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Monday, 26 August 2013

Home Schooling Hints-Part Two; Avoid Being a Catholic Taliban

There are some key goals a home schooling parent must keep in mind when ordering, using, following a curriculum. In my first blog, I wrote extensively on the need to find a methodology which includes a spirituality.

This is missing from some of the Catholic curriculum. What do I mean? Each century in the Catholic Church, from Anselm in the 11th century through the 20th century, great leaders in educational methodology were raised up by the Holy Spirit.

A curriculum is not merely for attaining academic goals, passing tests, or moving on to the next grade.

A curriculum must do these things.


1) Teach the child to think, which is why I do not like Saxon Math. Some math texts teach thinking skills and not merely memorization.

Teaching a child to think is of primary importance. This is not done unless one understands that a methodology needs to focus on thinking skills early on, as early as pre-school.

2) Inculcate in the child the love of learning and the desire to learn. God gave each one of us a desire for knowledge, which as the Benedictines know, is the desire for God. If a curriculum does not do this, it is faulty.

3) Form the child spiritually. This is not merely a formation for religion coursework, but for the entire curriculum. Spiritual formation happens in every subject.

4) Allows for independent study, even at the earliest ages.

5) Follows the classical Trivium and Quadrivum subjects.

6) Teach orthodox Catholic Faith at all levels.

Now, I wish I had all my teacher training teaching notes, because I developed years ago, a curriculum for teaching the virtues and forming the child from age three to twelve. This is not all in my head, as I have not looked at it for a long time.

If a parent is not using a curriculum which specifically focuses on character formation, the parent is missing one of the key responsibilities of being a Catholic parent.

Please pray for me that I can rescue my things, including notes, out of storage. Then, I can share more details with you all.

In addition to the above, home schools need a conducive and beautiful learning environment.

In the beginning, I was fortunate for several years to have my own Montessori school, a methodology based on Thomism. Her method does all of the above. The Montessori material is mostly made, by the way, by the directoress. In addition, her plan leads nicely into the Quadrivium.

The spiritualities of the parents and the household should determine the spirituality of the methodology. One of these could be chosen: Benedictine, Thomistic, Ignatian, Salesian, and Ursuline are the most viable. I can go into detail on these methods, if readers are interested.

Now, a parent does not want to teach ideology, but help form the child into the person God has created him to be. If you merely teach without a spirituality or interior formation, you are a Taliban parent. Brainwashing is not teaching.

Thankfully, I knew this before I started. The work of the child is to form the person he will be as an adult.

Ideology is mere memorization without formation.

And, the huge problem with English and most American Catholic schools is that they do NOT have a spirituality behind the methodology. The methodology is that written or chosen by the State.

Therefore, when you send your children to a school without a spirituality, they are being formed in the philosophy of that institution.

Do not, good parents, lie to yourself on this point.

Formation is our duty as parents, not someone else's

To be continued...