Serving the Home Education community.

Why Do We Homeschool?

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I was asked an interesting question at the AHEA convention this past spring that I was glad to answer, and I thought that it might be a question that others were asking. The question was simple and went something like this; “Why is it that homeschooling has such strong Christian roots?” Now, admittedly not all homeschoolers come from a Christian perspective, and the reasons a family might choose to homeschool can be diverse; but the Christian belief lends itself to the venue of homeschooling in many ways. This is a condensed version of my answer.

First off; ‘Why should we educate our children in the first place?’ I have commented in the past that the main reason that a child should learn to read is so that they can read the Bible. The Bible is our lifeline to the truth and therefore essential reading if we are to live the Christian life. I have gone so far to say that if an individual is not going to read the Bible it would be better that they should not read at all; but I would also argue that everyone should learn to read so that when the time comes that they should desire to read the Bible, that they should already know how to read.

I have gone so far to say that if an individual is not going to read the Bible it would be better that they should not read at all

Second; Christianity is a belief system with morals and a code by which the individuals must govern themselves. Although Christians are admonished to be peaceful and to honor the King (government), there may come a time when as a Christian there is the need to defy the ruling authority, because Christians are called to serve God first. In the past, education began within the walls of the church. Even the Jews had their children taught by the Rabbis’, their religious leaders. Many of the famous Universities and Colleges began with the desire to educate the next generation of ministers for the pulpits. Alas, as is the way of mankind itself, these institutions veered from their original path and became secularized, and in the end became antagonistic to the very goal with which they began. Public Education was not a problem for the Christian in the beginning because of its’ strong Christian roots; but these too began to erode in the early to mid-1900s. This was due in part to the multi-cultural nature of our country, but primarily to the afore mentioned secularization that is pandemic today. Had the schools stuck to the academics of reading, writing and arithmetic likely nothing would have change. Instead, the school system became centers for social reform. Starting with the thrust of evolution, which stripped mankind as the special creation of our Creator and reducing our children to advanced animals with no special place in the world. In the 1960s came the sexual revolution and the emphasis on safety rather than moral standard. Of course, Christians became concerned and began to resist this trend.

Christianity is not governed by Government, though it should honor that same entity. The Christian is under God and accountable to Him. If our God is the one and only true God of all, then His rule transcends national boundaries. Christianity is therefore super-national. In the past every nation had its own deity, and though countries often merged and replicated these deities, in the pagan mind there was a myriad of gods to choose from. The Jews had the one and only true God but were eager to hold Him to themselves. If an outsider wished to serve their true God, they were instructed to become Jews. It doesn’t make sense however that The Creator of all should be limited to one nation and one locality. Jesus, God in flesh, exploded onto the scene and Christianity became the light of the whole world. As culture erodes, it is the Christian who is most likely to resist, and in a quiet way declare war on that same culture. We stand for truth and wish it to be taught to our children and will teach it to them ourselves as our God given responsibility.

Many of the famous Universities and Colleges began with the desire to educate the next generation of ministers for the pulpits.

The Need for an Accurate Measure

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In any homeschool environment there comes a time when you teach the young ones about weights and measures. In our culture the accepted standards are either the Metric system or the Imperial system. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. In a perfect world, the Metric system with its emphasis on the base 10, which is, of course, the same as our numerical system, works the simplest. All standards of measure relate to each other in one way or another, and once understood, provide simple ways for the varying measures to interrelate. On the other hand, because we did not start with the Metric system, measures of length often still relate to the Imperial system, simply because the land itself is
divided into miles and not kilometers. Building design is still often done in feet and inches. Some smaller projects are done in millimeters, but on big buildings these numbers become astronomically large. On the whole, either system works simply because it is standardized. This has not always been the case.

“The problem results that not everyone shares the same
cubit measure.”

If one is familiar with the scriptures, it is not uncommon to come across a measurement that is called a cubit. The cubit is the measurement from our elbow to the tip of our longest finger. This is commonly estimated at being approximately 18 inches. The problem results that not everyone shares the same cubit measure. Mine is 18 7/8ths. Noah’s Ark was measured in cubits, 300 x 50 x 30. If Noah’s cubit was 18 inches that would make the Ark, 450ft long, by 75ft wide, by 45ft high, but there is no saying that his cubit was only 18 inches. If it were 21 inches, as some suggest, suddenly a minimal change adds considerably to the end product. At 21 inches per cubit, the Ark would be 525ft x 87.5ft x 52.5ft. The volume of space would increase even more drastically from 1,518,750 cubic feet, to 2,411,718.75 cubic feet. More room for more animals, but difficult if one wishes to be certain about the size of his boat. What this highlights is the need for a set standard.

