During our decision making process, I searched and searched and searched through numerous home-schooling curricula and textbooks. Most of them contained the same ole' grade-level objectives and standards that I had grown to loathe over the last twelve years of teaching. Some of them used bible quotes or verses intermingled throughout and, therefore, called themselves "Christian" or even "Catholic". But these were still basically the same textbooks that I was running from. I wanted something different, something meaningful, something challenging, something spiritual but not watered-down. Something that was going to make a difference in our present life and in my kid's future.
Like I said in my last post, God kept dropping people and things in our path way before we knew what was going to happen. It all began when a friend mentioned this "online school" to me in passing. She told me about this awesome Catechism class. Months later, she mentioned it again. So I went to check out this "Catechism" course. It was just that-- The Baltimore Catechism---explained. I looked it over and read a sample lesson and then sighed thinking, "How nice would it be to actually teach THIS in Religion class!" I closed the website and went to bed to dream of actually teaching my faith. Over the next few weeks, I did alter my religion lessons to include more Church history and Church teaching. My 5th graders really enjoyed that more than the "Love Everyone" lessons and stories in the books. It kept leading them to ask more questions and to seek the truth. I was really enjoying teaching again, and they couldn't get enough of "Religion" class.
In the next few months, I began to question friends that home-school about what programs they used. They all mentioned this same "online school"; even if they didn't use this school, they told me to check it out. One day it finally "clicked"---that was the awesome Catechism course's website. I knew that the other courses had to be just as awesome. But as I began looking through the course descriptions, I became terrified! Latin??? Greek??? World Chronology??? Rhetoric??? This was crazy! I didn't understand half of what was described on those pages, and I was a "college graduate". I did check out the Catechism course again before closing the website and thought, "Boy, that Catechism sure does look great! But Latin? Greek? No way. I'll keep looking!"
After praying again for God to lead us in the right direction, a close friend sent me a link to this "Parent Forum" to read this post to help confirm some of the changes we had been making. You guessed it! The link sent me back to this same "online school" I had been to twice already. That night I spent hours reading not only that post, but numerous posts on that forum from parents all over the world just like myself, making changes in their lives and in the lives of their families. It was such a confirmation to me that we were on the right path and left me wanting more.
That night, and for many nights over the next few weeks, I plowed through that forum seeking answers, understanding, and confirmation. At this point it was clear that the Catechism course was right on with what we wanted for our own kids, so we signed them up and began learning the Catechism together in the evenings after school/work. (We'd find something else to use for those "core subjects" if we started to actually home-school.) It was amazing! I learned so much about my faith that I had never learned in my 12 years of CCD. I kept questioning my husband who had gone to Catholic school if he had ever learned this "stuff". Nope---not in CCD nor in the Catholic school. Meanwhile, our kids were soaking in every word and were grasping things much better than we were because they were still so innocent and their minds had yet to be corrupted by the world. They began to change before our very eyes and began to challenge us in our daily, spiritual lives.
Eventually, I came to understand (sort of) what this online school really was. Words like classical and liberal arts kept popping up everywhere. God kept dropping articles about the benefits classical-style of learning in front of me continuously. This was a totally different way of learning. It was meaningful. It was challenging. It was how the majority of the saints were taught. It was exactly what I had been looking for---minus the Greek and Latin. But God had more bread crumbs to drop on my path. I ended up on a retreat where the speaker spoke of the language of the Church and then led the most beautiful decade of the rosary in......you guessed it Latin! In the next few weeks, the "Latin" kept coming up here, there, and everywhere. So, I did more research, more reading, more studying, and found that this Classical Liberal Arts Academy was exactly what I had been searching for including the Latin!
So, here I am ten months later, listening to my kids recite a beautiful rosary in Latin, with the biggest smile on my face, the biggest tear in my eye, and the warmest fire in my heart, humbled by how much they have learned and grown in ten short months and a little jealous that they are learning and growing at a much faster rate than I.