The Importance and Need for Stay-At-Home Moms

… to ensure happy families on earth and in heaven.

The importance of having mothers at home was recognized for thousands of years.  It was just common sense.  The fathers earned a living, while the mothers were home tending the home fires.

This was not seriously challenged until World War II, and in a major way, later, by feminism.  (More on this later.)  

It was not easy to pry the American woman out of her home.  Her contributions (as nurse, teacher, cook, baker, cleaner, nurturer, etc.) had always been recognized as essential to the well-being and happiness of the family.  However, the push for women to get the vote in the 1920s was used as a push to get women out of the home.  If it wasn’t very successful then, its time arrived in the ‘40s when World War II called millions of American men to fight for their country.  This must have been the moment the Left had been waiting for: a logical call for American women to replace their husbands in the factories for patriotic reasons.

“Rosie the Riveter” was the symbol.  In posters and billboards everywhere, curls stuck out of her red kerchief while she took her husband’s place on the production line, making it clear she was a female “doing her part.”  And the media loved it.  Even when the war ended, they encouraged women to “seek fulfillment” in their lives, not so subtly suggesting that, of course, they couldn’t expect to find fulfillment as housewives.  Thus, when the men came home from the war, some women weren’t in any hurry to return to the domestic scene, and many were persuaded that it was more exciting to work outside the home.  It was only later that the women were bombarded with the idea that being a housewife was just a job – and that what she wanted was a CAREER.  You had to have a career or you were a dull, boring person who didn’t have this exciting other dimension to you.

But overlooked in the scramble to get a job was the question of who would take her place at home?  Who would take care of the children?  In the beginning, grandma.  However, the advent of the commercial daycare centers greatly reduced having to ask grandma to care for her grandchildren so mom could work outside the home.

(The other side of the coin was the devil’s other solution: to use birth control and have fewer children.  This contributed to the birth rate being way down across the world.)

 

Even so, daycare was not the perfect solution, of course.  Not only does daycare cost so much that it takes a serious bite out of the extra income that mom brings in, but it is notorious for passing on sickness from one child to another.  The problems of the daycare centers have been widely documented.  Some are sub-standard, unsanitary, poorly regulated, and run by incompetents, as well as those that are ably and reasonably proficient.  There was (and is) a huge disparity between them. 

But if the daycare centers provided the illusion that the little ones were adequately cared for, then that seemed to solve the major impediment to mom getting an outside job.

A second major reason that some women left their homes for the job market was the lure of a second paycheck.  Where their parents’ and grandparents’ generations had been willing to wait for those extras like new carpeting, nicer homes, and new cars, most of today’s families were persuaded that they didn’t have to wait to have a boat or fancier vacations if the mother of the family was bringing in a paycheck too.

And as to this paycheck, women were told they should expect to earn the same as men.  This brought things like the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) into being, opening the door for multiple other items on the liberal/feminist agenda.  (Side note for younger readers, perhaps:  The ERA might have sounded like a fair and just amendment, but in reality, it would have caused great havoc with our society, negatively impacting American life in general, and the well-being of women in particular.)

Here are just a few of the ERA’s harmful consequences:

1.    The ERA would be used to overturn all restrictions on abortion;

2.    The ERA would be used to mandate taxpayer funding of elective Medicaid abortions;

3.    The ERA would remove gender designations from bathrooms, locker rooms, jails, and hospital rooms;

4.    The ERA would not give women any more rights than they currently have; and

5.    The ERA would overturn laws and practices that benefit women because they would be viewed as showing preferential treatment to women.

For example:

  Workplace laws that provide special accommodations for expectant mothers;

  State labor laws and guidelines which benefit women who do heavy, manual labor;

  Social Security benefits for stay-at-home mothers based on their spouse’s income; and

  Exemption of women from the military draft and front-line combat.

 Here is the ERA’s history in a nutshell:

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the ERA in 1972, but by law, it had to be ratified by ¾ of the states within seven years in order to be a part of the Constitution of our country.  After untold Conservative efforts to educate people on the dangers of this amendment, the ERA failed to be ratified. 

Unfortunately, the Left was able to get a three-year extension, which (thankfully) ended in 1982 without the required number of states ratifying it.  (Also, five states that had approved it, rescinded their ratification after better understanding the dangers of the proposed amendment.) 

Currently, there is a new push to entice additional states to ratify, with Nevada succumbing in 2017, Illinois in 2018, and Virginia in 2020.) 

End of this brief history lesson. 

Let’s get back to our look at women and how they were enticed out of their homes.  What had been (disastrously) overlooked was how important the mother was to the family and how the family would suffer in her absence.

Yes, this article focuses on the absence of mothers in the home, but for just a moment let us digress and talk briefly about the absence of fathers in the home.  This move was facilitated by a huge change that was thrust on the American ethos with the idea of “single mothers.”  This was a new term that was introduced and repeated to legitimize the idea of women “voluntarily” raising their children by themselves.  The gradual acceptance of the idea of “single mothers” contributed to the assault on marriage by the huge increase of couples temporarily living together without the benefit of marriage.  The removal of the stigma attached to this sinful way of life accomplished the disastrous objective of making it so common that it spread far and wide.

