Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

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Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Conflict ~ The Heart of Every Story

by: Adam Andrews

“Write me a story,” I said to the girls in my junior high composition class. “It is due next Wednesday.”

That was the extent of the assignment I gave them. No limits, no rules, no guidance—nothing. Admittedly, I was new—as a first-year teacher, I had no way of knowing what I was in for or how grave an error I had just made. If I had been more experienced, I would have been alarmed by the eager light coming on in the students’ eyes. These were aspiring writers, after all. They had always wanted to change the world with the great American novel, and I had just promised to edit it for them.

Each of them.

When Wednesday finally came, the students marched proudly to the front of the room and placed their stories on my desk. As the stack mounted, my heart sank into my shoes. The overwhelming mass of paper in front of me would take three weeks to read. Then and there, I firmly resolved never to make such a foolish assignment again.

It turns out I needn’t have worried. The task was much easier than I had feared, primarily because all of the stories were more or less identical. The main storyline of each and every one of them went something like this:

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess. She lived in a beautiful kingdom far away, where she was the beautiful daughter of a beautiful king and his beautiful queen. She grew up with every possible advantage and lived a beautiful life of delirious happiness, eventually growing up to be a beautiful young woman. And just when her beauty was at its most beautiful, a handsome prince came along on a beautiful white steed and swept her up into his strong arms. He made her his queen and carried her off to an even more beautiful kingdom, where she lived in Elysian rapture to a ripe old age and finally died of bliss. The End.

Though I just about died of an overdose of Elysian rapture before the job was done, I managed to read all the papers. The next day the students and I had an important conversation, not only about writing stories but also about reading them.

The stories, I explained, all suffered from the same problem: lack of a problem. The protagonist princesses, bless their hearts, didn’t face difficulties or obstacles of any kind. You left out the cruel stepmother, I said, and the omission was fatal. Since nothing bad ever happens to the princess her story fails to arouse even the mildest interest on the part of the reader. Nothing improves a story like a good disaster, I told them. Remember that.

It turns out, of course, that the lesson my students learned that day is as powerful a tool for reading stories as it is for writing them. As readers, our most important task is to identify and understand the central problem—the conflict—in a story. This is the first step toward understanding the story as a whole.

The conflict of any story is the disagreement at the root of things: the competition for the prize, the obstacle between the protagonist and his goal, the misunderstanding that must be worked out. As my students learned, conflict is the most essential ingredient in any story; without it, there’s really no story to tell.

Though there are as many specific conflicts as there are stories in the world, they may be grouped into five simple categories:

1. First, there is a “man against man” conflict. This conflict exists when the main character, or protagonist, struggles against another character, the antagonist, in pursuit of his goal. We might also say that a “man against man” conflict exists when the primary antagonist is a person. Just about every fairy tale with a wicked stepmother or a cruel sorcerer has a “man against man” conflict, as do stories like Stevenson’s Treasure Island (Jim Hawkins vs. Long John Silver) and Richard Adams’ Watership Down (Hazel vs. Woundwort).

2. Second, there is a “man against nature” conflict. This conflict exists when the protagonist finds himself pitted against the elements in some kind of struggle for survival. When the primary antagonist is the physical world, including animals, weather, geographical obstacles, darkness, distance, time or the like, the story has a “man against nature” conflict. Jack London’s chilling short story “To Build a Fire” provides an excellent example of this kind of conflict.

3. A third type of conflict pits the protagonist against God, the gods, or Fate. This “man against God” conflict obviously exists in mythological or legendary stories that involve actual gods or fates, such as Homer’s Odyssey. However, it is also present in stories about people fighting against their destinies or dealing with unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, such as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Whenever we readers wonder whether a character is doomed to follow the path he takes, our story includes a “man against god” conflict.

4. Fourth, there is a “man against society” conflict. This conflict exists in stories such as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, where the protagonist struggles against the social customs or norms of the world he lives in. When tension in a story comes from the difference between a character’s views or actions and the collective expectations of the people around him, the story has a “man against society” conflict.

5. The final category of conflict involves no one but the protagonist himself. In this “man against himself” conflict, the story’s tension develops as a character undergoes a mental, emotional, or spiritual change or arrives at a momentous decision or overcomes a fear or fails to overcome it. Sometimes stories with this type of conflict have very little external action, but the conflict may nevertheless be quite intense. Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment and Shakespeare’s Hamlet are good examples of stories with strong “man against himself” conflicts.

