How-To Manual For Catholic Home Schooling

Author: Douglas Alexander


Mary Kay Clark

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 among parents.

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 the nation.

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 Issue."

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."

Taken from:
The July 7, 1994 issue of
The Arlington Herald.