Homeschooling families can get a lot of questions when they tell friends and families about their educational choices. What about socialization? What about physics and calculus? What about the babies?...legitimate questions all...the question I can't abide is: What about the prom? I really disagree with letting a one-night event be a part in such serious decisions- should our children go to a brick-and-mortar school? Perhaps, but it would be for a combination of many reasons that doesn't include a dance.
A couple of years back, a visitor at the Divine Liturgy was talking with a semi-permanent parishioner who she knew from our Catholic homeschooling group. I was so happy to have a visitor from the group as it doesn't happen often (what with all the confusing incense, "pictures"-icons- and that married priest). I overheard "so you go to Sacred Heart too right- and what about John's First Communion?" so I fled into the kitchen, knowing that we would soon be losing the parishioner and her lovely family.
There is just something about making felt banners with mom and the smell of that hot glue gun. There is something so strong about that photo with a little seven-year old with his praying hands draped with a rosary. The classes, the veils, the suits- so important that even the Byzantine rite in the United States waited until the age of reason to allow Eucharist to our children up until very recently. Sometimes the traditions of today override the traditions of many, many years. In the Byzantine rite, infants receive baptism, confirmation and Eucharist, but we until recent memory decided to conform ourselves to the majority rite so our children wouldn't miss out on the dresses and parties and checks from Godparents. Perhaps there is deep theological significance to receiving sacraments early or late, but it usually comes down to "I don't want my children to miss out on the dress."
So the First Communion classes won out, and the family is no longer attending our Byzantine Catholic mission. My family does meet socially with them, and the parents sometimes complain about their parish of 5,000+ families. They regularly compliment my husband on his singing and preaching, but only when he is substituting at the Roman-rite parish. They have their felt banner on display. I hope my children will be okay because they didn't make one.