When I was about 11 or 12 my Mum decided to remarry and back in that era, religion enjoyed an unhealthy respect in the community. The brand was serious too. The war between the Catholics and the spin off Anglicans was still going strong and any suggestion that this was one and the same God could lead to violence.
Things have improved a long way since then.
Remarrying was a big step especially when Mum was nominally an Anglican and Poppy Bill a Roman Catholic. The Micks insisted that the partner must convert before the marriage could take place and there was also the requirement that the children must be raised as Catholics.
This meant we kids moved from a State school to the Catholic school system and the differences were stark. At the State school the subject range was boarder, while the Nuns brooked no mucking around and controlled their classes better. That’s plusses on both sides but in the final wash up the State system gets my vote because of not wasting the first hour of the day on religious instruction.
Yep. As incredible as it seems now, the most productive first hour was used to try and indoctrinate us kids into blindly following the Faith. Having missed the first 4 years of the indoctrination program, I was never really convinced by their dogma and I had put that down to the late start but seeing so many lapsed Catholics around, I may have done my fellow students a dis-service.
In the end I attended the Secondary College too until reaching the equivalent of Year 10. Then we moved to Geelong and I escaped to a State Technical college that left the Catholic system for dead. Even in the Catholic secondary school, the waste of the first hour continued and I’m still surprised kids graduated to Uni from their system.
Of course Sport was a rare subject at the Catholic College because the hours had to be pinched from somewhere and you didn’t get marks for a subject like that. But there must have been other subjects that were thinned down as well to make up the hours.
Did I send my own kids to Catholic education? Hell no. I wanted them to get on with learning and avoid the negativity that underpins the requirement to “be saved”. I also liked the fact that State schools build confidence in individuals rather than the collective as we saw at inter school events. No soloists from the religious schools but plenty in the State system.
Maybe the Catholic system has moved on from the bad old days but who can tell? Perhaps protecting your kids from the real world (though maybe not the Priests) is more important for some parents than more hours on the books.