My personal philosophy is that if you get a good education, with or without the faith, it cannot help but lead you to the faith. Drugs and drink and porn and sex are used to make up for an unhappy situation. If people were overdosing on ibuprofen, you wouldn’t ban it, you would try to figure out what was giving them all headaches and fix that; likewise, if people are falling into sins of intemperance, find out what appetite isn’t being properly nourished, or where the hole in their heart is. That’s why, at the end of the day, the happiness (properly understood, a better word might be contentedness, joy, or peace. In Greek: kalos) of your son is the most important thing. Only you as a parent can say what will best serve that, and that is only by knowing your son extremely intimately to know his hopes and fears, joys and dreams better than he does himself at this age. No matter what you do, he could still rebel, either now or after he is no longer under your protection. If he looks, you can’t stop him from finding and doing the bad stuff, and if you try, he will resent it and push you and the things he sees you standing for away. It entirely depends upon the grace of God, and it is up to Divine Providence to see what path is appointed for him. I wish you the best in your choice.

  36. bonhomme says:

    I would recommend sending your child to school rather than home-schooling. At school your child will be taught by people expert in the subjects being taught. I teach biology in a Catholic college and am in the UK so that means I am teaching 16-18 year olds. I do not believe there is anything better for a student than to be able to ask me (or any other teacher) a question, which we can answer with our knowledge and experience. In addition, to get on in life people must pass exams whether to get into university, to get a degree, etc. The other benefit of school is the teachers understand the exam system and can prepare students for them. Knowing the subject is only half the battle; you need to understand how the exams work to answer them well. I can understand your concern about your child being exposed to things you fear; however, at some point that is going to happen in their life and they also need to learn social skills. These are best learnt from being with one’s peer group. As for your child’s morality, behaviour, manners, politeness, not taking drugs, not consuming alcohol, etc. are all primarily going to come from your example and the way you raise your child so if you do this well their exposure to other people at school will not undo this. This values you instil in your child will be the strongest. We cannot wrap our children up in cotton wool. The best way for them to learn how to live in this world is to be part of it.

  37. JMJLuke says:

    I have some advice to give from a different perspective than most of the comments here. I see a lot of good and helpful advice offered by parents who faced the same (or similar) decisions, but I would just like to add my own experience as a young person who grew up in a homeschooling family.

    Other than the Catholic Faith, homeschooling was hands down the BEST thing my parents ever gave me. I didn’t get involved in any local sports groups (whether run by public schools or not) and I didn’t suffer one ounce from it. Most of my friends growing up were also homeschooled Catholics, and we were able to have plenty of good times together without any of the peer pressure to drink, do drugs, watch pornography, or any of the other indecencies that are rampant among today’s youth.

    Not to brag, but I didn’t suffer academically either. After graduating high school, I placed in the top 5% on the SAT test, and went on to enter seminary for my diocese. Unfortunately, the diocesan seminary is small and just starting up, so seminarians attend a local “catholic” university to take their philosophy and theology classes, as well as complete the university’s requirements for a bachelor’s degree. I earned a 4.0 GPA every semester at the university, and was actually shocked at how easy it was. I lived a relatively sheltered life growing up (which is NOT a bad thing for a young person during their formative years) but I had heard horror stories not only about the immorality rampant in today’s education system, but also about how terribly watered down everything is academically. When I was a teenager, I don’t think I ever quite believed things could really be that bad, but I found out that they really are, and much worse. I won’t go into all the details here, but what shocked me the most was how many of my fellow seminarians struggled with temptations to pornography, masturbation, and other deviant things that I would never have dreamed of growing up. Don’t get me wrong, these were faithful, young men who genuinely believed in the Church’s teachings and wanted to live a virtuous life, but the effects of growing up in an environment saturated with immorality, and the constant pressure from their peers to participate in it, all during the most difficult period of growing up and forming themselves as persons, is something that only those most exceptionally graced with heroic virtue can withstand without serious spiritual (and I dare say psychological) harm. At any rate, I eventually discerned that my vocation was not to the priesthood, and I left seminary.

