|Reviewed by Douglas L. Alexander. Alexander worked at the US.
Department of Education during the Bush adminstration in the Office of
Educational Research and Improvement and is a freelance education writer
in McLean, VA.
The news in education is that a growing number of parents, including
multitudes of Catholics, are no longer seeking institutional schools for
their children, but are educating them at home and finding great success
doing so. Over time, this development will have a profound effect on
Catholic institutions as well as public schools. The coming renewal of
both will be deeply influenced for the better by more activist habits
As the founder of one of the largest companies providing curricular
materials to Catholic parents, the Seton Home Study School in Front
Royal, Dr. Mary Kay Clark has been a leader in the new direction for
more than a decade, beginning with the education of all seven of her own
sons at home.
Her new book on the subject, Catholic Home Schooling, is a
how-to manual written out of long experience, coming at a time when such
parents are increasingly aware of other home-schoolers, of their
successes, and their contribution to the well-being of the Church and
Like word of mouth for a particularly good movie, home schooling
families are spreading the word and networks of Catholic parents are
forming across the country. Parents who educate their school-age
children at home have increased to about one to two percent of American
school children; up from almost none 10 years ago. The total increases
by 30 percent per year, and shows no sign of slowing.
Written to be a guide for just these parents, and for pastors,
educators and friends trying to learn more, Catholic Home Schooling
uncovers the needed ground in 20 chapters and five appendices.
The chapters include, "How to Begin," "The Father's
Role," "Discipline," "The Single- Parent
Family," "Children Who Learn Differently," "The
Catholic Learning Disabled Child" and "The Socialization
One appendix includes a word of explanation and encouragement from
Jesuit Father John Hardon; others provide resource lists of publishers,
periodicals and state home schooling organizations to contact.
Besides the how-to aspects, Dr. Clark gives generous coverage to the
spiritual side of home schooling. She includes a chapter on Church
teachings and another, which would benefit any family, on living the
sacramental life with children at home.
As a compendium and treasure-house of the fundamentals of Catholic
home schooling, the book is a fine starting-point for anyone. Catholic
Home Schooling even lives up to its blurb on the back cover, from a
"home-schooling mother of seven": "This is the first book
I've read which I feel will convince my mother-in-law that homeschooling
is a good idea."