About Rest for the Weary

I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homeschooling myths

I found an interesting series of blog posts about the myths of homeschooling.  (part 4 is here; it didn't work for me in the first link.) This is not what one might expect, though.  It is about myths that homeschoolers are perpetuating about how great homeschooling is.  (while hiding the hard, bad stuff)  I don't agree with everything stated here (the author is pro-homeschooling and Christian, but it might not seem like it because he is quite blunt), but I am glad someone is speaking about the hard parts of homeschooling instead of painting it as a cure all to all of societies ills.  Some homeschoolers set homeschooling up as an idol and don't want any of the bad to leak out.  Pride can run deep, and I think we need to acknowledge the difficulties that this choice brings (along with all of the good) instead of covering it up and pretending problems don't exist. And I think it is time that people quit thinking they are somehow better parents because they homeschool or that it is the only good choice.  Below are several other links to posts about people who have left homeschooling.  Some are about how they were treated negatively by other homeschoolers because they left homeschooling behind.

homeschooling burnout

I lost the homeschool battle

Why we're dropping out of homeschool

homeschooling guru sends her kids to public school

Why I do not homeschool

Now, just so I make this known, I am pro-homeschooling, if that  is working for everyone involved, including mom.  However, now I believe that other choices can work just as well and each family must discern where God is leading them.  I am no longer the homeschooling nazi police.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spiritual Pride

Pride is one of the deadly sins and the root of all evil.  Many of us struggle with this.  I know I have and really didn't even realize it.  I also struggle with trusting God.  I tend to want to control everything.  But I am slowly getting it through my thick head that I am really not in control of very much. Basically, I am in control of how I think and act.  But I cannot control others. So, back to the pride issue.  I have been re-reading Enjoy the Lord: A path to Contemplation by Rev. John Catoir.  It is such a powerful book.  Short and sweet but very profound.  As I was reading the chapter on trust for the umpteenth time, several things jumped out at me.  Screamed at me, really, and the Holy Spirit prompted me to write about it.  Here are the things that impressed me:
"Religion can deteriorate into a struggle to demonstrate (primarily to oneself) one's constancy, one's integrity, one's thoughtfulness, one's willingness to serve, one's piety.  It becomes "I must do this"; "I will do that"; " I must not do the other thing."  Please notice the use of the word "I"---I,I,I.  Religion becomes self-centered.  This is why good people become ashamed when they fail to improve.  They have not yet learned "abandonment." They have tried to do too much on their own." p. 68 (there is that control thing again)

"We can begin by examining our lives thoughtfully to see if we have fallen into any of the traps that the ego sets for us.  For instance, it is an all too human fault to make believe the Father's will for us coincides with our own desires.  The more we want something, i.e., the more we depend on it for our own happiness, the more we tend to assume that it is surely what God must also want.  When this happens, we may not be listening; we may be dictating." p.71.

"Abandonment will surely lead to the fragrant flower of humility and love." p. 78

Wow, these are so me.  The "I" is so much a part of my spriitual vocabulary that I didn't even realize it.  And the funny (yet sad) thing about pride, is that we don't usually recognize it for what it is.  Pride can have good intentions.  What I mean by that is that the desire can be noble. I want to be holy.  It is such a noble desire, what we all should want.  But the problem comes in when we simply use reason  to decide what will lead to holiness.  Many people hear ideas or see others doing something that appears to make them holy and conclude that they need to do that thing.  But sometimes people forget to ask the Holy Spirit what is God's will for them and to check it out against Church teaching. 
I truly have been humbled as I have journeyed through the land of traditionalism and out again.  I didn't really seek God's will; many issues were just outward and not an inward conversion, and God is slowly showing me that His will can lead us in very different places than we expect or want. But I am learning ever so slowly and painfully that God can work through many situations, and that there is no one way to holiness.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Homeschooling

I have no fancy Church statements on the right to homeschool.  Most homeschoolers use the quotes from previous posts to support their right to homeschool. Simply stated parent are the primary and first educators of their children. 
I think homeschooling is a wonderful option for parents if they feel like they can handle it and/or feel the need.  I have homeschooled for 16 years, and my reasons for doing so have changed.  When I began, I homeschooled for educational and safety reasons.  Once I became involved in the traditionalist movement, my reasons switched to moral reasons.  I came to believe that it was the only way to transmit the faith to my children.  And now, after seeing and knowing some good Catholic families who have chosen a different route than homeschooling, I see things a bit differently.  I no longer see it as the only way. 
Also after becoming a traditionalist, I heard that many previous "methods" that I used in our homeschool were anti-Catholic. Things such as unschooling, Montessori, and Charlotte Mason methods were touted as evil.  Wanting to do things "right", I switched to a school at home program that made us miserable, all in the name of a good Catholic education.  Thankfully, we didn't keep that up for long and went back to our more relaxed style of schooling.  Homeschooling methods are very personal and one must weigh many factors into that decision.  There is no way right way to homeschool and no one Catholic way that will work for everyone. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Catholic schools