    I thank God with all my heart that my parents didn’t give in to the idea that I needed to be around “normal” kids, and that they did not allow me to be exposed to the bad influences so rampant in today’s world, otherwise I don’t know if I would have had a solid enough grounding in the Faith to resist all of the attacks on my Faith, both blatant and subtle, that I was exposed to after leaving home and entering the world, and even during my time in seminary. And if you’re worried that my lack of involvement in sports and other such activities hurt my social or workforce skills, fear not. Even though I have never completed a college degree (which I could have easily done, but for the fact that I see no value in it) I have never had trouble finding a job (I started my first full-time position exactly two days after I left the seminary) and I was incredibly blessed by God with the wonderful gift of a beautiful wife (who also grew up in a homeschooling family, and never went to college) and we pray that God will soon bless us with many children (whom we definitely plan to homeschool,) and that many of them will grow up to become good and faithful priests and religious.

    Also, a big second to the person who commented that you should NOT feel like you have to include your son in this decision. Making the best choices for the salvation of his soul is YOUR responsibility as parents, and if he ends up (God forbid) losing his soul in whole or in part due to the bad influences of public or “catholic” schools, the excuse that it was “his decision” or “what he wanted” will not do you much good on judgment day.

    Finally, just to reiterate, please do NOT be fooled by the very popular lie that your children need to “know what’s out there” or “understand how things are in the world” or “not be overly sheltered” or any of the other thousand euphemisms that the devil uses to trick people into exposing there children to the evils of the world during the most crucial time of their life when they are forming the beliefs and habits that will shape their morality and entire way of living for the rest of their lives. Once again, as someone who was homeschooled through all 12 grades and grew up in a sheltered, faithfully and unapologetically Catholic family, I can tell you with 100% certainty that, apart from the Catholic Faith itself, there is NOTHING you can give your children that will do them more good (both academically, and spiritually) than the gift of homeschooling them.

    God bless!

  38. Titus says:

    The inquirer might email me: efnashville[at]gmail[dot]com. I have good friends in middle Tennessee who do precisely this.

  39. adriennep says:

    All great responses here. I would only add that the classical approach to education is what will save our Catholic schools. Ever since Saint Augustine, Catholics have led the way in the liberal arts and created the very first universities to prove it.

    The Institute for Catholic Education is training schools and administrators every year. If you can find one of their schools in your area, best of all worlds. But you don’t have to wait. There are numerous excellent classical homeschool programs, like Angelicum Academy at Ignatius Press, Napa Institute hybrid program (some on-site with using their teachers online curriculum), Classical Conversations (has own co-op system with tutors), Institute for Excellence in Writing (can use as homeschool curriculum also), plus Memoria Press has wonderful online classes in all classical disciplines so you get real online teacher and their grading, accreditation, and Great Books focus. What’s not to like? You are more “out in the world” with this kind of homeschooling than ever. You get the chance for real apprenticeship in the real world. You gain the world of wisdom, not claustrophobia and tunnel vision by hiding in cement school walls.

  40. Therese says:

    Thanks to the many who replied. We were unable to homeschool after discovering our local (c)atholic high school was undermining the Faith. With trepidation we put our daughters into public education. Looking back, I would much prefer to have unschooled them–ANYTHING but that, where a motley crew of atheists, lesbians, homosexuals, and liberals merely finished the job.

    Like Luminis, I urge caution and a willingness to do whatever is necessary.

  41. Lisa Freeman says:

    Based on my experience homeschooling two boys, there is an important point missing in this discussion. During the “high school” (and “middle school”) years, a boy is developing into a man. A man needs to be able to overcome his own selfish nature and sacrifice for others. A man needs to be responsible for managing and directing his own life, including his work life and prayer life. A man needs to be a servant leader and he needs the companionship and encouragement of other men. Public high school, in its very structure, is often not good preparation for any of this. The adults are still in charge of planning and directing most of the hours of their day. Vices and selfishness are encouraged in our culture in general. The group of companions is earned by fitting in.
    That said, being at home with mom in charge all day is not really the ideal situation either. Boys learning at home need to become self-directed in their studies; they thrive under outside mentorship, which could be as simple as an on-line class or a once-a-week co-op. They need opportunities to lead. Homeschooling does however allow one to balance one’s life; there is time for reflection, time to really learn material, and time to develop interests; there is time to know oneself. Time spent with friends and in activities can be focused on developing shared interests and closer friendships. The greatest blessing of homeschooling is that the family culture can be more strongly developed to support a balanced life that not only includes prayer but makes it the center.
    My boys have developed quality friendships with other homeschoolers. They have learned leadership through boy scouts (at its core, a group of volunteer dads who were boy scouts themselves and who want to mentor boys to become good men): a boy-lead troop means the boys are the leaders and the adults coach them as necessary but let the boys do the leading. Once a week with they have time at the YMCA gym with other homeschoolers; their favorite sport is dodge ball, and they have developed several creative variations (again, boy-led). My younger son organizes a weekly bike ride with a group of his friends. After mass, I’m equally likely to find them in the hall discussing theology or on the play ground running around with the little kids. They are part of life, know themselves, and are becoming men who are faithful servant leaders.
    One of the problems with the school vs. homeschool debate is when it focuses only on academics. There is a lot more that young people learn in school or outside of school that is important and is not academic. There are so many other learning options available now, that insisting on public school because they have “professional” teachers is not a good argument. The quality of the mentors (and their worldview) is important.
    Developing or finding these opportunities for your son will be an effort, but it will be well worth it. The most important thing is to pray every day for your children and that you will be able to facilitate what God wants for them.

