Mom-to-Mom Support/Discipline issues and choice of curriculum

Discipline issues and choice of curriculum

Boy trains to be an altar server


I have been homeschooling for a few years. I have many discipline issues with my sons, but my biggest stress is that my 10-year-old son is woefully behind in academics. This year I plan to use [a secular pre-packaged] program. The program was suggested to me by two Catholic homeschoolers who are very pleased with both the curriculum and the ability to actually have someone to help them get through challenges that they’ve encountered.

But now I’m feeling very uneasy and doubtful about the issue of using non-Catholic materials. I don’t want to compartmentalize religion at all, yet how can I integrate it successfully in this kind of curriculum? Do you think I’m being unrealistic about being able to integrate Catholic materials within this secular, but solid curriculum?

Dear Mom,

I admire you very much because it is evident from your letter that you have a heart for your children but more importantly you have a love of the Catholic faith and a sweet docile spirit that longs to be in accordance with the will of the Lord.

My first question to you would be this. Why do you think that your little boys have discipline issues? Think about your answer. Do you really believe that discipline issues can be solved through the use of a particular curriculum? I do not believe that they can. I believe that the loving Lord who gave you these little boys to nurture will from His overwhelming mercy and love for you give you the skills necessary to address the discipline issues that you are having.

Anytime we slip into the thought process that someone else is better equipped to handle the challenges that our children present, we must be careful. This is not to say that we shouldn’t get the advice and counsel of persons who are in a position to guide and direct us (priests, our own parents, and older, more experienced parents whom we trust). Discipline is not rendered through a curriculum unless the people selling you the curriculum are willing to come to your house and live with you and take over the issue of disciplining your children.

Jesus wants you to have good children. He also understands that all children (even adults, because we are all the Lord’s precious little ones) are constantly in need of discipline and the tender attention of the Holy Spirit as we strive to conform our wills to the will of the Lord for us. This is a holy and worthy life goal and one that will take a lifetime. Loving and nurturing parents are never asleep at the helm. We are constantly praying for, working for, caring for, and loving our children. Parenting is a vocation that stretches into eternity. My dear mother is my mother and she disciplines me through her holy witness of purity, faithfulness, and steadfastness in the face of adversity. I know that when she goes to her reward, she will continue to pray for me. What a comfort this is for me.

Here is my next concern. In my spirit I do not see two little boys who are woefully behind. I do not know you or your children, yet I sense that they are sweet little boys who are busy learning and exploring the world and are as smart and quick as any little boy I know. Look inside your heart and see what is surely the truth about these two little guys. They are not even adolescents yet. I sense that there may be some discipline issues, but nothing out of the ordinary for little boys who are busy and eager to learn.

Have you paid for the curriculum? Can you get your money back? For me anytime I step out of using Catholic materials I must be careful. Seriously, if you are having doubts, then look to your heart and pray about the choices you have made. The curriculum may be wonderfully suited for your friends who recommended it, but if you are having doubts, then it may be that the Holy Spirit is working with you at this time. I sense that the Holy Spirit is working with you in a mighty way and that it is not just about homeschooling. I sense that you are having prayerful concerns about many issues in your life. Please rest before the Lord. Let Him hold you close. Let Him embrace you and comfort you during this time.

Dedicated parents like yourself have seasons when they question their worthiness to parent. They agonize over the choices they make for their children, the words they use to discipline, the methods they used to instruct, and the reasons their children are not as good as they feel they should be. The Tempter loves to confuse and muddle the holiness of Jesus’ anointed ones. You are anointed from the Lord for this work. Instead of agonizing over details that only confuse your heart, spend time before the Eucharist. Sit quietly before the Lord and let Him speak to you. Pour your heart out and then listen to the gentle words of the Lord who loves you and empowers in all ways.

I have probably not been very helpful to you. I want you to know that you will be in my prayers every day. I intend to lift you up before the Lord. I see in you a worthy witness for me. Though you are quite a bit younger than myself, your devotion to your little boys is heartwarming and one that I take great comfort in. Thank you for sharing your letter with me. It has brought back lovely memories of my own “little boys” who are now young men in their twenties. There were times when their antics brought me to my knees, yet now they are such holy and peaceful men. Not from my efforts, but from the Holy Spirit within them, despite the many mistakes I know I must have made.

Dear Jesus, we ask a special anointing upon the efforts of this dear mother as she addresses the many issues that face her at this time. Please hold her close as she works to discern the curriculum she should use to instruct her dear children. Amen.

Sending out a prayer,

Rita Munn

About Rita Munn

Rita Munn is a veteran homeschool mother of ten. For many years she was a popular speaker at Catholic homeschooling conferences. Writing has been a passion of hers for as long as she can remember, and she loves to use her writing skills to share her homeschooling experience with other parents. Her “family journal” reflections are featured in CHC’s Educating for Eternity e-newsletter.