Monday, November 07, 2005

Interview with Suzy Andres

  • Homeschooling with Gentleness

  • Q: In one chapter of the book, you discuss whether or not all Catholic families should unschool. Are there elements of this approach towards education which could be integrated into the lives of families whose children attend formal schools?

    A: Absolutely yes!

    I think it is essential to remind ourselves that the Church allows for many different forms of education, and looking back in history we can find examples of Saints who initiated various pedagogical methods for the glory of God and the good of men. Unschooling is only one approach to education among many, and Catholic families need the freedom and encouragement to explore which method is best for their own situation. My guess is that we could find universally applicable ideas in every approach to education, regardless of which methods are most popular at a given time.

    The element of unschooling that I would love to see all families embrace is the virtue of trust. I think the heart of unschooling is the trust that grows between parent and child. The parent embarks on a cycle of trusting the child to learn, seeing that the child does learn, and thus having that trust increased. The child’s assurance of the parent’s love and confidence in him grows as well. Perhaps most important of all, the parent and child grow in their trust in God – His plan for their lives, His patience, His eternal Merciful Love. I know firsthand, from myself and from friends’ shared confidences, the incredible weight that Catholic parents feel from the responsibility to raise our children in the faith, in the midst of a hostile culture. I pray that we will all learn that God is near, is helping us, and has given us all we need. And He does not expect us to manufacture our children’s success and salvation on our own. He has provided for all these things; we need to learn to trust Him.

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