Nucleus of Life

PUT CHRIST FIRST: "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."

Journal Writing Idea

            Let the task of writing become less intimidating for your young children by summarizing stories you read together.  Children can begin to write from their very early years.  I would recommend by first grade.  Summarizing stories breaks the writing process into smaller and more manageable tasks for children.  This also eliminates any unnecessary fear your child may experience when they stare at a blank page.  The dialogue that develops between you and your children about the story you read should prompt you to ask your child specific questions that involve simple grammar concepts and paragraph development.  Your child will begin to continue to apply this logic to concepts he learns in later years with more strenuous subjects.  Patience is of utmost importance during this process because it takes some time to master the task of putting our thoughts into written words.  Below are some samples of my children’s work when they were in third and fourth grades.

 

One Mother’s Views On Homeschooling By James K. Fitzpatrick

             Eileen M. Miller, a homeschooling mom from Maryland, is taking the time from her teaching responsibilities with her children to write a commentary on her experiences as a homeschooler.  She offers a portion of the essay, still in its early stages, for our readers’ consideration and reactions.

            What led Ms. Miller to her decision to homeschool?  “The responsibility,” she writes, “of teaching our children should be perceived as a high calling by all parents.  ‘For the Lord sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.’ (Sirach 3:2) God has given parents of traditional families the opportunity and ability to ensure that their children are nourished by Christian wisdom that fosters their growth in the virtues which help us to be happy and successful.  Parents have the ability to become priests, prophets, and kings in the roles they take on within their family.  This enhances the needs of the entire family to live out and meet their baptismal promises in the way Christ has set out for us by serving the smallest and poorest among us.  The Miller Homeschool prides itself on trying to capture this loving and virtuous environment in the home, to enable our children to pursue and attain vocations in life that build up and support traditional families.”

            Ms. Miller stresses that it is not just her family, but society as a whole, that benefits from this choice:  “Vocations in life that enable one to make God and family the priority in our American culture strengthen society and communities to work together to achieve the beauty, good, and peace that Christ wished for when He prayed that all would be united.  It is only through the traditional family that society prospers and grows into a peaceful and effective place for work, leisure, spiritual development, and whatever the daily activities of life demand of us.  Homeschooling fosters and strengthens necessary family bonds to enable all relationships in a community to reflect what Christ desired to be one heart and one mind in faith.”

            “The Church takes on a central role in a Christian homeschooling family’s endeavors.  The Church can provide many opportunities for families to work together in performing the Works of Mercy for needy individuals within their communities.  These actions become an invaluable experience for children to engage in the very actions of Christ, provide them with the vision of a more mature Christian witness to the Gospel, and be nurtured by the Eucharist.  The Miller Homeschool has engaged in pastoral visitor support for the elderly in our parish.  We began this work by visiting the bringing the Eucharist to some elderly residents in a local nursing home once a month.  Later, we did this for an elderly resident in a local group home once a week.  My husband and two oldest sons served the community through the Boy Scouts and were able to build an outdoor Stations of the Cross on the parish grounds for their Eagle projects.  What an honor!  Homeschooling enabled us to partake in these simple activities that give my children the ‘mind of Christ.’

            Teaching is the most awesome and important role God has given to parents and it should not be taken lightly or given away to someone who does not know Christ.  The path to eternal life for our children should not be handed over to someone else at an age when children are thirsting for knowledge about the meaning of life and need to know the value of the traditional family unit the way God has designed it.”

            Ms. Miller points out that homeschooling provides an atmosphere  best suited to fostering a healthy parent-child relationship: “Too often children in our culture learn about and see parents in a bad light.  While it is true that there may come a time in older children’s lives when they need to separate themselves from parentsa little to achieve their independence, there is no reason for parents to be portrayed as the ‘bad guys’ in our society, as it only makes the responsibility of parenting much, much more difficult.  Children need to be obedient to their parents as they are the prime educators of their children’s well being and success.  Children need to know that parents want the best for them.  Homeschooling enhances a child’s perception of parental love and family unity.”

            Ms. Miller goes on to ask an intriguing question: “If the Holy Family were living on earth today – would they homeschool?  The Holy Family studied scripture and prayed together.  Jesus also learned a trade from his foster father, St. Joseph.  There existed a selfless love that was evident in the process of educating and serving each other within the family unit that helped propel Christ into His ministry and outreach to the world.  Jesus was God and received a great many gifts from His Father.  Nevertheless, God’s plan was to provide Him with a mother and a father who worked together to provide for Him.  Every parent can know an analogous heartfelt joy and compassion toward their children as they witness their homeschooling efforts take root, sprout, and grow.”

            Ms. Miller is convinced that the sacrifices of time and effort that are required when parents decide to homeschool are worth it: “Life-giving doesn’t end after a child is born.  It is in giving to our children the knowledge, virtues, and attitudes that Christ teaches us in all things that we are rewarded.  Homeschooling helps us to unleash and encounter in the most profound way the selfless love God has lavished on us.  Christ came to us in human form with parents who had been chosen by the Father.  Might it be that all Christian parents are chosen by God for this role?  God poured out his wisdom on the Holy Family each and every day.  They should be our model to attain the promises of God’s word and the blessings and nourishment of Christ.”

 

Readers are invited to submit comments and questions about this and other educational issues.  The e-mail address for First Teachers is fitzpatrijames@sbcglobal.net, and the mailing address is P.O. Box 15, Wallingford, CT 06492.