Easy Burden by Graeme Hunter

Easy Burden

Graeme Hunter on the Blessings & Challenges of Homeschooling

Recently I read three encouraging articles on homeschooling. One alerted readers to the first non-partisan Canadian study showing what homeschoolers have always known, namely, that they do a much better job educating children than do the public schools.

A second article reported the encouragement Archbishop Edwin O'Brien gave to homeschoolers in the diocese of Baltimore, reminding them of the importance of the sacraments and of cultivating readiness to sacrifice for others. He also mentioned that there is "no greater feeder for the vocations" than homeschooling.

A longer article by the late Fr. John Hardon, S.J., went more deeply into the nature and importance of homeschooling. It reminded readers that something is wrong in the West, and in the world, and that homeschooling is one of the ways in which Catholics can address the distemper of the times. Homeschooling permits Catholic families to raise their children to love the sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Confession, and for children to learn the necessity and method of prayer. Fr. Hardon also reminds homeschoolers that they are following the way of the Cross, a way full of sacrifices.

I am a former homeschooling dad, and my wife and I made our Christian faith central to the curriculum when we homeschooled. The blessings we received as a family were great. Jesus taught that his way is the way of the Cross, but he also taught that his yoke is easy and his burden light. We found all those teachings to be true.

Of the three articles I mentioned, one documented homeschooling's success and the other two exhorted those who had chosen it to persevere. I thought there should be a fourth article for young parents who are wondering about homeschooling but fearing they might not be up to it. They see the relentless assault public schools are making on their children's minds and morals, but they have enough crosses to bear already, without shouldering any new ones. I wanted them to hear about the yoke being easy and the burden light.

The Countercultural Way

The first step was to discover that homeschooling is a paradox. It is as countercultural as you can get. Everyone, from school officials to your well-meaning relatives, will tell you that you are putting your children at great risk. But do not believe them. Homeschooling is only countercultural because our culture is suicidal. Homeschoolers stand for what our culture was when it was serious about living. It affirms our Christian tradition, our Christian morality, and our highest cultural achievements. To affirm such things today is countercultural only because our culture has turned its face to the wall.

The findings of the homeschooling study are true. Homeschooling does not harm our children; school often does. School officials who say otherwise may only be defending the dark enterprise that employs them, and well-meaning relatives often speak out of ignorance. No doubt there are conservative and conscientious redoubts here and there in the bleak landscape of public schooling, but if it seems to you that your child is being transformed for the worse by attending school, you are likely correct.

Here are some reasons why:

First, education means struggle and achievement, but schools are egalitarian. Achievement presupposes discipline, but schools shun discipline, and pretend students are high achievers no matter what they do.


Graeme Hunter is a contributing editor to Touchstone and Research Professor of Philosophy at Dominican University College in Ottawa. He is the author of Radical Protestantism in Spinoza's Thought (Ashgate).


more on education from the online archives

27.2—March/April 2014

Poetry Above Compulsion

Higher Education Should Advance the Glorious Liberty of the Sons of God by Anthony Esolen

32.4—July/August 2019

To Spread His Glory

Four Theses on Christian Education by Donald T. Williams

28.5—Sept/Oct 2015

Who's Your Teacher?

on Our Sacred Duty to Teach the Devil to Death by Marcus Johnson

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone

• Not a subscriber or wish to renew your subscription? Subscribe to Touchstone today for full online access. Over 30 years of publishing!


personal subscriptions

Purchase Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


RENEW your print/online
subscription

Purchase
Online Subscription

Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives including pdf downloads for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!


RENEW your online subscription

gift subscriptions

GIVE Print &
Online Subscription

Give six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for the reduced rate of $29.95. That's only $2.50 per month!


RENEW your gift subscription

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

kindle subscription

OR get a subscription to Touchstone to read on your Kindle for only $1.99 per month! (This option is KINDLE ONLY and does not include either print or online.)

Your subscription goes a long way to ensure that Touchstone is able to continue its mission of publishing quality Christian articles and commentary.


more from the online archives

22.7—September/October 2009

Science Fictions

on a Random Quantum Fluctuation by Marilyn Prever

31.5—September/October 2018

Taking Liberties

The Secular State Without the Decalogue by James M. Kushiner

32.4—July/August 2019

A Case of Win-Win

on Probability, Death & the Existence of God by Graeme Hunter

00