A Fine Mess

After spending the last ten days on the road, it feels great to be home. Frankly, it’s a mess plus we have dragged in our luggage and odds and ends that we purchased along the way. I’m tired from the long drive but I am also motivated to restore some order. Leaving the house in the care of a couple of young men could have been worse, but I think I have a busy day ahead.

Spending a little time in a couple of states as well as Ontario has given me a lot of food for thought. I am struck by the different experience of Catholicism and Quebec does not compare favorably. It saddens me, and to be honest, it angers me too. I am planning to blog about Catholic education, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself and just throw a few hundred words together, so bear with me as I consolidate some ideas – one of my quirks is that I enjoy reading while driving (well, as a passenger, to be more correct) and I am mulling over some recent material.

The importance of a Catholic approach to education cannot be overstated. A Catholic school that is identical to its secular counterparts with a token religion course thrown in or occasional liturgy does not provide Catholic education. Many such institutions have work to do to renew their purpose. But what of Quebec? Quebec gave up its constitutional right to Catholic education and as a result there are but a handful of private schools that are even nominally Catholic. Where do Catholic parents even begin? There is no sign that this is even on the radar of the bishops here.

That’s the kind of frustration that led me to homeschool years ago. It is a difficult choice, far more difficult in this part of the country, where there are few fellow travelers with whom to share the experience. In the US, many homeschoolers belong to groups that gather on a regular basis for recreation or to share educational experiences – field trips or specialized activities. That is important support for both parents and students. Because there are fewer homeschoolers in this region, there are fewer opportunities for group activities. While I do think there are many positive things about home schooling, I also think that parents should not be driven to it because of a lack of positive options for their children.

I am going to resist going on a full blown rant and I will discuss this all in a more positive light over the next little while. The experience of seeing healthier schools and parishes is inspiring and I know it is best to look at things that way. We sometimes have to look at certain things critically, but hopefully that is always in the context of wanting to build them up, not just tear them down. Come to think of it, that’s probably a good approach to my messy house, too!

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