MANASSAS, Va. – Television host Colleen Carroll Campbell reports on the growth of Catholic homeschooling and a “hybrid” homeschool program that brings Catholic students together in a “unique educational community,” in a recent episode of “EWTN News Nightly.”
The show features Aquinas Learning, a “classical education mentoring program” for students in pre-K to grade 12, as an example of “hybrid” programs that provide students a classroom experience while also providing a curriculum for families to follow at home.
This type of homeschooling is growing, because “homeschooling parents want to make sure their children are able to benefit from every educational opportunity,” William Estrada, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association, told Campbell.
Aquinas Learning was designed by Rosario Reilly, the wife of Cardinal Newman Society President Patrick Reilly, with other Catholic homeschooling parents in 2009. EWTN reports their goal was to create a “classical Catholic education with all of the advantages of homeschooling.”
Mrs. Reilly told EWTN that it’s a “family friendly” curriculum, because it’s designed for students in the elementary grades to be covering the same topics at the same time. This is helpful for families to “be on the same page,” Reilly explains, and to plan topic-appropriate field trips and books to read aloud together. The curriculum emphasizes the humanities and the mastery of writing, rhetoric, Latin, logic and catechesis.
Families involved in Aquinas Learning spend four days of the week homeschooling and one day of the week meeting as a group for grade-specific classes and the opportunity to grow in friendship. The adults who lead the weekly classes are called “mentors,” reserving the name “teacher” for parents—the students’ primary educators, according to EWTN.
Aquinas Learning, which currently has four centers with 220 students, reflects the nationwide growth in homeschooling. Several more Aquinas centers are expected to launch in the next couple years.
Estrada noted that the two top reasons that parents decide to homeschool is to provide “moral and religious instruction for their children” and because they have “concern about the educational environments in public schools.”
He also told Campbell that homeschooling parents are able to tailor the education to fit the needs of their individual child—and so homeschooling is “successful academically.”
Authored by Kelly Conroy – Cardinal Newman Society