Educating Our Kids

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By Rebecca Teti


(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Whether your children attend school or are homeschooled, this is the spot to ask questions about curricula, religious education, parent-teacher relationships, or academic concerns of any kind.

Please join us!

Rebecca Teti

Comments

  • I feel we as Catholics need to do a better job of passing on the faith at home. How do we address this with families?

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 9:56 AM by Wendy

  • Wondering how other more experienced moms handle extra curricular activities (especially in the performance area). My oldest of 4, 12, is very talented. She is cast in the lead role in our township's Creative Theater production, that starts tonight. Rehearsals this week have been verrry long, impacting her homework. Her show tonight requires she be stage ready by 5 (and her hair and makeup take me over an hour to do). She was hoping to get to skip school today because a lot of the other performers were doing so to be ready for the show and well rested. I never even considered this. Just to add, she is a straight A+ student in a very competitive Middle School program, but to us, school is 1st and activities are 2nd. We ran into this problem when she used to dance the Nutcracker as well. I guess my question is, have you run in to parents and activity leaders who take these things a little too seriously? I mean, they are children, sure they work hard, but this isn't Broadway. I am always amazed at how I seem to be the only Mom who isn't willing to go to extraordinary lengths during these activities. To me, they should be fun, we'll clap no matter what, and they shouldn't take over our lives. Why do I seem to be so out of step with the other moms?

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 10:21 AM by Danielle M.

  • Wendy, I am hoping you meant to say you want to do a better job of passing on the faith. I fell pretty good about what we do. We celebrate the Liturgical calendar and a whole bunch of feast days (at least 1 per month), we try to think of others first, performing family oriented acts of corporal mercy each month. Magnifikids is a great resource, as is Elizabeth Foss's blog, Catholicicing.com and Shower of Roses. My 4 kids go to public school, but we still find time (most of the time) for family Rosary, or at least a Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the afternoon, and the older kids read about the Saints. We are by no means perfect, and I look up to a lot of other moms out there who are doing an even better job than I, but I don't understand your comment if it is meant to apply to all moms. A lot of us are doing what we can. The best way to pass your Faith on to your child is to live it, and let them see you praying.

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 10:26 AM by Danielle M.

  • Danielle, I am sorry that I have no advice to offer you, I just wanted to let you know that I feel exactly the same way as you about after-school activities. By putting my foot down about a lot of things (for example, I allow very very few activities on weekends -- that is family time) I am constantly out of step with other parents and my daughter also feels left out. I don't know if it's right to be like this but I want our family to keep extracurricular activities secondary in our lives. Really I'm just posting because I am so grateful to know there is at least one other person out there wrestling with the same problem. I feel so weird and isolated sometimes.

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 11:27 AM by Anne in NC

  • Wendy, are you in an RCIA position or somesuch at your church? I am not sure what families you are hoping/planning to address about their ability to pass on the Faith. If you are in a teaching position at your church, this may be something to take up with the DRE. If you are asking the question for yourself personally, please don't be afraid to phrase it as such. No one will hold it against you here if you are concerned about your own personal ability to pass on the Faith. I have certainly been there! I'm happy to have discovered Catechesis of the Good Shepherd which we are attempting to do at home with our preschooler, and it is working beautifully. As a whole family, we do Sunday Mass together, daily prayer time, and the frequent singing of tradtional hymns and Gregorian chants around the house (which I figure is the easiest and fastest way to help our kids memorize Scripture verses!)