It turns out that every story in the world represents one of these five conflicts, though the best stories may deal with several types simultaneously. The ability to identify and categorize conflict can therefore help the reader a great deal, because it effectively reduces to five the number of things an author might be saying.

It also increases—to one—the number of things an aspiring writer is required to say. This can be a pretty big help to first year composition teachers too.

Adam Andrews is the director of the Center for Literary Education and a homeschooling father of six. Adam earned his B.A. from Hillsdale College and is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington. He and his wife Missy are the authors of Teaching the Classics, the popular reading and lit curriculum. They teach their children at home in Rice, Washington. For more information, visit

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile

Monday, April 22, 2013

“Don’t Drop That Baton!”

by: Denise Mira

“They’re leaving!” It’s hard to miss this ugly, dramatic pronouncement in glossy, church-related periodicals everywhere, but George Barna’s stats proclaiming that an average 70% of teens will leave the church after high school graduation1 quite honestly don’t scare me.

I birthed five strong-willed, independent-thinking young men, beginning with my firstborn in 1984. After over a quarter-century of investing my life in their spiritual development, while also home educating them and serving local, national, and international churches as a full-time pastor’s wife and trans-local leader, I’ve learned a whole lot about transferring the baton to the next generation.

Home educators have an edge. We have the benefit of access to our children 24/7, to lead by example and to influence powerfully, primarily because we have the luxuries of time and togetherness. Yes, as a homeschooling mom, my thoughts often have been occupied with pencils, papers, co-ops and curriculum, but my overriding mission and passion has always been more about imparting my beliefs to my five sons than simply executing my academic agenda.

The average Christian parent doesn’t get to see his school-aged child for seven to ten hours of each weekday, because during those hours children are on the way to school, in school, or on the way home from school. That same child spends about as much time in his bed at night, sleeping. The hours left for meaningful parent-child interaction are not only few, but they also are chock-full of stressed carpools, debriefing, dinner prep, chores, homework, and assorted extracurricular activities. The fact is, formal schooling holds families hostage to a system that dominates their days, nights, and weekends. Within that system, only crumbs of time are left for discipleship.

Worse yet, while the vice of academia grips these vulnerable kids in its jaws, they are likely to be exposed to all manner of negative influences during their countless hours on campus. In public schools it’s no secret that their course of study will be permeated with secular humanistic philosophy, while at the same time they could be dodging bullets, bullies,2 blatant sexual perversity,3 peer pressure, and ruthless cliques, to name a few of the dangers they could encounter daily. And let’s be honest, private schools won’t guarantee a child exemption from such hazards.

On weekends if there’s time after soccer, hockey, dance, and football, this same parent will drop his children off to attend church programs designed to save them from the deplorable indoctrination experienced while engaged in their educational institution. Kinda crazy, wouldn’t you say?

One local church in our metro area recently upgraded its children’s ministry facilities, at a cost of $400,000, with elaborate décor, Wii games, basketball, air hockey, and other age-appropriate amusements.4 These folks are serious about impacting the youth in their city, but in my decades of experience, I have learned that providing myriad special youth nights and extravagant parades of pleasure for teens in outreach endeavors doesn’t keep the teen sheep in the fold. Institutions will not save our kids. It’s up to us parents to create our own revolution in our homes for our sons and daughters.5

I said “home educators have an edge,” but I didn’t say “we have it in the bag.” Many enthusiastic homeschool parents are smugly touting their youngsters the “signs and wonders following them,” but a word of caution: babes under your wing aren’t yet adults who’ve decided to follow Jesus.

I’ve met so many disappointed parents and heard so much debate related to this topic. I don’t have all the answers, but I’ve found what I think is the non-negotiable in this all-important matter of getting—and keeping—our kids in the race.

It begins with us. The good news is that we’re the models! Wow! Such power in our very own hands to impact the next generation. The bad news is that we’re . . . the . . . models. Sigh. Such huge responsibility before God to make right choices for the sake of our children.

A young boy was sitting, crying, in the back seat of the family car on the drive home from church one morning. His parents, quite alarmed, questioned him: “What’s wrong, Johnny?! Something happen in Sunday School?”

