Scott has been visiting a lot of parishes this past month or so. Maybe you’ve seen him; tall, dark, and handsome?
Scott works for Catholic Pacific College and is taking the opportunity to share a bit about the school’s liberal arts education. CPC is associated with Trinity Western University in Langley, but also has its own two-year liberal arts program that only recently began. Because it’s fairly new, not many families are aware of the program, so visiting parishes and talking with high-schoolers and their parents helps to spread the word.
The kids and I travelled along with him to one parish, and I was inspired by what he said.
Very often people ask me why we’ve chosen to homeschool, or why I would forge into high school curriculum rather then sending them off at that point. It’s not always easy to share the many reasons we home-school. Maybe I’ll dedicate a column to that issue in the future, but at this point I’ll say that there are both negative and positive reasons that encouraged us to give homeschooling a try.
The possible negative reasons are the obvious ones: school bullying, lack of proper socialization, peer-orientation, detachment from family and the likes. Those are often dealt with by loving, intentional parents who successfully send their kids to school, and manage to keep the faith alive in them. It was mostly the positive reasons that drew us in.
When Andrew was born I already had homeschooling family members. I have to be honest and say that I noticed a difference in their kids. I wasn’t planning on homeschooling at that point, so I had no vested interest in noticing any difference, I simply did. As I asked more questions and realized the possibilities we gave the idea more thought. A friend introduced me to Mother of Divine Grace, a classical homeschooling curriculum that is based on the liberal arts.
I’m not good at describing exactly what the liberal arts are. I usually end up rambling a bit, but in a nutshell the liberal arts education is based on teaching a person to think, to love learning, to create, and to wonder. It is directed at leading a person to the goodness of God, the Cause of the causes, as an end result. This is called wisdom.
In his talk, Scott shared that the world is in a crisis of culture, which in turn affects every part of life, from communities to families. One has only to spend five minutes with any social media to see that we, as a society, are desperately lacking the ability to think clearly, to reason, and debate fairly. We contradict ourselves and don’t even see it. The abortion issue alone is evidence of this. It is a crisis that could be given a diagnosis of “lack of wisdom.”
Scott spoke of his desire to see our children grow to become “more than simply workers.” A man can spend his life mining for coal and still be a portal of wisdom and grace for his family and community, while a successful investor can be but a functioning shell, contributing nothing to the beauty of himself or others.
If we and our children are deprived of the opportunity to truly learn, and to find wisdom, we are working for work’s sake; we become machines in a utilitarian world. We add nothing to the beauty of the world, and we receive nothing of the wonder within it. We will be led away from God, and ultimately into a meaningless despair.
The crisis of culture that Scott spoke of can be answered by forming children who are fully alive in Christ, not just directed toward a livelihood. And that is mostly why I attempt this crazy challenge of homeschooling my children.
I, in myself, cannot succeed in teaching them absolutely, but with the wisdom of the great thinkers, and the desire to show them the love and actions of God, I hope to see them grow a desire to learn.
Can this be done without homeschooling your children? Yes, I think so. It must be deliberate and will take a huge sacrifice. But there are things of the eternal at stake when we neglect the Catholic tradition of teaching our children to think and wonder, and to find objective truth.
(For those mothers, like me, who wonder how a Catholic post-secondary education could be financially possible, I need to share that the cost of the two-year liberal arts program at CPC is $6,500 a year, about the same as local, secular universities. Just so you know.)