  42. MrsMacD says:

    For those who are teachers or parent/teachers or starting a school or figuring out schooling, this book will be incredibly helpful, a must read; HERE

  43. Would like to add to my prior comment with some thoughts and experience with homeschooling. We homeschooled our older children with great success. It takes some research and staying organized, but the hardest part is getting started. We found that (depending on the child) you do not have to “teach” every subject to every child, as learning is what the student does, but you do have to stay on them to make sure they do what they need to do. We used a curriculum offered by a brick-and-mortar school, we sent them the kids’ work (which we graded), and they kept records and provided transcripts (and a diploma) for college, which made things a little easier.

    Also, I worked for a Catholic (big C) college in admissions, and homeschooled applicants were usually quite awesome, but I have to say that there were too many students whose parents were too lenient with grading and/or let the child gravitate to their likes and neglected what was needful – so, there would be an applicant, for instance, with an amazing knowledge of literature but who couldn’t do high school math. So parents need to make sure the student does everything needful.

    Homeschooling is flexible – you can pick and choose the resources to use. It is convenient in many respects – you can take vacations at any time and spend a week at the beach in early September when the weather is still warm and the crowds are gone instead of in July. The kids are usually done with their lessons in way less time than school plus homework. Older kids can work part-time jobs at times of the day when their age peers cannot. There are many upsides.

    All that said, being involved with a classical curriculum high school now, a well-done school environment has advantages too. Exposure to different teachers. Learning to budget time for homework. Being responsible for assignments. Navigating a classroom environment they’ll face in college. Social interactions with peers and adults, in and out of school. Yes, even some friendly competition. Collective activities like drama and music.

    The key of course is finding that kind of school. There being no classical curriculum Catholic high school in NJ, my wife started one in time for our older son (whose older siblings, all girls, were homeschooled) to start freshman year.

  44. Charivari Rob says:

    I’ve no experience with homeschooling, so I’ll leave that end to those with some experience.
    I will, however, raise questions to two of the premises of the original writer.
    1. “Home-schooled the daughter, why shouldn’t they with the son”? Even being of the same two parents and raised in the same home, they are two different people and what’s best for one MIGHT not be best for the other.
    2. “… recognize the benefits of such (sports) programs for boys…”? They can benefit girls as well.

  45. sibnao says:

    Such good comments. Helpful to me, even though I’m a veteran homeschooler.

    I have two sons and four daughters, and the older son ended up going to a faithful Catholic high school. It was a very good decision, made necessary by the fact that he had no peers as a homeschooled grade schooler except the Protestant friends he had (not many) through our co-op. He would not work for me, his mother, but immediately thrived when set in a classroom and forced to compete. Thank God for that faithful school. If we hadn’t had it, I can’t imagine how we would have managed. He threw fits and I regularly lost my temper.

    My second son, now 15, is completely different. We live in a different area where he has several very good Catholic homeschooled friends whose parents have a similar philosophy; these boys are outdoorsy and play every kind of unstructured game: street hockey, pickup basketball, creek skating (we live in the far north where this is a thing), hiking, etc. These boys know how to build fires safely, how to climb trees, swim, play the piano and guitar, play cards… Homeschooling is a breeze for this son, and he is happily learning Latin from me, his dorky mom, because I have these other boys come along and teach them too, right at the dining room table, twice a week.