Johnny blubbered, “Well, [sniff, sniff] my teacher said [whimper] we oughta be raised in a Christian home, but [bahhhah] . . . I wanna live with you guys!” We’re all human and it’s easy to relate to this humorous tale, but Dad, Mom, despite your fallibility, can you honestly echo Paul’s plea: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NIV) ?

It’s my conviction that we pass on to our children far more than our physical DNA. Our sons and daughters will reflect what we are. We establish the standard and cast the mold, and that’s serious stuff. We can preach it down, but if we aren’t living it, kids know it. You can’t get anything past them.6

So . . . what are you? I’m not asking if you’re a church member, a homeschool leader, how much money you give, or what good works you’re involved in. What we are and what we do can be two very different things.

Are we simply religious followers in systems, attending to those duties prescribed by our church denominations and traditions of men, or are we decidedly surrendered disciples of Christ, recognizing that “. . . he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:15, NIV)?

As Christian homeschooling parents, we are far more than educators equipping our students for a future vocation; we are the primary ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our impressionable youngsters. Sobering.

If we believe Jesus’ statement that “a student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40, NIV), our mission is paramount. We can’t deny that our toughest job is to first lead ourselves strongly, baton firmly in hand. Let’s be done with lesser things and “. . . run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24)!

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.7


  1., “Nine Charged in Death of South Hadley Teen, Who Took Life After Bullying” by Brian Ballou and John Ellement, The Boston Globe, March 29, 2010.
  2., “Two 10-Year-Olds Charged in Boy’s Sex Assault on Bus” by Ericka Mellon, Houston Chronicle, January 6, 2012.
  3., “Sacramento-Area Churches Add Extra Round of Entertainment to Sunday’s Easter Basket,” The Sacramento Bee, March 30, 2010.
  4. Denise Mira, No Ordinary Child: Unlocking the Leader Within Your Child, (2008 Impact Media) p. 8.
  5. Ibid.
  6. William P. Merrill, The Continent 1911, (

Denise Mira, author of No Ordinary Child: Unlocking the Leader Within Your Child, has been married to Gregory for thirty-one years. They are the parents of five sons. Denise has traveled extensively, both nationally and internationally, inspiring change as she shares the message God has given her for families. She would love to have you visit her blog at, and she can be reached at Find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter!

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free or read it on the go and download the free apps to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Grow Up! Five Ways to Raise our Children in Maturity

by: Deborah Wuehler

“Poor things,” she would say to herself, “they haven’t had any bringing up; they’ve just scrambled up!” This is what the dear mother had to say in Margaret Sidney’s Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.1 As a tired and always busy homeschooling mom of eight, that is often exactly how I feel about how my own kids have grown. However, in this story, the Pepper children didn’t just “scramble up,” but they grew in responsibility and maturity as they learned to live courageously in poverty and through trials of many kinds after the death of their father.

I would love to know that my children are growing in maturity. However, I often hear myself saying “You are too old for that kind of behavior” or “When are you ever going to learn?” or “You are acting like a 2-year-old!” I am a mess of a parent who is trying to (and needs to) grow up, too, so you’d think I would be extending more grace to the hearer. What I really desire is that my children would not carry their babyhood into their futures.

I have seen extreme babyhood continue to play out in adult lives. This self-focus, whether in adults or children, inhibits outward vision, outward action, and grows people up who are concerned only with their own needs being met or with being entertained and coddled. Where are the people who think of others first and love when it hurts and stick it out when things get tough? Where are the true adults? Is there anyone we can learn from?

The Word of God is full of the real history of people either living out an extended babyhood or living as strong, mature men and women of God. Consider Jezebel compared to Sarah: Jezebel strongly demanding—Sarah strongly submitting, even when it hurt. How about Saul compared to David? One lacked self-control; the other put himself under God’s control. When they sinned (and they both did), the immature one made excuses, but the mature one repented. What about the wise man versus the foolish man in Proverbs? Obviously, we would be wise to do the opposite of the foolish man, but so many times I act foolishly. So just how do I raise my children in maturity?

The answer is found in another Biblical personality—Jesus. We should look at how Jesus grew and then copy Him, since a truly mature person will make it one of his goals in life to be like Christ. This is what the Bible says about how Jesus grew:

“And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. . . . And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them . . . . And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:40, 51–52).

