Saturday, October 23, 2010

Catholic Homeschooling Conference Dates - 2011 New Jersey - Saturday, April 30th Dulles Expo Center/Virginia - Friday, June 10th thru Saturday, June 11th

See all the curriculum vendors...look through books...get question answered ...purchase...
enroll ... hear the best Catholic speakers speaking in support of homeschooling!

Basically, feel like you've come out of a football huddle pumped up and ready to tackle!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Excellent Catholic Homeschooling website

What an excellent resource! Very helpful storehouse of info for the Catholic Homeschooler.

There's a page on the history of Catholic Homeschooling.

Perhaps most needed is all the info on Sacraments and CCD!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homeschool Socialization Studies

Homeschooled Kids: But What About Socialization?
by Laura Osborne


What about socialization? This is one of the most common questions confronting homeschooling. Socialization is the process whereby the young of a culture learn the rules, mores, traditions, and acceptable interactions of their particular society. Regardless of being at home or at school, a child will be socialized. The question then seems to be: what is the best agent of socialization? Realizing that when a child graduates, he is never again cloistered in an environment with same-age peers makes one question the authenticity of the school as a superior socializing agent. But detractors ask, does the homeschool student do as well in measures of interpersonal and communication skills as his traditionally schooled peers? Let's look at the research.

Research Positive for Homeschooling

The following is a compilation of research studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of homeschool as a socializing agent.

1) John Wesley Taylor (1987) Self Concept in Home Schooling Children. Andrews University. Dissertation Abstracts International, 47, 2809A [ERIC Digest 372460]

Using one of the best validated self-concept scales available, Taylor's random sampling of 45,000 home-schooled children found that half of these children scored at or above the 91st percentile - 47% higher than the average, conventionally schooled child. He concludes: "Since self concept is considered to be a basic dynamic of positive sociability, this answers to the often heard skepticism suggesting that home schoolers are inferior in socialization."

2) Julie Webb (1989) The Outcomes of Home-based Education: Employment and Other Issues. Educational Review; v41, n2, p121-33.

Abstract: Examines aspects of the adult lives of wholly or partly home educated people. Found that all who attempted higher education were successful, that there was no evidence of prejudice regarding employment, and that the socialization of home educated students was often better than that of their schooled peers.

3) Lee Stough (1992) Social and Emotional Status of Home Schooled Children and Conventionally Schooled Children in West Virginia. University of West Virginia. [ERIC Digest 3722460]

Stough, looking particularly at socialization, compared 30 home schooling families and 32 conventionally schooling families with children 7-14 years of age. According to the findings, children who were schooled at home “gained the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to function in society. . .at a rate similar to that of conventionally schooled children. The researcher found no difference in the self concept of children in the two groups.

4) Larry Edward Shyers (1992) Comparison of Social Adjustment Between Home and Traditionally Schooled Students. University of Florida. Dissertations Abstracts International, vol 53 num 12.

Dr. Shyers compared 70 homeschooled children with 70 traditionally schooled children, both groups between ages 8 and 10. The research showed that homeschooled children were found to have “consistently fewer behavior problems”. The traditionally schooled children were more aggressive, loud, and competitive. The homeschooled children tended to talk quietly, play well in groups, and took initiative in inviting others to play. Shyers’ conclusion was that “the results seem to show that a child’s social development depends more on adult contact and less on contact with other children than previously thought.”

5) Thomas C. Smedley (1992) Socialization of Home Schooled Children--A Communication Approach. Radford University; Radford, Virginia.

Abstract: This thesis investigates the commonly held assumption that public school education “socializes” students. The subjects were 33 demographically matched school-aged children, 13 of whom attend public school, 20 of whom are educated primarily by their parents. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales were used to evaluate the communication skills, socialization, and daily living skills of the subjects. These scores, combined into the “adaptive behavior composite”, reflected the general maturity of each subjects. After these data were processed using the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (SPSS), they indicated that the home educated children in this sample were significantly better socialized and more mature than those in public school. The immediate implication is that home school families are providing adequately for socialization needs. The broadest implication is that we may need to reexamine the assumed basis of the socialization process.

