Rorate Caeli

Why homeschooling is awesome ...

While attending to this blog, my six-year-old son read it over my shoulder and said "Rorate Caeli" and pronounced it perfectly. Asked where he heard it pronounced, in a way only a child can, he responded: "I haven't, I know how to read Latin!" 

For everyone struggling trying to build your cathedrals at home, keep your chins up.


Michael Ortiz said...

That's a wonderful moment you describe.

I recently bought a book entitled "The Snowflake", which isn't "flakey" at all. There are large color photos of snowflakes--each one is an exquisite, crafted work of art from the hand of God. How easy it can be to not see these tiny cathedrals of ice for the wonders they are. Caryll Houselander has written on their "inscape" as a window into the mind of the Creator.

Children, made in the image of God, are much more precious, and deserve so much more than schools--public or private--built on the factory model can provide.

Anonymous said...

ka, your comment was so insulting to mothers, I will help you out and not publish it. You really ought to think about it more before speaking.

Scott Ramsay said...

I am so blessed to have a homeschooled daughter! :-)

David Werling said...

How ironic... My wife and I were just reflecting last night, after almost finishing with homeschooling (we still have one more high-schooler doing his senior year), and our concluding sentiment was pretty much the exact opposite of the title of this post.

Alan Aversa said...

@David Werling: Why was that?

Lori said...

And ours is the highest of privileges.

Yesterday (Labor Day in the US) my 9 yo woke our family shouting, "It's Labor Day! Don't you know that the word 'labor' comes from the Latin 'labora'? And the Rule of St. Benendict is 'Ora et Labora,' which means TODAY we WORK!" He then proceeded to vacuum anything that would stand still. He thinks this is how we should "celebrate" Labor Day every year.

So as headmistress I probably don't get very high marks in American History, but this-- I'll take it anyday! ;-) And right now I am thoroughly enjoying a clean house from which we school.

For Christ and His Holy Church!
Deo gratias!

Anonymous said...

A couple of comments.

One, not every post we make is an opportunity for people to vent, to rant and rave, and to find negative in everything. We could all use a lesson from St. Therese and just smile.

Second, no one is saying homeschooling is ideal. Of course we wish we had a traditional Catholic school run by traditional priests and nuns nearby. But most don't. And we homeschool, because like Venerable Sheen said, we don't want our kids defending their faith in an public school, or loosing their faith in the typical Catholic school.

And three, in particular on homeschooling posts. If you don't like homeschooling, fine. But don't come here and try to tell parents who are killing themselves trying to save their children's souls why they're wrong to do so. You will find no megaphone here. Right or wrong, it's our blog, our rules. We do this for free, we don't have paying customers -- our customer is Christ and His Bride, period.

Long-Skirts said...

I think homeschooling is what one must do, as a Catholic parent,in this day an age if you have no true Catholic schools and I admire the long suffering parents keeping their childrens' souls close to Holy Mother Church this way. We were fortunate enough to have a truly Roman Catholic school run by the SSPX nearby and sent our children to their Boarding High Schools which I can't say enough good things about. In College our children really knew how to defend the Faith. I give you my take on Notre Dame De LaSalette Boys' Academy in Oivet, IL where 4 sons have gone. Deo Gratias!!!


It’s not the teachers
Their degrees,
It’s about the priests
Down on their knees.

Not the classes
Nor their size,
It’s about the priests
Destroying lies.

Not the money
Not the sports,
It’s about the priests
Saving the Forts.

Not the alumni
Nor their name,
It’s about the priests
Who led and we came.

There is no unity
With perverse,
It’s about the priests
Universal diverse.

There are no curves
Based on the class,
It’s about the priests
Confecting the Mass.

Of innocent souls
There’ll be no heist,
It’s about the priests
Forging men for Christ!

David said...


I wasn't attacking home-schooling. Just making an observation that it does not seem to work for every child or family, especially when there is a dearth of other home-schooling families.

My wife and I are seriously considering home-schooling for our daughter but want to hear as many people's experiences as possible, including the less favourable.

Anonymous said...

David, I wasn't addressing you. I was addressing others whose comments you cannot see because they were blocked.

Unknown said...