In this passage we find five wonderful and extremely important goals to have for our own children. Let’s pull out some of those phrases and look a little closer:

1. Jesus Grew and Waxed Strong in Spirit

Jesus was strengthened in spirit as He grew. As our kids grow, we really want them to be strong in spirit and mind, too, and what better place to do that than in our own home? So many anxieties and problems arise when our children are placed where their minds and spirits are confined or attacked or defiled. To have a child be able to “wax strong” in spirit and mind, is to have a child who is free to explore his world while getting to know His Creator and learn His wisdom in all areas, including academics. By the time Jesus was 12, He knew the academics required of teachers of the Law to the point that even they were amazed. I have felt that same kind of amazement as I have met some of these very young homeschooled children and seen wisdom beyond their years and beyond their peers.

2. Jesus Was Filled With Wisdom

I want the same for my children. If I want my children to be filled with wisdom, then I must be a mother who is filled with wisdom. If I want to raise a son like Solomon, who prayed for wisdom more than riches, then I need to be a Solomon’s mother who does the same and prays for wisdom more than any earthly thing. If I want to raise a Joshua or Caleb who didn’t listen to the world of disbelief around him, but rather believed in the God of Israel as his Deliverer, then I must be a mother who believes in the God of Israel as my Deliverer. The very spiritual livelihood of our children and our future generations depends on it.

The Word of God and wisdom should be made available to our children even more than food is made available all day long. We should be taking every opportunity to preach the good news of Jesus Christ and the commandments of God to our children. Nothing is more important than to be preachers of the Gospel—right in our own homes. Here is the food we can offer them:

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

3. The Grace of God Was Upon Him

The Greek word for grace in Luke 2:40 is charis, which means “God freely extending Himself (His favor, grace), reaching (inclining) to people because He is disposed to bless (be near) them.”2 God freely extended Himself and His favor toward Jesus as He was growing because God the Father wanted to bless and be near Jesus. It is hard to conceive, but God also extends Himself to us and to our children as we grow, because He wants to bless and be near us.

Charis comes “from chairo; graciousness . . . especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life . . . .”3 So you see, when our children’s hearts are divinely influenced, that influence will be reflected in our children’s lives. Who and what they are influenced by is reflected in who they are and what they do. In homeschooling our children, we have the blessing of being able to control or negate the bad influences on our children and thus control what is reflected in their lives. At the same time, we should become the conduits of God’s grace as we pour into them a Godly influence that will also be reflected in the way our children mature and grow in Godliness.

4. Jesus Was Subject to His Parents

Jesus obeyed the laws of God. He kept the Fifth Commandment: “You shall honor your father and mother,” and He set the example for us all. Should our children obey because it makes life easier for us? No. They should learn obedience so that they can be like Christ.

Do they learn obedience and holiness in a secular setting? Does it come through a Sunday School class? Evidently not, as studies have shown that many children who are raised in evangelical homes and churches but placed in a public school classroom for twelve years leave their faith by the time they leave for college.

Our example for learning obedience is found in how Jesus was subject to His own parents, and in so doing, to His Father in heaven. As our children learn obedience to earthly parents, they are also obeying their own Father in heaven. As 1 Peter tells us, we are all to be obedient children and become like Him in holiness so that we might be holy in all “conversation [anastrophé],” that is, behavior.4

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13–16).

We want our children to grow up and be able to do what Jesus did: to see what God was doing and do the same thing. Even as an adult, Jesus did only what He saw His Father do. That is a worthy goal for myself as well:

“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19).

5. Jesus Increased in Wisdom and Stature and Favor with God and Man

Jesus was not only filled with wisdom, but He increased in wisdom as He grew up into a man. And as He grew in wisdom, He also grew in favor with God and man. This is something I pray over my children: that they would grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. I want them to be like Jesus. I want them to live and move and serve like Jesus. I want them to worship God and hear His voice like Jesus did. I want them to experience the same relationship with their Father that Jesus has with His.