6) Judith A. Schickendanz (1995) Family Socialization and Academic Achievement. Journal of Education, vol 177, n1, p17-38.

Abstract: Argues that, while teacher and school efforts are important, the conditions outside of schools hold the key to increasing academic achievement substantially.

7) Jeffrey J. Arnett (1995) Broad and Narrow Socialization: The Family in the Context of a Cultural Theory. Journal of Marriage and the Family, v57, n3, p617-28.

Abstract: Describes theory of broad and narrow socialization with emphasis on placing family socialization in its cultural context. In cultures characterized by broad socialization, socialization is intended to promote independence, individualism, and self-expression. Cultures with narrow socialization encourage obedience and conformity.

[author’s note: can you identify which is homeschool and which is traditional school?]

Institutional Socialization

The theory that public school is the only acceptable agent of socialization is clearly refuted by the previous research. Nevertheless, because traditional schooling is the major agent of socialization for the majority, homeschoolers are being pressured to rethink their position. The careful examination of the institutional nature of schools will lead us to conclude that indeed, the school is a socializing agent. But is it really as beneficial as it’s proponents claim?

In the sociology monograph Situating Children’s Social Competence by Ian Hutchby and Jo Moran Ellis, they examine this very issue. They cite Mayall’s (1994) research observations which closely parallel others’ especially sociologist E. Goffman’s (1961) famous observations on "total institutions". Goffman defined total institutions “in terms of their wholesale control over the organization of the inmate’s existence”. Do the parallels work for traditional schooling? Think about it. If requiring permission to drink, stand up, talk, and use the bathroom isn’t “wholesale control”, then what is? Add uniforms, assigned seating for studies and lunch, and supervised recreation breaks in a common yard, and you’ve got all the characteristics of other institutions (i.e. prison, asylum, military, monastery). Mayall asserts that school “is a closed, complete system, where goals and practices cohere, and where the activities of teachers are limited to a focus on the teaching and training oft he children.” Huchby and Moran-Ellis point out that within an institution, the participants who follow the norms of the institution are considered well-integrated, while those unable to conform are considered troublemakers. As for the staff of the institution, their task is to mold “the inmates to some socially approved purpose...” Nevertheless, even compliant school children, like other institutionalized people, will develop an array of strategies which have been termed “institutional knowledge”. In other words, knowing how to get around some of the control structures. In the teacher’s presence they are compliant, but once she has departed, they “deploy their own procedures...”

Note that this is not a defensive cry from home educators. These studies are a part of the sociological literature published by professors who study these issues in depth. There is more evidence to examine. Again, it’s not produced by the homeschooling community, but by those who tend to be skeptical of the ability of homeschool to provide socialization.

In the professional journal for educators, Adolescence (Fall 1999), David Wren examines the school environment in his report School Culture: Exploring the Hidden Curriculum. He states: “Educators frequently overlook school culture. This article encourages teachers and administrators to gain a more complete picture of the school environment through an exploration. . .of the hidden, or implicit, curriculum. . .administrators need to become cognizant of the almost imperceptible yet powerful influence of institutional culture and climate.” He discusses the process of socialization, saying that “all students must internalize a specific program of social norms. . .” Author of Docility, or Giving the Teacher What She Wants (Journal of Social Issues, 11, 1955) J. Henry is quoted in summary: “Thus, teachers’ and administrators’ interactions with students help shape attitudes and ideals”. This is socialization.

Wren goes on to point out some research investigating positive effects of school socialization. These consist of studies of Quaker and Mennonite schools, which transmit not only academics, but faith and community involvement. Says Wren, “In terms of negative effects. . .the hidden curriculum can also promote student reluctance to challenge teachers on education issues.” This implicit agenda is also reported to cause problems for students who cannot conform to the rigid routines, as well as promoting gender disparities in the teachers’ time and attention.