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 11:31 AM by re: teaching the Faith

  • Danielle, I have changed my perspective regarding activities greatly over the past years. I have 12 children and used to be one of those CRAZY, flying all the time moms. We did all the sports teams that the school had to offer, theater workshops, choirs and then some! My afternoons would consist of loading up my babies, packing the car w/ dinner and snacks, picking up the school kids and off we went to practices and games. Most nights we were not home until 8 or 9, mad dash to wrap up homework, scream at the kids to go to bed only to do it all again the next day. Rather, rinse repeat,repeat, repeat. Three years ago, we decided to homeschool and take a year off from sports and activities. With few exceptions we have not gone back! Looking back I am amazed at how activities ruled our lives and stole our family time. I have since asked my older kids (ages 21,20,19) if all the activities were important to them. I had very interesting responses. My oldest said, "You know, mom, it was just another thing to remind me that I wasn't the best at yet another thing. That I was always "average"." My son said that he looks at the life his younger brothers have now and wishes he could have played the way that they play instead of being always scheduled and always stressed. As far as our family goes, we are so much tighter. Dinner is now the way it should be, a beautiful ending to a hard worked day, not a rushed event in the back of a car. My younger kids are no less creative or athletic than their older siblings, but are so much happier. If a child WANTS to do an extra activity, they must help pay for it, we will support them and cheer them on but their accomplishments and schedules do not define our family any longer. We are so at peace!

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 1:23 PM by unknown

  • In my opinion, extra curricular activities can be fun but, if not well managed, can completely overwhelm both kids and parents. It amazes me the energy that some families have! Our limited budget helps manage our activities, lol. The only thing that matters is God's view, not other mom's opinions. We start everyday with prayer and the rest falls into place. We are blessed to home school but I only realized that within the last year. We attend mass sometimes mid week and always first Fridays. We found a Catholic hs group that we join for get together once a month. School work is 2nd to prayer and then chores & then extra curricular, which right now isone thing, taekwondo for both kiddos' they love it.

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 2:09 PM by homeschool mom

  • The scriptures tell us not to worry about hair and make-up :)

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 2:14 PM by unknown

  • Thanks for your thoughts ladies, although "unknown" I'm not really sure how your comment applies to someone involved in a theatrical production where hair and makeup are part of the costume. I really don't have a problem with sports. My boys play sports, 2 of them quite competitively, but that activity seems to involve the family more. We go to practices and games, interact and play with the other families, have picnics on the fields, etc. It is the drama and dance that get me. In those activities, we are not welcome at rehearsals, and the level of tension just seems to be so high. I just can't seem to fit in with this crowd. I mean they are children, the audience is entirely made up of the performers family and friends, I just don't get why the level of anxiety is so high with this particular type of activity.

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 2:30 PM by Danielle M.

  • Danielle M, I get the thinking that the kids' performances should be a bit more low-key than more professional productions. But if you have other kids who are participating in activities where the expectations are also high, but it's a venue you prefer and fit in with more, I'd be careful to keep the assigned importance level about the same for all your kids. If one child's interest lies in theater rather than sports, then I think it's fine to encourage that interest. It doesn't have to take over her life, but if the boys are allowed to let sports take up a ton of time, then I'd let her interests also be a time priority.

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 9:12 PM by Anna

  • My daughter loved being in shows at school, and today she has an MFA in Dance Education (Yes I will brag, she graduated with a 4.0 from NYU's Steinhardt School of Music and Performing Arts) I'm glad she stuck with what she loves doing! Theater and dancing have been a part of her life since she was about 9. I don't regret one minute I spent with her at rehearsals, dance recitals or getting her hair and makeup ready. She is doing what she loves the most, and that includes cantering at Mass. We are so proud of her!

    Posted on Dec 7th, 2012 at 10:44 PM by Joan

  • Danielle, I have the same problem but it's more with sports for us. While we homeschooled up to eighth grade now I have one in school on a sports team and the team skips school when they have to go to an outstate overnight competition. It blows my mind how the school can allow this. But the school doesn't care why you are absent as long as you don't reach a certain number of absences and then there are consequences. For our part we will not cooperate with this so of course the coach is mad (our son is one of the best players and they "need" him). Faith comes first, family life come second, school comes third and extracurriculars come last.

    Posted on Dec 9th, 2012 at 4:54 PM by Monica (momof2)