I’ve been a Catholic school mom for all of six months. My son started kindergarten last September, at our parish school. I’m a convert, so Catholic school played no role whatsoever in my childhood. It feels a little like I’ve started school for the first time (and I went to school for more than twenty years).
My feeling so far? Catholic school is awesome!
Here are the things I love most about sending my kid to a school that starts with “Saint.”
1) Christian imagery
Like most parents, we investigated multiple options before definitely making up our minds. But the tour of our parish school made a powerful impression.
Every room has a crucifix and a statue of Our Lady. Every hallway seemed filled with images of saints and prophets and Jesus. My son’s school sweater has his school crest on it, which bears the image of the Lamb of God.
2) Mass behavior
There’s nothing quite like having your child’s teachers reinforcing the things you’re trying to teach about the importance of being respectful at Mass. It makes a noticeable difference.
It also warms our hearts when he comes home announcing, “Father told us today at Mass that we’re not too young to be holy.” Amen.
3) Healthy questions about being set apart
My kids have noticed that there are public schools in our neighborhood that they’re not attending. My son and I have discussed the fact that my schools when I was young are different than his, because he goes to Catholic school.
I don’t want him to presume he’s better than anyone else, but I do think he’s old enough to start thinking about the reasons why we might do things differently from other people in the world.
4) I learn things I didn’t know
I thought I was reasonably well-informed as a Catholic, but I learn new things from my kindergartener all the time about our faith. There are feasts I never celebrated and prayers that I never learned.
For instance, I never knew the “Angel of God” prayer until I heard the older son teaching it to his brother in the back seat of the car. My Catholic friends thought this was pretty funny when I told them. Where would I learn these things? Nobody mentions them to twenty-something converts.
5) Our liturgical calendars are aligned
Our school breaks coincide perfectly with the twelve days of Christmas and Eastertide. That’s by design, of course. It really helps us make celebratory seasons special!
6) We trust our school’s culture
Of course, Catholic schools are havens for sinners, like every other institution on Earth.
Still, we know that our school is trying to help our kids learn how to be “in but not of” the world, while our local public schools seem poised to embrace every social fad that appears on the horizon. I know what I prefer for my kids.
7) It feels good to support an institution that’s actually working for good
Sending my kids to Catholic school means working extra hard at my writing so we can meet our tuition bill and still have groceries. It’s not a minor commitment.
Still, it makes me feel good to think that we’re helping to maintain an institution that can be a wonderful resource, not just for our family, but also for many others. In a period when Christians are increasingly embattled, we’re certainly grateful for a trustworthy Catholic school.