    Thus my only word of advice might be: if you are really desperate, you might consider moving to live within close proximity to some of these other families with boys near in age to your son. Having friends to see on an almost daily basis, good ones who your boy can do manly things with, who won’t have cell phones and whose parents will not allow screens in social time, is HUGE. Companions can really make or break a boy’s formation, no matter what the academic choices might be. I know moving is a radical idea, but it might be the thing that makes homeschooling possible and gives your husband peace of mind about your son’s social/physical needs.

  46. Alaskamama says:

    Please, guard your children’s souls. The academics are not the most important thing. I think it would be better for the child to, as some have suggested, be unschooled than to be led astray. Sports do not have to be team endeavors. Keeping your child sheltered is the greatest gift you can give him- and homeschooling provides the means for more enriching activities than at school. Be creative, look into community recreation courses during the day, and help him find his passion. And teach him a work ethic!

  47. The Masked Chicken says:

    JMJLuke wrote:

    “Finally, just to reiterate, please do NOT be fooled by the very popular lie that your children need to “know what’s out there” or “understand how things are in the world” or “not be overly sheltered” or any of the other thousand euphemisms that the devil uses to trick people into exposing there children to the evils of the world during the most crucial time of their life when they are forming the beliefs and habits that will shape their morality and entire way of living for the rest of their lives. Once again, as someone who was homeschooled through all 12 grades and grew up in a sheltered, faithfully and unapologetically Catholic family, I can tell you with 100% certainty that, apart from the Catholic Faith itself, there is NOTHING you can give your children that will do them more good (both academically, and spiritually) than the gift of homeschooling them.”

    Well, you did not go to college, so I do not think you can, properly, comment on the need to know about, “what’s out there,” for many young people who attend secular colleges. I have had many homeschoolers in my classes, over the years and I have had long conversations with a few who were terribly naive about human behavior. You must understand that for some vocations, such as mathematics and physical sciences, there is no substitute for a college education and some people have such a vocation. This means, unfortunately, they will be compelled to sit in idiotic freshman English, Philosophy, Sociology, or Psychology classes that will discuss topics of the evil zeitgeist. Most young people loose their faith from 18 – 23 years of age (I think, regardless of whether or not they attend college, but I don’t remember the research well enough to be sure). They lose their faith either because of sins (usually, of the flesh) or because they weren’t properly prepared to defend the faith against the pseudo-sophisticated arguements of the cultural Marxists in the humanities. Science and math, at this time, are, still, relatively impervious to such nonsense (except, perhaps, for biology).

    If one does not go to college, the situation can be as you describe and a homeschooler does not, necessarily, need to be confronted by the evil arguments of the world, but the rise in technology makes not going to college a liability for many people, even though the modern academy does not really perform as a center for learning in certain subjects, anymore. The education bubble is slowly bursting and vocational schools are on the rise. Still, it depends on ones vocation and Catholics have, incorrectly, been labeled anti-intellectual for a few centuries, so we need talented young people in colleges. What we don’t have is a good defense against the power politics of the leftist professors in the humanities (and administrations). If someone could work out such counter-measures, it would help a lot of young people. Catholics do not, as a rule, riot for social causes, so the leftist tilt of the academy, starting in the riots of the 1960’s was, largely, an atheist and possibly a Protestant phenomenon (however, I don’t think reliable statistics were kept).

    In any case, teach young kids apologetics. They will confront the world, whether they like it or not. If you have been lucky to escape the confrontation to this point, praise God, but I can almost guarantee that there will come a time when you will be forced to meet the world, head-on.


    The Chicken

  48. hwriggles4 says:

    Good discussion. Appreciate the highlights that “men and women are different “, not all public schools are carbon copies of one another, and extracurricular activities like team sports, Civil Air Patrol, bike rides and unstructured things like pick up basketball are “normal ” .

    Here’s something worth checking IMHO and from personal experience:

    If your son is academically inclined, see if the local public school has an Honors Program, or at least advanced (in the 80s, these were called Premium where I lived) classes. Normally, I was the slower kid in the Premium class, but I preferred to be there over the “Regular ” class. Why? Academically, the Premium class did less busy work. Socially, I had an easier time making friends in the Premium class because they weren’t interested in goofing off all day. There was also more project work. Even though I had some extra work, I learned more, and the teachers seemed to enjoy the Premium class more than the Regular class. Sure, there were a few discipline problems (there were a few that were weekend troublemakers, but that happens anywhere), but not near the level of the Regular class. The majority of the students were also motivated because parents would find C and D work unacceptable. It was also possible around graduation to AP out of some college courses. For me it was a big help getting through a large high school – 800 students in my senior class.

