Why Parents Choose a Catholic Education for Their Children

Choosing a school for your children to go to is an incredibly important decision for a parent to make. You want to select the best possible education for them, but where should you look? Although you could look to your area’s public schools or one of the many private schools that exist, one thing you shouldn’t discount is sending your children to Catholic school. 

 

Why choose Catholic school over the other options? Here are a few reasons to consider

 

Role Models

 

The teachers at Catholic schools often serve as moral role models for their students. These are the people who will be spending hours at a time with your children, so it’s understandable to want teachers who share the same values that your family does. These values often start being taught while the kids are still at home, so choosing a Catholic school for education will mirror the beliefs taught at home and act as an extension of those previous lessons and ideals.

 

Exposure

 

Obviously, sending your children to a Catholic school will create daily exposure of the Catholic faith to them. This will build a strong religious foundation for your kids as lessons on the Catholic faith are taught every day. By the time they graduate, your children will be more likely to continue being involved in the Church than not. Likewise, they’ll be more likely to pray, donate to the Church, and have an identity solidly in Catholicism. 

 

Community

 

Being involved in the Church creates a sense of community, and this extends to Catholic schools. Being involved in a Catholic school creates an easier time for children to develop that sense of community with their peers and fellow parishioners. The Church offers fellowship, friendship, and service opportunities for those who are interested. For kids far from their families to attend school, the Church and their school can become a central hub for their community and involvement.

 

Education

 

A Catholic school is a high-quality and relatively affordable educational opportunity for kids. Private school is notoriously expensive, but many Catholic schools and dioceses have tuition assistance programs for those who need financial aid. These schools are well worth the cost, as graduates from Catholic schools are more likely to go to college and consistently outperform public and other private schools on national and standardized tests.

Summertime, Children and Reading

By Steven Virgadamo, Bursari.com Executive Vice President

 

The current school year is winding down quickly. I get most excited about summertime as it is a good time to establish an amazing connection….summertime, children and reading should be like peas and carrots….things that go well together. Reading for young scholars can always open up galaxies of possibilities, but, reading in those lazy days of summer invites play, the unexpected and encourages an unbridled imagination. Every book is a possibility.

 

Ensuring free time to read and imagine is perhaps the best of summertime opportunities: a wonderful companion to any program, camp or class.

 

But not all great summertime reading should be done by a child in isolation. Sometimes there is nothing better than reading together. Sharing a story with your child means sharing language, life, and perspective. Characters’ decisions, good ones and bad, morph into complex conversations outside the pages. Funny moments become inside jokes, and travels to exotic lands an inexpensive possibility.

 

I wish you all parents and young scholars a summer filled with opportunities to make family memories as well as lots and lots of books.

Top Catholic Podcasts 2020

Podcasts are an excellent way not only to be entertained, but keep informed about various subjects. With topics ranging from broad to niche, it’s no surprise that some Catholics have taken to this medium to spread the word of God to people everywhere. Though there are plenty of podcasts out there that deserve a light shining on them, these particular podcasts have something special about them that makes them the top Catholic podcasts of 2020.

 

The Catholic Feminist

 

This podcast is a call to women everywhere who wish to be “informed, inspired, and intentional” in their faith and community. The host of the show, Claire Swinarski, releases a new episode once a week covering significant topics in today’s world, such as racism, postpartum depression, human trafficking, immigration, and much more. Swinarski remains authentic in her episodes and has genuine discussions about the role of women in both the Church and in society, creating a space for those who wish to feel empowered.

 

Jen Said What?!

 

Jen Fulwiler, host of the SiriusXM radio show The Jennifer Fulwiler Show, takes points of interest from her radio job and highlights them during her podcast. A former atheist and nerd mother to six children, Fulwiler examines pop culture engagingly and thoughtfully that’s sure to be entertaining. Her podcast is perfect for those who want to listen to her radio show, but are never quite able to catch it.

 

Word on Fire

 

The Word on Fire podcast, hosted by Bishop Barron, skillfully takes the richness of Catholicism and interweaves it with modern culture. His podcast is both vivid and accessible to Catholics at all stages of their journey with Christ, educating and uplifting his audience to the truth and knowledge found within the Church. From insights on great Catholic thinkers to everyday, practical advice, Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire is a must-listen.

 

Fr. Mike Schmitz

 

Fans of Fr. Mike Schmitz’s YouTube channel will be thrilled to learn that he also has a podcast available to listen to while on the go. Though short, Fr. Mike Schmitz often reflects on a variety of topics, such as practical living advice and Catholic teachings. His podcast is down-to-earth and aims to “help listeners live out the Christian life more effectively.” 

