Let me start off by saying I'm not a Latin Mass girl. I could totally get into the Latin aspect of it with no problem, but I'm sorry, I can't get into the head covering and skirt wearing thing. Given a choice between the two I'd happily cover my head with some cute kerchief or snood, but skirts on a regular basis just aren't going to happen for me anytime in the near future if ever. It's just not me, unless of course, we're talking about a cute sundress. But I digress. I knew going into this conference, which was held at the Latin Mass parish in our diocese, that I was very likely to find myself being an oddity in my cute top and sweater paired with *gasp* jeans. Yes, I was that woman, not only wearing pants, but jeans. I saw a few men in jeans but I was the lone woman.
Anyway, how I was dressed wasn't the issue, nor should it have been. I went and looked through the curriculum at Seton, Mother of Divine Grace and one other homeschool place. I was impressed with how thorough the Seton material is. Looking at the other places confirmed what I thought when I researched them on line, simply that they weren't the program for us. I did get the impression that Seton's curriculum is a great way to ram Catholicism down your child's throat. I don't want to say that it's bad, but I don't think the way to inspire someone to learn and embrace her faith is to foist it upon her in an overbearing way. I suppose it works great for many families, but I can totally see how this approach could send many children screaming for the hills.
Despite the issues I saw with the curriculum, and Bryan's reaction to the curriculum, I still thought there might still be some hope in this homeschooling venture. Then I spoke to the son of a Seton representative. He asked if he could help us and unfortunately, he couldn't give me the answers I wanted to a question about the curriculum. Then I decided to ask if he was homeschooled. It turns out that he is, and when asked how he likes it, his response was very telling, and not in a good way. It was evident based on his response that he wasn't exactly thrilled. I asked him a few more questions and all my concerns about pretty much forcing this lifestyle on my daughters were realized. Bryan and I wandered around the conference for a little while more. We noticed things like children who looked incredibly unhappy, people with poor social skills (as in, they didn't interact well with others) and the family with children ranging from what I would guess ages 4 to 14 dressed in sailor suits. After passing that family on our way out there was no way I'd be able to salvage my attempts to keep Bryan's support for homeschooling. In short, my plans went up in smoke and it took less than an hour.
I know many of my readers are homeschoolers. And I know that many of you are regular mainstream people (I know this based on your blog posts and pictures, and in some cases, our email correspondence.). Unfortunately, none of you were at this conference to help me prove to my husband that I could homeschool our girls and not turn them into social nightmares.
I know neither of my girls had their heats set on homeschooling. In fact, Ellie has been pretty adamant for the past two years that she is going to school. Madeline has been a waffle on the issue which I have come to learn is the result of her not wanting to disappoint me. It appears that both of my girls are pretty set on attending public school. Neither one wanted to attend our local parish school which was another failed educational pursuit.
So now I will do my best to come to peace with the fact that the girls will attend the public schools. I know the K-4 school is decent so I don't have any worries about Ellie. I will supplement at home, as I have always done, and I will make my presence known at the school. Madeline will attend the middle school next year and I will be praying that all goes well and that she isn't corrupted by the middle school kids on the bus.
On many levels I'm disappointed that homeschooling isn't going to work for us. But oddly enough, I feel that I'm gradually becoming more at peace with the situation. At the end of the day I want to know that the kids are happy and aren't resentful of the choices Bryan and I make for them. I can tell you there was much rejoicing on their part this weekend when they learned that they will both be attending public school in September. Madeline couldn't wait to tell her friends the news. Bryan said it best as I laid in bed moping about the situation, "The girls are happy. Isn't that what we want for them?" I suppose he's right.
To those of you who homeschool I have to say that I really respect and admire what you do. Many of you inspire me to do more to further my children's education. You have also lead me to some great homeschooling sources which I use to supplement at home. And for that, I thank you.