Minnesota Homeschooling Conference - will we homeschool?

Last year we attended the Minnesota Catholic Homeschooling Conference in the Twin Cities and really enjoyed it.  We learned alot about homeschooling curriculum and different aspects of teaching children(like temperaments for example).  This year(May 28-29) the keynote speaker is Dr. Ray Guarendi who we saw in Holmen, WI a few years ago.  This year is shaping up to be a great conference.  I would recommend this conference even to non homeschoolers as it gives parents some great information on how children learn and how to help your children succeed in school.  Since parents are primary educators of their children, even if parents choose to outsource some or most of the education work, they still are solely responsible for their children's education. 

My wife and I have not had to decide yet, but we might homeschool our children once they are old enough.  We have been shopping around and weighing the pros/cons but still we are undecided.  Right now we have four options(in about the order we feel right now):

1. Local private Catholic school (Providence Academy) - Local private Catholic school with classical curriculum I might add.  Originally blessed by then Bp. Burke and modeled after Trinity Academy in Milwaukee, it has struggled to retain teachers after removing the outstanding headmaster Mr. Omar Gutierrez(who Bp. Burke brought in).  We are hoping the school succeeds but the academy is relatively new and its future is uncertain.  I think if we lived near Trinity Academy there would be no question and we'd be shopping for school uniforms.
2. Homeschool - we like the classical curriculum but neither of us have any background in Latin or Greek.  Possibly Seton also.  Both of us attended public schooling so we would be new to the homeschooling lifestyle. 
3. Diocesan Catholic School (Aquinas) - It has gotten better, but we're steering away.  The religious and priest that teach there are very solid but I do not know about the laity teaching there.  And another major downfall is the modern curriculum. The question I ask myself is if I can get essentially the same quality of education minus the religion class in a public school, why pay all that money. 
4. Public Schools (Central) - Not out of the question, La Crosse actually has some solid public schools as public schools go.  Honestly if I thought the local Catholic schooling was not up to snuff, I would have no problem sending my kids to public school and teaching religious and moral studies at home.  Unfortunately too many Catholics forget that last part and send their kids off to public schools assuming they can become good people(not to mention good Catholics) with no intervention.  Sorry, not gonna happen.

Another issue being pondered; my family has always been involved in sports and I want my children in sports.  Each state handles homeschooling and sports differently and I'm not sure how Wisconsin handles this.  I would be happy if we could homeschool and also participate in sports in the public schools.  One big downfall with Providence is they have no sports program and any state allowances for homeschooling would not apply.  Aquinas has a great sports program but the only way to play sports there is to attend school there also.  If anybody knows the Wisconsin homeschooling laws in regard to sports participation, I'd love to hear about it.

At any rate, we have a few years before making a decision.  Obviously we would to prefer to pick one for all kids for their entire schooling but it just might not happen that way.

I welcome comments on your experience or the experience of others you know!


Dad29 said...


If the Diocesan HS (Aquinas, no?) offers Latin, then why not the Diocesan grade school?

Since your principal concern is Catholicism (rightly), and you're going to re-affirm Catholicism at home anyway, why worry about the lay teachers? (They can be handled, by the way.)

Only problem with most Latin coursework in schools is that it's 'conversational' rather than structural.

Badger Catholic said...

Dad29, its the style of education. Where modern education finds learning Latin "elective", the classical style begins at early levels with the goal being able to read classics of western literature in their original language(Homer - The Odyssey, Virgil, St. Augustine, ect). To read these it would make Latin essential to the core of the education.

The classical style isn't specific to Catholicism. Milwaukee has Eastbrook Academy which is a "non-demoninational Christian" also practices a classical style(Protestants reading Luther in Latin!). No "social studies" or "health" classes ect.

At any rate, we'd like to pursue classical if we can, but neither of us have the foggiest how it all works. Aquinas grade school doesn't have Latin and I'm hoping to find a place I dont need to start a crusade for alot of the stuff I'm looking for. But we are still up in the air so maybe we do end up landing there anyway. PS> I'll get back to you as soon as I wrassle up some free time.

Dad29 said...

the classical style begins at early levels with the goal being able to read classics of western literature in their original language(Homer - The Odyssey, Virgil, St. Augustine, ect). To read these it would make Latin essential to the core of the education.

That style was most assuredly NOT the style utilized at Mercy Academy (the predecessor of Trinity) while run by the Mitchells.

BTW, one of Eastbrook's famous parents is James T. Harris (WTMJ radio-guy). So happens that school occupies an ex-RC parish school (St Nicholas) where my aunt, an SSND--old style, actual Catholic), taught in the late 1950's.

Badger Catholic said...

I was aware of Mercy Academy. I know they now do the classical style. I have a friend who teaches there.

Interesting stuff! They probably warn the kids now that if they don't behave they'll call the nuns back in to whip them into shape. :)

Dad29 said...

Interesting observation on Mercy. That "now" must have begun in the last 2 years or so.

TradMD said...

I would encourage you to remember you are the primary educator. Your primary goal is Heaven. It does not matter what social status your children achieve as long as they reach the Gates. Our system of education is flawed. It does not provied an environment that averts the ocassions of sin while advancing the intellect of the individual. Providence Academy may be a good option if they segrate the sexes and allow only traditionally minded teachers. I do feel your pain we are at the point now of starting a school here to fulfill our need and the needs of our children seeing other children believe what we believe and give them that positive peer involvement they need.
By the way the Diocese of La Crosse was my Original Diocese however i no longer live in my home state of wisconsin

Badger Catholic said...

Thanks for your thoughts, TradMD. Providence Academy is not large enough yet to segregate sexes. I think they struggle to fill classes now. You are definitely right in that no matter what we choose we cannot forget we are the primary educators of our children. You will be happy to know your home diocese is seeing temps in the 50s this week. :)

Anonymous said...

Agree, Agree, Agree! We were in public school and just started homeschooling this month with the Catholic Heritage Curricula. (Grades K, 2, 4) Wish you the best in your decision. It was hard because of sports like you say. Although, I hear that Coulee Region Christian School in West Salem will allow homeschoolers in their sports.