In John 17 Jesus is praying to His Father and asking that His disciples would know and experience the same love that the Father has for Him. I also pray that my children would know that God loves them with the same intense love He has for His only begotten Son. I must intentionally tell them often of God’s great love—and then show them what that looks like by loving them—even when it is hard or painful or the opposite of what I feel like doing at the moment. Loving the unlovely or disciplining in lovingkindness or repenting for anything not like Christ in me is a sign of maturity; to do otherwise is babyhood on my part. If I want my children to grow up, I must lead the way and grow up myself in the wisdom and favor of God. I must do the hard, time-consuming things that all of life wants to distract me from, as I teach and train and nurture children in the Lord.

My 3-year-old son wants me to read to him, but he wants me to skip the words and just tell him about the pictures; he’s not really interested in the depth of the story. That’s how some of us read the Bible: just tell us the highlights and the stories we know well. We don’t want to hear anything that makes us have to think—we have enough devices to do our thinking for us. Instead of using our own minds, we carry our brains in our pockets or electronic devices. If we truly believed the Word of God was our very life source, we’d pursue it like we pursue food or Facebook. But we don’t truly believe, since we’ve become so distracted by the less important “pictures” of life and don’t have time for the depth of the story.

We really need to put aside the childish things and become disciples who raise disciples, not merely teachers who raise students. We must put aside all hypocrisy and truly follow Christ. We must start with the sincere milk of the Word and graduate to the meat:

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1–2).

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12–14).

So, how do we raise children in maturity? The prevailing secular philosophy is to allow children to make their own decisions and control their own environment and leave them to themselves to take charge of their lives. However, “a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15), but a child trained, exhorted, encouraged, disciplined, and discipled brings honor to his parents as he grows in maturity.

I am sitting in a classroom watching as my 18-year-old son leads the college club in which he was elected president. I am feeling that bit of honor right now as I watch him. But I am also looking back over all those years of tears, trials, and tired days and nights, when I wondered if there would ever be a day like this. But as we are obedient to trek on in the hardest of days, struggle through the hardest of nights, wrestle with the hardest of attitudes or trials or learning struggles, and pray through the most difficult battles of the will, we will see the end reward. We will see children that look like Jesus and find that God indeed rewards our obedience and perseverance with His blessing on our children and us as we keep them Home Where They Belong.


  1. Ibid.

Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor for TOS, participating author in The Homeschool Minute, wife to Richard, and mom to eight gifts from heaven. She loves digging for buried treasure in the Word, reading, writing, homeschooling, and dark chocolate! You may contact her at

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free or read it on the go and download the free apps to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Grandparent Factor: A Key Ingredient to Homeschool Success

by: Joy Kita

When a parent decides to homeschool her child, she does so with much fear and trepidation. A choice that affects the lives of those closest to you and impacts the future of your family is not one made lightly. It is thought out, planned, and fretted over with endless worry.

Choosing to homeschool not only puts you in a spotlight you may never have wished for, but it also makes you a target for both well-meaning and ignorant loved ones who are skeptical of your capabilities or even vocally disparaging. With these kinds of obstacles it is ever so important to surround yourself with supportive people who understand your reasoning or who will at least support you in spite of how they perceive your choices.

For many homeschool families, that support system comes from grandparents. Always a source of unconditional love and acceptance, grandparents offer a unique perspective that awards any child a richer layer of learning that is more meaningful than math equations and grammar. Many grandparents may be initially unfamiliar with the concept of homeschooling, but that need not be a reason to exclude them in the journey. Rather, win them over with the quality of your lifestyle, the character of your children, and the pure joy that comes from teaching at home.

Skeptical grandparents are not necessarily against homeschooling. They work with the knowledge they have and rely on what they know to be true: school worked for them and you, so why rewrite the script? A lack of knowledge translates into fear of the unknown. Often this mindset will change as knowledge is gained. Encourage them to read about homeschooling, invite them to conferences and workshops, and most importantly open your doors and let them experience homeschooling on the front lines.

Many grandparents are concerned that you do not have the capabilities to teach. They may not believe your child will learn from you or that you have the patience to be his teacher, and they certainly will have questions regarding the legal side of things. Be patient with their questions, and try to understand that their concerns about socialization come from a sincere place. Remind yourself that they are not “strangers at the grocery store,” and have the dreaded conversation about negative socialization. Explain how homeschooling fosters communication skills, and then describe your available resources to assure them that quality socializing will occur on a regular basis.

