Coffee Talk: School Days

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By Rebecca Teti

Fridays: Education

(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


  • Good morning, everyone. I have a dilemma and would like some opinions. Our local (read 2 blocks down the street) and intimate (read small) catholic school is closing its doors for all the usual reasons that catholic schools close. I am heartbroken. My children love this school and their friends. I, too, love this school. I don't care for the other catholic schools that we would now have to drive to plus they are more costly. So my two options are the public school and homeschooling. I shake in my boots at the thought of homeschooling and I dread the public school system. I only have a high school diploma (catholic school) and don't feel qualified to teach them. Especially math! No mention of God for 6 hours a day has me feeling so sad. I am trying to pray on this but am so distracted by my own thoughts that I can't seem to concentrate. Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 7:14 AM by KMB

  • Has anyone heard anything about the use of the common core curriculum in Catholic schools and what it means?

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 7:19 AM by unknown

  • KMB - are cyber schools an option in your area? They could work at home with teacher instruction and still make God part of your day.

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 7:49 AM by Carolyn A

  • Our Catholic school will be adopting common core. I don't know much about it other than it's supposed to emphasize basics. Catholic schools don't need to adopt all these pedagogy trends, but for some reason they always do.

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 7:51 AM by Carolyn A

  • KMB, Studies have shown over and over that the parent's education level has NO impact on the performance level of their homeschooled students. If your kids are still lower elementary pretty much ANYONE is qualified :) Not saying homeschooling is easy, but the material is easy at that age. There are plenty of curriculum providers that would hand you everything you need including lesson plans (Seton is one) and there are plenty of books out there that you can use to pull your own curriculum together. Also, everything is easier the 2nd time around. If you don't feel confident in math you may have no problem as long as you are keeping a step or two ahead of your kids (that was me with Grammar/English). In fact, that is my weakest area yet it's where my now college age daughter excels the most! There are also numerous co-ops around. If you can locate some homeschoolers in your area they can fill you in on what's available. I am currently homeschooling elementary, junior, and senior high with a baby to add to the mix. We are fortunate to live near a co-op (4 actually, but we just use one) offering once a week classes. 2 of my kids attend a couple classes. haha, my kids take math there simply to ease up my schedule (and that's my college major) Not trying to convince you to homeschool. I do not believe homeschooling is the best option for everyone, but it is the best option for our family at this time. Also, it's a yearly decision. If you homeschool next year and decide it's just not right for your family you can certainly put them back in school. One friend of mine started homeschooling when their Catholic school closed 2 years ago. They love it, but with many littles they are having a hard time and are putting the kids in school next year. They are planning to pull them back out when their youngest ones are a little less work. Prayers for your decision.

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 10:14 AM by RealMom4Life

  • unknown & Carolyn A: From what I understand, Common Core is bad news from a freedom, educational, privacy & parental rights perspective. Parents & teachers, not federal education bureaucrats, should decide how & what children learn. Common Core has become a one-size-fits-all approach to education & the federal government has no business using tax dollars to entice the states to adopt the Common Core. The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) rightly opposes the institution of Common Core: HSLDA opposed the creation of a national database of student-specific data through Common Core since such national databases threaten the privacy of students, could be abused by government officials or business interests that may gain access to the data, threaten the safety of young people if their data is breached, & are not necessary in order to educate young people:

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 10:17 AM by Patricia

  • KMB: Sorry about the closing of your local Catholic school! I second RealMom4Life's great response. There are tons (don't be overwhelmed!) of fantastic Catholic homeschool resources out there (Seton, Catholic Heritage Curricula, Kolbe Academy, Mother of Divine Grace, to name a few), as well as the option of tutors, co-ops & online resources. Try to hook up with some other local homeschoolers for ideas & support. We've been homeschooling for 13 years (our children are 4, 7, 11, 13, 15 & 17) & it has been such a blessing for our family! Yes, there have been challenges, but it has been so worth it! Prayers for you & your family!

