Some homeschooling issues weigh heavily year after year. Here are five places where the Church has lightened my load (other than our eternal salvation, of course!):
The liturgical calendar is a fantastic resource; with daily Scripture selections that are read in every Mass all over the world, Psalms to sing, and saints to learn about (sometimes I even serve themed national snacks like sbrisolona for Italian saints and crullers for French saints.). It also makes visible the passage of large chunks of time, marking the seasons and stories of salvation. Add mathematics and some writing assignments to all that religion, science, history, and food, and I’ve got more than a decent devotional; I’ve got a curriculum!
The Church has the right answers (1 Timothy 3:15) when children know and question life’s sufferings. I can tell them to actively offer it up like Paul (Colossians 1:24-26); that some things are a mystery (CCC 395 on Romans 8:28), or to find a saint that understands (They are not alone.). Then I remind myself too.
Catholic churches offer daily Mass. I can set aside lessons for a week or more and simply attend Mass every morning with a pleasant activity afterward. If keeping the children polite for a public service increases stress, we can spend half an hour in the Adoration chapel together, then do something like choosing donuts at the bakery, visiting a park for swinging or sledding, or picking out new library books. The children will still learn. They will be educated by their intimacies with Our Lord and with a calmer mom (new books and donuts help a lot, too!).
4)Right-brained children with a Left-brained mother
Nobody does art and music, textures and smells, sounds and colors, feasts and foods like the Catholic Church. The children get inspired and all I have to do is provide plenty of glitter glue, old cardboard, markers, fabric remnants, and our Band in Box. I’ve even taken a few into the empty church to draw something they love there, then brought the drawing home to polish up and embellish.
When I am too upset to talk to the Lord, there are centuries of Christian prayers I can recite written by holy men and women. And when I can’t even speak, I can cross myself in the name of the loving, holy Trinity or clutch my rosary beads like I’m holding the hand of the Blessed Mother as she prays for me and mine.
I am thankful the Holy Spirit led us to homeschooling and even more thankful He led us to the Catholic Church. We can do this, together.
Allison is a 40-something mother of seven, living in Alaska, accepted into the Church (together with her husband, thank God) in 2004. She spends her days homeschooling and packaging meat that her menfolk hunt and bring home. She cannot garden to save her life but picks wild blueberries like a champ. She has been published in an edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul and keeps a blog at www.northerncffamily.blogspot.com, writing about living out the Faith with children with cystic fibrosis.