Many traditionalist are wary of Catholic schools.  I know I was.  Even before I was involved in Traditionalism, I viewed Catholic schools in a negative light because surely that must be the reason for the lack of faith following Vatican II. Homeschooling was the only viable option that any practicing Catholic could choose.  To put your children into public school was akin to throwing them into Hades, and  well, those Catholic schools are run by feminist lay people.  What other choice is there for a parent to choose who loves their child and their faith?   One thing I forgot, and many others who are seeking to keep their children Catholic and pass on the faith, is that homeschooling (or any other schooling for that matter) isn't going to save them.  There are no guarantees.  God is bigger than homeschooling, Catholic schooling, and public schooling.  He can work through any situation.  I am getting a bit off track, but that needed to be said....
We know that after Vatican II, the number of religious vocations dropped dramatically, especially for women.  Slowly, the teaching sisters left the schools, and they for the most part have been taken over by the lay people.  Problem is that you have to pay those people so Catholic school  is prohibitive for many.  But now days you hear that none of the schools are good any more because the sisters aren't teaching and feminist women have taken over.  Many are even bold enough to say that only SSPX and the few FSSP schools are good.  I am sure there are many bad ones around, but now that my eyes have been opened, I haven't seen them.  I have only heard hearsay, but the few that I have come in close contact lately (that would be 6 because we are considering sending our to Catholic school ) only one had something questionable going on and that was quite a number of years ago under a different principal. All of these schools had Mass once a week, taught the children the Rosary, celebrated All Saints, the month of Mary (with May crownings), most had adoration times, prayed the stations of the cross during Lent and quite a few of them used traditional religion texts.  Both high schools I looked at use the Didache series which quite a lot of homeschoolers are using.  One high school had the priest teaching religion (and  he celebrates the EF Mass) and the other had a deacon teaching religion.  Manners, respect, and modesty are  expected.  Of course, I am sure the children learn many of the bad things that we parents wish to shelter them from, but at some point we have to let them learn to distinguish right from wrong. That is where our part as parents comes in.  We have to be involved in their education and talk to them along with listening.  Our example is key and if we have their hearts, I think that goes a long way.
Ok, on to some technical lingo supporting Catholic schools.  From:
 GRAVISSIMUM EDUCATIONIS


Declaration on Christian Education

Second Vatican Council (again, please don't freak; it's legit;))
Catholic Schools




The influence of the Church in the field of education is shown in a special manner by the Catholic school. No less than other schools does the Catholic school pursue cultural goals and the human formation of youth. But its proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism as they develop their own personalities, and finally to order the whole of human culture to the news of salvation so that the knowledge the students gradually acquire of the world, life and man is illumined by faith.(25) So indeed the Catholic school, while it is open, as it must be, to the situation of the contemporary world, leads its students to promote efficaciously the good of the earthly city and also prepares them for service in the spread of the Kingdom of God, so that by leading an exemplary apostolic life they become, as it were, a saving leaven in the human community.



Since, therefore, the Catholic school can be such an aid to the fulfillment of the mission of the People of God and to the fostering of the dialogue between the Church and mankind, to the benefit of both, it retains even in our present circumstances the utmost importance. Consequently this sacred synod proclaims anew what has already been taught in several documents of the magisterium,(26) namely: the right of the Church freely to establish and to conduct schools of every type and level. And the council calls to mind that the exercise of a right of this kind contributes in the highest degree to the protection of freedom of conscience, the rights of parents, as well as to the betterment of culture itself.



But let teachers recognize that the Catholic school depends upon them almost entirely for the accomplishment of its goals and programs.(27) They should therefore be very carefully prepared so that both in secular and religious knowledge they are equipped with suitable qualifications and also with a pedagogical skill that is in keeping with the findings of the contemporary world. Intimately linked in charity to one another and to their students and endowed with an apostolic spirit, may teachers by their life as much as by their instruction bear witness to Christ, the unique Teacher. Let them work as partners with parents and together with them in every phase of education give due consideration to the difference of sex and the proper ends Divine Providence assigns to each sex in the family and in society. Let them do all they can to stimulate their students to act for themselves and even after graduation to continue to assist them with advice, friendship and by establishing special associations imbued with the true spirit of the Church. The work of these teachers, this sacred synod declares, is in the real sense of the word an apostolate most suited to and necessary for our times and at once a true service offered to society. The Council also reminds Catholic parents of the duty of entrusting their children to Catholic schools wherever and whenever it is possible and of supporting these schools to the best of their ability and of cooperating with them for the education of their children.(28)



9. Different Types of Catholic Schools



To this concept of a Catholic school all schools that are in any way dependent on the Church must conform as far as possible, though the Catholic school is to take on different forms in keeping with local circumstances.(29) Thus the Church considers very dear to her heart those Catholic schools, found especially in the areas of the new churches, which are attended also by students who are not Catholics.



Attention should be paid to the needs of today in establishing and directing Catholic schools. Therefore, though primary and secondary schools, the foundation of education, must still be fostered, great importance is to be attached to those which are required in a particular way by contemporary conditions, such as: professional(30) and technical schools, centers for educating adults and promoting social welfare, or for the retarded in need of special care, and also schools for preparing teachers for religious instruction and other types of education.



This Sacred Council of the Church earnestly entreats pastors and all the faithful to spare no sacrifice in helping Catholic schools fulfill their function in a continually more perfect way, and especially in caring for the needs of those who are poor in the goods of this world or who are deprived of the assistance and affection of a family or who are strangers to the gift of Faith.