What greatly contributed to the rise of “single mothers” was the destructive welfare system, which increased the monthly check for every baby she bore out of wedlock.  It was a money-maker for some.  (What does that teach the next generation?) 

 

Another evil result of the absence of fathers in the home was that boys lacked a male role model, and thus, many tended to become feminized, (which may contribute to the confusion in so many young minds as to whether they should use the boys’ or the girls’ bathrooms, for example.)

Returning to our subject of women being absent from the home.  Women moved from factory jobs into offices, stores, industries, etc.  Home life suffered.  Many tried to “do it all” but found it impossible, merely a step along the path toward frustration, exhaustion, and ulcers.  Seemingly, common sense would tell you that working at an outside job for 40 hours a week is hardly compatible with a smoothly-running home where laundry is done in a timely manner, beds are changed regularly, nutritious meals are the norm; where children can be listened to, instructed, guided, monitored, etc

(Note to widows or mothers involuntarily in circumstances where they are doing the job by themselves: You are not included in this disparagement.  The valiant job you find yourselves required to do needs no explanation or justification.) 

However, it might be instructive to consider some of the possible consequences of women taking jobs outside the home:

1.    As mentioned above, the cost of hiring a sitter or paying for daycare is formidable.  It swallows a big chunk of that extra paycheck;

2.    There is little or no supervision of the children after school.  This can’t be a good thing.  The children become part of that sad world of Latchkey Children coming home to an empty house;

3.    Second car expenses must be figured into any financial cost;

4.    More money spent on more clothes for the women;

5.    Rushed meals, in many cases more expensive meals, thrown-together with increased fast food elements and convenience foods; not particularly healthy meals;

6.    The time crunch leaves little or no time for problem-solving family discussions around the dinner table (where problems often are first recognized and resolved);

7.    Guilt at spending less and less time with the children.  (There’s always so much to do she doesn’t have time to sit and find out how things are going in their lives, at school, in the neighborhood, etc.)  This is also where some strange idea that the student picked up might come to light and be explored, explained, and debunked, if necessary.

8.    It often precipitates arguments about whose job it is to (fill in the blank here, e.g., empty the dishwasher, throw the next load in, make the lunches);

9.    Frequently can’t scrutinize the children’s friends;

10. Often hasn’t the time to follow up on whether homework is finished or chores completed;

11. Discipline usually suffers;

12. No time for a kneel-down family rosary; and

13. Impossible to monitor children’s time with entertainment, as well as a tendency toward laxity in using entertainment such as TV, video games, social media, or electronic devices.

 Now, if you are a traditional Catholic home-schooling family, you may be way ahead of the game because you may not have to worry about most, if not all, of those 13 problem areas listed above.  For example, you may not have a TV.  And the home-schooling family tends to have a closer eye on who their children are playing with. 

And the children don’t need latchkeys, and a rosary always begins the class day, etc.  But let’s get real, right?  Can being a stay-at-home mother guarantee life will be a bed of roses?  Frankly, no.  But learning what works (and what doesn’t) goes a long way toward making your load easier.  And having the mother in the home is a huge step toward successfully raising and educating your family.

Now it is not pandering to women to point out how indispensable they are in the family.  When I hear someone speak condescendingly about women wasting their time (and talents) changing diapers, and making snarky remarks about the “little woman” baking her chocolate chip cookies, I want to sit her down and explain the facts of domestic life to her.  (Because it’s almost always “working women” – often guilt-filled – who attempt to disparage the stay-at-home mom.)  I want to point out to her that it isn’t vacuuming the house, shopping for groceries, doing the laundry, etc. that make that mother’s job important, essential as those things are.  It’s being there:

·         to comfort a child with a skinned knee;

·         holding her daughter’s hand when she gets her first shot;

·         listening to her son’s grievance against the neighbor kid;

·         taking him to the orthodontist;

·         instructing her daughter how to write a thank you note to her grandmother;

·         listening to her spelling-words;

·         teaching her son his Mass server’s Confiteor;

·         helping her daughter on her first sewing project;

·         guiding her son’s preparation for the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test);

·         etc., etc

And that doesn’t even include the obvious things like: making a child’s special birthday dinner, taking the dog to the vet; and two of the most important things: – recognizing that that kid from the end of the block is up to no good, and guiding her son away from him; and also, welcoming home at the end of the day the father of the family.

To sum up, the mother’s job is one of the most important jobs in the world: to create a happy, God-centered family, to make a home that is a good place to be.  

The Benefits of Home Schooling

Educating your Children – Part 4

Catholic Candle note: This is the Fourth Part in a series on EDUCATING YOUR CHILDREN during the current crisis in the Church.  There can be no more important concern for traditional Catholic parents today than how to best educate their children since it is so intrinsically connected to helping them save their precious souls.