Dear Adfero,

There are a lot of moving parts to the homeschooling issue, and I'm sorry (though of course not surprised) to learn that some of its critics show the same lack of common sense and charity as some of the proponents and opponents of everything else.

But I think I can safely guess that in traditional Catholic circles, homeschooling fanatics outnumber anti-homeschooling fanatics. For what it's worth, I myself have never until now heard about an anti-homeschooling fanatic.

Be that as it may, there is one class of homeschoolers that clearly deserves criticism: those who homeschool when there is an appropriate school available and affordable.

My son is an SSPX priest ordained in 2012 and is starting his second year teaching at the high school and college in St. Mary's, KS. There are still people there who insist on homeschooling.

My daughter (who was herself homeschooled for almost all of the first eight grades) teaches at a traditional Catholic school and has seen the same thing, and reports that it sometimes involves people who clearly are not up to the homeschooling job.

Anonymous said...

Unknown, I understand what you're saying. And yes, that can be a problem.

We must see this with charity, however. These parents are trying to save their children's souls. They're coming at it from a good place, even if you think their decision is wrong.

I'd take 1 of them over the millions of Catholic parents who could care less.

David said...

The hardest thing about investigating home-schooling has been finding about the actual experiences of home-schooling parents. Too often when we've asked about how they find home-schooling we've been on the receiving end of a rant against Catholic parents who send their children and who "obviously don't give a damn about their children's salvation". Which doesn't really help us to understand what it is like to home-school.

The thing is: it is precisely because we care deeply about our daughter's salvation that we are not yet sure about home-schooling. We have heard from a young woman who was home-schooled that she found it "incredibly isolating". Our fear is that since there is almost no cooperation between the few home-schooling families where we live our daughter will feel the same and reject her faith as part of her upbringing.

It seems the American experience of home-schooling is very different from that in Scotland.

But we'll keep investigating - although time is beginning to run out before we have to make a choice.

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't know what it's like to homeschool in Scotland.

But I do think the isolation, to a point, is universal. I would also offer, in many ways, it's what attracts us to homeschooling. The whole notion of "socialization" to us is very flawed.

Our children probably get together with other homeschooling families once or twice a week. One planned event, maybe seeing each other at the pool or park, then after Mass on Sundays during coffee and doughnut hour. But that's it.

But we also have many children, all with different and unique personalities. They learn to adjust to other children, to socialize if you will, by being around their other siblings all day.

Anonymous said...

Unknown, isn't it rightly up to the parents to determine whether a Catholic school is affordable and appropriate for their own children? I agree that home schooling isn't for everyone, but for some families it has advantages over even the best of Catholic schools. I suggest having some respect for the decisions of parents in either case.

David said...

And if you - so far - have only been blessed with one child? If we had more children we might not worry about that so much.

Apropos: can other traditional Catholics - especially mothers - consider the possibility that if a couple have only one - or no - children then it may not necessarily be because they are "contraceptors"? Nature doesn't always fall in line with our own purposes...

Anonymous said...

If you have only one child, than that is certainly a consideration you must weigh.

I'm not sure why you would think anyone here would automatically assume you were contracepting? I think we all know Catholic couples struggling to conceive.

David said...

I'm not sure why you would think anyone here would automatically assume you were contracepting? I think we all know Catholic couples struggling to conceive.

Just to clarify: I don't mean the good people who post on Rorate Caeli.

Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

My wife and I have used a combination of Catholic schools, public schools, homeschooling, and now, a non-denominational Christian school, to educate our children. We have tried to figure out the best situation and combination of methods to use for each of our children, based on their needs, our financial abilities, and the ever-changing conditions (ever-deteriorating, actually) of the local schools. We have always found homeschooling to be extremely difficult and taxing, and consider it to be a kind of last resort, especially in the case of adolescent boys (of whom we have had eight). In addition, we have noticed that, in our community at least, those who most strongly praise homeschooling, with an almost evangelical zealousness, actually have lots of in-home assistants in the way of college students, tutors, music teachers, babysitters, "mom's helpers," etc. In short, they are not actually doing as much homeschooling themselves (thus they have time to write books about it!) but are really sort of "managing" a home-school, while trying to make a lot of other Catholic parents feel less responsible for not homeschooling. Anyway, we are very grateful to now have access to a truly wonderful Christian school which, though it does have all the problems of a non-denominational Protestant environment, is nevertheless far more filled with the spirit of Christ than the local Catholic school system. The latter is run by and for families devoted to athletics, and organized strictly along the lines of a public school, right down to the level of textbooks, curricula, and instructional methods. In my opinion, they are just public schools with a crucifix on the wall.

