Home-schooled students have own way of marking start of new school year
Published: August 16, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Although Catholic home-schooled students do not necessarily start the school year with new friends, teachers or schedules, they often have their own ways of bringing in the new school year. The Leone family in Madison, Wis., celebrates with a Mass and picnic organized by a support group of Catholic home educators in the Diocese of Madison. Ordering new books and organizing the classroom is also a back-to-school tradition, said Elizabeth Leone, a mother of seven who home-schools her children. In San Antonio, the Davis family has a retreat to start the school year. Shelley Davis, mother of four, described the retreat as a time to "collect ourselves spiritually and academically." Meghan Hackett, a former teacher who lives in Highland, Md., who home-schools her two daughters, Emma, 16 and Kathleen, 8, begins the school year by attending Mass with other home-schooling families. She told Catholic News Service that some families start the school year with pilgrimages and others with devotions to Mary Sept. 8, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For some home-schooling families, there isn't a clear distinction of when school is "closed" for the summer and when it "re-opens." That's because some families opt to continue teaching during the summer -- usually with a lighter workload -- so they don't lose momentum. "We try to end (the school year) when we are done," said Hanna Muldowney, a former public school teacher in Texas, who now educates her six children.
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