Why It Matters

There is no better way to close the ever-growing generational gap between grandparent and child than to merge the two together with a mutual goal of accomplishing a task or project. Lack of common ground, technology, distrust, and poor communication all serve to widen the gap, but with a guiding hand these challenges can be overcome as real relationship grows.

Perspective--Including the older generation in the learning process changes perspective and offers new and different insights. This provides a multidimensional learning atmosphere that not only challenges biased opinion but also invites healthy debate and establishes a foundation for empathy and mutual respect.

Age Group Integration--Who said children socialize best with twenty-five other human beings the exact same age? Involving grandparents in the homeschool experience provides a well-rounded learning experience for both parties.

Variety of Skill Sets--As the parent, you have an obligation to teach certain required elements of school, but grandparents have the flexibility to teach as they desire, using passion and wisdom as their guide. Children not only end up learning more, but in fact, they are treated to a specialized curriculum.

Involving grandparents in homeschooling looks different for everyone. The important thing is to reach out and include them. Don’t wait for them to ask, but take the first step and invite them to join your adventure.

Sidebar 1

Several homeschooling parents share about ways that their parents are enhancing a homeschool experience:

• “It hasn’t been much so far, as we’re still very new to homeschooling; however, my mom volunteers to come and teach sewing to my two oldest girls. Sewing is something that I could easily teach my own kids; however, we thought this would be beneficial for various reasons. It’s something that my mom is very good at, it gives her an opportunity to be involved, and it teaches my kids that I’m not the only teacher and that you can learn lots from others (especially an older generation). Often the kids will respond to other people teaching them something with more enthusiasm than another thing Mom or Dad is throwing at them.”—Kathryn Minten

•“My mom and dad take the kids on field trips and also have my kids over for sleepovers and school days when I need a break. My mom is super creative, so she does many fun things with them!”—Lauren VanEwk

•“My mom is always teaching something to my kids, whether it is in her conversation or her activities. She bakes with them, does crafts with them, and includes them in her gardening.”—Leshia Jennings

Sidebar 2

Practical Ways to Win Over the Skeptical Grandparent

Include them in projects. Working on a history lapbook with the children? Let Grandma help them with the research. Ask Grandpa to aid in building the model for the local science fair. Build birdhouses together. Collect leaves at the park. The ideas are limited only by your imagination and resources.

Use their skills. Grandparents can teach sewing, art, woodworking, and whatever else suits their interests and hobbies. If you belong to a teaching co-op, ask grandparents if they have a skill they could teach a group of students.

Invite them to go on field trips. A tour at the post office, a trip to a medieval village, even a fire truck exhibit will get them excited about homeschooling and the variety of ways there are to learn.

Read good literature together. Find a classic that the children would enjoy, and invite the grandparents over once a week to read a chapter or two, with cookies and tea as a treat afterward.

Offer hands-on opportunities. Save spelling tests and math corrections for Grandma or Grandpa. This is a nice solution for busy moms who could use the help, and it allows Nana to see the children in action. Use grandparents as an audience during practice of oral reports, speeches, and debates.

Joy Kita is a mother of four and blessed wife of Stan. She has been homeschooling for seven years and is currently the director of a thriving co-op with eighty plus children. She is a fiction author for children, specializing in adventures for boys. She tries to stay motivated by her all-consuming love for the Father.

Copyright, 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine, April 2012. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Monday, April 1, 2013

What Are Parents For?

by: Deborah Wuehler

“Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen” (Deuteronomy 27:16).

Quite an interesting verse—a curse from God Himself is associated with the light esteem of parents. Yet it seems that our society today does just that.

The English phrase setteth light is a translation of the Hebrew word qalah, which means “base, condemn, despise, lightly esteem, set light, seem vile.”1

Have you ever been made to feel like a second-class citizen because you choose to stay home with your children? Judging by that kind of reaction by society today, in which the role of a parent is regarded as one that should be despised or lightly esteemed, and given the fact that parents who embrace parenthood for all it’s worth are made to feel that they are fools, it’s no wonder our children are being farmed out to the lowest bidder.

