I was once at a homeschooling convention and during my discussion with a vendor, I was shocked when he said to me, “I didn’t know Catholics homeschooled.” It turns out that he thought all Catholic families sent their kids to Catholic Schools. I had to tell him that Catholic homeschooling is, indeed, a popular thing to do.
Here is some information about why Catholic families might decide to start homeschooling, as well as Catholic homeschooling resources.
Why Would a Catholic Family Homeschool?
With the availability of a Catholic school within driving distance for so many Catholic families, some might question why those families would choose to homeschool instead of sending their children to Catholic school. However, just like many other homeschooling families, Catholics are often looking for the benefits that homeschooling offers that they just can’t find in public or Catholic schools.
Catholic families may decide to homeschool for more family togetherness, stronger or more specific academic challenges, or extra opportunities or directed learning that can’t be found in a traditional school.
Also, like so many other Christian homeschoolers, many Catholics want the opportunity to set a strong religious foundation for their children that might feel can’t be found in other venues.
In addition to reasons that are traditionally mentioned for homeschooling, many large Catholic families point toward the desire for religious based education, but difficulty with Catholic school tuition. Even though some religious schools give tuition assistance or even waive tuition fees after a certain number of children, it can still get cost prohibitive for some families.
I also know several large families that just find that it is difficult logistically on the family to have so many children in school at the same time. Having all of the children at home learning can lessen some of those logistical issues (though other logistical issues can arise, of course).
Benefits of Homeschooling for Catholic Families
One of the greatest benefits of homeschooling for Catholics is the ability to teach their children in the religious and moral manner they desire. Although these are not available in the public schools, some families that are particularly traditional find that some Catholic schools are not as rigorous or traditional in Catholicism as they would like for their own children.
Another benefit that homeschooling can offer to Catholic families is the chance to form a community with other Catholic homeschooling families. Since many (but certainly not all) Catholic homeschooling families tend to lean more on the traditional side of religious life and customs, it can be a blessing to the whole family to socialize and form groups with other like-minded families.
Catholic homeschooling families are also able to enjoy all of the benefits of a Catholic education, but without the sometimes high price of private school tuition as well as the frequent fundraising efforts that many private schools have to rely on.
Of course, Catholic families can also benefit from homeschooling in all of the same ways that other families may benefit: academics, choice of curriculum, one-on-one and small group instruction, extra time for specific interests, and a myriad of other personal and family reasons.
Challenges for Catholic Homeschooling Families
Just as there are challenges for every homeschooling family, there are many unique challenges for Catholic homeschooling families.
While the number of Catholic companies offering homeschooling materials and full sets of curriculum is increasing, there are still far fewer curriculum choices that are specifically Catholic than those for other Christians.
While some Catholic homeschooling families choose to use Christian (but non-Catholic) or secular curriculum choices or resources, it can sometimes be tricky making sure that books (or even just sections of books) don’t promote values or beliefs that go against Catholic beliefs. Because of this, Catholic homeschooling families using non-Catholic resources sometimes have to be extra careful. (On the flip side, however, introducing some of these types of materials can provide an excellent source for discussion with their children.)
Catholic homeschooling families, just like those that choose to send their children to public school, often find that they are required to send their children to a Religious Education program at their parish. (This program was formerly called CCD.)
Religious Education programs, of course, outside of Mass times (to allow families to worship together), so this can add an extra activity to the already busy homeschooling schedule. At some parishes, homeschoolers who can show that they are providing religious instruction at home are exempted from having to participate in their parish’s Religious Education program. (This is not true of all parishes.)
Although it is not true of every Catholic homeschooling family, some families feel pressure from religious leaders, Catholic school stuff and administrators, or other people in their parish to enroll their children in Catholic School, instead of choosing to homeschool.
One friend of mine told us that when she went to reconciliation one day when she had had a particularly challenging homeschooling day, the priest told her that this homeschooling thing had been “cute,” but it was probably time to start sending her kids to Catholic school.
