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.