     Part I:  Reflects on how one traditional Catholic family approached the gargantuan responsibility of this formidable task.  Part I can be found here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/06/01/approaching-the-responsibility-of-homeschooling/

     Part II:  Investigates what choices were available to the next generation of our family, and how they met the challenge.  Part II can be found here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/07/01/educating-your-children-part-2/

     Part III:  Examines what is involved in Home Schooling.  Part III can be found here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/08/01/educating-your-children-part-3/

     Part IV (this present article): Looks at some of the Benefits of educating your children at home.

What are the benefits of Home Schooling?  There must be some, right?  Well, it turns out there are countless extraordinary benefits, and we will examine some of them in this last installment of the Educating Your Children series.

But first, let’s take a quick look at the elephant in the school room.  You know, the parent who is quick to say that she/he never taught before, doesn’t have a college degree, and isn’t sure she can handle it.  How valid is that concern?  If you find yourself assailed by that doubt, remember that God intended parents to be the primary educators of their children.  He will help, for sure.

Practically speaking, with the pitiful condition of schools today, it would be hard not to have your Home School be an improvement over them.  And if you think that you couldn’t teach everything that your children need to know, remember that the “outside” schools can’t do that either.  The key here is that your teaching can give them the tools they need in order to succeed in life, but more importantly, to get to heaven.

One of the small points often overlooked is that the Home School teacher can and does (re)learn a great deal as she goes along.  It was probably some years earlier that she mastered compound fractions and the provisions of the Bill of Rights, etc., and refreshing her memory with the daily school assignments might sometimes seem like re-connecting with old friends.

In Part III we talked about how it can be a means for developing a greater family unity.  Once you get your Home School up and running, it tends to promote a closeness within your family.  Not an us-against-the-world mentality, but a feeling that you can count on each other.

Let me digress a bit to enhance that point.  Once when visiting the rural home of one of our daughters in another state, her two boys, about 7 and 9, took their younger sisters for a walk in the woods (on their property).  They didn’t know I was watching, but I saw them help the girls over logs and tangled brush, and just generally make it safer and easier for them.  You could easily see that it was the most natural thing in the world to them.  I marveled what good brothers they were, and my daughter said, “Do you know why?  It’s because they’re home-schooled.  They don’t have anyone from school looking over their shoulders and whining, “How come you have to take your little sisters with you?”

Now this doesn’t mean, of course, that squabbling siblings will never disagree or argue, but it does mean that they tend to get along with each other; after all, these are their closest companions and friends.  As a matter of fact, I have been greatly impressed over the years with how well the homeschoolers treat each other – with kindness and more like a friend than a sibling.

This brings up another subject.  Some of your friends and acquaintances, well-meaning or not, will inevitably bring up the subject of “socializing” your children, meaning how will they learn to interact with other children if they don’t attend “outside” schools?  There are several answers to this.  First, is that they have family to socialize with, as mentioned above.  And this includes cousins, good old (traditional Catholic) cousins.  Our families were fortunate in having dozens of that precious commodity.  There was hardly a week went by that some of them didn’t “exchange” children after Stations of the Cross on a Friday, for example, and “reclaim” them after Mass on Sunday.  (Of course, that was when we could still attend the SSPX under Archbishop Lefebvre.)

(Now it’s true that not every family has “dozens” of traditional Catholic cousins, or for that matter, can devote one room in their house to “the school room,” or can fly off to a foreign country to check out their schools/churches, but if you’re trying your best to educate your children to be truly “children of God,” the good Lord will send you other methods of accomplishing this.  For example, instead of flying off to Portugal or Ireland to learn the truth about the status of the Church, you have The Catholic Candle!  Something that did not exist in those earlier days.)

Another means of socializing is sports.  Playing Little League baseball or football (if so inclined) is generally feasible.  Music, hiking, and chess club are also potential activities.  Or a Science Club with other home schoolers.  Of course, the corruption of bad companions can come from any direction, so potential companions should be thoroughly scrutinized these days.  (This is not a “home school issue” as such.)

Another HUGE benefit of teaching your children at home is that you get to control the flow of information that finds its way into their minds.  Thus, instead of learning about evolution and global warming, they will learn about God’s creation of the world and His control over the weather for these thousands of years.  And you can see that your children learn American History and Geography, and they won’t think New Mexico is a foreign country.

One more substantial benefit is that your children are being taught by people who love them and are totally invested not only in their temporal welfare but, more importantly, in the salvation of their souls and their happiness. 

However, as important as it is to see how your children can benefit from homeschooling, there is another benefit to consider.  Grandparents make pretty good adjunct teachers in many home schools, so they are a good resource for the teacher-parents.  But an additional advantage to homeschooling must not be overlooked.  It is to the grandparents themselves!  I have been helping to homeschool my grandchildren for many years, and I can’t stress enough how much benefit I have received from this.  You get to know them wonderfully well.  You build a loving relationship with them, a true closeness that can remain even after they are no longer “your” students.

Now it is an unfortunate truism that many parents may not be able to call on their parents to give them a hand in this most important endeavor for a variety of reasons, e.g., a job, poor health, or distance.  But to those who are able, I can guarantee that the time and the effort could not be better spent.

A further benefit that probably might not be appreciated until you’re knee-deep in homeschooling is the satisfaction it brings to you, knowing you are doing your best.  The peace of mind alone is incalculable.

