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Home > Support > Homeschooling > How do I convince someone that homeschooling is not against Church teaching?
 
 
Question: A couple who are very close to us considered homeschooling. The woman was enthusiastic about it. Her husband, on the other hand, was very much against it, using the claim "I went to a school and turned out fine. As long as parents are involved, their children will be fine." His other arguments were even less convincing. Well, he seems to have found his excuse, because he went digging through some encyclicals and other church documents and found that a pope had said that Catholics should support their local parochial school, and that no Pope to date has said that homeschooling is preferable to parochial schools. Because of this, it is obedience to the Church that causes them to send their children to a Catholic school. Is this true? Does ANY church document even mention homeschooling? I don't think I can convince this man to let his wife homeschool their children, but I'd like to know what I can say to him so that I don't look like I'm going against the Church by homeschooling my children. I know in my heart that what we're doing is right and best. Please HELP me!
Answer:

Dear Mom,

There are no words that you can use to defuse a bomb that is filled with angry thoughts fueled by misconceptions and willful misunderstanding. There is only your gentle and docile witness and peaceful resolve concerning the choices you are making.  You believe you have heard the will of the Lord for your family.  This is sufficient for his knowledge. It would be a different matter altogether if this man were your husband. However he is really nothing more than a mildly irritating person who is offering opinions based upon his interior prejudice.

My brother, who is a priest, was once confronted by a man who defiantly proclaimed that 'he would believe in Jesus when my brother could offer Him proof of His existence.' My brother is as humble and holy a priest as I have ever met. Quietly and with no guile he replied, ' For the man who believes no proof is necessary, for the one who does not believe no proof is sufficient.' In other words if you are convinced through prayer that you are following the will of the Lord to journey into the homeschooling lifestyle then your 'proof' is your quiet peace and resolve.

All too often those who are earnestly trying to 'win' an argument will use sacred scripture or inspired writings to fuel their reasoning. This is fine enough if you are trying to debate in a forum that suits itself accordingly. However the majority of us (mainly moms) are too busy taking care of our families to adequately battle in such futile arguments. It takes a lot of energy to posture and position oneself in a heated debate. I choose not to enter in to the foray at all. I choose instead to listen to the still quiet voice of the tender Jesus and prayerfully with the docility of a child follow what I believe to be His will for me. Leave the debating to those who enjoy raising their blood pressure through arguments.

I spent the last four years in Deacon class with my husband. I listened to weeks and weeks of discussions on Canon Law. I knitted my way through lectures  upon lectures about the Popes (past and present) and the meaning of more encyclicals than I can tell you. Every priest, psychologist, and lawyer who stood in front of the classroom explained that they were only able to give an overview as the material was so immense in its scope and meaning. Now mind you this is coming from 'experts' in the field. If a person wants to use information gathered from these beautiful and inspired documents to hurt another person or demean their vocation then they have sorely wasted their time.

Ask for this man's prayers. Explain that you value the prayers of one who appears to be passionate for the truth. I say this with no sarcasm intended. Persons who are passionate about the truth have an energy in their lives that is remarkable. They will put their teeth into the task and with focused attention get to the heart of the matter. This does not always mean that they are correct in their assumptions but they believe they are and therein lies the rub. Just because a person believes he or she is speaking the truth does not mean that they are. Grandma was right when she quietly told us that 'there are two sides to every story.'

I admire you and I will pray for you. You are a soldier for the Lord. Do not let this tiny battle unsettle you or cause you any pain. I can not quote documents etc that will assure you that homeschooling is accepted. I do not need them so therefore I have never searched for them. I know that when I sit with my dear children and gently speak to them of God 's love and my love for them I feel peace. I know that in the evening when I rest in my bed and before sleep overtakes me, I praise the Lord and thank Him for the gift of Catholic homeschooling. I am eager to awake each day to begin the journey anew. Remember that the journey is not homeschooling but following in the Lord's will.

Let us pray for all those who are struggling to overcome  feelings of fear when thinking of returning to the Catholic faith. Lord we ask that you lovingly and with great mercy place people in front of them that will uplift and encourage them to be docile seekers of the truth. For Jesus we know that it is in our spiritual docility that You teach us. Lord You were always called  'Teacher'.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

   
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