I have recently transitioned out of the industry from which my I was raised and worked most of my life, and I am being afforded the opportunity to pursue a different career. I will get into details on that in later posts but I am very excited and grateful for the opportunity I have waiting ahead of me.
What I am most excited about, however, is to really focus on being a homeschool family. My wife and I have discussed this well before we had kids and this will be our first full year of homeschooling. We will be utilizing a classical curriculum that incorporates ancient wisdom with our Catholic faith. One of the most exciting aspects of the curriculum is going to be the science we will be learning. My kids absolutely love nature and animals. Combining the traditional, Catholic theological view of creation with scientific discovery will be a lot of fun. The freedom homeschooling is going to afford us will allow for robust applications of these lessons with adventurous treks into nature and looking for animals interacting in their own habitat. The created natural order is so beautiful and I love how exciting my kids are about exploring nature.
While reflecting on the coming school year a typical myth of homeschooling came to my attention – the myth of socialization. A common question asked of any homeschool parent is, “How are you going to socialize your kids?” I have never really thought this question makes much sense. The question isn’t “how” you are going to socialize your kids but “who” will be socializing your kids. Additionally, the question is based on a cartoon understanding of what a homeschool family looks like. You don’t have to be Amish to homeschool, although the Amish seem to be getting along quite well.
So who will be socializing my kids?
Primarily, my wife and I will be handling these duties. We are the bearers of this responsibility. In order to raise virtuous, saintly children, parents must take the lead. Our children must be trained and taught what it means to live a life of virtue, honor, and faith. This requires continual moral grooming combined with the correct amount of freedom to grow as individuals. This is a difficult line to walk, but it is what God requires of us. My wife and I are also the primary examples of the life of virtue, therefore it is imperative that we strive to live as we teach and that our children recognize this effort. Finally, we must bring them up in the faith. We must motivate them to strive for sainthood. This requires prayer, the sacraments, and the Mass.
Secondarily, the friends my wife and I select will assist in the process of socialization. My wife has a wonderful network of Christian moms that help and support one another while traveling the wild journey of motherhood. These are large families with lots of children. The diversity of these families is fantastic and we are all striving for the same thing – to be faithful Catholics and saints. Because of this, my children experience many different situations and friendships when interacting with numerous families. The unified vision of the parents in this community allow for a trusting relationship to assist other kids when they veer off the path of love and virtue.
Last, but most certainly not least, is the Catholic Parish community we are involved in. The volunteers, teachers, parents, teens, other young adults, all contribute to socializing our children. Rather than being surrounded by a singular group of peers at a public school, my children interact with a widely diverse community of all ages and backgrounds.
Rather than letting the government select who will socialize our children, my wife and I are fully in charge of the process. The organic nature of the homeschool community is a wonderful example of the Catholic principle of subsidiarity as well as the living organic nature of the Church itself.
This is what I am most excited about for the coming school year.
– Lucas G. Westman