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Home > Support > Teaching the Faith > My ninth-grade son has ceased attending most church activities...

I have a 9th grader that we would like to homeschool. My husband (my son's stepdad), myself and his father all feel this is in his best interest. His father is not Catholic, and my son has ceased attending most church activities. Is there a way to utilize your program for him that would provide information about Catholicism without overwhelming him to the point that he feels we are forcing the faith on him? We would like him to return to the Church for the right reasons: faith, knowledge, personal conviction. Help!!

We also have 3 younger children to homeschool, ages 12, 5, and 2. How can we utilize your programs for all of them during my first year as a homeschooling mom?


Dear Mom,

It is a wonderful blessing that the principal people in the choices you are making for your son are in agreement concerning homeschooling. This is truly a step in the right direction. I can only imagine that this means that there is a working relationship between you and your son's father. Going a little further with my assumptions I am going to speculate that your son's failure to attend church or related activities stems from neglect (on his father's part) and not a willful desire to keep your son from church. I think that it is important to concentrate on the positive attitudes that are exhibited and work from these when dealing with the matter of religious education.

I would imagine that your main concern is for your son's acceptance of religious training and a full return to the sacraments and the faith. As with any journey it is vitally important that you be prepared to meet the challenges that are present due to your son's situation. Using a fully Catholic homeschooling curriculum is certainly the first step however a merciful and loving approach is actually more important. Our feelings about our faith walk are often times tied to our personal feelings about ourselves. We want to be loved despite our mistakes and we long to be empowered to begin again.

Simply living your faith and gently reintroducing your son to the beauty of Catholic faith will do much to ensure his acceptance of this new lifestyle. It is important not to dwell upon past errors or misunderstandings but to go forward into the comfort of practicing the faith.

Faith is a gift from the Lord. We must pray to receive this precious gift and rest in the true knowledge that the Lord will not deny us the ability to believe in Him. Knowing this fact, it is impossible to say to a person "Believe now." Sometimes we must work with our young people from the standpoint that we must patiently address their unbelief. Through the Catholic materials that you will use, the questions of faith are most certainly going to arise. It is in these sincere questions that the real teaching begins. Your concern that your son may feel that you're 'forcing the faith upon him' is certainly a challenge. One of the conflicts that young people experience in their faith walk is the hipocracy they witness in people of faith. In other words they may wonder about issues of faith when they read or see politicians who do not live their faith. Young people are very legalistic. They want to understand the rules. Many times the holy witness of their parents speaks more to them than all the tutorial. It is true that your son's father does not attend church, hopefully he will not interfere with your son's desire to attend when he visits. You and your husband will have to be a quiet, peaceful witness for your son. Taking him to church and speaking of the positive effects of attending Mass will be vital. Speak to your son in terms of the loving relationship Jesus has forged with us through the Holy Eucharist. Helping your son to first appreciate the faith for the gift that it is will pave the way for more academic information.

CHC curricula are especially designed to support the parents in their desire to bring the children closer to the fullness of the Catholic faith. Each lesson and instruction has this at its heart. It is the peaceful and loving approach that allows parents to be a holy witness of the effects of faith and the great joy of following the Lord's will. To answer your question: Yes, CHC can help you and support you in your sincere desire to teach the faith and to more fully appreciate the faith.

I admire you very much. The fact that you have a working relationship with your son's father means that you have put your son's needs first and have forged this relationship in order to ensure that your son will benefit from your efforts. Keep up the holy work. I sense that you are a very worthy witness for your son and he will take his cues from you.

Let us pray together a Hail Mary for all those children that will find themselves between two parents that do not see the benefit of meeting the needs of children first. Let us pray for their safety as they find themselves in the face of adult battles. Lord, we ask that You inspire and empower parents to seek Your counsel and Your embrace during difficult times. Amen.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

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