In a world of uncertainty, there is an increasing need for a set standard; specifically, a set standard for truth. There are perhaps any number of ways that God could have communicated His truth to His people. The Bible reveals a few; He could speak to us through dreams, like He did to Joseph in the book of Genesis; He could speak to us through prophets, as He did throughout the Old Testament; He could even speak to us through a mule, like He did to Balaam in the book of Numbers. The problem with this type of communication is that it can be very subjective. Different people might hear God say different things, but once they are written down, as all these examples are, they go beyond subjectivity. 

God communicates to us through His Word so that it becomes the basis for further understanding. God super-naturally produced the scripture; “but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21), and further He oversees the preservation of that Word, as is seen in the fact that it is still with us today despite generations of time and multiple attempts to rid the earth of its truth. Without this Holy standard we would be without the ability to discern what is true from that which is false. Jesus is, of course, as scripture teaches, the embodiment of the truth; but again, it is the written word that reveals to us who Christ is; the Son of God, the Holy One, our Redeemer, the Lamb of God, our Savior. 

The Bible is as important to us as believers, as an accurate tape measure is to a builder; without it the whole structure of our faith would be as frail as a building with walls of varying heights and a roof that does not fit properly. A breeze can come and knock it down. Jesus is the Rock, and His Word is the plumb line that keeps us straight upon it.

The Bible is as important to us as believers, as an accurate tape measure is to a builder

Unhurried Homeschooling: Why We Need to Slow Down

We have been homeschooling for over 27 years. We have eight children that we have homeschooled from the start. We’ve graduated 7 from high school and one from college. When I started this journey with our kids, the internet wasn’t in existence. We didn’t have cell phones and homeschool curriculum availability was limited.

As the years have passed, I’ve watched the internet, cell phones, and curriculum companies give us access to unlimited amounts of information. Although these can be helpful, I am also realizing how detrimental this seems to be, especially for those who are just beginning their homeschool journeys. 

For hundreds of years, children have been allowed to have plenty of playtime, spending hours building forts, making bows and arrows, collecting bruises and bloody knees, and loving every minute of it! They were engrossed in childhood. Our world has changed, but our children have NOT! 

They arrive in this world with many, many stages of development that they must walk through before becoming healthy, well-adjusted adults. Our job as parents is to provide an environment that allows them to do that well. Their health and wellbeing are dependent on it. 

The trouble is, as homeschooling parents, we are terrified that our children are going to fall behind “educationally.”
I am here to tell you that that IS THE LEAST OF YOUR PROBLEMS.

“What if I told you that the answer was not only incredibly
uncomplicated but will make your days much less stressful?”

As parents we are desperately trying to do what is best for our children. We are bombarded with information on parenting and homeschooling. We are running around stressed out and constantly second-guessing ourselves. In the meantime, our kids are feeling the pressure and it is eroding their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.The results are that our kids are having to cope with the complexities of adulthood and losing their one chance to be a kid. In an effort to do what we think will ultimately benefit our children, we are, in fact, robbing them of the very thing they need to engage in higher learning and become well-adjusted adults.

So what do our children REALLY need? What if I told you that the answer was not only incredibly uncomplicated but will make your days much less stressful?SIMPLIFY.SIMPLIFY.SIMPLIFY

Children react to too much busyness and stress with a similar “crisis mode” response that a child in a war zone
would. Their coping mechanisms kick in because they simply don’t have the ability to process adult-type stresses.
In other words, we need to keep their lives very simple by allowing them plenty of time to play, explore, reflect
and release tension. They need to be allowed the gift of boredom which encourages creativity and self-
directed learning.

What this means for us as parents is that we are going to have to trust…trust our instincts to know when our kids are and are NOT ready for more. We need to filter unnecessary busyness. We are going to have to be the ones to protect our children’s childhood both by saying no to things that will chip away at their playtime AND by not loading them down with too much bookwork too soon.