We have been lied to about parenthood. What has been exalted in its place is self-fulfillment. Instead of raising children up to discover what God has created them to be, we give the kids to nannies, daycares, and public or private institutions to raise, while parents go out and search for the fulfillment of their own dreams. It seems quite backwards. And for the most part, this scenario produces a desolate place where families are falling apart or barely holding on for survival simply because each member within the family doesn’t know his or her own purpose.

The cycle continues as these children grow up and have families of their own, only to continue the search for purpose that they never discovered as a child. Then they push their children out of the home as well, to somehow find out why they are actually here.

In the meantime, our children, who were meant to have parents as their primary educators, are being outsourced to any caretaker who is readily available. But for those who want to get this parenting thing right, and who desire to teach and train their own children, let’s answer the questions of how, what, and why parents should teach their children.

How Should Parents Teach Their Children?

Deuteronomy 6 declares this to be a side-by-side, moment-by-moment instruction. Jesus knew this and taught His disciples by living among them and waking, eating, sleeping, praying, and ministering together. If we are followers of Christ’s example, then this is how we should be discipling our children as well.

What Should Parents Teach Their Children?

I always go back to Psalm 1 when I am not sure where my priorities should be in educating my children:

· “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”

We should teach our children in a set-apart manner so that they are not under the tutelage of the ungodly or fellowshipping with sinners or those who scorn God.

· “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

We should teach our children that the Word of God and the commandments of God are delightful and worth thinking about all day long, and all night long, and in every subject under the sun.

· “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”

We should teach our children that if they want to be successful in any endeavor in life, they must delight in God first, and then God will surely bring forth the fruit He has prepared for them to bear for His glory.

· “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”

We should teach our children that if they live a Godly life, they will find stability and be drive by God for His purposes, but those who reject God do not know what they are driven by and don’t know where they are going.

· “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

We should teach our children that the Lord knows their way and it leads to true life on this planet and eternal life on the other side of this planet.

Why Should Parents Teach Their Children?

So that they might live:

Hear ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live (Proverbs 4:1–4).

So that they might be blessed:

The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him (Proverbs 20:7).

Living like the culture lives is not living Biblically or walking in integrity, especially if the majority of the culture is anti-God; therefore our culture’s children will not be blessed after them. It appears that whatever God says to do or to be, the world and the devil say to do or to be the opposite:

• God says children are a reward and blessing; therefore, the enemy says they are a curse or a nuisance.

• God says Biblical instruction is vital to our children’s welfare, so the world and the devil say public education without God is vital to their welfare.

• God says to honor parents, so the world says that parents are not really necessary or worthy of honor.

• God says fathers and mothers are to teach their children wisdom. The world says that fathers and mothers don’t have what it takes to teach their children anything.

Since the world is so confused, we need to keep our eyes on the truth of God’s Word. It would help us to look there and see how God parents His children.

How Does God Parent?

“O Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered they children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38).

Many Old Testament references speak about the shadow or shelter of God’s wings, which provide protection, love, and familial bond. If this is God’s example of parenting, then this is what our parenting is to be like. We must first gather, and then shelter and protect our children. This is what will keep our children’s houses from becoming “desolate.”

God highly values the father-son relationship and refers to such throughout Scripture. Jesus was God’s Son. He is called the Son of God and the Son of Man. In Matthew 1:1 it says Jesus was the Son of Abraham and the Son of David. Jesus identified Himself as the Son of men who were close to His Father’s heart. Men throughout Scripture were identified by who their father or mother was. What kind of importance is put on parents today? Are children identified by who their parents are any more? Mostly, children are taught to be autonomous and then wonder why they don’t fit in anywhere. Many are searching for a true family identity . . . in any ungodly group that comes their way. This would not be the case if children felt like they belonged in their own homes.

Everybody Else Wants to Be the Parent

Since our culture doesn’t want to follow God’s example of parenting, we are left with parents who are losing their right to actually parent their own children. In fact, everybody else wants to be the parent.

In reference to a legal case involving a homeschooling family being wrongly charged with neglect in the medical treatment of their child, Michael Farris of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) stated: “Parents, not the state or its doctors, have the fundamental, God-given right to choose and direct the medical care that their children receive.”2 You would think this was a given, but we still have to fight for these God-given rights on a regular basis. Why? Because everyone else wants to and believes they can do a better job of parenting your child.

