Conservative Catholic homeschoolers will delight in reading Your School of Love: A Spiritual Companion for Homeschooling Mothers. Other Catholic homeschoolers can certainly benefit from this book but may find that some parts don’t apply to them as well.
Author Agnes Penny is a graduate of Christendom College and a homeschooling mother of nine children. She has also written Your Labor of Love: A Spiritual Companion for Expectant Mothers and Your Vocation of Love: A Spiritual Companion for Catholic Mothers.
Penny offers much encouragement to mothers who may feel unqualified to homeschool their children, encouraging mothers to see it as an extension of parenting. She advocates for a more relaxed form of homeschooling that can respond to the various needs of each child. She also encourages mothers to view homeschooling as a vocation, a calling from God, that will not only help our children on their educational and spiritual journeys but will help us on our spiritual journeys as well. “Everything we do becomes an act of love, a prayer to Our Lord, an offering of our hearts. . . We must see homeschooling as our way to perfect ourselves and grow closer to Christ.”
Penny covers many important homeschooling topics such as setting up a learning environment, deciding whether to keep grades, making learning fun, teaching the basics (which includes curriculum suggestions for areas such as math, reading, writing, art, and more), and homeschooling students with special needs.
She also explains some of the challenges that mothers may face while homeschooling including burnout, struggling with comparisons, developing patience and self-sacrifice, and coping with winter blues as well as other emotional struggles and feelings of guilt.
Penny is very conservative. She encourages women to wear dresses or skirts most of the time, promotes natural home remedies, and doesn’t rule out corporal punishment. Those who disagree with those statements would probably prefer to read a different homeschool book or to simply pass over those sections and focus on those that do apply to their lives.
However, Penny offers many practical suggestions for cultivating a positive educational and family environment in our homeschools. As she states, “The goal of our homeschool is to show our children this stupendous, incomprehensible love that God bears them, and to cultivate in them a responsive love.” Only then will our school of love achieve its ultimate mission.
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