NBW said...

We decided to homeschool our daughter because the two private schools she went to were not a good solution. The teachers had too many students and some were burned out. We found that homeschooling was an excellent fit. There are many homeschool academies out there that are very good: Kolbe, St. Thomas Aquinas Homeschool Academy, Angelicum, and Mother of Divine Grace ect...

Homeschooling is hard work for both parent and child but very rewarding. Sometimes homeschooling may work for one child and not the other. But,that's up to the parent to figure out.

Anonymous said...

Those are good programs Dr.

Also, I'd mention Our Lady of Victory (

This is the program our family uses. It's very traditionally Catholic, it takes all the guess work out and, if you choose, administrators will grade everything and keep records for you.

It's a wonderful program.

croixmom said...

Hi David,

We are a family who has been/was only blessed with one child. Yet we homeschool.

We attend a wonderful FSSP parish, 55 miles from our home -- in the next diocese. The parish also has a wonderful homeschool group which we are a part of. Basically, I or we make at least 3 trips each week to the church, as it is the center of our lives.

That being said, yes, my 14-year old daughter does feel isolated. In some ways it is because she just doesn't fit in with her peers. That is not a bad thing!
She is exceptionally bright. Adults love her! Her peers don't "get" her. Even amongst the group of peers at the parish, she really does not have a great deal in common. She loves to read: classics. She has never read or desired to read the pop culture cult rot that is so popular amongst the youths. She's not into Marvel comic book characters or boy bands or any of the other pop and trending worldly things. Part of that I guess, is because she has older parents.

Among her peers from the Novus Ordo parish we used to attend, she doesn't really fit in with them: even though they attend very expensive "Catholic" schools, they are very worldly and still into vainglorious stuff and your regular adolescent activities. Her vocabulary excellent, so when she is speaking, people don't even know a good portion of what she is saying. They just ask, "what does <> mean?"

The thing is that I believe she would be in the same boat if she were to attend a brick and mortar school. We pray that we never have to send her to a government school (although I do threaten her with that). There is no way we can afford the "Catholic" schools, even if we could find a real one.

We did not intend to homeschool at the beginning. She was enrolled in our local parish school for preschool and kindergarten. We removed her after kindergarten and peace and tranquility immediately descended on our home and our lives.

When we were considering homeschooling (actually, I was considering it. My husband's initial reaction was, "absolutely not."), an acquaintance commented that it is a calling. I had not thought of it that way. I was just spending my days, while she was in kindergarten, on my knees in the chapel, offering my rosaries and prayers for a solution to her schooling. The parish school was exceptionally progressive, minimally Catholic, with a curriculum that was somehow worse than the government schools.

So yes, my 14-year old will tell you that she feels isolated and lonely. She has no desire however, to attend government schools and she feels sorry for her friends (and their parents) who are paying obscene tuitions for peace and justice Catholic schools. She LOVES that she is homeschooled. She appreciates the superior academics and that she is not attacked by the forces that seek to steal the innocence and souls of our youth. She loves that we pray the Angelus at noon each day. She loves that she can play with her companions: her birds and dogs.

There are so many positives to home schooling! I think the kids who have trouble with it are ones who spend more time around "instituties", constantly having to defend home schooling and having the more "attractive" lives of "instituties" shoved in their faces. It is not unlike the "real" secular world that awaits. But for now, she is learning her faith and is able to discern things that are or may be harmful. She is learning that the salvation of her soul is priority #1.

Supertradmum said...

I have just put in the past three weeks 31 posts on home schooling, in addition to some from January on the spirituality of home schooling-another mini-series. Feel free to use all and print off if necessary I have 16 years experience of home schooling. Just follow the tags.

Anonymous said...