  49. nasman2 says:

    It has always been my opinion that the crucial years to avoid public education are the high school years. At no time in anyone’s life are people allowed to be as awful to each other than in these schools. No child or young adult should be exposed to the undermining of parental authority, secular humanism and permissive culture that is fostered by the public high school environment. Having to be exposed to, and be in very close proximity to extreme negative influences is an unacceptable risk. Seriously, how is it that people are comfortable with the idea that drugs are that available in a school setting? Its mind boggling. When you leave high school the proximity of those influences diminishes dramatically. Three of my boys did take advantage of the local high school sports program for track.
    The school forces the kids to take the bus to the meets. The boys did say they were told where to get some drugs, so I guess they’ve been exposed to a typical public school experience. They didn’t want to do it again. As they got older they took part time jobs and found that more in line with what normal society would be like.

    I agree that the student doesn’t get to pick. That is solely the parents responsibility. The time to choose will come soon enough. It is much easier to avoid the interpersonal problems high schools present in the college/university environment. The quality of course work in higher ed is a different topic.

    I have 4 boys and they were involved in hockey since an early age. Their desire to continue waned in the high school years due to the caustic behavior exhibited by their public school counterparts. But it did allow them to see the influence that environment has on young men. We attend the Extraordinary form 90% of the time, we’ll go to the Ordinary form when the hockey schedule on the weekend sends us to a town without an EF Mass. The EF grounds them in the bedrock of their faith. It has been invaluable.

    In conclusion, there is nothing magical about the high school years. You will not be cheating them out of a ‘typical’ young adult experience if you home school them through those years. There are many options for healthy interaction with their peers. Our job as parents is to ensure they learn the Faith and anything that we willingly do subvert this responsibility is a disservice to the student and a threat to ourselves at our own judgement.

  50. momoften says:

    DO NOT send him. If your gut says no, it is a good indicator. I have 13 children. 11 are boys.
    The first 3 went to school. There were a lot of problems. I have found the administration does not share problems with the parents, they hide them. As far as sports, bah, ! The first 3 played sports,
    the last 8 boys randomly found things to do. IF you really think they need sports, there are alternatives. The question to ask your husband, is are you sending him to school so he can play sports? Hmmm really? What is that telling them, that sports are 1, academics are 2? Our local Catholic High School ( a block from my house) has their pride in #1 Their sports teams #2. tied for academics and God #3. family
    It’s important to have healthy life long activities, but not necessarily on a team. We have gotten so sports crazed thinking our children are so good, and spend more time and money having them do sports year around, it is simply stupid. Do we spend the time, energy and money promoting our faith to our children? Can’t do that if you go to school and put energy toward sports, then God just gets the leftovers, if he even gets that. Great life lesson to our kids, give God the leftovers……
    You should at least ask for a trial year from your husband to homeschool your son….

  51. teachermom24 says:

    Last June, we graduated our last child from homeschool: 3 boys, one girl. We began homeschooling when our oldest started 3rd grade; our last three never went to outside school. I was a teacher, mostly in private schools, before having my own children, and always believed home is the best place to form children. But, honestly, when we began this grand adventure, I didn’t imagine we’d make it through high school. The years went on and there was never a better alternative to home so we ended up going all the way through high school with all four. Our children were involved in lots of wonderful outside activities throughout their school years: 4-H, community sports, music–much they would never had have time for had they been in outside school. We were busy but always centered at home. Our two oldest sons went on to the University of Notre Dame (and, yes, they are still faithful Catholics!), third son is at TAC and thriving, our daughter has been discerning a religious vocation but will likely enter nursing school first. Homeschooling is a HUGE undertaking but, if it is God’s Will to undertake it, it will be good and all that is needed will be provided. I have not one regret in homeschooling, perhaps only that I wish I had a dozen more children to teach.

    God bless you and your husband in your discernment.

  52. JMJLuke says:

    The Masked Chicken wrote:

    —Well, you did not go to college, so I do not think you can, properly, comment on the need to know about, “what’s out there,” for many young people who attend secular colleges.—

    Firstly, while I did not complete a degree, I did attend college for four semesters, three of which were at a “catholic” university that may as well have been secular, (as I mentioned in my original comment,) and one of which was at a secular college over the summer, taking extra classes for a dual degree in Spanish which I was pursuing at the time, since my diocese contains a significant Hispanic population. Additionally, I spent another summer studying abroad at a secular school in Mexico.