Childhood isn’t something to “get through.” It serves a real and lasting purpose. It is the foundation for higher learning. Each stage of development brings them closer to adulthood. We want that to be a natural, whole process and that requires letting them be who God made them to be. We let them be kids so they can be healthy adults.


As homeschooling parents, we need to let go and trust our children’s natural ability to learn. “To believe these precious little ones are ready for our adult version of ‘education’ is one of the biggest mistakes we could make. A slower, gentler approach lends itself to growing WITH children so by the time they reach the age of 12-15 yrs, they are excited about all they can learn. Suddenly their learning takes off at warp speed and more than makes up for the ‘slower’ start.” (This is a quote from my simple, mercifully short book on homeschooling, called The Unhurried Homeschooler.)

I’ve spent over 31 years as a student of our kids, watching them absolutely thrive in this unhurried approach to homeschooling. It’s made homeschooling not only doable but enjoyable. The hardest part was not letting others determine how we would approach our days. I can tell you it was well worth the effort as I watch our kids launch into the world, not perfect, but definitely whole and healthy. They have fond memories of their childhoods and I wouldn’t go back and change anything about the way we approached learning. Our kids have turned out to be lifelong learners, but more importantly, close friends and well- adjusted adults.

“They need to be allowed the gift of boredom”

Homeschooling as a model to see Revival become Reform

As colleges and universities across the USA and Canada rejoice over revival , many people 1 remain skeptical for fear that this stirring will turn out to be just another over-sensational experience that doesn’t transform into substantive obedience to God.

Questioning these different events is normal because most of us have lived long enough to see ‘fires’ dwindle, ‘callings’ fade, and ‘conversions’ lack repentance. The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt 26:41). And so we’ve seen ‘the sprit’ of many things die; such as prayer, witnessing, and faithfulness to Christ. After visiting the Asbury campus for myself, and seeing the genuine repentance and desire to seek God during the ongoing worship service, I am hopeful that this revival is sincere. However, because I live in Kentucky now, I will continue to visit the campus after the dust settles to ask: How does personal devotion to the Lord turn into institutional change? How does revival turn into reform? 

Tim Tysoe and I recently talked about this topic on our podcast, The Other Club. How does revival turn into reform? Here it is: Christians need to turn godly desires into an applied, structural, and systematic Biblical worldview to produce the lasting fruit of obedience to God. Christians need to practically overcome internal and external obstacles that impede growth. This is true for institutions such as Asbury University: extended, passionate worship must lead to policy corrections. This is true for the government and church, where both continuously need principled changes. And, this is also true of the family. This answer reminded my about the strengths of homeschooling. The Biblical and practical actions homeschooling-families take is a model for producing these kinds of outcomes. This article will demonstrate how simply homeschooling helps to achieve an applied, systematic, and structured worldview; and how it overcomes barriers to growth.

The Biblical and practical actions homeschooling-families take is a model for producing these kinds of outcomes.

Homeschooling Allows Families to Achieve A Systematic and Structured Worldview

1. By Recognizing and Utilizing the Formal and Informal Discipleship that Occurs in The Home

Informal discipleship occurs because God has designed the situations of our very existence, within the situations of the natural world, to be one of his tools to conform our lives to the likeness of Christ. Homeschooling facilitates a walk along, talk along, and bring along style of learning, which recognizes and harnesses the creational nature of education given to the family (Get. 1:28)

Homeschooling correctly places real responsibility on parents to do their job as Deuteronomy prescribes (Deut 6:4-9). Pastors often recognize the need for parents’ responsibility, but there is often very little pastoral planning to help them achieve this goal. That’s because much of informal discipleship should occur in the home by design. Pastors can’t plan it, but the informal discipleship aspects of the homeschooling family can plan for it. It is the ‘followership’ nature of the home where parents involve their children in their own lives that is so powerful. The family naturally provides an apprenticeship setting. Life is the context for discipleship.

The homeschooling family sets expectations for adults to serve and take their children to serve alongside them in ministry. Service-oriented ministries can be planned and executed quite easily by intentional family. These situations often end up being very community-oriented, and intergenerational. While children serve with parents, they often serve alongside other adults who are cooperating with the family. It is accepted and encouraged that the homeschooling environment will facilitate other mentoring opportunities. This is also positive because it allows for the elders of the church to evaluate and support parents as they watch how the parents interact with their children during these informal times.