Look Up, Not Down – Planning for the Opening of Schools is not a Dark Hole, It’s a Mountain

Bursari Executive Vice President, Steven Virgadamo has spent 30 years as a national leader in the American K-12 educational system. It is not unusual for school leaders to seek his guidance and counsel on a regular and frequent basis. We asked Steve to share with you some of the counsel he provides to school leaders with regards to the reopening of K-12 schools in a Covid19 world. He shared the following:

  • Students and staff should wear masks and pass through temperature reading cameras as they come on campus.
  •  Hallways should be designated one way to allow for social distancing and safe passage. 
  • Stickers should be placed 6 feet apart on stairwells, hallways, and other public areas to promote, remind and encourage social distancing.
  • Signs asking scholars to safe distance should be displayed throughout the building.
  • Students and staff should be given safe distancing “scores.”
  • Campuses should be closed to visitors. 
  • Student and staff temperatures should be monitored frequently.
  • Hand sanitizers should be available throughout the building especially at the entrance and exits of classrooms.
  • Dining hall usage should be canceled, and students should eat in classrooms.
  • Transportation routes should be adjusted to reduce overcrowding on buses.
  • Assembly plans should follow the guidelines utilized in each state for public gatherings.
  •  Sport seasons should be changed to delay any implementation of contact sports which do not allow for appropriate social distancing until later in the school year.
  •  Students should have an e-device dedicated to them for their exclusive use.  
  • Student workstations should be sanitized with wipes between classes and the buildings should be disinfected regularly.
  • Electronic thermometers should be utilized to read student temperatures frequently throughout the day.
  • Plexiglass study hall like corrals may be placed on each student workstation.
  • Parents should be asked to electronically sign each of their children into school and document that the child is not ill.
  • A safe place and comfortable should be dedicated to quarantine any ill student.
  • The handling of papers, forms, currency, checks etc. should be minimized as these items are just as likely to spread the virus as physical contact.

 

Protecting the health and wellbeing of school staff and students must be of paramount importance for every school leader. Bursari.com can help you provide a safer environment for the reopening of school and signing a school up for Bursari is simple and easy. There are no contracts, sign up fees or maintenance costs. Don’t leave the remote world of schooling and return to campus without it.

The Pros and Cons of Homeschooling Your Children

School is a fundamental foundation for children as they grow and develop. It’s how they discover the world, learn new things, find their passions, and become their own person. Some parents choose to send their children to the local public school, while others decide to enroll their kids in a private school. Homeschooling is another option for your children’s education, but it’s not for everyone. Playing the role of parent and teacher is a large responsibility that will affect both your child and your family. Before deciding to homeschool, it’s best to know the pros and cons to determine whether this mode of education is right for you.

 

Family Time

 

One of the more obvious results of homeschooling is the increased amount of family time. As both parent and teacher, you’ll be spending a lot of time with your children, which can ultimately lay a foundation for a stronger relationship between you. As your child’s teacher, you’ll have a direct role in what they learn, how they learn it, and making sure it aligns with your own moral values. However, taking on both roles in your child’s life will carve a good chunk out of your personal free-time, as you’ll need to plan lessons and handle administrative work in addition to parental responsibilities. This can lead to stress and fatigue in the long run.

 

Socialization

 

Being homeschooled can limit the number of people your children know that are their own age. This can seem preferable to some—by being homeschooled, there’s a smaller chance of your children being bullied or ridiculed by others, which in turn can help prevent low self-esteem and encourage learning. Homeschooled children also have more interactions with adults and other homeschooled children of varying ages and skill levels. However, since this method of learning limits the number of people your kids will know that are their own age, it can result in a smaller friend group overall. 

 

Education

 

Unlike with public schools, homeschooling will provide the chance for your kids to move quickly through topics that come easy to them and focus on more challenging lessons or on topics that catch their attention as opposed to ones outside of their interest. You’ll also be able to personalize your teaching style to benefit the way your children learn the best rather than enforcing a standard way of teaching that many kids will need to adapt to. Perhaps the best part for kids is the lack of homework necessary. Since they’re learning at home already, there’s no need for extra work to be done outside of school hours unless they’re struggling with something in particular. 

 

On the flip side, you likely won’t have as many readily available resources at your disposal as public and private schools do, and you’ll have to be the sole teacher of a broad range of topics as opposed to being specialized in one field. That, in addition to less time to dedicate toward parenting and the possibility of less structure than a public or private school, can affect your child’s overall education and learning.