    Secondly, I suppose I may have been misleading in my original comment, as I did not mean to imply that children don’t need to know what’s out there (which after re-reading my comment again, I see that I did.) The point I was trying to get across, is that it shouldn’t be an excuse for exposing them to the environment of today’s public education system. By all means, parents should teach their children about the errors that they will encounter in the world, and how to defend their Faith against those errors (as my parents did for me.) But there is a world of difference between learning about evil actions and ideas in an environment where your parents can teach you why and how those things are wrong, and having those ideas presented to you as facts by your teachers, and those actions as “normal” and “cool” by your peers.
    While there are exceptions, by and large children in public schools, for the majority of their time not spent eating and sleeping, are saturated in an environment that, with few exceptions, ridicules traditional morality (whether implicitly or explicitly,) presents as indisputable fact ideas that are utterly opposed to any reasonable or decent view of the human person, and tempts and pressures children into all manner of sin.

    Believe me, from my time in college I know very well how difficult it is being in an environment where the majority of your peers and the vast majority of your teachers are attempting to openly or subtly promote ideologies that directly contravene the Catholic faith. However, by the time a man reaches college, his conscience has had time to be well-formed, and he is not longer at his most vulnerable stage of moral and personal development, and is much better prepared to stand against these attacks.

    During their formative years, children learn more from osmosis than anything else. Even if parents stay on top of it, and make sure that their children don’t get involved in drugs, sex, and alcohol during high school, and are sure to imbue a sense of traditional morality in them, the damage is often done. The morality they learn from their parents often becomes just “head knowledge,” while the constant pressure of the bad examples and bad teaching they received has left them much more vulnerable to temptation, and their moral values often crumple all to easily in the face of adversity. Think of the oft-repeated story of the girl who grew up in a pro-life family, until one day she finds herself driving to an abortion clinic because she just can’t reconcile with the idea of having a child during her first year in college. (I also forgot to mention that much of my experience of learning “what’s out there” came from praying on the sidewalks in front of Planned Parenthood from a very young age, while my mother engaged in sidewalk counseling. I highly recommend the activity for anyone concerned that their children don’t know enough about what real life is like.)

    And finally, I realize that there are plenty of anecdotes available of children who went all the way through public school and still came out strong in their Faith, as well as the reverse: children who were home schooled all the way, but never learned how to defend their Faith against opposing ideas, and ended up abandoning it the moment they left home. I have seen some, even among my own relatives, who were home schooled, but their parents were overly concerned about getting their kids involved with the world, and they eventually gave into the temptations of the world, and fell into a lifestyle of sexual promiscuity or other such sins. So, at the end of the day, my main point remains the same, which is this:

    From my point of view, homeschooling seems like the hands down safer option when it comes to the salvation of you child’s soul (which I’m sure we all agree is by far the most important factor) but whatever decision you make, it is of paramount importance that you don’t compromise with the world based on such notions as your child needs more “freedom” or exposure to “normal” kids, or to know what “real life” is like. Yes, it is important to know what is out there, and what real life is like, but there are plenty of wholesome ways to teach them these lessons, without exposing them during their crucial, formative years to bad examples and evils ideas, whose effects you may or may not be able to reverse.

  53. JMJLuke says:

    The Masked Chicken wrote:

    —In any case, teach young kids apologetics. They will confront the world, whether they like it or not. If you have been lucky to escape the confrontation to this point, praise God, but I can almost guarantee that there will come a time when you will be forced to meet the world, head-on.—

    I also just wanted to clarify from my comment above, your point is definitely well made, and well taken. There is no escaping confrontation with the evil ideas rampant in the world (and believe me, where I went to college even the math and science departments had more than their fair share of weirdos spouting anti-Catholic ideologies!) I 100% agree that children need to be taught how to defend their Faith, just please don’t teach your children about the evils of war by having them walk through a minefield!

    God bless! :D

  54. Mightnotbeachristiantou says:

    Depending on where you live there are different options. There are some public schools that allow children to take a fe honor classes. Some schools open there teams to homeschoolers. Some places have homeschooling leagues or just teams. There are all different clubs. The Boy Scouts, like the Girls Scout, really depend on who is running the pack/troop. There are others nature adventurer groups. One of the gret things about homeschooling is your child can truly immerse themselves in what calls to thm without getting overloaded with thing unnecessary to them at this time.

Comments are closed.