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 | By Steve and Bridget Patton

She says: I don't want to homeschool our kids

Michael wants us to homeschool our kids. Not only do I think that means raising them in a bubble, I would be primarily responsible to be the teacher.

He says: We need to know what they're being taught

I think it’s important that we, as parents, know exactly what our children are being taught. The only way to ensure that is to do it ourselves. It makes the most sense for Sarah to do it; we can’t afford to lose my income.

As the God-ordained “first educators” of their children “parents have the right to choose … those means that will help them best fulfil their duty.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 240). Schools, both private and public, as well as homeschooling, can be one of “those means.”

Homeschooling is a big decision for a family. It affects so many aspects of both the parents’ lives and the children’s. So how should Sarah and Michael embark upon this decision-making process?

To begin, they need to put the pros and cons on the table and work through them carefully.

For example, will homeschooling be socially isolating for the children? Or will it be a gift for everyone to embark together on this shared family adventure? What local and online resources are available to support homeschooling?

One thing for both of them to remember is that it’s not an irreversible decision. They can continuously re-evaluate what’s best for them and for each child.

Is homeschooling right for Michael and Sarah? Even if they could make it work on his income alone, we see a red flag in that only he wants it. This would be a problem even if he was going to take it on himself, because regardless of who does the actual teaching, homeschooling has to be a shared project.

But Sarah, before deciding absolutely against homeschooling, perhaps do some research about it and meet with a homeschool family or two to hear about it first-hand.

Homeschooling is not for every family, and, indeed, given the required work and commitment, it’s probably not for most. Plus, it usually means at least one parent staying home to oversee it, and for many families that is not an option.