Dog-eared pages, notes in the margins, bracketed paragraphs, underlining-- I've combed School of the Family
thoroughly and am glad I did. This book is Chantal's story of her faith journey and life as a homeschooled daughter and now homeschooling mother. She offers both practical suggestions and the wisdom of the saints to formulate a rule of life that will help families live their vocations as "the foundation of the civilization of love."
My own faith journey is quite different from Chantal's, so I was a little surprised to feel so connected to her vision of Catholic family life. Yet Chantal frames her story with the assertion that, regardless of how the particulars are lived out, "today's parents must rekindle their pride in and attachment to imparting the truths of the good, true and beautiful."
The Family Rule is the primary "practical" part of the book. Chantal suggests that, as religious communities have a general rule that orients them toward their specific charism, so families can adopt a unified mission and approach that will help each member grow in holiness. This should not be interpreted as an expectation that true holiness must fit a certain mold. Chantal offers, not a checklist for perfect family life, but a challenge to begin cultivating a philosophy in which the family, even with its weaknesses, serves as the primary source of formation in faith, hope, and love. Chantal says, "It is not a school of perfection or a school of guilt, but a school of constant conversion, that has the power to transform the world through its witness of love." She urges us to "continually place our families under the gaze of the Almighty and allow Him to empower us to love."
For me, this book prompted several weeks of reflection and discernment-- specifically on how my family's personal path intersects with our larger faith community. Our various circles of and sources of community. How we are being called to live out that "in the world but not of the world" balance. I think the general approach of this book may feel the most comfortable for home educators, but it contains thought-provoking, challenging insights for all families who want to reflect on the beauty of their vocation.
You can purchase this book here.