Formal discipleship occurs when we come together as a group for learning, worship, to study God’s Word, or to pray in His Spirit. Homeschooling rightly sees a merger between education and the formal discipleship for the Christian child. This conclusion leads families to execute a hybrid application of many well-established reformed schooling ideas that take seriously the role of the parent and the foundation of scripture combined with learning logic, rhetoric, and arithmetic. In this model, most formal aspects of training are done during the day . This allows families to achieve formal discipleship regularly and conveniently, while other nonhomeschooling families have to find time sporadically in the evening and or on the weekend.

The family and church must rebalance what it means by the words “diet” and “supplement” in regards to children’s and young adult ministries. Homeschoolers agree that the church family should be an intergenerational faith-family who engage with children and young adults, but we reject the idea that children need to be separated from parents during key times of congregational learning. Therefore, a normal homeschooling weekly schedule reflects these expectations by making the home’s formal work the “diet” and the churches activities for children a secondary “supplement”. These churches who support these families emphasize catechizing and giving parents ideas about worshipping at home.

At the beginning of my pastoral ministry, I did not understand how fundamental the difference between educational models. I did not understand how much the church needed to establish a philosophy of ministry that includes home education in order for them to realize structural goals. However, it has become clear that the combination of informal and formal discipline in the home results in a method of training that is greatly beneficial to the great life of the church. So much of this is achieved in the family when the family organizes and the church utilizes the family rather than overlooking it.

2. By Agreeing and Acknowledging that Fathers Are a Central Part of the Discipleship Equation

In their theological reflections, pastoral descriptions of church life, and overall concerns, pastors regularly share a common vision to see men more engaged with the discipleship of their children. Even though many pastors may not yet have established, consistent methods, we share a common desire to encourage men, and share a common vision to solve the current absentee-father crisis. Homeschooling engages fathers in the discipleship/educational process in a manner unrivaled by any other ministry model.

Fathers are often recognized by leaders as the most important figures for the discipleship of the family in two ways: First, elders understand the ontology of a father. By nature, God has created the husband to be a certain person and to have a certain function within the family unit, the church, and society. God explicitly gave men certain exhortations to be the head of the home. Second, pastors suggest that fathers are significant in practical ways during the discipleship process.

Regarding the nature and responsibility of a man, one pastor has said, “The father is ultimately responsible for the leadership of his family and the teaching of his family.” Another has described the husband with his own personal experience in mind, “I hope that the church is a bit of a reflection of what I have tried to be as a father and a family leader.” With regards to practical aspects, one pastor interviewed built on Puritan theology, “The Puritans spoke that way and talked that way. Within that context of the family I think there is, I think God has appointed a spiritual leader of that tiny little sort of church or a congregation, if you want to put it in those sort of terms. I think the husband, father, man in that setting is called to be the one who would initiate, engage and do the work of that discipling.”

As principle or teacher, fathers get involved with their children’s lives on a more frequent basis than when they send the children away to be mentored and coached by others.

3. By Agreeing and Acknowledging the Important Role of Motherhood

Duane Garrett remarks that Proverbs “does not begin its instruction with lofty or abstract analysis, but from the very outset the book is grounded in the lives and problems of real people” (Garrett 1993, 69). Prov 1:8 reads, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” This proverb casts the primary context for childhood and adolescent character development within the central framework of the parent-child relationship. Similar to the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exod 20:12), which Paul reminds us is the only command to come with a promise (Eph 6:2), wisdom literature calls young men and women to submit to the instructions of their parents with honor and respect as a matter of maturation.

Having addressed fatherhood, we turn now to motherhood. Something happens within the life of the child or young adult when they learn to obey the wise callings and promptings of their mothers. Like when a rag is wrung out of its filthy water, or when rotten potatoes get sorted out of the bushel, folly is driven away by the discipline of a relentless mother who will not permit her children to spurn her authority. According to proverbial wisdom, there are five key figures who have authority to discipline: (1) The Lord, (2) father, (3) mother, (4) advisers, and (5) the king.

Mothers are, in general, the fundamental attachment-figure for children. Their relationship is quite influential and important to children. Mothers who mother produce sons who value women and daughters who value motherhood. Thus, a mother needs to intentionally yield room in her routine so that her children can participate with her in the matters of life.

