03 June 2007

What I came away with...

My husband and I survived the Minnesota Catholic Home Education Conference that was held at the University of St. Thomas.

Despite not yet being at the homeschooling stage myself (my kids are not quite two and not quite four), I cannot even describe how inspirational the conference was. This was the third year we have attended. There were around 1000 people from the upper Midwest in attendance (I think in prior years the number was around 1200). There were numerous speakers and presentations, along with plenty of vendors and a used book sale.

These homeschooled children will be the next generation to carry on our Faith and be our leaders, executives, health care providers and religious. Although the secular world certainly speaks loudly, almost deafeningly, we are blessed with many Catholic families, right here in our own backyard, that have drawn a line in the sand and are starting to shout back. You couldn't help but be inspired in your Faith with so many other people there in the "same boat," just trying to raise their children as Catholics, many sacrificing much to pull this off, and all so sincerely devoted to their vocation that their happiness and joy were infectious. Homeschooling is not easy, but these people were witnesses to carrying their crosses with humor and dedication.

Considering the enormity of what we are tasked with -- the protection of our children's soul(s) -- these people are incredible examples of closing the door on the secular world and filling their homes with all that is good and holy.

The field house was packed with vendors selling so many wonderful Catholic things; it was overwhelming and exciting at the same time. So many beautiful and orthodox materials to use to teach your children it was hard to settle on just one. My husband and I bought the first six grades of the Faith and Life religion series, used copies, for $6. That's pretty much the cost of two designer coffees at Starbucks and I have the foundation for my children's religion studies for the next six years. There are many good religion texts available, and, fortunately, the questionable or objectionable religion texts used in our own Catholic schools, were not available anywhere. (I doubt if any of the homeschoolers would buy them anyway...one of the reasons they don't send their kids to "catholic" school is because of the poor and even offensive texts!)

Please pray for the people that home school. They juggle a lot of things at once to do this, sacrifice, swim against the tide, and deal with antagonism from family, friends, society, politicians and the local and State educational systems. It seems many people are eager to put up road blocks and hinder homeschooling. At least, at the conference, they can commiserate and encourage each other, while finding a venue that caters to them.


Heidi said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. I homeschool 3 children and feel so blessed to do so.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

swissmiss: Thanks for the informative post.

swissmiss said...

From what I understand, this conference is the largest Catholic Homeschool conference in the country. More and more homeschoolers are popping up, connecting and gaining momentum. It's encouraging to me, that I'm not alone in my decision, and encouraging for the Catholic community in general that the Catholic "culture" is being nurtured and children are being raised with character and Faith. Not that homeschooling is the only way...just that it is an option for some and the fact that it is being made more accessible/possible is a blessing for many.

I envy the mothers and families that pull this off with such grace. You are such an example to those of us preparing to go down that same road!