Home-schooling is challenging and rewarding labor.  Is it easy?  Not so much.  But is it worthwhile?  You bet!

With God’s help it has worked for our family and others, and it will work for you if you will not settle for less than a solid traditional Catholic education for your children.

 

Should you choose to take this path, please know that you will be in our prayers every day. 

Catholic Candle note: To assist parents in homeschooling, we call your attention to a new Traditional Catholic homeschool which is now accessible worldwide.  Here is some information from this homeschool:

Angelic Doctor Academy

We would like to introduce Angelic Doctor Academy, a Traditional Catholic homeschool for grades 9 – 12 (lower grades coming soon).  We think careful Catholics will appreciate our solid Traditional Catholic high school curriculum, which contains many new textbooks written across the subjects because we have had enough of problematic books.  But even more, busy Catholic parents – especially mothers! – will appreciate our unique grading system which corrects everything – even the daily / weekly coursework – for the parents, so they can concentrate on teaching, explaining, and keeping order.   Please visit https://www.ada.school to learn more.

Yours in St. Thomas,

The Angelic Doctor Academy Staff

 

Educating your Children – Part 3

Catholic Candle note: This is the Third Part in a series on EDUCATING YOUR CHILDREN during the crisis in the Church.  There can be no more important concern for traditional Catholic parents today than how to best educate their children since it is so intrinsically connected to helping them save their precious souls.

     Part I:  Reflects on how one traditional Catholic family approached the gargantuan responsibility of this formidable task.  Part I can be found here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/06/01/approaching-the-responsibility-of-homeschooling/

     Part II:  Investigates what choices were available to the next generation of our family, and how they met the challenge.  Part II can be found here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/07/01/educating-your-children-part-2/

     Part III (this present article):  Examines what is involved in Home Schooling.

     Part IV:  Looks at some of the Benefits of educating your children at home.

Years ago, we heard the principal of a good school give a fine talk on educating your children.  He titled it “Education – It Happens Only Once.”  If nobody remembered anything of what he said except the title, it’d have been worth the time they spent listening to him because it said it all in a nutshell: We only have one opportunity to see that our children receive a good (traditional Catholic) education , the inference being that we’d better do it right the first time because we won’t get a second chance.

By default, the job falls now to Home Schools.  Therefore, it is more than appropriate to ask the following question:

 

What Does It Take to Home School?

Let’s examine the idea of home-schooling.  You’ve probably thought of some of the reasons why people do it, and you maybe even have considered how they do it.  But now you might be wondering What does it really take to home school? 

The quick answer is:

A.   You must be convinced it’s necessary.

B.   You must be willing to make the Commitment (with a capital C).

C.   You must have perseverance.

D.   You must have confidence in God.

E.   You must have discipline in your home.

 

F.   You must have patience, patience, and more patience.  (Okay, so all of us run short of that sometimes, but let’s talk about that later.)

___________________________

 

A.   Convinced it’s necessary

This is arguably the easiest item on the list.  The easiest to come by.  Any traditional Catholic parent who has half an eye open as to what’s going on in the schools today ought to find this an easy decision to make.  Easy to make, but admittedly not so easy to carry out.

 

B.   Commitment

It’s one thing to attend a home-school conference and be suffused with a rosy feeling of enthusiasm for beginning the grand adventure of teaching your own children.  It’s quite another to commit to seeing the job through to the end.

As was said in Part II, it’s probably a mercy that you don’t know at the beginning just how long the “long haul” is.  But it’s important not to view it as you’ll-put-up-with-it-as-long-as-you-can.  View it as a special calling, which it is.  The good Lord is making you a partner in educating your children and preparing them to survive in a world that seeks to tear them away from their Faith and compromise any vestige of principles.

A Home School mom I know put it this way: You must be a Home School family, not just a family that home schools.

 

C.   Perseverance

Deciding to educate your children at home is not a frivolous choice made lightly.  You cannot do it grudgingly or resenting that other parents send their children off to school and have the whole day to themselves.  Every day.  You’re in it for the whole 9 yards because you’re building an exceptional team and that team needs you.  You must approach it joyfully and with a generous heart.

 

D.   Confidence in God

We know that God cannot be outdone in generosity.  Whatever you do for Him is returned a hundredfold.  By His design, parents are the prime educators of their offspring.  Therefore, your efforts on behalf of your children, your willingness to put His plan before yours, and to instill in them a love for their Creator and a greater knowledge of their Faith will be generously rewarded.

 

E.     Discipline

Discipline in the home – in the past freewheeling decades of do-your-own-thing and the child’s-spirit-must-not-be-suppressed – the idea of actually expecting self-control from children has been all but abandoned.  It was instead overshadowed by insisting that the child be “given” self-respect.  Whether earned or not.  This is one of the principal reasons for the destruction of the schools.  In the (arguably) 70 years that discipline has been withering away under the cult of the child, obedience has sadly become a bitter joke in far too many families.

If your family (hopefully) cannot be included in this category, good for you.  It will make your job less difficult.

