Kathy Tesi the Rosary Lady
Homeschool vs. Public School
As parents, our foremost thought and purpose is to protect our children. A close second is to teach them what values, virtues, morals, and skills we believe are necessary to function in this world and live a Christ-centered life. When it comes to our children and education, the big debate is what is best; a public school provided education or a parent provided education, and what curriculum will meet our set goals without compromising the education we give our children. With a Master's in Elementary Education, I am often asked why on earth I have spent so much money and time to get a degree in education to homeschool my own children. The answer is very simple; once I began my student teaching it became apparent what was really going on behind those beautiful brick walls covered with posters which hide the cinder blocks (and germs).
Now, please don't get me wrong, there are schools building children up and growing their intellect so we have future thinkers and leaders, but we also have schools "producing" our children, imparting misleading and downright wrong educational material and ideas, and foregoing character building and love of one another for a central focus. Wait, there is a central focus, the test, but that is for another day. Teachers are piled with more and more of the parental burden as administrators push more and more of a political burden. There are not enough hours in the school day (seven, but only about four hours can actually be considered educationally engaged hours) to do what is required and oftentimes, teachers simply move on, leaving behind students who don't understand.
As a once prospective teacher, I was very upset that I had not come sooner to the realization that I was what was best for my children. Who better than the children's parents to teach them? Sure, my degree made me excellent with crowd control, but what about really teaching these kids? It is almost impossible to reach students without parental involvement and cooperation, and with the current state of the world, more and more children are raising themselves or being raised by siblings or friends. In a public school setting, it is extremely hard to reach every student, especially those who are exceptional (one end of the spectrum or the other). In a homeschool setting, the parent sets the course of learning through student interests and ability, and the timeline is flexible (in many states).
As a thoughtful, loving, and concerned parent, why on earth would I send my child away to "work" (that is what it is, is it not?) for nine hours a day only to have to spend the remaining five to six hours supplementing and correcting what they had just learned? Not only do I have to focus on what is being taught by the adults in the school system, but also on what the other students may be teaching my children. There is no easier place for children to learn about misinformed sexuality, social norms, and secularism, than a public school setting. Unfortunately, many private Catholic schools are adopting the Common Core curriculim and embracing, with a touch of Catholic Faith, the "dumbing down" mentality. Common Core you ask? Well, that is another stadium-size can of worms that must be addressed, but I will save it for another article.
So, back to the original idea; why homeschool, and what are the benefits weighed against that of a public school education? The answer for me is my children's morality and individual intelligence. I don't expect to teach them only about our Faith, but I do intend for my children to live the Gospel and be that light for so many others who, for one reason or another, are living in darkness. I want my children to grow and prosper under His guidance, which is given through me and the Church. I want my children to know they are important and have talents that will most definitely not be highlighted with a public school education, given its current state.
And not to mention the fact that so many people who do send their children to public school speak so poorly of teachers, decrying how much they are paid for "babysitting" but continue to place the burden of moral and intellectual education in the hands of the same teachers they criticize and belittle whenever said child does not perform up to some set of unimaginable standards.
What about parents who want to homeschool and can't because they have to work? Well, I am a working mother. I am busy, very busy (just ask my husband who has to make appointments to talk to me) and I homeschool. My children, through homeschooling and love and respect, have become self-starters, goal setters and achievers. Nothing thrills my twelve-year-old more than completing in March/April the textbook and work we have scheduled to end in late May. You can homeschool your kids. You have to remember the educational day does not have to (nor should it) match that of a public school. Work around the obstacles or make changes to your current situation. God provides. He always has for us, and I know he always will.
It would be just lovely if I could wrap up our family in a nice Catholic Bubble and leave everything else outside, but we do not have that much bubble wrap. Instead, I will guide my children's learning and character through parental love and support, the way God intended it to be. I know that my children may never go to college or become millionaires, but if they are happy, productive, Christ-centered people, then I have done my job.
Laura Haber, B.S., MaEd, CFCP
Laura is a homeschooling mother of five beautiful children and lives in Berkeley Springs, WV. She is also very active in her parish as well as with the Defenders of the Faith and West Virginians for Life.
Kathy Tesi, the Rosary Lady
I met Kathy many years ago when I worked for a company as a project manager, and she was in charge of the word processing pool. She was responsible for all of the word processing including preparing proposals for new contracts. Writing proposals is a grueling job requiring many hours of continuous work. On one occasion, Kathy put in nearly 30 continuos hours. We were awarded the contract, and the president of the company presented Kathy with a large cash bonus to use for a vacation trip. Instead of a trip to the islands for herself, Kathy took her mother to Lourdes, France hoping she would be cured of a serious illness. No miracle occurred; however, Kathy was moved by the experience.
Kathy later married a fine man named Chris, and they raised a family of four, two boys and two girls. We kept in touch, and I visited their home a few times while I lived in Maryland. Kathy and her family occasionally visited me in West Virginia. After the first visit, the first thing she would do when she arrived was to visit my grotto. It is hidden in a cliff right below my home and has a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Interestingly, a few years later, Kathy was hospitalized for several days and foremost on her mind at the time was the Rosary. She wanted to get the word out to everyone to pray the Rosary.
I visited her one day and took with me a Rosary which my friend, Dick Retta, had made for me. It is called a 'Memory Rosary' because if one is interrupted while praying the beads can be moved to indicate where to begin again. As soon as Kathy saw the Rosary she wanted it. I told her she could have it, but she didn't want to take mine and asked if Dick could make one for her. So Dick made Kathy a white one with purple 'Our Father' beads. Kathy loved it wanted to learn to make the Memory Rosaries, so I arranged for her to meet Dick at the Shrine in downtown DC where he taught her how to make them. That was in July 2005. Kathy has been making Memory Rosaries ever since to share with me and many other people. I give them out at my church which has a number of visitors on a yearly basis.
She also has a special mission of making baby pink and blue Rosaries for sidewalk counselors to give to women at the abortion clinics. When we give them out we are prayerfully hoping that women will decide not to abort their babies. She calls these the "Baby Beads".
Kathy gives her Rosaries out wherever she is, on the bus, in doctor's offices, to priests, seminarians, and at her church. She also gives them to the poor, to religious, and to whoever requests them. When she travels she drops them at churches she visits. They go everywhere. As she said, "I sow everywhere; it doesn't matter where or to whom."
She is making about 1,000 rosaries a year. It is quite a mission. Kathy once told me she will be making rosaries until she dies and will then make them for the Angels in Heaven. God bless her!
Close this window to return to current Commentary page