4. By Integrating our Christian Presuppositions into all Subjects

Historically Protestant-Reformed denominations such as Lutherans, Reformed-Baptists, and Christian-Reformed Churches used education as a tool for this kind of discipleship because education investigates and integrates Christian Presuppositions, such as the authority and infallibility of scripture, into all subjects. However, Answers in Genesis and other apologetic movements have risen up to address a broader audience with the expectation that discipleship should be interwoven with the physical subjects of education.

Ken Ham observes that, “The church gave up the earthly things (e.g. the biological, anthropological, astronomical, geological, and historical) and focused only on heavenly things (spiritual matters, relationships, the gospel). Where do you go to learn about geology, astronomy, biology, and anthropology? The answer is always ‘school.’ Ninety percent of children from church homes attend public/government schools” (Ham 2012, 48).

Ham and others also struggle with the lack of apologetic depth in Sunday school materials and the lack of time given to cement the core beliefs of scripture. “This leaves children vulnerable to rhetorical and critical attack” (Ham 2012, 48). If we don’t think about these physical and creational realities in relation to God, then we don’t talk about them in relation to God; and then we are swept away by those who claim authority in the place of God.

Thomas Whittaker identified this issue as far back as 1891. His views sought to increase education because, “One hour, at most, in the Sunday school, and at least thirty hours in the week in the secular school. Fifty-two hours in the year in the Sunday school [is] a little more than an ordinary school week. What is the comparison of influence between the two” (Whittaker 1891, 97)?

Home educators are uniquely positioned to reengage the scriptures in all these areas. Home schooling allows us to avoid secular school boards, Christian schools drifting left, while using robust Christian-worldview curriculums that take these physical disciplines seriously in relation to our faith in Christ. A Christian worldview training that integrates history, Bible, science, and art in a way that is glorifying to God and robust is truly advantageous to the child.

Homeschooling Allows Us to OvercomeThose Things That Stand in our Way

“Drivers” are those things that motivate Christians to be active towards a goal. This term concisely describes all of the cultural and contextual situations that influence parents and pastors. They are the theories that ‘drive’ us. In this context, they are the hopes and expectations that drive us to empower the family and give it focus, training, and resourcing. We have addressed a number of ways homeschooling fulfills those things driving us.

“Barriers” are inhibitors to growth. These can be found within the man or woman, or institutionally, within the church. They are the cultural and contextual situations that deter parents and pastors from action. Homeschooling helps overcome these barriers.

1. By Overcoming Conflicting Ministry Purposes

The home educator makes a clear separation between discipleship and evangelism with regards to the programs, classes, and events we offer to children and young adults. Many churches confuse these things so that discipleship is watered down and ineffective. Likewise, Sunday mornings and day-time education are discipleship, serving with parents to do ministry is discipleship, and living in community with the other generations is discipleship. In all these areas, the homeschooler do not design life with “seekers” as the target, rather they specifically equip children and young adults with apologetic training in order for them to go out into the real world to reach the lost.

2. By Overcoming False-assumptions of Children and Young Adults

As evidenced by many of the works reviewed concerning children’s spiritual formation, it is clear that we as the body of Christ have lowered the bar of obedience and self-discipline to dangerously low levels. This in part because we have placed far too much emphasis on psychological theory

One of the homeschoolers strengths is setting a higher standard, and seeing children and young adults achieve higher results. Once peer influences are put in check, children and students are far more willing to grow under the authority of their parents and in step with the passion of their parents and other adults. We argue that children can handle far more than we give them credit for. Simple entertainment and peer-dependent youth ministries do not lead the next generation into personal piety or practical devotion. As homeschoolers systematically raise the bar for children and young adults, honoring them for success and correcting laziness and selfishness, we see fruit that others do not see.

3. Overcoming Time Constraints

Time management is a key problem for spiritual formation. Homeschoolers have the unique and powerful ability to overcome this obstacle. When parents do more things during the day with their children they do not need to so overwhelmed with activity. By considering the relationship between Christian education and formal discipleship, homeschoolers are able to overcome the business and inefficiency of involving children with every kind of extra-curricular and church activity in the evening while at the same time overcoming the lack of parental involvement in the local school system.