I also recommend Our Lady of Victory. We had children enrolled in their program from about 1984, until our youngest graduated this Spring. Our parish had a school, but you could not advance on the waiting list unless the mother did many hours of "volunteer" work - which was impossible for families with more than the regulation 1.7 children.

As mentioned in prior comments, it is the parents who are responsible for their children's education. They will answer to God for it. Only parents can choose legitimately what manner of schooling is appropriate for their own children.


Supertradmum said...

Here is a list of over 31 posts I did on virtues and home schooling and more. Within that list in the links to the idea of the spirituality behind home schooling.

Mary Kay said...

Both of my sons were homeschooled, despite my need to work as the sole parent in their lives. I am delighted that the wives of both of them are beginning to homeschool their little ones, and I pray for their great success. There is now a monthly homeschool co-open at our SSPX chapel, which will broaden a bit in the coming years, I imagine. I would do it all again if I had to...

Anonymous said...

We have six children ages ten to one, and we have homeschooled from the beginning. I wish to be realistic to the good folks thinking about it -- it is NOT easy and it has NOT been any bed of roses.

We became part of our local Catholic homeschool support group. The local bishop is 100% staunchly behind homeschooling and even celebrates the opening Mass of the school year for our group at the cathedral. He is one of the more conservative bishops. We attended the opening Mass this year, with some trepidation. I am glad we did. Absolutely no Eucharistic minsters in sight, the choir sang Mass No. 8 (de Angelis) and I was amazed. I nearly wept with happiness. Yes, it's still the N.O., but what a great blessing! Sermon was on the current challenges and being prepared to suffer for the sake of the Faith and morals.

I know some may shy away from the local support group, but for us it made a HUGE difference. Yes, you're going to be around people you don't agree with. We have an All Saints' Day party, a Birthday party for Jesus at Christmas (a talent show for the children to put on as a gift to Our Lord), a Christmas bazaar, a retreat for Moms, father/daughter dance, mother/son activity, graduation and baccalaureate Mass, and a family campout. We also have two cooperatives (one regular co-op and one Classicaly Catholic Memory co-op), Blue Knights clubs and Little Flowers clubs.

Check out the local support group and I think you'll be really impressed with what you can find for help. You don't have to do anything with them if you don't want to; just get on their email list and for some, that alone is all they need. Each family selects what things they think fit them best. Some don't do anything. And of course people's needs change as the children get older, too.

Anonymous said...

@Dr. Williams,

Amen to that. We scrape the bottom of the barrel to pay for music lessons for our kids (they play piano and violin) and that pretty much wipes out any discretionary funds. But that part is worth it. I can't afford a babysitter, a tutor (even though I could really use one right now for one of my kids), a mother's helper, or someone to come in and clean the house for me.

Ironically, the ladies who DO have all this are the ones who've enrolled their children in the local SSPX school. Somehow they can afford tuition plus pay for a mother's helper to come in a couple times a week. More power to them...glad they can. I'm just glad I can get up every morning!

Some of the Moms in our Sacred Heart Homeschool group trade kids for a day so a poor Mom can calm her frazzled nerves. Just another example of how we could take a lesson from the Novus Ordo and the born-again Christians.

Long-Skirts said...

Mom in the Shoe said...

"Ironically, the ladies who DO have all this are the ones who've enrolled their children in the local SSPX school. Somehow they can afford tuition plus pay for a mother's helper to come in a couple times a week."

WHAT is you major malfunction, woman?!!!!

At our SSPX Academy, K thru 8th grade, our families are usually large and poor! Most of us have a terrible time making ends meet but the priests have NEVER denied ANY of us a Catholic education for our children because of not being able to pay tuition. There were 2 years when I had 6 children in their school and couldn't afford it. Our priest said not to worry and just do the best we could. So we cleaned the school and bathrooms every week for 2 yrs., though he didn't want me to have to do that BUT I wanted to and also show our children how important these small sacrifices were and yes, family members and "nice" neighbors like you would always make comments, "Must be nice to afford a PRIVATE education."

The only "mothers helpers" I EVER had were the angels ... except when it was time to change nasty, stinky, stanky, dirty diapers and even then that was a place where "Angels feared to tread!"


