Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"You know your kid goes to Catholic school when..."

Our guest post today is from Barb Szyszkiewicz for our Back-to-School Week. She explains that "there is no one-size-fits-all solution to education."

"You know your kid goes to Catholic school...
By Barb Szyszkiewicz

You know your kid goes to Catholic school when, during the school's Theatre Club production, a student announces: "Now there will be a ten-minute intercession."
Even before we were married, my husband and I had agreed that we wanted to send our children to Catholic schools. We agreed that we wanted their school days to include reading, writing, math, science, history and faith. In Catholic schools, religion is not confined to religion class. It can touch all facets of the curriculum.
Throughout the Catholic-school experience we’ve had with our three children (ages 17, 13 and 7), we have been blessed to encounter many dedicated, faithful, intelligent, and caring teachers and administrators.

At my younger children’s school, the current pastor is very supportive of the school, visits the classrooms frequently, and encourages student participation in Mass and prayers. The seventh-grade teacher takes part in the March for Life each year and shares her experiences with her students. The third-grade teacher lets other teachers, aides and parents know about political developments that work against the culture of life. My high-school senior has ample opportunity, at his school, to participate in service work. Just in the past year, he has worked with Habitat for Humanity in Philadelphia and Mississippi (on a weeklong trip with other students), donated blood, and assisted at a city soup kitchen. He told me that the basketball players help at that soup kitchen every week during the basketball season—the coach requires it. It’s just what they do.

We’ve also, unfortunately, encountered more than our share of Catholic neighbors and even some family members who question our decision for the way we educate our children. They’re very generous in sharing their opinions: we’re wasting our money, overprotecting the kids, and isolating them from the others in the neighborhood. Other than the criticism of tuition, we’re hearing the same things that homeschoolers must hear. We hope that we have done the same thing that all parents do. We put a lot of thought and prayer into our plan for our children’s education. We have chosen the path that works for our family. Children are all different; families are all different—and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to education.

So this year as we head back to school, I’m appreciating the blessing of the freedom we have to make choices regarding our children’s education. I’m hoping that friends and neighbors will not be so quick to judge and criticize those who make decisions different from their own. I’m praying that, instead, they will support each other as they do their best to raise their children in a world that is not always supportive of our faith.

During my own Catholic-school days, we began each class with the same prayer. It became a part of us, and it’s a wonderful way to begin each day—whether you’re school-age or not.
Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions by Thy holy inspiration, and carry them out by Thy gracious assistance, so that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from Thee, and by Thee by happily ended. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a Secular Franciscan wife and mother of three who blogs at SFO Mom Barb Szyszkiewicz and cooks at Mom’s Fridge (

1 comment:

  1. That is a great article! Very inspiring to me as I plan to as far as possible to send my kids to Catholic schools. Thank you for sharing!



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