As already presented, time management was one of the major barriers for pastors. It is a struggle to call people to be engaged in critical discipleship materials while focusing on outreach as well. Thus, most of these churches had a traditional Sunday school and mid-week program to offer formal discipleship which targeted Christian children and non-Christian children at the same time. They promoted techniques for children’s ministry and youth ministry where church- kids were the participants of evangelistic events so they would bring their nonChristian friends to hear the gospel.

Many pastors have revealed that time was a barrier for people to do effective disciplining or to be involved in church life. These has come up to me in various descriptions. One pastor said, “Well everyone says they do not have time. We do live busy lives in our context. Even in rural cottage country we do live busy lives.” Another said, “So we are finding if we throw an event we get a very minimal response just because people are busy and there is so much competition.” Another shared, “I realized, to that our Chinese families, who are very busy professionals were carving out time to bring their kids to church every Sunday, it is very intentional.” During a discussion on the limitations of the parents, one pastor observed that good discipleship requires the time to execute certain requirements. He was concerned that where parents didn’t want to take the time, the church would be required to step in.

Time is a real concern. Home educating not only addresses, but solves the time barrier.

Conclusion

Through the ongoing work of God to perfect and train up mom and dad as they parent the next generation, God does a wonderful thing in the child in very practical ways. These Biblical and practical actions for homeschooling-families constitute a model for producing long lasting fruit. Homeschooling helps achieve an applied, systematic, and structured worldview; and it overcomes barriers to a healthy home discipleship environment. 

Homeschooling Allows Us to Overcome Those Things That Stand in our Way

WORDS FROM A SEASONED HOMESCHOOL DAD – FINANCIAL LITERACY

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In just three years, the greatest teacher of all time impacted the world more than anyone else. How was that possible? Jesus Christ was both human and divine. What did He say about financial literacy? A lot! He taught about money matters more than heaven and hell combined. Many of His parables were filled with financial overtones.

What did he say? Before I get into specifics let me say emphatically that if our government gurus studied Jesus’ teachings on the proper use of money, we would not be in today’s financial mess. Sometimes I think senior finance bureaucrats need a Dave Ramsay course or counsel from Mary Hunt!

First, a little about me. My family came to Canada from communist Europe when I was four, and we settled in Toronto. My dad was an accountant in Poland, but in Canada he got a job in a bakery as an oven man. It was hot and hard work. He did not have to speak much English, be employed year-round, and buy fresh baked goods for his four children. He often worked nights to earn more. My mom worked during the daytime in the Sears steno pool. Both parents toiled and were especially frugal. 

Jesus… taught about money matters
more than heaven and hell combined.

First, a little about me. My family came to Canada from communist Europe when I was four, and we settled in Toronto. My dad was an accountant in Poland, but in Canada he got a job in a bakery as an oven man. It was hot and hard work. He did not have to speak much English, be employed year-round, and buy fresh baked goods for his four children. He often worked nights to earn more. My mom worked during the daytime in the Sears steno pool. Both parents toiled and were especially frugal.

My dad had a curious habit of tracking all the family income and outflow.As I saw him hunched over bank statements, a homemade ledger, and numerous receipts I thought to myself, “What’s the point of tracking where your money went? It’s gone. You can’t get it back.” Being a kid, I just didn’t understand that if Dad, knew exactly where his money went in September and October, he could plan much better for November and December.

I graduated with an MBA from York University, moved to Alberta where I met a great gal, and got married. She wanted four children, I wanted five. She got her four; I got my five, and God threw in one bonus. Priscilla and I homeschooled for over thirty years—six boys and four girls.

Was it easy? No way! Was it worth it? Most definitely!

What do home educators need to know about money matters? Usually, we have only one income and often our family size is bigger than average. Home schoolers must have good money skills.

As I was going through university, I had a daily habit of reading the 31 chapters of Proverbs based on the date of the month. Over time I noticed that 175 out of 946 verses spoke directly or indirectly about financial matters. Some described how to gain or lose money. Others spoke of treasures more valuable than wealth or how we inadvertently contaminate our wealth. Most of what I learned was not included in my university education or training as a professional accountant (CPA).I made many intriguing and uncomfortable discoveries.

