Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How about 'free' online schooling?

The latest CHC e-newsletter has some very thoughful commentary on the relatively new phenomenon of free online schooling, based on the "why" of homeschooling.
We homeschool because our heart's desire is to provide a loving, intimate setting that simply cannot be duplicated outside the home. If we weren't seeking an education with a more 'personal touch,' to improve upon standard classroom offerings, we wouldn't be homeschooling!

'Free' online schooling is not only impersonal, it is secular. When our Holy Faith is 'added on,' it is just that: an add-on, rather than the core of our very existence. That, too, is why we homeschool, to provide an education steeped in the Reason behind all knowledge, and the Goal of all knowledge. Through online programs, the secular indoctrination that we had sought to avoid is right within our walls.

Sitting stiffly in front of a computer monitor also runs counter to the nature of all young things. Why is it that we delight in the gamboling of lambs and kittens, but insist on anchoring young children to chairs for the better part of the day? While table work has its place, homeschooled children may be educated on a rag rug in a cozy corner, at the edge of mama’s bed, or even in the tub!

Finally, a mother's touch, so necessary for emotional health in infancy, shouldn’t stop when school begins. There is a permanent, psychological benefit to parent-child interaction as we ‘sound out’ words together, snuggled in grandma’s quilt, or ‘high-five’ a beaming young scholar as he triumphantly waves his perfect spelling test. These experiences cannot be duplicated by staring fixedly at a glaring monitor. A lifeless electronic device is an abominable substitute for an enthusiastic parent.

Do we know the temptation, on days when we are weary, to let someone else educate our children? You bet. Are we biased? Yes, because we have experienced the deep, abiding satisfaction of witnessing positive results after years of Catholic homeschooling. We pray the same for you.

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