A word was whispered
Bright one morn
About a girl so young

And the whisper spread
Throughout the town
On woman’s wagging tongue.

The wagging tongues
Turned into snakes
With sharp-like serpent’s tooth

That slithered round
And under rocks
For it knew where to find the truth.

But slithering
Whispers under rocks
Never seem to satisfy

So the whispered word
Was boldly spoke
Out loud to passers-by.

But the woman
Knew it
All along…

“It wasn’t a surprise.” Said she,
“And I’m sure that’s why
That carpenter Joseph

Took her away
On that old

croixmom said...

Basically, it comes down to doing what is best for your family. The Blessed Mother led us to homeschool our only child. It has been difficult. But none of us would change it.

Pray, pray and pray.
Pope Pius XI wrote a brilliant encyclical about education. I encourage anyone with children or grandchildren to read it.

Good solid Catholic schools are few and far between these days. For some of us, home schooling is truly the only option. We don't consider government schools to be an option. Why would we send this precious gift that our Creator entrusted to us, to spend her days in an environment where God has been banned? Even if the government schools were not the cesspool that they are, after paying for an acceptable wardrobe, fundraisers, field trips, birthday parties, etc., there is no way we can even afford government school. Deo Gratias!

Home schooling allows us to live our lives the way we find best. We aren't held to other people's schedules, curriculum choices, etc. We keep and observe Holy Days of Obligation. We go to Mass as many times a week as we can (the only deterrent being the 110-mile round trip and the cost of gas) -- still we make 3 trips/week. We abstain from meat all Fridays of the year, etc. That lifestyle is not something we could possibly do if my daughter were schooled according to someone else's agenda.

The only regret I have was that we sent our little one to a parish school for preschool and kindergarten. So much damage was done in those years, we are STILL trying to reverse or undo it.

Aside from private piano lessons and a [free] Latin tutor via Skype, I am very happy to assume responsibility for the education of my daughter. The priests at our FSSP parish teach catechism to the homeschooled kids 2x / month -- but they make it very clear that it is the parents who are responsible for training our children in the faith. What the priests offer is an embellishment to what the parents are held responsible for.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry if I offended you. I did not mean to. It's just the case here. Occasionally I pick up kids from school for one of the ladies here. Every so often there is an advertisement of a girl willing to babysit or do housework -- for a fee. Once I scraped up some discretionary funds and tried to hire one of them. She said she was already helping a school Mom -- who has half her children in the parish school. At that point I was desperate for some help. I kept asking and asking, and nobody was ever available -- they were all helping other Moms. Several times I didn't have money; I asked and asked, can I barter with you, I can sew, maybe I could trade babysitting for clothes for your girls? (even though I just need rest and not more time at the sewing machine?) Still no.

I did go through a period in which I was in pretty bad shape, and I found it ironic that I could get prescription medications for stress/anxiety/depression for little to nothing, while I could not get a live person to help or to talk to when the going got hard without breaking the bank. Fortunately those days are over and I was greatly helped by none other than the ladies with our Novus Ordo homeschool support group.

I don't mean to judge anybody. You have an excellent point and I'm sorry. I realize that a large number of these ladies also cannot afford to pay tuition. I apologize. It was wrong of me and I realize that wasn't fair to you or to the other Moms.

Long-Skirts said...

Mom in the Shoe said:

"I apologize."

That's very kind of you and I accept your dear words.

I'm sorry you have had it so hard. I truly wish I were nearby to give you a hand now and then.

There were times when I was completely overwhelmed and worried about the future and regretting things in my past and I was paralyzed in the present!

My husband helped me out by telling me to take things one hour at a time. I took his advice...just get what I have to get done in the next hour...of course I also, by his advice and good priests, started a daily prayer routine early in the morning when there was some quiet.

I will keep you in my prayers and just offer up your sufferings and worries when they come for the souls in purgatory...there were many years where, I swear, I cleared purgatory out ;-)

Please pray for me too!

Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us.

Roma said...

Public school teachers are now they biggest influx into the home school venue. One of the reasons they give is that the mandated curriculum is increasingly a one size fits all approach. Home educators can adjust the curriculum to fit the child instead of the reverse.