Monday, January 28, 2013

Why I love Catholic schools -- #1

Choosing the best schooling option for your children and their education is one of the hardest decisions a parent can make. At least, it was for us! It was also one that we revisited at various points in our family's journey.

Rebekah at St. James

Where should they start school? What about moving into a new city, a new state? What about high school? And finally, what should we encourage for college? At every one of these points, Michael and I stopped, re-assessed, discerned--and finally re-committed to sending our awesome foursome to a Catholic school.

Because it's a difficult and important decision, I'm not trying to convince anyone one way or the other. But I do want to share with you my top three reasons why I love Catholic schools, and why I'm grateful that we committed to Catholic schools.

First of all, I love Catholic schools because they offered us, as parents, the opportunity of sending our children into an educational environment that provided a wholistic approach to learning, one where faith is not a separate topic, but an integral part of EVERY other subject. 

When our oldest was ready to enter Kindergarten, we had no Catholic school in our vicinity. More than anything I desired an educational setting for Christopher that was Christ-centered and founded on the Gospels. One where, whether learning history and mathematics or going on a field trip, I knew that every subject, topic, event or activity centered on living out our Christian faith. So our first school experience, in fact, was a small Lutheran school in Cedar Park, Texas.

When we moved to Oklahoma, Christopher was headed to 5th grade, and our youngest to Kindergarten. Again, we discerned and found a Catholic school in nearby Oklahoma City. As beautiful as our experience was at Good Shepherd Lutheran, being able to incorporate our Catholic faith and tradition to their academic experience was the ultimate goal for us. 

Michelle serving at a school Mass

Clearly, we -- and the schools -- don't always get it right. But the fact that incorporating our Catholic faith was the mission and vision of their school provided our family continuity. This was and is the life code and cornerstone that we deliberately profess(ed) and present(ed) at home.

To put it another way, I knew that we needed all the help we could get to inculcate in our children the Catholic faith that I love and profess.

That's why I love -- and am eternally grateful -- that the schools and the teachers that were a part of my children's lives were my partners in this primary endeavor.

Thank you, Good Shepherd Lutheran School -- Cedar Park, TX
Thank you, St. James Catholic School -- Oklahoma City
Thank you, All Saints Catholic School -- Norman, OK
Thank you, University of Notre Dame -- South Bend, IN
Thank you, Marquette University -- Milwaukee
Thank you, Creighton University -- Omaha