There are so many days when I am concerned about the “progress” of my home educated children. Are we “doing” enough? Are they getting it? Am I holding them back? Before I endeavor to answer any of these questions, I think we should look at the definition of “progress”.
“A moving or going forward; a proceeding onward; an advance”. This “advancing or going forward” can apply to “space, growth, business, knowledge, proficiency, perfection or technology”.
I am discussing progress as it regards the home educated, so we will look at progress in terms of “knowledge, proficiency and perfection”.
What is my primary goal as a Catholic home educator? Well…that would be to train up and educate my children in the truths of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church so that they may attain the “happiness of heaven”. That is it. In a nutshell. So why do I agonize over Algebra? Faint over fractions? Languish over Latin? Because it is also my great responsibility to provide articulate and educated defenders of the faith…but…faith first!
This past Saturday a wonderful thing happened. I had yet another revelation that they are “getting” it. The “it” I am referring is faith. Sir Galahad and I were on our way to the grocery store when I informed him that a couple of good friends would be dining with us, that evening. He enthusiastically inquired about the menu. I told him “italian pork roast with herbed potatoes, salad and strawberries”. His face fell dramatically. “What’s wrong, son?” I inquired. My boy, in his darling lisp, says “Mom…it’s Saturday!” “Yes…so?” He sternly replies, “tomorrow is Pentecost! Today is the Vigil! We are not supposed to have meat!” “Really?” (now I’m quite aware that I am exposing my ignorance…though I have catechized my children, it apparently did not “stick” with me!) “Yes, really Mom! What are we going to do?”
How incredible! This child turned nine years old on that very day. Already his faith is so firmly planted that dinner on a Saturday is a moment of faith for him! May God be praised! I could provide you with examples of academic prowess, when I was sure that they were not “advancing or going onward” in any number of subjects and then my surprise at discovering just how much they have learned…but those areas are just not important at present. As I have said to my friends: “It is no great scandal to a home educator if your child doesn’t quite get an algebraic concept, slips grammatically or misquotes an historical fact…public school and private school kids do that all the time. We are Catholic home educators and it would be scandalous if our children are ignorant of their faith.”
Having the responsibility of imparting the truths of our lovely faith in the context of daily living is the greatest privilege a home educator has. In the sanctity of the home school, the faith is not just another set of facts and figures to be memorized, but is daily life, lived. So here’s hope…they “get” far more than any of us realize…and what they are “getting” is the most important gift any child can be given.