Monday, September 24, 2007

Awesome email from Sara

This letter is from a friend of mine, Sara, who is also a Catholic unschooler. She wrote this piece in defense of me (so to speak) regarding the mutual friend, Lisa whom I addressed in the previous post. Lisa is the friend who doesn't quite get the unschooling philosophy. Her daughter goes to a Catholic schoo. However, Lisa and her husband and daughter, Morgan, are wonderful friends. Anyway, I loved, Sara's response to both Lisa and I so much I asked if I could reprint it here.

Dear Lisa & Rach,

I think that the truest and best form of discipleship shows itself when we, as sisters in Christ, are available to each other. I absolutely love that we are such good friends as to be there for each other to watch each others children, to "watch out" for each other's children.

My contribution to the "discipline-academics" discussion is this: prayer. Ideally, children are taught their faith, their habits and customs from the perfect example of their parents (as primary educators) and other mentors (pastor, teachers, older children). If you read the long version of the above Gospel, there are holes in it. For example, the landowner told his steward to prepare an accounting because he was being fired. Monsignor (yesterday) pointed out how imperfect this was. I was thinking how imperfect of a landowner I am, at times. Other times, I am the imperfect steward. So, we come to the conclusion that we are utterly dependent on God and the graces He bestows. We tend toward lives of dissipation, but He lifts us up and gives us the grace to transform ourselves and those around us.

In his homily, Monsignor exhorted all to their primary responsibility: prayer, because then, we can ebb and flow with our families' varied needs. What one family needs at a given time (even a given day) is very different from what another needs. I need more consistency and discipline in my family when it comes to household chores. It is so hard for me to set the perfect example because of my frail body. I am often begging my kids to clean up after themselves. We have some chores put on a schedule, and, others are "catch-as-catch-can". A more structured (and energetic) mother would be a better house manager than I am.

When it comes to academics, I encourage a balance between lessons, house chores and community service particpation. I grew up very disciplined in academics and, as you both know, earned my way into the Ivy League. I graduated from Brown with Honors and earned a full tuition and monthly stipend to Vanderbilt where I complete a Master of Arts degree (and they paid for it!). Yet, and this is a big yet, I was living an immoral life. Discipline in academics does not translate into discipline (read: discipleship) in the moral life. I spent time with the K-12 curriculum last year and it is very, very rigorous. It was too time-consuming for our family, but I am glad we tried it as I think it is a wonderful tool to use sparingly (ie, maybe sign up for one subject here and there, as the need arises). Rachel tried K-12 for free because of this Virtual school which is funded by our tax dollars. I spent hundreds of Jerry's hard-earned salary last year. We both tried and learned and that is a gift for parents -- to try and learn with their children. Lisa, I know you and Morgan will try lots of stuff together. Right now, you are "trying on the shoe" that is an authentic, classical and Catholic school and it is a beautiful fit for lots of families. If, by chance, it does not fit (and, I hope it does) do not think that it is a failure in your loving discipleship. Please see this blog entry I wrote last week: http://thosethatwonder.blogspot.com/

I love you both and love how we are encouraging each other to be the best we can be....as that is definitely God's Will and His Word for each of us....thanks to both of you for sharing your thoughts with me. May God continue to shower us all with His blessings! Love, Sara

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