Motivational Factor for Home-Schooling
Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
Past HistoryMotivational Factor for Home-Schooling and Parent-Based Orthodox Family Schools
Reason for Change
Having felt the existing educational establishments available to them are
inadequate, several families in Omaha, Nebraska have begun in their efforts
to found St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, starting with grades 9 through 12 (see
attached testimonial). As a result of spring meetings with parents brought
together by word of mouth and by advertising in the Archdiocesan newspaper,
a school board was formed for St. Thomas Aquinas Academy. Next we applied
to the State of Nebraska for approval of our school and then met with the
Most Rev. Daniel E. Sheehan, Archbishop of Omaha to inform him of our plans
and rationale for the new school. Finally, we contacted an attorney to draft
all necessary paper work for a non-profit corporation. By June, forty questionnaires
had been sent to people who had voiced an interest in the school. The use
of two closed school buildings have been made available for possible use by
two generous priests. This work is nothing short of a grassroots effort occurring
across the country by parents to reform education, particularly in regard
to its religious and moral content.
Obstacles to Surmount
The problems to address are manifold and require almost superhuman strength,
and certainly Gods grace to apply solutions. These problems include finding
ways to protect children from indoctrination to mold their attitudes and beliefs
along lines that are frequently at variance with the moral values and beliefs
of their parents. Moreover, concerned parents must now contend with the prevailing
belief in academic circles that the schools duty, always supreme to
its cognitive function, is to mold students
attitudes and promote a world view called ethical indifferentism or relativism.
In other words, parents are obliged either to devise their own schooling for
their young or submit their children to the idea that, morally speaking, there
are only opinions, none of which can be considered superior to any others.
Aside from ideological manipulation of students, there is also in conventional
schools the lowering of academic standards and expectations and the obvious
result of lowered test scores. Finally, there is the lack of a disciplined
environment with emphasis on reverence and respect for God and His Church,
the family, and our country. The result, in a milieu of permissiveness and
secularization, is not the formation of Christian souls but unruly behavior,
the loss of belief, and poor character development.
Present Efforts to Bring to a Reality of St. Thomas Aquinas Academy
The high school will open in the fall of 1991 with one teacher-principal
and 6 - 10 students. The materials will be Catholic in content which the students
will use for study, and the curriculum will follow Our Lady of the Rosary
Home School format for the first year.
Parents can expect that the academy will offer students individual attention
from the instructor, a sense of belonging and participation, and a good atmosphere
in which to learn and practice the Catholic faith.
Parents can also expect a clearly defined purpose of the school, always in
harmony with the Pope and the Magisterium, and extremely strong involvement
by parents as primary educators of their children, and an emphasis on spiritual
formation and academic excellence.
Importance will always be placed on the use of orthodox teaching materials.
Textbooks that force-feed students with arguments favoring such issues as
feminism, sex education, Darwinism, and environmentalism will be rejected.
Most important will be emphasis on the formation of students along orthodox
Catholic thought in theology, philosophy, ethics and catechetics.
In brief, in order to replace a secularized education now found in Catholic
high schools in Omaha, Nebraska, remedies will include those listed in the
Declaration on Christian Education, (5, Second Vatican Council) which
states that, Parents have the primary and inalienable duty of educating their
children, and must enjoy true freedom in choosing schools. With this freedom, parents
can, in good conscience, reject counterfeit Christianity, heavily drenched
in psychology of self-esteem and a secular humanism that now prevails in too
many Catholic parochial schools.
First and foremost, St. Thomas Aquinas exists for the following reasons:
- For the greater honor and glory of God (Ad majorem Dei gloriam).
- That students may know, appreciate and understand that they,
as Roman Catholics, have been given a very special mission to the entire world--to
proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every living human being on the face
of the earth.
- To teach students authentic and sound Catholic doctrine
without ambiguity or confusion.
- To instill in students a sense of loyalty and obedience
to the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Vicar of Christ, who, together
with all the bishops in union with him, form the visible head and ultimate
authority in the Church.
- To provide our students with the intellectual and religious
tools necessary to restore and renew the long lost art of Catholic apologetics.
The Church, more than ever needs vigorous and strong defenders of the Faith.
- To restore in students a unique, distinctive, special and
Holy Catholic identity which is slowly being devoured by the amorphous, dull
conformity of relativistic pluralism.
- St. Thomas Aquinas Academy will inspire in its
students a deep and abiding love for the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice
of the Mass (Sanctum Sacrificium Missae). The Holy Mass is our critical expression
of the mysteries of our Faith embedded deep within our souls.
The Future for Our Family School
To meet the challenge of tomorrows youth, parents will, as the school
grows, continue a curriculum faithful to the orthodox teachings of the Church
and communicate the authentic teaching of the Faith to grade school students
and even to kindergartners and pre-schoolers in time.
The three methodologies to be used:
- An orthodox Catholic education provided in a conventional
- An orthodox Catholic CCD educational program for youth,
young adults and adults which will provide solid Catholic catechesis in religious
- A resource center for home schooling parents to allow parents
and children to use the library, the reference books, the maps, the text books,
etc., to complete the education of their children. The resource center will
facilitate the steps needed to eventual approval of the state to be a focal
point for a support group, and to assist parents in instruction of their children
in the Faith.
Other efforts will include an appeal to publishers to once again provide
textbooks that are unashamedly Catholic in content.
To encourage unity and strength among like-minded Catholic parents, every
effort will be made to join with Roman Catholic families across the country
to collaborate with them for sharing information, ideas, books and materials.
Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica