Friday, February 1, 2013

Catholic School vs. THE GUILT

This week is Catholic School Week in the United States (not even sure this is a thing outside of the States...). The kids and I attended daily Mass on Wednesday. The school kids were there, and I left church that day feeling something I had not felt since our homeschooling journey began: guilt and a whole lot of loneliness.

I recognize that I have felt a little off this past week, and that of course Father would talk about Catholic schools during Catholic School Week during an all-school Mass, and yet, I feel let-down, adrift in a sea of an unknown parish, guilty that I keep my children at home, teaching them not only academics, but faith and of life. At least, I try to!

Some guilt comes from feeling that I cannot give my children enough, from feeling more isolated here than my previous location as far as other homeschooling families (Opus Domini women, I miss you!), and guilt from this past year of struggling to keep one foot in front of the other, let alone what I would like to do with my children. The boys are a struggle this year with keeping them to task so that I have little time to play with the girls, something they both desperately need and desire.

Loneliness because while I have talked to a few - much older - parish members, most others get up and go, or hang in their very large post-Mass circles. Even Father has gone off into the sacristy before the kids and I are bundled up and ready to leave, even on days where we do not linger to pray or visit Jesus in the Tabernacle (Miss Bear just loves to do this especially).

I did put Skipper in the parish's ccd program, and he does great. His teachers love him, and say how "he's a wonderful kid ... a sweet boy." And I love that. I love that he wants to go, is excited, and that all the kids seem to get along.

But outside of that, I still feel very much an outsider, and I do not see that changing any time soon. As far as homeschooling support (let alone Catholic homeschooling support), it is few and far between in this rural area. I do not regret the move (family is important, my husband more so), but I do miss my homeschooling ties so much.

Oh, one other thing, when I saw all the school kids at Mass, and then adding the ccd kids (the public school kids), I wonder where these kids are during Sunday Mass? There are two Mass times. We go to the earliest most Sundays, but I do not see very many kids. Could they really all attend that second Mass? I have a hard time believing all the kids and family members fit inside the church. Personally, I dislike the second time as it runs into lunch time and nap time. The kids are a little easier to handle on my own first thing.

By the way, I firmly believe we all have a choice as to how we educate our children, and through prayer, we can discern that, so I in no way feel superior or judgmental to those who choose not to homeschool or who choose public school over Catholic school! But I hate feeling inferior, feeling the guilt and feeling that my kids should be in the parish school, that somehow I am doing wrong by them.

9 comments:

  1. Well, maybe I can talk about it here. I was planning on posting a post about Homeschool kids, public school kids and Catholic school kids...and why we homeschool, etc...tying it somehow all together with sex education. Yep. But in the past 2 weeks, I've found out that 4 kids, KIDS read my blog!! I think God was telling me not to write the post. SO, I'm going to tell you a little of what recently happened. My husband and I are going to therapy, together, as a couple, we needed to learn how to communicate better and deal with all the stresses we've been having this past year with Simeon, with a ADD child (mostly her), dealing with my husband's depression and just our crazy life with 6 kids. It's so easy to just co-habitate together and not really communicate. We are now. Anyway, the therapist, has 3 kids, one is our son's age, he's 13 though already (Our son is almost 13),her son goes to Catholic school. She asked if we've had the "sex talk" with our son yet. Ummm, it came up once, last year, when we were talking about the VIRGIN Mary and what that means....he was not OK with just "it means pure, innocent, etc..." I could tell, so I explained to our Science kid, about animals and bugs, you know, how do they have babies? he said they mate...I explained that's the same with people...he didn't want to know more and that was it. The therapist, with her Catholic school son, says, her son comes home all the time asking sex questions, like last week, he asked what a (sorry for this) blow job was. (you can delete this comment if you want) She explained to him....etc...etc.....

    Now, I'm sorry, but my kids are so innocent, and have never even heard those words. I plan to keep it that way as long as I can. Of course there will be a time when we will talk more about deeper things than animals and humans and how they mate the same way....but not now.

    She said in 4th grade the kids get sex education. 4th grade. That's 9 years old.

    This one thing alone makes homeschooling worth it. I have those same questions you have about things being better for them in a school setting, etc...but it's better at home.

    What got me or bothered me even more was the fact that it didn't bother the therapist at all that her son comes home and asks these questions, questions of things he learns and hears at school...Catholic school. At 12-13 years old. Like it was normal and ok. Yes, I'm glad he comes to her, and gets his answers from her, but I don't know, am I wrong here?

    Keep doing what you are doing. Pray for friends (I'm sure you have) all you need is one good one, one good family to do things with.

    Thank goodness for blog people, I could not have homeschooled 15 years ago, before blogs and we ever had a computer...that's for sure.