So we now go back to the original question: What about socialization? Socialization occurs in every culture. The young learn how to behave within the constructs of that culture. The question really is, how? By immersion in a closed, institutional setting with a sub-culture of “institutional knowledge”? Or to be socialized within the same setting where one is expected to eventually function as an adult? Homeschoolers are in the real world on a daily basis. Interactions within the community while shopping, studying, volunteering, working, performing, etc. are legitimate agents of socialization. Yes, both traditionally schooled and homeschooled children receive “socialization”. Both forums are valid. The only difference, as born out by the research and evidence, seems to be the quality.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Homeschool Sibling Bonds

My 6 year old daughter and her 15 year old brother...

THIS is one of the beauties of homeschooling. They get to spend time together that they wouldn't have had otherwise. They are building sibling bonds.

They have a sibling bond that is precious and devoted. A cursory look might indicate that they are sounding out a word starting with the letter "B" together.

What I see deeper in this image is a young man who helps teach his sister because he loves her...

...because serving his family is common to him

....because he is excited to see her excitement in learning, as learning is valued

....because spending time together is valued too

They'll remember this...and my heart swells with the goodness of a moment like this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Importance of Catholic Materials

Dr. Mary Kay Clark of SETON with Pope JPII ~from SETON's Home Study School newsletter....

Teaching the Catholic Faith to our children is our primary responsibility as Catholic parents. We must teach it mainly by good example, showing our children how to live our Faith each day in our daily situations. In addition, the Church declares we are to teach the Faith by “word.” This means we must teach it orally. Most of us use catechisms and other materials as well. What we must not forget, however, is that the Church is clear that all subjects should be taught from a Catholic perspective.

Back in 1864 and in 1875, and repeated in 1955, the Vatican sent instructions to the bishops of the United States, declaring that education in public schools was dangerous because of the lack of Catholic education. “To the Sacred Congregation, this method [of public education] has appeared intrinsically dangerous and absolutely contrary to Catholicism. Indeed, because the special program adopted by these schools excludes all religious instruction, the pupils cannot grasp the elements of the Faith, nor are they instructed in the precepts of the Church…”

In 1897, in the encyclical Militantis Ecclesiae, Pope Leo XIII declared: “A wide knowledge should go hand in hand with care for spiritual progress…religion must permeate and direct every branch of knowledge whatever be its nature…it has always been the Church’s intention that every branch of study be of great service in the religious formation of youth…” Obviously, in order for every branch of study to be of great service in religious formation, every branch of study must be taught with Catholic principles.

Pope Pius XI, in the great encyclical Christian Education of Youth, wrote of the need for religion to permeate the whole of the learning enterprise: “…it is necessary that all the teaching and the whole organization of the school, its teachers, syllabus and textbooks of every kind, be regulated by the Christian spirit, under the direction and maternal supervision of the Church; so that religion may be in very truth the foundation and the crown of youth’s entire training….” Obviously, every facet of education must be permeated with our Catholic Faith.

Christian Education of Youth continues: “It is therefore as important to make no mistake in education as it is to make no mistake in the pursuit of the last goal, with which the whole work of education is intimately and necessarily connected. In fact, since education consists essentially in preparing man for what he must be and for what he must do here below in order to attain the sublime goal for which he was created, it is clear that there can be no true education which is not wholly directed to man’s last end…. there can be no ideally perfect education which is not Christian education.”

Further on in Christian Education of Youth, Pope Pius XI declares: “From this it follows that the so-called ‘neutral’ or ‘lay’ school, from which religion is excluded, is contrary to the fundamental principles of education. Such a school, moreover, cannot exist in practice; it is bound to become irreligious.” In other words, if God and His Laws are left out of the instruction, ultimately students and the school deny God and His Laws. Certainly the American public schools are proof of the Pope’s warning.