If yours is one of the families that did not make discipline a priority, it’s not too late now.  Harder, but possible.  And there are helps to get you there.  It is important to start with a family meeting, including all who have reached the age of reason, to explain very clearly exactly what your family goal is, and what is necessary to achieve it.  (We discuss more about Family Meetings below.)

Another huge help is to “demote” your television and other electronic devices – or better yet, get rid of the TV.  If your children are addicted to texting, Facebook, etc., it will be difficult to rein in their time-wasting habits.  But there again, doable.  It “just” takes patience, firmness, and being consistent.

Some of the fruits of this new family policy will be having more time to spend on developing new interests and more wholesome pastimes.  With more hours to fill, the children will be forced to look to other diversions, such as sports, hobbies, music, photography, etc.  Also, spending time with the family will slowly increase, which will foster a beneficial closeness.  All in God’s good time.  You are building a great team, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

You probably already say a family rosary together, morning and night, and this is a must.  Saying the rosary on-the-way-somewhere is sometimes a necessity, but the family that gathers nightly (or daily) together in one place, on its knees, is accomplishing several things at once.  Among them are showing the children the importance of prayer, and also nourishing a sense of family unity.

A word might be said here about the desirability of designating one room in your home as "the school room."  This might not always be practical or feasible, but where possible, it is a help in setting up your Home School, and having the same room set aside exclusively for school work.

One of the greatest helps will be that Family Meeting (as mentioned above).  Frequent sit-down meetings will be a great aid to building family unity and family harmony.  They need not turn into dragged-out marathon encounters, dreaded by everyone.  Hopefully run by the father, the chief “business” of the meetings is to make sure the children understand why the family has chosen this course of action (homeschooling).  If they do, it will be much easier for them to accept your decision.

Also, these family meetings help parents to understand their children’s worries or concerns, which might easily be ameliorated if brought out into the light of day during a casual family discussion.

It can’t be stressed enough how important it is for your children to know WHY you’re doing what you’re doing.  It is solely for their benefit, in order to save their souls, safeguard their Faith, and not so incidentally to give them a superior education.  And even if they can’t fully comprehend the reasons now, hopefully they will have enough confidence in you, their parents, to trust your judgment.

 

F.   Patience

Easier said than practiced, right?  A Home School mother I know confided in me that there were a few times when she was overwhelmed with the enormity of the task she was undertaking.  To the point that occasionally, at the end of the day, when the family was asleep, she, exhausted, would sit at her kitchen table correcting papers, planning the next day’s schedule, and … crying.  She questioned whether she had what it takes to do the job.  To be sure, this didn’t happen often, but when it did, the saving grace was to re-focus her mind on why she was doing it:

  For the greater honor and glory of God,

  To fulfill God’s plan to help one’s children get to heaven,

  To give the children the essential tools they must have to survive in a pagan world.

In next month’s Catholic Candle, we will discuss The Benefits of Home Schooling, in Part IV.


Catholic Candle
note: To assist parents in homeschooling, we call your attention to a new Traditional Catholic homeschool which is now accessible worldwide.  Here is some information about this homeschool:

Angelic Doctor Academy

We would like to introduce Angelic Doctor Academy, a Traditional Catholic homeschool for grades 9 – 12 (lower grades coming soon).  We think careful Catholics will appreciate our solid Traditional Catholic high school curriculum, which contains many new textbooks written across the subjects because we have had enough of problematic books.  But even more, busy Catholic parents – especially mothers! – will appreciate our unique grading system which corrects everything – even the daily / weekly coursework – for the parents, so they can concentrate on teaching, explaining, and keeping order.   Please visit  https://www.ada.school  to learn more.

Yours in St. Thomas,

The Angelic Doctor Academy Staff

 

 

Educating your Children – Part 2

Catholic Candle note: This is the Second Part in a series on EDUCATING YOUR CHILDREN during the crisis in the Church.  There can be no more important concern for traditional Catholic parents today than how to best educate their children since it is so intrinsically connected to helping them save their precious souls.

     Part I:  Reflects on how one traditional Catholic family approached the gargantuan responsibility of this formidable task.  Part I can be found here: http://www.catholiccandle.org/2020/06/01/approaching-the-responsibility-of-homeschooling/

     Part II (this present article):  Investigates what choices were available to the next generation of our family, and how they met the challenge.

     Part III:  Examines what is involved in Home Schooling.

     Part IV:  Looks at some of the Benefits of educating your children at home.

What Are the Choices?

Homeschooling didn’t really enter our lives until our children began their families and were seriously looking at how they were to educate them.  It was clear to all of them that if they were to raise good Catholic children, they could not expose them to the poisons in the schools.  And by poisons is meant not only the drugs and alcohol.  Unfortunately, it includes bad companions, disrespect for authority, a left-wing agenda, no discipline, strange ideas/beliefs that you have no idea where they came from, etc.  And this doesn’t even include the knifings, brawls, assaults, etc. in the public schools that threaten their physical safety.

 

It has become a world in which you send a nice, obedient little child off to school and get back a snarly teenager who questions everything you say.  (And that can’t be conveniently attributed to “just being a teenager” as parents today are led to believe.)