When it comes to financial literacy, I could certainly speak of investing in the stock market or explain various types of insurance or get into complex tax reduction strategies. But, since all learning starts with the basics, consider three preliminary questions:

Question 1: Will you learn from the greatest teacher of all time? Even the simple act of thanking God before meals or reciting the Lord’s prayer acknowledges His involvement in our daily lives. I remember reciting the Lord’s prayer, each day in grade-school. Of course, most of the time I did it mindlessly, but subconsciously, I associated my needs with God’s provision. Getting super-human help is essential to handling money problems successfully, and you won’t get this advice from the big banks. So, back to the question: Do you want to include God in solving your financial problems? Yes, or no? Take the three-question quiz on wisdomwithwealth.org.

Question 2: How are you tracking your cash inflow and outflow? Basic rule: If your outflow exceeds your income your upkeep will be your downfall.Most Canadians live in a financial fog. I suspect the banks and credit card companies want to keep us dependent on them. They want financial dependence. We want financial independence. Financial independence starts small. It begins with taking stock of where you are. Start today.

Question 3: Are you really willing to make changes? I believe that we will face rough waters soon. Even if the so called “global reset,” does not happen, the fallout from many years of overspending and cover up with (effectual) money printing will be ugly. Are you getting ready? Our financial conditions will change and the sooner we get ready, the better. Was it raining when Noah built the ark?

Now for the sad news. Some aspects of financial literacy are boring. Often, basic solutions to a problem are not new. Great truths, even great financial truths, are too important to be new.

We want to look at the following:

  • 1.Productivity (Serving Others)
  • 2.Consumer Habits (Spending)
  • 3.Investing (Saving)
  • 4.Charitable Giving (Sharing)
  • 5.Prayer (Supplication)

To get a quick overview of the top four, go to the front page of wisdomwithwealth.org and watch the four videos. For number five you will need to dig deeper – register and login. 

Over time I noticed that 175 out of 946 verses spoke directly or indirectly about financial matters.

The One Thing

one

 “I made everyone a mailbox, put it on their bedroom doors, and sent them all mail, but no one has the time to send me any mail!” my 10-year-old daughter moaned, “no one has time to play!”

“Play?” My mind fought to come up with a reasonable excuse. “She doesn’t realize Grandpa’s just come through open heart surgery, a number of bills need paid, we’re down to one vehicle, her sister-in-law has gone through a devasting late miscarriage, and look what’s happening in the world…!”

I call it “mind chaos.” Webster defines chaos as, “…a confused mass or jumble of things, a state of utter confusion.”

“But she’s right. Why can’t I play her game for a while? Why is my mind in chaos? How am I ever going to be of the right “mindset” to homeschool this fall? I sent up a prayer. A verse came to mind. “…Let us lay aside every weight… (weight meaning: worry, concern, debt, mass, burden, encumbrance…) and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1. God then reminded me that I needed to keep the most important thing first for me not to have a chaotic mind.

…Let us lay aside every weight… (weight meaning: worry, concern, debt, mass, burden, encumbrance…) and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

A few days later, I heard a preacher speak on Psalm 27. David says, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” David’s number one goal was to have sweet communion with God himself. My mind went to the New Testament to Jesus’ words, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part…” Luke 10:41

As I think over the last 26 years of homeschooling our 11 children, it is difficult for me to believe that only one thing is necessary. However, I have noticed that when I start the day intently reading a few verses, praying ‘real’ prayers (giving God all that churns me on the inside), like: Lord, today we must pick apples and process them. But I’m tired, Lord, would you please give me the desire and strength? And: Lord, I’m concerned about — I see them heading in a direction that is not pleasing to you, would you please intervene? I give you all my stress.” And then I sing a few praise songs, it sets the mood in my heart for the rest of the day, hence, I start my homeschool day trusting in God, fresh and unencumbered.

God reminded me that he is faithful. As I “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” he really has “added all these things unto us.” Despite all my imperfections as a mom, and all the valleys and mountain top experiences we’ve shared as a family, I am enjoying my 5 married children and their spouses, along with our 12 precious grandchildren, and our 6 single young people.

As I thought about these things, I ran to my desk and wrote a note to my daughter about how much I love her and how special she is. I slipped it in her ‘mailbox.’ Later, her face beamed as she approached me.

“I wrote you a poem,” she said.

