In Defense of Pretty Good Schools

A homeschooling friend and I were commiserating about the difficulties we’d faced lately.  “I feel,” I told her, “like I’m giving my children a middling attempt at an excellent education.”

“Yes,” she said.  “And that’s going to have to be good enough.”

The great thing about Catholic homeschooling is that there are so many choices of programs and approaches.  We had each settled into curricula that suited our needs and preferences, and that offered as good an education as anything available today.  Executed perfectly, our children would receive a world-class education.

Unfortunately when we ordered our books and course plans, both programs said they had completely sold-out of their inventory of perfect moms.  We’d have to make do with the ones we already had at home.

I called my sister, who’s a pro at finding the best school in any city, getting her children into the right programs, and working with the teachers.  She said her new school district was fresh out of perfection, too.  They’d had the same the problem the last place she lived, and the one before that.

As homeschooling moms, we can sometimes agonize too much about whether our homeschools are good enough.  Yes, we should work diligently.  Yes, we should take steps to address problems and improve with time.  Sometimes we have to honestly admit that homeschooling isn’t the best choice for this child for this year.  But what we shouldn’t do is grade ourselves against a fictional standard.

What are my other choices?  It’s just lovely about that homeschooling family that speaks fluent Latin, and makes all their clothing by hand while listening to classical music – is that mom accepting more children just now?  My sister’s children were able to attend a wonderful magnet school for the sciences – I don’t live in that state, let alone that school district.

When we were choosing a school for my eldest, I considered a parish school that was a little bit of a drive, but maybe doable.  But my husband, an ardent non-Catholic at the time, would never have agreed to paying tuition to a Catholic school.  No matter how much I wanted to support the local Catholic schools, I had to cross that choice off my list.

We tend to grade our school choices as if we’re playing in the Fantasy Education League.  How does my school compare to that perfect mom in Wisconsin, that private boarding school run by monks in Switzerland, and the public school my dad graduated from in 1962?  Doesn’t matter.

My children are receiving a pretty good education, and I like to think it’s only getting better.  God knows where He planted my little ones.  He picked out not just a mom with my strengths, but also a mom with my weaknesses.  He can use all of it.  If I’m cooperating with His grace, it is sufficient.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Fitz

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