Maintaining Tradition While Innovating Catholic Education

Catholic education is something that many parents want for their children. However, there is some conflict between the new age way of thinking with technology and the internet, and the old way of doing things. Therefore, we need to approach education with innovation while maintaining tradition. Here is how to do just that without losing the important aspects of faith:

Devices

More and more devices are entering classrooms every day. Long gone are the days when a classroom was comprised of simply a whiteboard. Today, teachers need to understand that students are going to be tempted to use their phones. Instead of reacting in the strict manner of the past, using measures that enforce policies while allowing a little freedom is paramount.

After all, devices can also be a great way to learn. Using smartphones and tablets in the classroom for things like quizzes, interactive games, and reading can be highly beneficial for cognitive development while also teaching students modern skills needed for today’s increasingly technological world.

Online Education

Not every class requires a physical classroom. Today, online education has grown significantly, which makes sense when taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Instead of paying for the building, students can simply log on and contribute with others to pay for their teachers’ time. This also allows for students all over the world to come together and learn about similar subjects, leading us into our next point.

Inclusion

Catholic education must be inclusive to spread the true word of the Lord. Promoting unity is the way forward. Teaching this at a young age is a surefire way to foster positivity and faith among younger generations, and to not discriminate against others purely due to differences in beliefs, appearance, or personality.

Science and Religion

Tradition states that science and the church remain two separate entities. However, with leaders such as the Pope himself coming out and advocating scientific research, it is necessary to innovate teachings so that science may become part of the learning process. That way, it can aid Catholic values rather than distract from them.

Looking at Other Beliefs

Many religions outside of Christianity and Catholicism have valuable lessons as well. Teachers can introduce them without having to praise everything they promote in full, highlighting the importance of acceptance and understanding.

The Surprising Affordability of Private Education

Many parents choose to send their children to local government schools, and the reasons for this decision are varied. In some cases, parents would prefer to send their kids to private school, but feel as though they cannot afford the cost of tuition. Fortunately, some methods exist for making the cost of a private education lower and getting kids a superior instructional experience.

Check the Tuition

One of the first steps in the process is to actually find out what the tuition is. Some parents automatically assume that they cannot afford a private education without actually investigating what the cost would be. Checking the website and meeting with a representative from the school can provide a more accurate financial picture. Upon learning the actual price, families may realize that they actually can afford the private education that they want for their children.

Join the Parish

When schools are affiliated with religious organizations, families can often get discounts if they join the respective religious community. For example, a Catholic school that is part of the parish will likely offer discounts to members of that parish. Therefore, parents can join both the parish and the school, becoming part of a wider community that will help to enrich their children’s experience.

Explore Multi-Child Discounts

Another way to receive a discounted rate on a private education is to send multiple children to the school. Some parents may want to wait until their kids are in first grade to send them to the private school. However, they may save more money in the long run by putting younger siblings into the school now. When they have more than one child enrolled in the private school, they can save on the cost of education.

Procure Financial Assistance

Parents can also look into financial assistance that is provided by the private school in which they are interested. Schools generally offer a limited number of financial awards, so parents who want to apply should do so as soon as possible. Researching the qualifications for the financial awards is an important step of the process.

A private education might seem as though it has a huge price tag attached to it. However, this thought isn’t always true. Parents have some steps that they can take to achieve the right education for their children while keeping their financial situations in mind.

The Importance of Dual-Language Immersion Programs

In today’s global economy, it is more important than ever to learn a second language. Not only do dual-language immersion programs benefit the non-native English speakers by allowing them a chance to learn in their native tongues, English speakers are gifted with the opportunity to pick up another language while continuing their education. This unique education model has demonstrated a host of benefits to all involved, but here are the top three advantages:

 

GLOBAL COMMUNITY: Exposing children at a young age to cultures different than their own has immeasurable benefits that will follow them for the rest of their lives. As children develop friendships with kids of diverse backgrounds, they learn a greater understand and tolerance for people with different views.

 

A healthy respect for the global community is also cultivated in dual language schools. In today’s shrinking world, this empathy and knowledge will take open-minded children further than their sheltered counterparts.

 

BILINGUAL ACHIEVEMENT: The overriding reason that parents choose this educational model for their children is because they want them to learn a second language. Short of moving to another country, a dual-language immersion school is the fastest and most effective way to teach a child a new language.