One not often considered challenge is that Catholic homeschooling groups (especially co-ops) can find it difficult to find a place to meet. Many Catholic Churches that have space to accommodate homeschooling activities or co-ops are also churches that have schools using that space. This can leaving some Catholic groups without an appropriate place to have meetings, activities, or co-ops.
It may seem that the field of Catholic home educating materials is a narrow one, but that just isn’t the case anymore. There are new resources available all the time, as well as many well established old favorites in the Catholic homeschooling community.
Whether you’re looking to supplement your existing homeschooling materials or completely supply your homeschool with Catholic materials, there are wonderful things to be found.
Disclosure: Some, but not all, of the links in the resources section are affiliate links.
Resources for Catholic Homeschooling
Learning and growing in Catholicism is not something that happens just once a week for an hour at Mass. Likewise, it isn’t fostered in your homeschool through just covering it during religion. Catholicism is best lived throughout the day and throughout the liturgical year. From studying the lives of saints as part of history to learning about religious art and singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” during Advent, Catholicism is best learned by children in meaningful, authentic ways.
Hands on Projects, Printables, Activities, and Unit Studies
Many children learn best through hands on activities or unit studies. There are some really great Catholic resources for this type of hands on learning.
Catholic Printables from Real Life at Home – Make sure to check out the many Catholic printables here at Real Life at Home. (You can also follow my Pinterest board called Catholic Printables, which features Catholic printables from all over the Internet!)
Catholic Icing – This site is full of crafts, food, projects, and fun which all center around our shared faith. Catholic Icing emphasizes celebrating the Liturgical Year.
Catholic Culture – Find a bevy of resources for prayers, activities, and food that celebrate the Catholic faith.
Celebrating the Liturgical Year – One of my Pinterest boards, which is specifically focused on activities, printables, and ideas for celebrating the Catholic Liturgical Year
Faith Filled Days – A collection of links to projects to help you live out the Liturgical Year with your family. Many would be wonderful ways to enrich your home education or put together into unit studies.
Other Recommended Sites for Catholic Activities, Crafts, and Printables:
Catholic Homeschooling Books
Although much can be gained by reading homeschooling books that are topic specific or geared for all Christians or with a secular focus, there is also a treasure trove of books that are specifically written for Catholic home educators.
Sampling of Books that Catholic Home Educators Might Enjoy:
- Catholic Home Schooling
- Catholic Homeschool Companion
- Catholic Education: Homeward Bound – A Useful Guide to Catholic Homeschooling
- Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum: A Guide to Catholic Home Education
- Homeschooling with Gentleness: A Catholic Discovers Unschooling
- A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul
- The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul
- A Little Way of Homeschooling
- Stories for the Homeschool Heart (I have a story in this collection!)
Sampling of Books for Catholic Home Educated Students:
- An Alphabet of Catholic Saints
- A is for Altar, B is for Bible
- New Catholic Picture Bible
- Catholic Prayer Book for Children
- Loyola Kids Book of Saints
- Loyola Kids Book of Heroes: Stories for Catholic Saints and Heroes throughout History
Catholic Homeschool Curriculum
There is a huge variety of styles of Catholic homeschooling products and full curriculum sets. It is best to look through many types, as well as talk to people you know in person and online to see what has worked for them as well.
Complete Curriculum Suppliers
Catholic Preschool Curriculum Choices
Subject Specific Suppliers
Reviews of and Help with Catholic Homeschool Materials
Although it helps to talk to people about their materials that they are using, it is also nice to be able to read review about materials before buying them as well. Here are a few sources for reviews of Catholic home educating materials:
Cathy Duffy Reviews – Cathy’s site features a whole section specifically on Catholic materials reviews.
Love2Learn – Reviews on a variety of materials by contributing writers
Catholic Homeschool Support – On this page, you can find email groups to join to talk with other home educators using most of the major Catholic curriculum, as well as Catholics using specific methods of homeschooling.
What are some of your favorite Catholic homeschooling resources?
|Angie, a domestically challenged nerd and mom of three very fun kids, is the founder of Real Life at Home. Angie also listens to music every chance she gets, writes eBooks, podcasts, loves Pinterest, documents the little moments in life on Instagram, and occasionally sleeps.|