Later in this paragraph, the Pope states that even if children receive Catholic religious instruction but receive other lessons that are not Catholic, it is not satisfactory. “Neither can Catholics allow that other type of mixed schools, where the students are provided with separate religious instruction, but receive other lessons in common with non-Catholic children from non-Catholic teachers.” The Pope here, under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, states that we cannot expect to raise practicing Catholics by teaching God only in religion class but ignoring Him in the rest of education.

Immediately following, the Pope declares “…it is necessary that all the teaching and the whole organization of the school, its teachers, syllabus and textbooks of every kind, be regulated by the Christian spirit, under the direction and maternal supervision of the Church; so that religion may be in very truth the foundation and the crown of youth’s entire training; and this applies to every grade of school, not only the elementary, but the intermediate and the high institutions of learning as well.

“To use the words of [Pope] Leo XIII: ‘It is necessary not only that religious instruction be given to the young at certain fixed times, but also that every other subject taught be permeated with Christian piety. If this be lacking, if this sacred atmosphere does not pervade and warm the hearts of masters and scholars alike, little good can be expected from any kind of learning, and considerable harm will often be the consequence.’

In many documents, the Church commands us to use Catholic materials. Weaving the Catholic Faith throughout all subjects shows the child that the Faith is necessary in understanding all areas of knowledge. The omission of God in any subject sends a message that this subject can be properly learned without reference to God or the Church.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II on Vocations -
"Rather, it is important to accomplish the communion of life which shows them how beautiful it is to be a priest. Only then, the young man will say, “Yes, this can be a future for me too; it is possible to live like this” (Insegnamenti I, [2005], 354). Referring to the witness that awakens vocations, the Second Vatican Council underlines the example of charity and of brotherly collaboration which priests must offer (cf. Decree Optatam totius, 2).
I like to remember what my venerable Predecessor John Paul II wrote: “The very life of priests, their unconditional dedication to God's flock, their witness of loving service to the Lord and to his Church - a witness marked by free acceptance of the cross in the spirit of hope and Easter joy - their fraternal unity and zeal for the evangelization of the world are the first and most convincing factor in the growth of vocations” (Pastores dabo vobis, 41). It can be said that priestly vocations are born of the example of priests, as a sort of a precious patrimony communicated by word, by example and by a whole way of life. "

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Encouragement for homeschoolers from a Public School teacher

Certified teacher joins home-school world
Amy Travis

In 2006, I took the leap from public school teacher to home-school mom for my kindergarten daughter. I did what most home-school mothers do and joined a home-school group for support. To be honest, I thought I would be lending most of the support. I had the elementary education degree and many successful years of teaching under my belt. They should be so lucky to have me in the group.

Ego check! They didn’t need my advice on materials. There is a whole world of home-school materials that is every bit as good as public school curriculum. At first I found my refuge in the small overlap of curriculums used both by home-schoolers and the public school systems. I was overwhelmed by all the information, materials, activities and co-ops that these families were using.

As I made my way into this world, I was amazed at all the new options and ideas I had never seen or heard of as a public school teacher. These parents had a right to snub me and my ego. They may not have had an elementary education degree or even stepped a foot in a classroom, but these parents had nothing to learn from me, and I had much to learn from them.

Four years later, when I’m in home-school circles I don’t even mention I was once a teacher in the public schools. It means nothing in the home-school world, and from what I have witnessed, it shouldn’t. My home-school teaching (which now includes my son as well as my daughter) has taken place in the states of Arizona and Washington, where I have met hundreds of home-school families. I can’t recall a single family from either of these states that is doing a disservice to their children or their state.

Let’s take a look at what regulations are doing for public school teachers. They are overwhelmed with all the requirements and push for students to do well on standardized tests. I still keep in touch with old teacher friends. Many feel as if their days are filled with teaching the one almighty test. I can quote some as saying, “Teaching isn’t even fun anymore.”