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 10:27 AM by Patricia

  • Thank you Real Mom, Carolyn, and Patricia. I am going to pray on it. It's such a big decision and I want to make certain that I am fully informed before I make any decisions. One more quick question. How do I find out about co-ops in my area? Or catholic based ones?

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 12:16 PM by KMB

  • RE: Common Core If your children attend a Catholic School that already follows your state standards and state testing schedule (mine do), then there isn't going to be a drastic change with Common Core. I know people have various disagreements with the implementation, with control being taken away from the states, with the standards themselves, etc. But basically it means that most of the states (something like 45 of them have adopted common core) will be using the same standards instead of each state setting their own standards. So there will be changes --- the math sequence for older kids may change, things like that. But like I said, if your kids already take yearly state tests that align with state standards you are already familiar with the basic idea. I am fully prepared for a barrage of comments blasting Common Core (and possibly blasting me and/or my response)--- I'm not really for it or against it.

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 12:27 PM by Andrea

  • KMB: Search online for local homeschool support groups (Catholic, Christian, secular) in your state. What state do you live in? I believe that HSLDA has links to statewide support groups on their website. Recall that homeschooling doesn't have to be a permanent decision if you find that it is not working for your family. Flexibility is one of its many blessings. God has given you the grace to educate your children through the sacrament of matrimony. Trust in Him, trust yourself & give it a whirl. You may surprise yourself! :) God bless--

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 1:01 PM by Patricia

  • Is Jean still around or is it someone else?

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 6:25 PM by Lisa

  • Common Core only has standards for Math and English/Language Arts, definitely not religious education!

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 7:32 PM by Andrea

  • KMB- I agree with Patricia that no decision is permanent. If you decide to homeschool and it's too hard, try public school. (and vice versa). In my city, we have 3 (that I am aware of) hybrid Catholic home schools. You send your children there 2-3 days per week and then homeschool the others. They provide the curriculum so the days at home can be relatively structured (or unstructured if you choose). Also talk to the secretary at your church - this is the hub of all church gossip. She probably knows families that home school from your parish. Meet up with them and learn a little bit about what resources are available in your community Good luck!

    Posted on May 10th, 2013 at 8:19 PM by JM

  • Here are some links to videos explaining why people are against Common Core. I believe they were put out by

    Posted on May 11th, 2013 at 9:05 PM by sarah

  • KMB - I agree with all the above comments about homeschooling. You can do it if you decide it's right for your family. I started 1 1/2 years ago with a lot of trepidation. We started out with Catholic Heritage Curricula because it was all laid out for us and an easy pace. I've also heard great things about Mother of Divine Grace and Thomas Aquinas. A friend of mine started out with Seton for her 3rd & 4th graders and found it overwhelming. As we've gone along it's gotten easier and we've branched out from CHC. For math we now use Math U See, which is great. I have a math background, but continue to learn from Steve Demme's simple approach. Praying for you.

    Posted on May 12th, 2013 at 8:40 AM by Liz

  • unknown: Thanks for voicing your passion for one who also has a Masters in Education, I share your passion. Educational standards aren't my concern with Common Core, rather, I doubt the government's proficiency & educational expertise in this area. I don't recall indicating that I hate the fact, I am a proponent of government... limited government, as our founding fathers proposed. Actually, as a home educator, we (vs. the government) take full responsibility for our children's learning to be productive individuals, which we don't necessary equate with acquiring a high-paying job. Sadly, as you pointed out, today's public educational system is failing America's children in many ways. I'd be interested to hear how Common Core is supposed to trickle down to the parish level...since, as Andrea pointed out above, Common Core isn't about catechesis. The Catholic Code Canon Law supports the right (& responsibility) of parents as the primary (first & principal) educators of their children (including Sacramental preparation) these rights are rooted in the Sacrament of Matrimony. I willingly submit to the authority of the Church, which is the authority of Jesus Christ Himself. As far as submission to educational leadership...we've taken that role on ourselves, with God as our judge & authority. I am happy & open to dialogue. :) God bless & enjoy your dinner with your husband!

    Posted on May 13th, 2013 at 3:21 PM by Patricia

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