21 May 2007

Happenings around town - home school & Chesterton

My husband and I have been planning to home school our kids before they were even born. I know it's not for everyone and not everyone is able to do it. I won't even know if I'm really cut out for this for another year when I begin educating my son.

I was a product of the public school system and then went on to graduate from a Catholic university and also a public university. I didn't lose my faith, but the older I get, I see that it was probably due to the prayers of a good many people who were looking out for me, rather than not being negatively influenced by the culture that surrounded me. Raising kids is hard enough. It's hard to get them to listen to you. I can't imagine the fight I would have on my hands to mitigate or undo all the bad influences they would be up against. It's hard enough for me to stand up to all that's out there even though I wear as much "battle armor" as I can. But, my kids are innocents. Lambs to slaughter in this world. I certainly am not going to "shelter" them from what's out there, but I am going to do my best to protect them from it, educate them about it, and arm them to stand on their own two feet.

Oddly enough, the most vocal critics of our decision have been those closest to us. My saintly aunt keeps telling me it's too hard to home school. My relatives who are teachers think that the State is the only entity qualified to teach my children (egads!). When my children were born, I had problems getting both of them to nurse. I stuck to my guns, but another aunt and cousin just kept telling me it was too hard, just use a bottle. I am shocked at this pervasive mind set. I was raised to believe that there were things in life that would be hard, but you stepped up to meet them. Where would we be if everyone quit when the going got tough? What if Jesus' response to the Father was, "No way, dude. Let this cup pass. It's too hard?"

One of the things that my father could never tolerate was self-pity. He also expected us to at least try things. Failing at something was more acceptible than not even attempting. To him, "there is always some poor SOB that has it worse than any of us", so don't even think of complaining. My father had many difficult challenges in his life, but I never heard him complain. Not once, not ever. So, to toss in the towel on home schooling before I've even started just ain't going to happen. I'm going to at least try. With my father's (and mother's) intercession and with my own prayers, I stand a good chance at being successful.

The Minnesota Catholic Home School Conference is a great source for people like me. It bolsters my confidence and reassures me that I'm not alone in this...not alone in my faith and not alone in my belief to homeschool my kids. There are hundreds of people in the Twin City area that attend this conference. A few years ago, Dr. Ray Guarendi was the keynote speaker. Last year, it was Kimberly Hahn. This year it's Andrew Pudewa, who I'm not familiar with. There are many other speakers appearing at various workshops. Last year, even Father Altier got to speak. There are dozens of vendors selling everything you could ever possibly need to homeschool your kids. It's wonderful, at least at this stage where I'm just looking around and getting my feet wet. Next year, when we get ready to homeschool my son, it will be more serious as we get down to business.

Again, the conference is at the University of St. Thomas. It is June 1-2. If you are interested, you can check out the website here.

Also, the American Chesterton Society is having its annual FREE conference at St. Thomas, or more specifically, at the "Seminary" as we used to call it. I have read Chesterton. I have re-read Chesterton. I have a hard time absorbing him in bulk (no pun intended) and can only seem to get my mind around snippets...the more quotable things he says. A line or two, I'm fine, but an entire book twists my mind into knots. However, the conference is very enjoyable. I seem to take things in better when it's spoken than when I read, so the conference is perfect for my atrophied brain. The conference is June 14-16 and you couldn't spend your time in any better way. It's the 100th anniversary of Chesterton's, The Man who was Thursday. Get yourself to the conference!! I'd write a clerihew for this blog, if I only knew what one was ;)

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