 

Almost lost in the shuffle is the education factor.  Figures that have only recently been reluctantly released testify that public schools, and even many private schools, have horrendous results educating their charges.  Over 40% of public-school students cannot read at their grade level!

 

So, the next generation of our family were all independently on board with the knowledge that they could not send their children to the public schools, nor to the local Novus Ordo school, nor to any private school (like the N-SSPX) and “hope for the best”.

 

This brought them inexorably to Home Schooling.  (To parents who have fought the good fight – educating their children at home – Home Schooling deserves capital letters.)

 

Our children began the long trek of Home Schooling about 25 years ago.  Since they all have large families, they truly were in it for the long haul.  (It’s probably a mercy that you don’t know at that point how long a haul it’s going to be.)

 

I recall asking one of our daughters early on how it was going, and casually asking her if there was anything I could do to help.  When she took me up on it, I confess I was a tad surprised, naively wondering what I could actually contribute.

 

Well … time, effort, presence to begin with.  For over 20 years I went to their Home School three days a week.  (If I had it to do over again, I would have gone five.)  I helped a little one (a different little one each year) master the intricacies of reading about David and Joan helping Mother with the twins.  And how it was to live in the Little House on the Prairie.  And how a larva transforms into a pupa.  And why we need to learn about fractions and common denominators.

 

And while I was having all the fun with the little ones, their mother was in a different area of the house handling the “tough” stuff with the older students.

As it turned out, another of our children moved back into the area, and with his large family, had a lively, flourishing Home School of their own.

 

Flourishing?  Yes, but as any homeschool mom (or dad) knows, there aren’t enough hours in the day, and she can always use another pair of hands and another brain and another red pencil wielder.

 

So, I lost one day at one house and gained two more at the other.

 

Fine, but how does that help you?

 

The first question you need to consider is: “How can you as a traditional Catholic – in today’s pagan world – fulfill your responsibility to educate your children?”  You must begin by realizing that it is totally your responsibility.  There is no question of being able to pass it off to any school system or religious society.  Because Vatican II has so infected today’s world, finding a brick-and-mortar school is nigh impossible.  Nor is it possible to send your children to a Novus Ordo school nor an N-SSPX school and, as said before, “hope for the best.”

 

Let’s discuss these three non-possibilities.

 

The public schools are obviously out of the question.  The police presence in these schools attests to the almost daily violence that is commonplace, and which students are hard-pressed to avoid.  They may have the latest in audio-visual equipment, computers, perhaps, and a first-rate football field, but these can’t begin to outweigh the damage they do with their left-wing agendas of evolution, global warming, birth control, etc.  And these subjects are taught at the expense of the traditional educational building blocks of American History, Geography, Literature, etc., and even something as innocuous as Handwriting.  (They are proposing to eliminate the teaching of cursive writing; soon today’s graduates will be unable to write their own names.  And teaching of spelling, punctuation, and grammar is ignored, downplayed, and all but eradicated.)

 

So, that, along with the lack of discipline and order in the schools, and immodest dress, there should be enough to convince any good parent that public schools are not a viable choice.

 

These are very good reasons why NOT to send your children to a public school; so that would seem to leave Novus Ordo or N-SSPX schools.  Assuming you as a traditional Catholic would never send your children to a Novus Ordo school, you may be interested anyway in seeing this example of what some of them have devolved into.

 

In Part I of this series, I mentioned Diocesan Directives and Guidelines.  Two years ago, the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Wis., announced that the local Catholic schools would no longer be diocesan schools, but would instead be members of an “association” called Siena.  (“Poor” St. Catherine of Siena must be “fuming” at this outrageous preempting of her name.)  However, the schools would be expected to follow his “Guidelines,” which included these directives (quoted verbatim):

 

  Teachers will not determine grades based on the mathematical average of scores earned over time.

 

  Teachers will not consider behavior, effort, attendance, class participation, missing work, or credit when determining academic grades.[1]

 

This is lunacy! …  as any experienced educator or parent with common sense would recognize.  The irony of this is that several weeks previous to this announcement, the chairman of the Board of Directors for this Siena Catholic Schools received a (presumably) prestigious award from the archbishop for his “dedication to ensuring quality Catholic education.”[2]

 

Another nail in the coffin of a traditional Catholic’s hope that he might find a singularly conservative Novus Ordo school (if it existed), is the fact that they all use a bad conciliar catechism, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, put out after Vatican II.

 

It might seem tempting, then, to consider whether you could “get by with” sending them to an N-SSPX school.  The trusting traditional Catholic parent who might look at a Society school as a viable alternative to Novus Ordo and public schools ought to scrutinize more carefully what the N-SSPX is offering.

