"Why I Homeschool"
Catholic Parents Speak Out
by John Vennari
From August 2 to 4, 1996, Our Lady of the Rosary Home
School Center in Bardstown, Kentucky held its annual
conference and graduation. Speakers at the conference
were Cardinal Gagnon, Father David Przedweicki and Dr.
Cardinal Gagnon administered
Confirmation on Sunday and father Przedweicki celebrated
a Latin Tridentine Mass for the Saturday graduation
Catholic Family News took this opportunity to
interview parents in order to hear from their own lips
why they homeschool. Some of the responses were
predictable, some heart-wrenching, some surprising.
Sex-education in the schools along with the heretical
and / or insipid catechism courses seem to be the most
common reasons for parents to take upon themselves the
enormous responsibility of home-schooling. There were
other reasons as well.
- Mary Liz Friemont from Southern Missouri has been
homeschooling for six years. She said she was the only
Catholic she knew who homeschooled. However, in the past
year she has come into contact with other families who
educate their children at home. One of these families
initiated homeschooling because of the scandalous Benzinger
sex-education that was imposed upon their children,
another pulled their child out of Catholic school because
the perverted In God's Image
sex-education course was in use.
- There was a family who homeschools its hearing
impaired child. There were also mothers who were
disillusioned with the present school system and felt
duty bound to insure that their children receive not only
sound religious education, but also a strong Catholic
It was not unusual to meet parents who started homeschooling because the local schools were usurping the parent's rights.
- One father related that the Catholic school in which
they sent their son was not teaching the Catholic Faith,
but a Protestantized religion. The final straw was when
their son was forced to receive Communion in the Hand at
First Communion against the wishes of the parents. The
son is now homeschooled.
- A mother from Bowling Green, KY relates that after she
had homeschooled their four children for a number of
years, she decided to send them back to the
"regular" schools. After one year, she is
returning to homeschooling. When asked why, she said,
"After my children spent some time in the
institutional schools, they changed. though they learned
a lot, I saw a quick deterioration of the respect they
had for each other. They started arguing and became
aggressive. They were harder to discipline. I also
noticed that there was a lessening of the respect that
they showed to elders."
She also related a particular problem that scandalized
her and her daughters. "In the Catholic School where
I sent my girls, there was a young woman teaching
religion who had become pregnant our-of-wedlock. The
school allowed her to retain her position as teacher.
Then, when the unwed mother finally married, she didn't
even marry the father of the child." She continued,
"Teachers are not just teachers, but role models.
And children are not so much influenced by what you say,
but how you live. I thought it was highly inappropriate
to have an unmarried, pregnant woman teaching religion to
- The following account is an example of the parents
being unaware of the sad state of the Catholic schools
until it was too late. A mother related that she lost her
son to the "born-again Christians" after the
son had spent 12 years in a Catholic school. He was not
taught his Faith at all, and as a result, had no idea of
how to withstand the attack on his religion that came
from his fundamentalist girlfriend. The mother said,
"I'm not going to let that happen again with my
- Jeanie Spears had been teaching catechism before her
children were old enough for school. When she first heard
about homeschooling from lectures out of a cassette
lending library, she thought it was absurd. She continued
to investigate and, over time, felt that it was a course
worth pursuing. She had also noted problems in the CCD
curriculum while she was teaching Confirmation. Her
children have always been educated at home.
One couple from St. Paul, Minnesota started exercising
their right to homeschool when they saw the negative peer
pressure their children were subject to while in the
local schools. This family (and others) contend that
homeschool children are less in danger of the bad example
and habits of the more crude and ill-mannered schoolmates
rubbing off on them.
- A mother from Winfield, Illinois pointed to the poor
quality of both secular and Catholic schools as their
motive for homeschooling. She said, "I was teaching
in a Catholic school that had values clarification and
Outcome Based Education. I found that more and more, we
had to report to the state. In the name of 'freedom', our
schools are becoming more and more state controlled. She
continues, "it is our duty to make sure that our
children's souls are saved, and it can't be done in the
- When a Wisconsin couple was asked what made them start
to homeschool, they answered, "The election of Bill
Clinton". They explained, "When Clinton was
elected, we listened to everything he was talking about
regarding education. We were horrified. We said, 'That's
it!', and pulled out children out of the schools to teach
them at home."
- One New Jersey mother said, "All I had to hear
was my young daughter say to me, 'if you hit me, my
teacher says I can take you to court', and I started
homeschooling from that moment on." She continued,
"Why would any mother or father send their children
to a place that turns children against the parents?"
The speakers at the conference reiterated that it is
the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church that
parents are the primary educators of their children.
Schools are meant to be helpmates of the parents and must
respect the parents wishes regarding the education of
their children. Now the reverse has taken place, and the
educational "experts" will dictate what the
child learns and whether the parents approve or not.
Some of the speakers quoted a recent Vatican document
that reinforces parental rights. But sadly, when the
speakers were asked if the Vatican intends to inaugurate
any disciplinary measures against bishops and chancery
offices that ignore or betray parents
rights, the answer was that there are none.
Therefore, homeschool parents are still very much
without meaningful support. They have an uphill battle on
their hands since their stand will usually put them in
opposition to local diocesan centers. However, most
homeschooling parents possess the grace and courage to be
undaunted in the face of this. One Kentucky mother, calm
and smiling, neatly summed up why she makes the great
sacrifices that homeschooling requires: "I do it to
keep my kids Catholic." Enough said.