Writing a letter to your confirmation candidate

It seems that one of the biggest events in confirmation preparation in this country is the letters of support to be given to the confirmation candidates during their mandatory retreats.

I have three such letters saved on this blog:

Confirmation letter to my daughterConfirmation letter to my fourth sonConfirmation letter to to my third son
I've asked my children what they remember about the letter they got from me and their dad, and also what they remembered about the letters they received. 
The answer was not much, or at least nothing specific. In general they were happy to have gotten a bag full of letters and there was a sense of feeling loved and supported. I guess that's the main thing - for them to have a sense that this is an important step in their spiritual growth, and that people they know, love and respect have taken the time out of their lives to let them know that! So here are some tips on procuring and writing letters for young confirmation candidates. Start thinkin…

4 myths about Catholic Home Schooling!

4 myths about Catholic Home Schooling!

Lots of Catholic moms are posting on Facebook pages about homeschooling their children for the first time this fall. What an exciting time! 

But it can be a time of angst and maybe a little fear too when it comes to choosing a curriculum and making plans. I think a lot of that has to do with the myths of what a Catholic Home Education has to look like. So today let's debunk the top 5 myths!

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1.  Catholic homeschooling uses only Catholic Curriculum from Catholic Curriculum providers. 

Back in the 90s when I started homeschooling Seton was the "must use" curriculum for Catholic homeschoolers. Mary Kay Clark's book on Catholic Home Education, written in 1993,  was the only book on the topic and it set the tone for what many of us expected our homeschools to look like. 

Over the years other Catholic curriculum providers came on the scene including Mother of Divine Grace and Kolbe.  

A pre-packaged, thoroughly Catholic homeschool curriculum that comes with books and online resources and offers grading, lesson plans and record keeping can be awesome! I have many friends that have used these types of curriculum and loved them. 

I have other friends who tried them and then moved on. 

My first child had a learning problem and he never would have been able to keep up with a rigorous curriculum like Seton's. In fact I ended up making my own curriculum for him with pieces of things from a lot of different sources. He is now an adult, married and gainfully employed as a paramedic in North Carolina. He is also a practicing Catholic. 

I consider his education to be successful homeschooling - and it happened without a complete homeschool curriculum. 

Do you want to see what else is out there besides boxed Catholic Curriculum choices?

Check Cathy Duffy's Site and here for some online resources.

2.  Your homechool program has to be accredited. 

The homeschool curriculum programs are very proud of their accreditation. Most say something on their web pages to point out that the accreditation process validates them as using the highest of academic standards. 

I have no doubt that is true. 

But do you need that for your elementary school student? or in jr. high? or high school?

No. It is possible to pull together your own curriculum and teach your child without using an accredited program. Many, many people have done it - including some pioneers in the homeschool movement. 

Some say that you need the accreditation so that you can transfer credits when applying to college. But that's not necessarily true either. In fact, many colleges are becoming homeschool friendly. My own son was accepted to the college of his choice with the high school transcript I provided for him on my home computer. That transcript and a decent ACT score was all it took. So while this might be a nice feature, a homeschool mom is more than capable of doing this for her students. 

3.  All Catholic Homeschoolers go to college. 

Overall, I think there has been a feeling in the homeschool community that homeschool students are smarter, brighter, and better students than their public school counterparts. I certainly bought into that when I started homeschooling 20 plus years ago. But it didn't take very long until I realized that my kids varied in interests and abilities. Some of my students were gifted. But others were just average! And that's okay because they had gifts and interests in other areas. 

Homeschool students are pretty much like any other kids their age. Some shine academically and probably would do well in a college atmosphere. Others might do better in a trade school or going right into the work place. Catholic homeschoolers are only destined for college if that's what they're called to. But not everyone is called to the same things. It's important to be open to all the possibilities.

4. You have to recreate Catholic School at Home. 

Recently I discovered that some Catholic homeschoolers are trying to recreate the Catholic School Experience in their own homes - right down to requiring a uniform!!

I have two books every homeschooler should read.

The first explains how we developed the educational system that we have in the states and how it was designed to mold a certain type of citizen. 

And this book is more about how Catholic Schools fell into the same trap.

What we consider education now - age segregation with a division of subjects per units of time - is not necessarily the best or only way to develop scholars. 

So why do we want to recreate it in our homeschools?

If that's what a particular family wants to do, that's fine. But families that need or prefer a more relaxed approach including wearing jammies until noon, or doing outdoor activities in the morning and homeschooling at night can also be successful homeschoolers. The Catholic part of Catholic homeschooling means loving the Lord and living the faith. Anything beyond that, while nice, isn't a necessarily a necessity. 

What other myths do people believe about Catholic Home Education?