 

By graduation, most students are considered to be fluent in at least two languages, a life skill that will prove invaluable for the rest of their lives. Not only will learning two languages expand the worldview of the students, but it will also open up a myriad of additional job opportunities later on in life as they enter the workplace.

 

HIGHER OVERALL ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: Learning a new language provides a host of benefits outside of the basic new dialect skill. Dual-language immersion students achieve a higher level of metalinguistic awareness, enabling them to understand the basic workings of any language. This understanding can be applied to a variety of learning tasks and situations.

 

Students in these type of programs also continually exhibit greater performance on problem-solving skills, pattern recognition, and other types of divergent thinking capabilities. Learning a second language helps to unlock different areas of the brain that lay dormant when learning in just one primary language. This benefit is seen in both the non-native speakers as well as the dominant language speakers.

Summer Activities for Catholic Students

Catholic schools often have a smaller population of students than their public school counterparts. While this is beneficial when it comes to individualized attention, it can also mean a higher probability of isolation for students that don’t fit in easily.

 

Finding ways to keep those students active and engaged with their peers during the summer can go a long way in boosting their self-esteem. There are many activities that cater to youth during the summer months and will assist them in making new friends and spreading their wings.

 

  1. Community activities: Many towns have a recreation center that offers a variety of clubs and activities over the summer. If a child is being bullied or having trouble connecting with others, check into recreation programs at nearby towns so they have the potential to make friends that don’t attend their school.

 

  1. Theater groups: Children that enjoy the arts will thrive in a setting where they can freely express themselves amongst peers that hold the same interests. Local community and performing arts centers usually offer programs during the summer that specifically focus on youth with a passion for drama and the arts.

 

  1. Camps: Going away to camp doesn’t always require an overnight stay. While overnight camp is a great option for children that adapt easily, ones that are more introverted may benefit from a day camp. Day camps offer a variety of activities including excursions to local amusement parks, swimming centers, libraries, and more.

 

  1. Library programs: The local library is a great resource for children looking to meet new people. Check their calendar for a variety of programs and events throughout the summer like book discussion groups, writing classes, and game nights.

 

  1. Sports: Just because a child is introverted doesn’t mean they won’t thrive in the field of sports. With so many different sports available like bowling, tennis, swimming, soccer, basketball, baseball, dance, and cheerleading, there’s sure to be something to fit each child’s personality.

 

Keep in mind that summer break is not always an easy time for youth. Planning in advance and signing them up for several activities during the summer can help keep them engaged with their peers and avoid the loneliness and feelings of isolation that can set in.

How Catholic School Teachers are Reaching Out

Catholic schools in inner cities are making a difference in the success and happiness of the children who live there. Many urban-area parents have removed their children from neighborhood schools troubled with violence and failure, sending them to the Catholic schools where teachers demonstrate genuine concern for these children suffering from trauma in their lives.

 

By attending professional conferences that address the problems and needs of urban families, Catholic school instructors learn how to reach out to inner-city children. One symposium this year hosted nearly 200 Catholic school teachers in the Philadelphia area. The second annual Catholic Urban Education Conference had the purpose of providing teachers an awareness and understanding of the effects and influence of trauma upon urban students.

 

Addressing the ways to identify students’ trauma of living in the inner city and the various teaching strategies that can be used to assist them in their learning was central to this conference.

 

Major factors that contribute to high levels of stress among inner-city children are mental health issues that often cause breakups in the family, as well as the prevalent use of drugs and violence in both homes and neighborhoods. These factors bring about what researchers refer to as “toxic” effects in the brain chemistry of children and adolescents. These “toxic” effects have been proven to exert a negative impact on children’s social skills and their achievement in academics. At the Catholic Urban Education Conference, teachers learned that inner-city children’s stress response systems are overactive because of the troubled environment in which they live.

 

Consequently, these children come to school nervous, fearful, and stressed. Because of conditions from what is termed adverse childhood experiences, teachers of students in the inner-city Catholic schools strive to create a safe environment for them.

 

Fortunately, the Catholic teachers’ unifying religious beliefs, directives, and teaching goals also provide students with stability and a sense of security–all of which help in their learning. Catholic school teachers employ various approaches to learning so that students learn to think in different ways and find what works best for them and gives them confidence. One method is “sequencing” in which students go through steps in the learning process, steps that can be measured in a sequence with color coding, timelines, or illustrations.

 

Another classroom method is team teaching. Students can often more easily relate to lessons by having different approaches to learning presented to them by various teachers.