This is not something that we ever saw ourselves doing, however, with the shape of the schools in our area, we have quickly realized that it is what we have to do.
After receiving the books in the mail for the school year the other day, I asked my son what he would like to call our home school.
He thought about if for quite some time.
Then he announced, “St. Joan of Arc Home School.”
St. Joan of Arc.
“Really?” I thought to myself. “An uneducated teenage girl in France who led an army into battle against the English? SHE’S going to be the patron saint of our home school?!”
I kept those thoughts silent, though.
I smiled at him and said, “Sounds great!”
I walked into the kitchen to load some dishes into the dishwasher, shaking my head about St. Joan of Arc being our patron.
But then I started thinking.
St. Joan of Arc. When I think of her, three things immediately stand out:
As a young girl, St. Joan of Arc heard the voice of St. Michael the Archangel telling her that she needed to fulfill a mission from God–to accompany the Dauphin Charles to be crowned king and then lead an army to fight against the English. Saint Catherine of Alexandria and St. Margaret of Antioch would later speak to Joan about what she needed to do to prepare herself. St. Joan of Arc had faith. She had to have plenty of faith to believe what she was hearing and to accept what she had to do. Uneducated as she might have been, she knew her faith incredibly well, and she would later draw on that when accused.
If my main goal as a mother is to lead my children to Heaven, I need to have faith that homeschooling them is the right thing to do. The Catholic schools in our area are lacking. “Interesting” ideas have been accepted, and kids graduate high school without knowing much about the Catholic faith at all. We WANT our children to know and love the Catholic faith. If the schools around here are not going to equip them with the knowledge the need, it’s in our hands. I have to have faith that we’re doing what is right.
In the process of completing her mission from God, St. Joan of Arc faced many challenges. First, Robert de Baudricourt laughed in her face when she explained she must take the Dauphin Charles to be crowned king. She was told never to return, but she went back again. When she asked for weapons and soldiers, she was accused of being crazy and an impostor. She would later be questioned by a commission of theologians. After three grueling weeks of questioning, they declared Joan good and virtuous. During this entire time, she never gave up. She persevered before she left for battle, and she persevered during battle.
There are probably going to be days that I just don’t FEEL like homeschooling. The thought of getting laundry done, errands ran, dinner started, a baby nursed–it might all seem like too much. There will probably be people along the way who roll their eyes and scoff when they hear that we’re homeschooling our children. I’m going to have to persevere, though, and it will hopefully show my children that just because times seem tough, you must keep going.
St. Joan of Arc was completely ignorant of war, and she was scared–as any young girl would be if she received that kind of news. She accepted this mission from God, though. Scared as she may have been, she “sucked it up” and did what she needed to do. During battle, she was hit in the shoulder by an arrow. She could have quit right there, scared and in pain, but she continued on in her mission. She had fortitude.
I have accepted that I’m going to have to teach my kids at home. I’m completely ignorant of homeschooling, and I’m scared. There are so many unknowns–what if I do it wrong? What if they don’t learn a thing? What if I don’t have the patience? I’m going to have to put on my game face every single day and have the fortitude to teach our kids from home, no matter how scared I might be to do it.
I will probably never hear the voices of St. Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of Alexandria, or St. Margaret of Antioch. I will probably never have to lead an army into war like St. Joan of Arc. (I would, however, love to see the faces of everyone if I walked into a homeschool conference and shouted, “STRIKE BOLDLY!”) I can still fulfill my vocation and duties in life with the same faith, perseverance, and fortitude that St. Joan of Arc did.
St. Joan of Arc Home School–it’s a very fitting title for our little school.
St. Joan of Arc, ora pro nobis.
Already a wife and mother, Delena is preparing to add “teacher” to her resume. She blogs about life as a Catholic stay-at-home mom at http://itsonmyto-dolist.blogspot.com.