What a blessing that through prayer and patience you have come to this choice to lead the homeschooling lifestyle. It is a powerful and loving witness that uplifts the Body of Christ when someone shares their personal journey.
I believe that homeschooling is indeed a lifestyle and one that incorporates all aspects of the learning process. Each family must examine their priorities and then pray to know the right path. For nearly all Catholic homeschooling families that I have met the first priority that brought them to homeschooling was the sincere and holy desire to live the faith and teach the faith to their children. Our beautiful Catholic faith is fundamental to the peace we experience when we begin this journey. It touches every aspect of the teaching, the instruction, and the enrichment of education through homeschooling. Parents want to live the faith through everyday examples that are easily understood and appreciated. Parents want the children to be totally immersed in the faith without drowning in facts about the faith. In short they want their dear children to gain a love of the Catholic faith that is tangible and real in every sense of the word.
As pure as this desire is there is the very real need for the materials that are used to be user friendly and easily adapted to the lifestyle of a normal family. Families have issues that are unique to them and these issues wind themselves around the whole experience of homeschooling. In other words we can not separate our family life from the homeschooling lifestyle. When a child is ill or an unexpected circumstance comes up it is vital that the method of homeschooling that the family is using is able to adjust to this occurrence. It is difficult for a family to 'catch up' if the demands on their time is easily derailed through a normal family challenge. We must choose curriculum and materials that are realistic and useable despite the day to day happenings in a family.
Moms bear the bulk of the responsibility of teaching the children especially when the children are young. It is unrealistic to think that a mom is able to be a fulltime teacher with the same freedoms as a classroom teacher. She must be able to tweak the lesson plans to meet the needs of her station. She is after all first and foremost a mom and this is her most important priority. I have said it on many occasions and I believe it with all my heart that moms who strive to serve their families through the vocation of mothering and the vocation of homeschooling need to be supported with caring, sensitive, and well thought out curriculums that take all these matters into view.
I do not have first hand knowledge of [Catholic homestudy program] so therefore I can not comment directly. I would imagine that it is well though out, effective, and totally Catholic. Through your research you are coming to an assessment of its particulars and that will affect your choice.
I do know about CHC first hand. I can tell you that it meets all the criterion that I have laid down over the years for my homeschooling effort. CHC is user friendly, totally Catholic, well thought out, and peaceful. The last word 'peaceful' is for me the deciding factor in the materials I ultimately chose. I know that I will be homeschooling for the long haul and I desire an experience that is peaceful. I want to enjoy the teaching and in so doing I pray that my children will enjoy the learning. I want my children to catch hold of learning and begin the journey afresh each day. This is my ideal. CHC helps me to meet that. The most important subject that I teach is Religion. We teach religion each day all day long. I have to live my faith in order for the children to love the faith. I have to love the faith in order to be peaceful daily.
I will keep your discernment process in prayer. I admire your dedication to the research that it must have taken. Praise God for your holy witness and your answering the call to journey to the homeschooling lifestyle.
Let us pray together a Hail Mary for all the parents that are in the discernment process this summer. Jesus, we ask that the empowerment of the Holy Spirit surround each family as they pray to know the will of the Father. Amen.
Sending out a prayer,