We welcome frequent contributor Melody Lyons of Blossoming Joy back to TAN Homeschool
Over the last 15 years of our homeschooling adventure, we’ve been challenged many times to reconsider our decision to keep our children home. The primary challenge has come from other Catholics who like our our kids and want to see them in the parish school. Let them be salt and light! Let them evangelize the other kids! The school needs kids like your kids. They can help change the culture! In essence, they are asking us to to send them out as “missionaries” to those who lack good formation and virtue. And to that I say… no.
As strongly as I feel about teaching my children to be witnesses to the Gospel, I can say confidently that I am not called to use my children as little missionaries. That is ego-driven and not respectful of their dignity and the voice of God in their hearts; a voice which I can not hear or own. My vocation is not to raise other people’s children but my own; And my own kids are still in a period of formation. Their vocation is yet uncertain. If you like my kids and think more kids should be like them, then I offer for your consideration one word: homeschooling. If my kids are different than their peers in a positive way, then maybe it does have something to do with the setting of their formation.
There will be a time for them to go out to the world and make themselves the persecuted hands and feet of Christ. It is not appropriate for us to intentionally place them in that hostile environment as a tool to help others without seriously considering the weaknesses and potential harm to the child. I do not believe that a middle schooler (for example) has the maturity to give full informed consent to such a call. Even in the best Catholic schools, kids who are striving to live a fully integrated Catholic life will find themselves going against the grain. For a child in mid-formation and separated from parental guidance, that kind of environment involves tremendous risk. They will have to figure out, in the context of a classroom setting, how to integrate socially while still holding on to their family values. A thousand little decisions every day will challenge them and exhaust them… and potentially confuse them. Most of us lived it. Many of us know that we were either not well formed enough nor strong enough to survive that culture without succumbing.
Nothing can be more dangerous than keeping wicked companions. They communicate the infection of their vices to all who associate with them. ~ St. John Baptiste de la Salle
I will not sacrifice the formation of my kids in order to make them into little missionary martyrs. They are not an extension of my ego. They are people in their own right with a tremendous amount of growing yet to do. It is my job to prepare them to make those bigger choices when they are older and they will have the opportunity soon enough! If they witness to Christ’s love and truth through their daily lives to family members, sports teammates, friends, tutors, and Walmart cashiers along the way? Awesome. And probable. Homeschooling is not about hiding, it is about building a culture of life and the fruits will manifest abundantly!
You may very well feel called to place your children back in school. But be assured that the call would not be to evangelize others at the peril of their own souls. That call is simply not yours to hear.
If you are looking for great resources to form you children in the Catholic Faith, TAN Homeschool has just the right products for you!
Your homeschool is a place where children should not just read the Bible, but experience it!
In our newThe Story of the Bible series, young readers will discover not only the sanctity and wisdom, but the excitement of the stories and events that shaped human history and brought about our salvation.
Volume I, The Old Testament, begins the journey. In these pages children will: visit the Garden of Eden; board Noah’s ark; climb the Tower of Babel; follow Moses through the Red Sea; listen to David’s harp; witness Samson’s strength; enter the lion’s den with Daniel; and learn God’s plan from the prophets. Each account is told in story form to engage readers, with each narrative supplemented with actual Bible quotes. Their encounter with Scripture will never be the same.