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  2. Whew, Jamie Jo, that was a heavy comment. Do you want me to erase it? As far as I know there are no kids that follow (are there???).

    I really never thought about sex education and CATHOLIC school. Yes, when it came to public school but not Catholic so thanks for that eye opener. I don't understand sex education at all, not even what I had during my school years. For one, I sure didn't learn a whole lot. Two, I think it's a parental responsibility (even though my parents were pretty quiet on this front). And three, I think it's so much more important to place emphasis on respect, morals, and how our own personal bodies work. I expect to "teach" the girls what's going on, but do they need to know what's going on in the male body at the same time? I wonder how my opinions will change as I near puberty with the kids.

    When I read that about your therapist, the first thing that popped into my head was a little story that floated for a bit on facebook about a daughter asking her dad about sex and he looks at her, asks her to lift his briefcase (very heavy) and says, "Some things are too heavy for you to bear. For now, let me carry this burden for you." I'm paraphrasing. It's touching. Sometimes it's easy to forget to remember where to draw the line. I think staying open to lines of communication with your children, like you have with your oldest, is about as perfect as it gets. If he has a question, you know he will come to you (or at least you are praying very fervently for that to always be the case, right?!).

    As far as sending the kids to school, this year has just been hard for me all around, and yet, I think, how would school really make it any easier? I would be the screaming mom trying to get the boys out the door, one of whom is slow as molasses in the morning. Sure, I could concentrate on the girls during the day amid household chores, but then our nights would be so short to fit everything in. I think I would stress more. Part of my problem now is figuring out the seat work. I feel like some is necessary but it's a struggle with the boys. I almost want to pare it way, way down, and just explore and read and read and read. I find I have no time to read any more and I hate that!

    And you are absolutely right, one good friend is all I need. I love that we have the internet and I can find so much homeschooling and Catholic homeschooling (and more) support here to make up for my physical world, but sometimes you just need a good girlfriend in your kitchen while the kids play. ;)

    Thanks for sharing, Jamie Jo.

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    1. I know, I think a good friend will come along. I have to say, that my good/closest friend moved to Fargo (about 2 1/2 hours away) about 7 years ago, and it was so hard, we are still really good friends and can take up where we left off last time, but we hardly see eachother anymore with having babies and more and more kiddos, a almost 3 hour trip is just hard to do. I prayed and prayed for a friend or someone to be close to...and right after that, Christine came up to me after Mass and said she wanted to get to know me! We've been friends ever since. It took some time to get to now eachother, but she's one of my closest. I'll pray for you too.

      I know, I have this side of me that wants to send the kids to school, that wishes I didn't care so much about the whole thing...but then I think of stories like this and know this is the right thing. Just spend some time with a school kid and see the differences. My daughter was in that play a few weeks ago and there was another woman there who had 2 kids in the homeschool play and one in the public play, with mostly public school kids and adults. I asked her if there were any differences and she said her daughter is the one who noticed the differences...her daughter said the kids teased other kids and were mean and rude...something she appreciated that in the homeschool group it was not like that at all. I notice that too. I can tell a difference when my kids play with the neighbor girls, they are snotty and just not as down to earth and thoughtful. We are home with the kids, we catch those things....these are the things that keep me going. School would kill my son, kids would totally tease him...he's not into sports at all. My oldest daughter would go to the bad crowd, right away, I know she would. It's nice to give them the good choices I guess for friends.

      I know that school kids are up late doing homework, so you know we would be up late helping them and making sure it got done, which is what we do in the daytime right now. I'm selfish, I like our evenings. I don't want that filled with homework and making lunches etc...we are still asleep when the school bus picks up the neighbors at a6:50am!

      And Yes, I think/hope my son would come to us if he had any questions....I really don't think he has any yet, he's not interested in girls yet at all. He's not even needing deoderant yet...we got him some and he was like, "why do I need to wear this?" He's still so innocent. What's wrong with the world? What's wrong with keeping our kids as innocent as we can for as long as we can?

      My daughter, only 10 1/2 does on the other hand need deoderant already and I'm sure will be developing sooner than him. (or the same time--fun fun)

      Pray pray it's all we can do!!

      You can delete, it's up to you...

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    2. Oh, I am not even thinking about pre-teen and teen years yet. I would go crazy if I did!

      I love how innocent my oldest is. You can already tell a difference between him and a good number of school kids. It's an odd mix of adultness (his seriousness, humor, and conversational tone) and innocence. My son is also very tall for his age so I often wonder what goes through others' minds when he acts his age but looks so much older. School would be harsh on him as well, I think, in the form of bullying and academically I think we would have had issues simply because he's way ahead in some things but struggles with other (as in, it has taken us over a year to really get simple addition and subtraction, ugh!).