How about instead of fighting for more regulations on home-school parents, we fight for fewer regulations on public school teachers? I had some great teachers 30 years ago who did not face the same government regulations. I’m not saying teachers shouldn’t be held to a high standard – just maybe not one, single standard: the test.

Do we really want to put these same crazy regulations on home-school families? These parents are enjoying what they do and not getting one government cent to do it.

There is a wealth of information that proves the benefits of home schooling. More government involvement isn’t going to solve the problem of some family in New Haven who is abusing the system for some reason. It is only going to hurt those good families that are doing what they should. As with anything, someone is always going to abuse the system, but all should not be punished for the few.

Sorry I can’t provide some dirt on the home-school community. Funny, they are just doing a great job – all without regulations.

I understand that not all home-school parents are great teachers, as not all public school teachers are top-notch. I assume that not all teachers in the public schools feel the pressure of standardized testing, but I can’t find one who doesn’t. I sure hope they are out there.

I received my teaching degree from Indiana University in Fort Wayne and continue to renew my certificate. I currently live in Arizona and stay connected with family living in Fort Wayne.

The above material comes not from researched evidence, but from the truth I have seen and from the heart.

Amy Travis is a former Fort Wayne resident and IPFW graduate who currently lives in Arizona. She is a former public school teacher home-schooling her two children. She wrote this for The Journal Gazette.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What about Socialization?

Web Sites About Socialization <--- some tough and eye-opening words here.

A clip of it -

How is Socialization Best Learned?
Posted by Karen, Redwood Games

What About Socialization? For some reason, this is the main concern non-homeschoolers seem to have about homeschooling. They can't put down homeschool for academic reasons since studies show that homeschoolers do significantly better than PS students on tests regardless of their parents' educational level. So they fall back on this "concern."

It is precisely for this reason that I do homeschool. I wish to have my children be socialized so that they:

-take responsibility for their actions;

-can relate to all ages in a courteous manner;

-are not pressured into "lookism," materialism, precocious sexuality, drugs, gangs or violence;

-see themselves as individuals who control events rather than members of a group and followers to whom things happen;

-retain a close, mutually respectful relationship with their families;

-see themselves as an important part of the larger society, not some warehoused teenager with no role except consumerism.

And what do schools do to "socialize" kids?

-They group them according to age (a completely artificial grouping - when was the last time you only worked with co-workers within a year of your age?);

-they expose them to kids who have poor impulse-control and lack empathy

-they force the kids who missed a concept to go on at the group pace so that they NEVER catch up;

-they force the kids who already learned a concept to wait around wasting their time until the rest of the class catches up;

-they group kids in projects so that they can learn to work together, totally ignoring the fact that in the work place, your team-mates will be accountable for their work output and FIRED if they don't produce, thus the motivated kids do all the work and the unmotivated kids miss out completely. This is not a realistic reflection of how the "real world" works.

-they allow bullying, harassment and so on because "kids need to get tough" because they'll face it in the "real world." What a crock! If someone threatens to hit you (or does hit you) when you are an adult they are arrested! When someone steals your lunch money, they are arrested! Not only that, we adults choose our friends from people who are civilized. The people with whom we work have the self-discipline required for decent social interaction, or they are fired. We don't have to subject our children to these horrible conditions in order to ready them for a "real world."

Bottom line: The school world is a completely unrealistic place that brings kids down to the lowest common denominator.

P.S. If they are not convinced, then have them read, Reviving Ophelia. This is a book on teenage girls by a psychiatrist. She doesn't ever mention homeschooling but indicts the schools as "sick" and blames them for the problems of depression, anorexia, low self-esteem that her patients (from otherwise normal, loving families) experienced. She says that even the best of families cannot combat the effects of the constant harassment, sexual stereotyping and appearance judgement that occurs in the schools.