“A poem?” I thought, “She has never written a poem.” I read it, “To give, to take, to sleep, to wake, I’ll always think of my sweet mom and dad, from Tia.”

May I remember to do the one thing.

Melodie Vervloet

One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.
– Psalm 27

A Helpful Handbook

A Helpful Handbook

When I get a handbook alongside an item, a car for example, it is meant to help me understand and appreciate the thing I’ve invested in. You could say that its intent is to continue to encourage support for the choice the consumer has made. What I don’t find in my handbook is encouragement to make a different choice, undermining my decision. If only the drafted update to the home education handbook seemed to work the same way.

10 years is a long time to wait between updates. The home education community and stakeholders have felt impatient as the old ‘current’ handbook is missing so many vital changes that have taken place after the last few years of advocacy. AHEA contributed to this resource for parents who go to the government website because it has importance. It is a bridge for those who don’t know yet of other places to go for information or previously helped them know who the stakeholders representing their interests are. Parents should be able to find a goodly amount of help here.

This draft that the Department of Education finally shared in July can not exactly be described as ‘helpful.’ The last discussion on it and draft, a year ago and with different staff, left us a bit more hopeful. Now one could say this draft of the handbook is factual but dissuading and even discouraging for those who have already chosen or do want to consider home education, leaving the purpose of it a question. That purpose needs clarification if this version is going to exceed the old.

Critically, the underlying philosophical difference between the bureaucracy and home education families is captured in the second sentence, stating that, “Parents or guardians choosing a home education program for their children assume the primary responsibility for their child’s education.” (italics mine) Actually, parents that choose to home educate retain their responsibility to educate their child, they do not assume it from the government. We believe and have defended this as a God given, not government given, right and an essential pairing with the responsibilities they have.

Parents that choose to home educate retain their responsibility to educate their child, they do not assume it from the government.

It is the elected government’s job to balance and manage the bureaucracy and true respect for the people, all people, including minorities. In the education world home education is the minority. Advocating for that respect at both the bureaucratic and elected level has been important and helpful. This handbook provides another opportunity for the government to show it values and defends the choices in education that Albertans have, specifically those that choose and support home education. There is a lot of work yet to do, but we’ve made progress.

As the Minister of Education, Adriana LaGrange has not only said she respects choice in education, she has demonstrated that respect in multiple ways during the years that she has held this post. She has earned and kept my respect in her dealings with AHEA on home education matters. Yet I must add that I would, and should, expect the same from any person holding that office, as should you. Any official elected by the people of such a diverse province must not be allowed to narrow the field of choices for families. Instead, they should consider it their sacred trust to guard the freedom Albertans treasure and the boon to creativity and individuality that flows from it. This is a strength, not a weakness.

Home education families have to be pretty tough and committed to their choice. They have done this for decades, resisting suggestions that presumptuously wish to imply that they have made an error. They face unique challenges but feel that the benefits tip the scales in favour of this specialized and individual education for their children. It would be nice to see the commitment to choice in education be enthusiastically supported by all parties involved in delivering it.

The Department of Education is to be above these choices, an equal supporter and arbiter that is much like a referee and not on any particular team. There are some really great people in the Department that I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with. I hope and pray that enough fair-mindedness and respect for choice have been encouraged and fostered that we can all consider ourselves on the same page. There will be challenges ahead that will test our mutual commitment to freedom and the beauty of diverse learning contexts, styles and outcomes. I believe that these are strengths and encourage freedom loving families to help protect them all, from the least to the greatest, with respect for the children and families that thrive in each one, just as we have sought freedom and respect.

This handbook provides another opportunity for the government to show it values and defends the choices in education that Albertans have, specifically those that choose and support home education.

My detailed analysis of the draft document will go directly to the Minister and the Department of Education, but here is something for the home education parent to consider. We must each learn to pay attention to the details and to the language. Think about the implications and underlying ideas that have gained traction – it matters. I appreciated when families have shared their thoughts or findings with me so that my efforts to represent you were focused, coordinated and timely – it mattered. 

I thank you for letting me represent you. Let’s pray that the efforts and groundwork of these last years will continue to bear fruit in ways that have been sought but have not yet come to fruition. It really would be wonderful to see things continue to happen for the home education families and community here in Alberta.

“How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you,
which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.”Psalm 31:19