I was just on the phone with my 17-year-old’s doctor, who asked me to hand the phone to my daughter in order to ask her personally about her illness. While the doctor had her on the phone, she asked my daughter several other “routine” invasive questions that were meant to be private between the doctor and the child. Obviously, I was in the way, unnecessary, and worse, made to feel like an intruder in the private world of my teen. What happened to parents talking to doctors about our children and making decisions for our children?

We are becoming a child-led society. We all know what a child-run household looks like—it doesn’t work! To have a child-led society will not work any better either, because it is not God’s design.

Amelia Harper, author of “Are Parents Really Necessary? A Guide to Preschool Education,” ( wrote the following account after attending a Head Start meeting in her community:

“For nearly two hours, they discussed various issues regarding the health, education, welfare, and success of our tiniest scholars. Then I noticed a remarkable thing: the word parents had barely been mentioned. This got me to thinking, “Are parents really necessary?” If I were a disinterested observer at the meeting, I would certainly conclude that they are not. I would conclude that the government alone had the responsibility to provide for the future of its citizens and that parents were simply accidental providers of a human commodity: the youth of our nation. In fact, from the tone of the speeches, I would conclude that parents were often obstacles to a child’s education and that his greatest chance for success was to be removed from the home as soon as possible and placed in the state’s more nurturing bosom.”

My friend Marla Nowak, who has two children with Down syndrome, expressed similar ideas when she informed me of this important bit of frightening news about her parental rights:

“When our son with Down syndrome was younger, we made a deliberate decision to install extra locks up high on exit doors to prevent our wanderer from leaving the house. We had to decide if other threats from inside the house, like escape during a fire, were more likely than the very immediate threat that our child could walk out the front door in the middle of the night and go who knows where. But personal decisions like this and many other choices such as medical care, education, and financial decisions might be taken away from parents if the U.S. Senate passes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This includes the decision of where our children should live and with whom. But that is not the worst part of this UN treaty if it passes. Imagine a group of “experts” from places like Iran or China dictating where your children should live, requiring a medical procedure that you know is not best for your child, or determining that your home is not good enough to meet the standards for a son or daughter with a disability. It’s not far-fetched. This CRPD treaty will become a reality in the United States as early as this fall if passed and signed by the President.”3

The website says this about the danger of losing the freedom of parental decision making:

“Parental Rights face an ever-increasing number of threats in the United States today. Whether through unfriendly court decisions, often-abused federal laws, or over-federalization, the fundamental liberty of parents to make decisions for their child’s best interest is in danger. “

Parents are losing rights on many fronts. In an article by Michael Farris of HSLDA, regarding court cases involving public education, he stated:

. . . According to the courts, parents’ rights to control the education of their children completely stop at the schoolhouse door. What is the implication for homeschoolers? First, we should be very glad that we have decided to homeschool our children. If any parents still believe that they have a constitutional right to direct their children’s education inside a public school, these cases demonstrate that such a view is a fantasy.4

Where Are We Going?

In Genesis chapter 11, Abraham’s father, Terah, started on the trip to Canaan and made it to Haran before he died, but Abraham completed his father’s journey. God told Abraham to leave and go to Canaan, which is the journey that Abraham’s father had begun. Abraham obeyed God and taught his children after him to obey God.

Perhaps we are somehow like Terah and our kids are like Abraham in that we want our children to run the race and continue the legacy we started and end up in a place of blessing. We can teach our children that we are part of the great timeline of history: First there was Adam and Eve, then Noah, then Abraham, then David, then Jesus, and eventually, our family. Where is our family going? Hopefully, we are following Jesus with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Will our children continue the pilgrimage through this earth to the heavenly Promised Land? That is our prayer. That is the goal of our instruction. That is what we are here for. That is why we have them Home Where They Belong.

Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor for TOS, participating author in The Homeschool Minute, wife to Richard, and mom to eight gifts from heaven. She loves digging for buried treasure in the Word, reading, writing, homeschooling, and dark chocolate! You may contact her at

Copyright, 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine, August 2012. Read the magazine free at or read it on the go and download the free apps at to read the magazine on your mobile devices.



2., accessed July 18, 2012.

3. To learn more about this issue, visit and

4., “Has America Abandoned Parental Rights?” by Michael P. Farris, J.D.
reprinted from The Home School Court Report (Vol. XXII, No. 4).