When my family and I were living in Central PA, we sent our little boy to the daycare in our neighborhood twice a week. It was a new and beautiful facility and very convenient. We could walk to the school to get exercise and enjoy nice weather. It truly was a wonderful experience for him for he really learned a great deal from the dedicated teachers and interacting with the other children in the toddler classroom.
But something clicked for me one day as I was watching and taking pictures of my son in the school Halloween parade. He was probably a hundred feet away when he spotted me in a crowd with other parents also watching their children from a distance. Without a blink his face lit up like a firefly as he exclaimed with joy, "Mama!"
I will never forget that. That moment changed everything for me. I realized then and there that no one could ever take the place of a parent's love for their child and no one could ever teach them better. For me it all made sense. That moment solidified my desire to homeschool my child.
Years ago I became familiar with Seton Home Study (named after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton) when I lived in the Diocese of Arlington. I was impressed with the stories I read about Catholic homeschooling families. I also talked with friends and acquaintances who used Seton to educate their children and they were so happy they did. What really caught my interest with Seton was its curriculum which was known to be challenging, flexible, and conducive to the preparation and transition to higher education. Most importantly, Seton is also very centered on helping develop a child's faith.
As the title of this post suggests we have, indeed, survived 100 days of Catholic homeschooling. We started our son Constantine in pre-K in the fall of 2016. It hasn't always been easy but there is not a day that I don't feel so blessed and grateful for Seton.
Let me be frank. We've had our moments of crying sessions and not so pretty scenes but that is life. We live, we learn, we apologize, we forgive, and then we start again. But I have to say that there have been countless, extraordinary times during this whole homeschooling process of my son learning as well as for me that have been priceless.
Choosing to homeschool our son was a family decision. My husband was very supportive from the beginning. We talked and prayed a lot about it. I think that it's important to explain to the child the options of homeschooling and public and private schools. Periodically, I ask our son what he wants to do. And I'm thankful that he chooses to be homeschooled.
Here are some thoughts of what we have experienced as a family and why I think Catholic families should consider using Seton or supplement with Seton. First of all, I love the flexibility and support that Seton provides. Seton is just a phone call away so parents and students can get their questions answered. Also, you can work at your child's pace. For pre-K, the parent may choose to teach the material in one to two years.
The curriculum that the parents are given is meant to be used as a guide. Parents do not have to follow every single thing listed on the curriculum because as parents we know our children best and we learn as we go. That's the beauty of the curriculum. It offers the opportunity for parents to learn the child's strengths and weaknesses. For me, I want to help my son realize his talents early on so that by the time he completes high school he knows what he wants to do in life so that he can serve God in his best capacity.
For families like us who move a lot, homeschooling just made sense. I couldn't imagine pulling my child out of school every time it's time to move. So Seton became a viable option. Also, just a few days ago our area accumulated approximately 28 inches of snow. Since we live in the snowiest city in the US, it's a wonderful perk to not have to worry about missing school because school happens at home. Another plus is that I love that our son's risk of catching a cold, the flu, or any other disease traveling around the schools is greatly minimized.
Both parents can have a profound impact on the child's education. I love that day in and day out I know exactly what my son is learning because I teach his lessons. If I'm not available then my husband can teach. I am aware that there's that pain of trying to undo the negative and bad influences that a child may learn from his or her peers or others. I believe that as our son's primary teachers, God has given us the responsibility of teaching our son the beauty of our faith, English and literature, math, science, art, history, languages, as well as culinary arts, integrative nutrition, and physical education. If there's something that we are not equipped to teach him then we can seek other resources and plan field trips. The possibilities with homeschooling are endless.
We continue to grow closer as a family because we find the time to pray together. Seton may not be for you and your family. But if you hope for your child to grow in love with the faith, I think that you will appreciate Seton. I love how Seton connects every subject back to Jesus Christ. It's wonderful because we are teaching our son to learn and love our faith. We start our day praying the rosary. It's the first thing we do unless we attend Mass first thing in the morning. After the rosary, we start with religion, next literacy, and finally math. Then we're free to practice handwriting, do art projects, learn Spanish, and play. Before going to bed, we gather in our bedroom to pray together as we remember our loved ones' intentions.
One of the biggest misconceptions of homeschooled children is the lack of social activity. That is far from the truth. At the moment we are so fortunate to live in a fantastic neighborhood with young children all around and a homeowners' association that plans family and kid friendly activities all year round. We are also part of an active parish community. My son is almost always talking to people wherever he goes regardless of whether he's speaking with new acquaintances, people passing by, friends or family. We teach him to be respectful of our pastor, elders, and everyone he encounters. He's a fun-loving child who takes the initiative in greeting others. In homeschooling our son we encourage curiosity and creativity as much as possible. There's never a dull moment with homeschooling.
We live in an age of possibilities. Homeschooling may not be for every household but what I can say is for us the benefits outweigh everything else. If you are considering to homeschool, pray about it. You will be amazed at how the Holy Spirit leads each one of us. If you are Catholic, I highly encourage you and your family to look at supplementing with Seton. Not every family is able to homeschool but because Seton's curriculum is so rich in Catholic teaching and wisdom I think it's perfect to use in building a strong faith foundation in the home. I'm astonished every single day because even in the pre-K level I'm learning something new about the faith. Even if your child is going to a Catholic school I really believe that using materials from Seton will help form a special bond with your child.
One of the greatest joys that I hear almost everyday is this: "I love spending the day with mama and daddy!" That special bond that I get to experience on a daily basis beats anything and everything else.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, please pray for us!
Where To Start If You Are Interested In Catholic Homeschooling
- Check out the Seton Home Study website here. You can request a packet of information.
- For those in the Philippines who are interested in homeschooling with Seton, there are a number of Filipino families using Seton already. There is a lot of support available. You can find a Facebook homeschooling page called ROCKERS Philippines here.
- Read the book Catholic Home Schooling by Dr. Mary Kay Clark and get your copy here. This book was a huge help to me and really gave me the confidence in deciding to fully homeschool my son. It's full of wonderful tips and pointers that Mary Kay Clark used with her own children whom she homeschooled. For the first person to reach out to me, I have an extra copy and will mail it to you! Comment below and send me a message on Facebook, Instagram, or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.