 

First of all, you need to consider that the Society has said that it accepts 95% of Vatican II.  This is much more significant than a mere troublesome statistic.  The N-SSPX claims there is no doubt that “… many of the texts are traditional,”[3] yet all 13 texts are thoroughly infested with error.[4]  The Society minimizes the evils of VC II, saying that it contains “no direct heresy and few errors”—whereas it is full of direct heresies.[5]

 

Archbishop Lefebvre taught that the whole of Vatican II contradicts what the popes have taught for centuries.  He said: “We have to choose.  Either we choose what the popes have taught for centuries and we choose the Church (i.e., Catholic tradition), or we choose what was said by the Council.  BUT WE CANNOT CHOOSE BOTH AT THE SAME TIME SINCE THEY ARE CONTRADICTORY.”[6]  (Emphasis added)

 

Pretty clear admonition.

 

Several other strictures to keep in mind:  The N-SSPX has been working toward a hybrid mass, an unholy blend of a Latin Tridentine Mass and a Novus Ordo mass.[7]  That ought to give you pause.  Plus, there are many other beyond-troublesome facts to jar you.  Such as Bishop Fellay’s statement that he is “…very happy with a lot of what Pope Francis teaches.”[8]  And that he “…hopes that Vatican II belongs to tradition.”[9] 

 

But the overwhelming reason to not entrust your children to a Society school is that you can expect them to be slowly but inexorably indoctrinated into the conciliar church.

 

So, after much soul-searching and interminable discussions, you may be considering schooling your children at home.  Gradually, you come to grips with the realization that that is the only solution to living up to your responsibility to educate your children.

 

In Part III, in next month’s Catholic Candle, we will look at the question: WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO HOME SCHOOL?

 



[1]           Quoted from the Racine Journal-Times, March 20, 2018.

 

[2]              Quoted from the Racine Journal-Times, March 21, 2018.

 

[6]           Archbishop Lefebvre, 1976 press conference quoted in Religious Liberty Questioned, page xi, Angelus Press, 2002.

[9]           6-8-12 DICI interview of Bishop Fellay at: http://www.dici.org/en/news/interview-with-bishop-bernard-fellay-on-relations-with-rome/.

Approaching the responsibility of homeschooling

Catholic Candle note: This is the First Part in a new series on EDUCATING YOUR CHILDREN during the crisis in the Church.  There can be no more important concern for traditional Catholic parents today than how to best educate their children since it is so intrinsically connected to helping them save their precious souls.

     Part I:  Reflects on how one traditional Catholic family approached the gargantuan responsibility of this formidable task.

     Part II:  Investigates what choices were available to the next generation, and how they met the challenge.

     Part III:  Examines what is involved in Home Schooling.

     Part IV:  Looks at some of the Benefits of educating your children at home.

How one Traditional Catholic family approached the gargantuan responsibility of homeschooling

Parents have always been recognized as the primary educators of their children (under the aegis of the Catholic Church).  But in the “old days” (before Vatican II) Catholic parents could confidently send their children off to their local parish school in the knowledge that they would learn more about their Faith and also get a decent education.  Which they did.

However, when our children were growing up in the aftermath of VC II, it was a very different situation.  We began to realize very soon that we could no longer assume that sending them to the parish school would automatically get them a good Catholic education.  It was a painful realization, and with it came the question of what other choices there might be.  However credible or doubtful, we felt constrained to check them out.

Thinking of our Blessed Mother’s promise that the flame of the Faith would always burn in Portugal, we left our children in the capable hands of a generous grandmother and flew to Lisbon to view firsthand the religious-educational situation.  We investigated all aspects, including employment for my husband.  (A job was not possible because there wasn’t even enough work for Portuguese citizens, let alone foreigners.)  All things considered, it became clear that moving to Portugal was not the answer.  Our Lady did promise that the true Faith would be kept alive, there, but that could conceivably mean in some remote corner of the country, not necessarily a guarantee that the Catholic schools would be free of the effects of Vatican II.

Our next stop was Ireland, which at first glance seemed a distinct possibility.  However, it might have been Our Lady who sent us to a restaurant where we were seated next to two young women who were teachers at a Catholic grade school.  They were almost giddy telling us how wonderful it would be teaching the new religion coming from Vatican II.  That, and other considerations, left Ireland out completely.  So we headed home satisfied that we tried, and that we would have to do our best at home to raise our family in the traditional Catholic Faith.

Now the only answer was to keep our eyes focused on finding a good school.  And finding a good school was always a top priority.

We bought our first house across town and joined our new parish.  Our oldest was making her First Communion, and we were learning to be cautious about what was being taught in parish schools.  Our new parish had a new pastor, and we invited him to dinner to hear in what direction he intended to lead his flock.

Well, it turned out he didn’t particularly plan to do much leading.  He made it clear he was “letting Sister” decide what catechisms and classroom subjects, etc., she would use.  (This was in the days when the sisters were beginning to “speak up” and wanted a greater voice in the Church.)  I recall that as Father left the house that evening, my husband turned to me and said it was clear we couldn’t leave our children in that school.  And we didn’t.

Next came several years at our “good ol’ neighborhood” (public) school, until they began the disastrous “drug education” and “sex education” programs, which under the pretense of warning children about drugs and sex, actually accomplished the opposite: piqued their curiosity.  Scratch school #2.

