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School and Homeschool

March 22, 2011

I think I’ve mentioned a few times before how pleased I am that we, as a homeschool family, have a wonderful relationship with our parish – including the parish school! I have a few little stories I’d like to share as this has become an important part of our family and our homeschooling.

First of all, there were policies in place at our parish before we got there that helped open doors to this good relationship.  These were helped by a homeschool family that was here before us and always had a respectful and loving attitude towards the parish and the school. Many people don’t realize how intimidating we homeschoolers can be in these situations and I think a very deliberate charity is both necessary and helpful.

Many of the school activities, like the sports program at the parish school, are open to all children in the parish, rather than just ones enrolled at the school. We’ve very much enjoyed being a part of the sports program which is nicely set up for a wide variety of skills, flexible for our busy family and extremely reasonable in cost.

When we started getting pretty regular about daily Mass at the parish a few years ago, there was a small part of me that was hesitant about showing up at the school Masses with kids in tow – so obviously labeling ourselves as homeschoolers!  But of course, that would be an awfully silly reason not to go to Mass! So we did and it has all exceeded my expectations again and again. Pretty early on, the children’s choir director very kindly invited my girls to sing with the school choir for the school Masses. And they did and have been doing so ever since. Many fast friendships have been between my kids and the school kids, it’s been an excellent (and free!) source of musical instruction, and I feel that it’s an extremely positive thing for everyone involved.

Two fun stories to share from recent days…

Our parish school just started a chess club and decided to open it up to all interested children in the parish, so four of my kids joined. Our family has always loved chess and I was fortunate enough to pick up a little chess table at a rummage sale last summer which gets almost constant use. Anyway, we went to a few of the club’s practice sessions, both during and after school, and then participated in a Catholic Schools tournament with the club a few weekends ago. We had no idea how our kids would do as they’ve mostly played just with each other or against the computer, though Frank was very determinedly explaining in the days leading up to the tournament that he wanted to get a trophy. They all did well, but Frank ended up blowing us away with his performance. He personally took 2nd place in the K-3 category and helped the parish team come in 1st place in K-3!

The second story is just a cute thing that happened this morning before Mass. A few weeks ago, Ria was invited to give a little Irish dance class to the first grade girls’ scout troop in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. The girls loved the Irish dancing and had a ball doing simple steps around the room and Terri and Bernie helped out too.  It all went over really well. This morning we were kneeling down before Mass when the first graders walked by and it took me a minute to realize why they were staring at our pew as they walked past. They were Ria’s little dancers who were gazing on her as they walked by with a superabundance of affection and admiration. 🙂

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