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  3. Ok, so I wrote a really long reply and forgot to even address the whole communication / therapy, etc. I am glad you shared. That would be a tough post to write up.

    You have been a mom and married longer than I have been, but I can understand about cohabiting versus communication, especially after this past year. I am glad you see a therapist and are talking through it. And your husband practices the faith too, right? My husband is a lapsed Catholic and sometimes I get so frustrated.

    You've had a lot of change over the past year. It's understandable how that could play into relationships and just general life stress. Did your husband suffer from depression prior to your son's birth or is this a new thing? Depression is never easy. And there are so many layers to it. One of the facets of my own depression that really drags me down is my family's response and reaction to it. It's such a struggle trying to break free, not wanting the kids to be affected by it, knowing they are, feeling guilty, etc. etc. No need to go on. I am just thankful this is a "light" bout of depression this time around.

    Also, I did not know your daughter has ADD. That must be tough too, trying to homeschool the rest.

    And yes, the daily ins and outs of a large family (I am stressing with just my four!!!) can definitely play into your fears and nagging little thoughts. This is a moment when I am so, so thankful for the gift of faith. I'm coming late into the game, but oh boy, it scares to even think about living this life without faith!

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    1. Gosh, that last comment was a long one, sorry. Just wanted to respond to this one, my husband has always had depression. It's always way worse in the winter. It's hard, he struggles so much. Talking really helps. Just to even just say, "I'm not feeling very good today" helps. (a little)

      I wrote a while back, maybe December about ADD, Here:

      http://makemeasaint.blogspot.com/2012/11/add-medicate-or-not.html

      I didn't specify who, to keep her privacy.

      BUT it's very hard, she also has Oppositional defiant Disorder.

      Praying, counseling and trying to get through each day.

      OH, and yes, my husband is faithful to the Church. I'll pray for your husband.

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    2. Thank you for your prayers, Jamie Jo.

      Talking does help, even sometimes a little because then depression is recognized, not suppressed. It's funny because sometimes I have these moments, and recently I told my husband that when this happens to just hug me, that I really need a hug when I'm like that (though I act very unhuggable!!!). The other day I was acting out and he steps up, hugs me, and reminds me of what I'd said. And it helped so much. Winter is hard. I keep telling my husband we need to head south for a good stretch of winter because I hate no sun and being stuck inside. My migraines also kick up in the winter and I just feel like I've been run over by a truck. He works from home and I homeschool so it's doable theoretically. ;) I am glad your husband is faithful to the Church. That has to help tremendously in dealing with it all.

      As for your daughter, I must have missed that post completely. I do not remember seeing it. Have you tried any of the alternative ideas mentioned in the comments? I am definitely big on diet affecting us from personal experience, but it's a tough road to follow. (Foods bother me in different ways, but dairy really affects my mood and personality. And for one of my sons with celiac, I definitely saw a huge change in behavior post-diagnosis and a few weeks on the gluten-free diet.) I hate giving meds - to the kids or myself - blindly, but I also don't think you should feel guilty for trying them as sometimes it is necessary.

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  4. I'm reading about other alternatives to meds....I'm not very far yet. The big thing I'm worried about is she is my pickiest eater, always has been. She's already refusing to try any special diet, and I have not even implemented anything yet!!!

    Winters are hard, much harder, although, my husband says it is always there. (the depression) He just got one of those lights, and has been using it for almost 2 weeks. It has done nothing for him. I think I'd like the light!! He also has back and knee troubles so exercise is pretty much impossible and it would help so much mentally and physically.

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    1. Changing the diet is hard, that's for sure. I was lucky the boys were so young. Funny thing is, with my oldest, in the months (maybe longer, hard to remember) prior to his diagnosis, he actually wanted only gluten items and picked at anything else. My other son went the opposite and started to not eat anything. Now, of course, they have likes and dislikes but are slowly eating more stuff and a range of items. Salads took forever and my oldest still isn't thrilled (unless it's a taco salad!). Perhaps starting slowly and make it a *subtle* family thing for about two weeks. Instead of subbing like for like just go with natural stuff like a meat, potato, vegetable, fruit. It's so easy for me to say all this of course. But it may be worth the effort. Or you'll find it doesn't do a darn thing. What does your daughter like? Maybe I can help with sneaky recipes. ;) Of course this way of eating entails a lot more time in the kitchen if you're used to quick meals...

      That's too bad the light box doesn't help your husband. It does help me a bit but I have a hard time being consistent. Exercise is just plain hard, especially with depression getting in the way of it. I would say a pool would be ideal with back/knee problems but I also know, that if it were me, just the thought of having to go somewhere would be enough to keep from it. I cannot wait until warmer weather and at least start walking.

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Thank you for stopping by. I love to chat. God bless!