You know the old saying about God never closing a door on you without opening a window.  The good Lord directed us to a parish in a run-down part of town that was operated by a stubborn priest who ran the school his way.  And his obstinacy was what allowed us to send our children to his grade school.  He threw out the Diocesan directives and guidelines and hired his own good teachers, used the good Baltimore catechisms, and engaged nuns who wore the full habits.  (A word about those Diocesan guidelines in Part II.)

The school wasn’t in the best neighborhood and was located next to a large rough public school.  There were a number of issues we had to deal with, including letting the pastor know we wouldn’t allow our children to attend the daily Novus Ordo mass.  This prompted a recurring reminder from him every month when we paid for five tuitions that we wouldn’t have to pay if we were members of the parish.  (But, of course, we weren’t and couldn’t be.)  The implied “bribery” notwithstanding, the school accomplished what we needed it to: it got our children safely through the grades.

Safely, yes, but not without a small price to pay along the way, especially for our oldest daughter.  She attended five different schools in those eight years, which was not easy.  And sometimes she had to listen to catty classmates whine: “Why do you have to wear your skirts so long?”  One night, after the rosary, we were reading about St. Joan of Arc being burned at the stake, and she said in a burst of fervor, “Oh, I would be willing to do that for Our Lord!”  I recall answering her that God was not asking her to die a fiery death, but He did ask her to put up with the occasional churlish question about her dresses.

So that brought us to high school.  For several years before our oldest graduated from grade school, we had begun looking around for a good high school for them.

Both my husband and I had attended our local Catholic high school, but it was a no-brainer that we wouldn’t be able to send our children there.  Its curriculum had transformed into an unrecognizably liberal stew of modernism.  So that was a non-starter.

The choices were very limited.  There was a traditional boarding school in a nearby state, but you hate to send a 13-year-old homebody away from home (unless there is absolutely no alternative.)  There was also a correspondence school, and we listened to what their representative had to say.  (Nobody we ever heard of talked of Home Schooling in those days.)  And the purportedly “conservative” Franciscan seminary/boys’ school in the area was just for “he”s, and we were starting with a “she”.  (Which turned out to be Providential since the school proved to be only a tad behind in its swerve into modernism.)

However, we heard of another “conservative” Catholic high school in a different city fairly close by, and we looked into that.  This appeared a definite possibility, and we visited it one Sunday.  The nun-principal told us that there was a waiting list to get in, but she took us on a tour of the school nevertheless.  She gave us all the particulars about tuition costs and where our daughter could get her uniform, books, etc.  The sister looked a bit non-plussed when we said firmly that our daughter would not be attending the daily Novus Ordo mass, but she rallied to tell us that they had a protestant girl and an Egyptian boy at the school who similarly did not attend the service.  The upshot was that she decided she would allow her to by-pass the waiting list because she was a good student and would be coming from a distance.  (Since our daughter did not have a driver’s license, the commute would be two daily round trips – 120 miles a day.)

So it appeared all set.  That is, until we got a phone call from her the next day saying she was very sorry that they didn’t have room in the school for our daughter after all.

But as before, when that door closed, another window opened.  Testimony to that is our discovery of a private high school that was started up a handful of years earlier by a small group of conservative industrialists-businessmen.  They, too, had been looking for a decent school for their children, but had given up and started their own.  Long story short, it was nearly as good as we expected, even though it necessitated a 100-mile round trip daily.  (The headmaster of the school told us at the graduation of our last child that they had been figuring how many miles our family had traveled in those nine years, and they concluded it’d been over 300,000 miles.)

The next obvious challenge was going to be finding a good traditional Catholic college.  An important point to make here is that parents must realize that high schoolers do not have the intellect, wisdom, or experience to select the correct college that will determine their success in life, and more importantly, their salvation.  THAT IS THE JOB FOR THE PARENTS.

My husband investigated lead-after-lead all across the country from well-meaning people who thought they knew just what we were looking for.  Invariably, these small Catholic colleges used to be good, but every one of them proved to be liberal.  He always talked to the Dean of Students, and he got to be quite good at recognizing the signs of problems and asking the right questions, e.g., What did they do when a student used drugs?  Did they have single sex or coed dorms?  What kind of dress code did they have?  What curriculum did they use?  Etc.  He didn’t even have to discuss curriculum and textbooks with many of them because they disqualified themselves after the first three questions.

Unfortunately, it appeared there was no such thing as a solid, good Catholic college anymore.  Until …

Another window opened.  Deo gratias!  He found a gem, even if it proved to be a great distance away.  Here it must be stressed that the most important point in settling on a college is to visit it beforehand to confirm what the Dean has told you.  He did visit the campus, and again, it was nearly as good as we’d hoped.  Granted, it was thousands of miles from home, but that’s what it took to find the right school.  It was worth the numberless hours and time and effort it took to locate it.  It was well worth avoiding many of the problems of young adults.

I might mention that while my husband and I did not homeschool our family, it was only because we were able to find the last of the good schools to send them to.  And even then, it took considerable effort to research and locate the schools, pay the tuitions, and find a way to get them there.

However, if we weren’t compelled to homeschool the first time around, we got the chance to do so in Round 2, with our grandchildren.  Which will be discussed in Part II, in the next Catholic Candle.