From InsideCatholic: "Given the increasing popularity of homeschooling among faithful Catholics, it is vital that those who practice it -- or are thinking about trying it for their children -- have a fully Catholic understanding of the family and the nature and meaning of education. Without it, their good intentions can go astray, following the exaggerated individualism of the culture instead of the mind of the Church.
Some enthusiasts claim that homeschooling is the Catholic approach to a child's education, but neither history nor the teaching of the Church supports this exclusivity. Though homeschooling is an important and virtuous pursuit, some families are drawn to it through a mistaken ideology -- a shadow image of Catholic culture, Catholic education, and the family itself.
Catholic and Western tradition have always held that education is communal. Since man is a political or social animal -- as Aristotle, Cicero, and St. Thomas Aquinas tell us -- we must never neglect the communal dimension of education. Nothing short of complete family engagement -- father, mother, and child -- in the learning process will secure a proper education. Families may come to grave peril if fathers remain disengaged from their children's education, or if other families are not sought out and some degree of inter-family education is attempted.
Of course, by this I do not mean something so simple as the "socialization" of students, which critics of homeschooling often throw at us -- the old argument that if John and Mary do not have an opportunity to eat bologna sandwiches on the playground with 300 students and talk about Hannah Montana, they will grow up to be social deviants. The "value of socialization" is usually a code for the regimented ethic of pop culture, which has no virtue and is of no importance.
I mean something much more radical and (perhaps initially) more difficult for homeschoolers to accept: that education is for the perfection of the child, and the child is perfected for a life in society.
Stated more controversially: The common approach to homeschooling today is inherently dangerous, because it may go against what our entire Western tradition and the Catholic Church herself teach about the education of the young -- that education should not be done in the home, at least not for long, except during a time and place of crisis.
For many, perhaps the majority of Catholics, they are now in a time and place of crisis. Still, it is important to establish the norms of education, from which we can examine its various forms.
Let us consider three Church pronouncements. First, Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical on Read More...
From WND: "The ruling came in a case brought against Phillip and Mary Long over the education being provided to two of their eight children. They are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court, because they have homeschooled all of their children, the oldest now 29, because of various anti-Christian influences in California's public schools.
"The decision from the 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles granted a special petition brought by lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children after the family's homeschooling was brought to the attention of child advocates.
The Appeals court stated: "[T]he trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader Read More...