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The World Needs Home Educating Fathers

In a recent story in the Edmonton Journal, a scientist discussed his impending death and how he would not be continuing dialysis treatment: “What are two more weeks worth? You see? They are nothing.” Well, with all due respect to that scientist – who has since passed on – I disagree. Every minute is important.

Let me contrast the scientist’s view with the story of a successful businessman attending a conference in a large city far from home. After the close of the first day of the conference, the businessman spends some time networking with those in the same business as he. A group then heads to the subway to take a train back to the hotel where they are staying.

The businessman drops his binder of notes on the stairs leading down to the subway, and so he tells the rest of the group to go on ahead and he’ll meet them at the hotel. He picks up the scattered notes, continues down the stairs, and comes to the nearly deserted platform. Nearly deserted, except for a young man in his teens who is sitting on one of the benches smoking a cigarette.

The businessman doesn’t smoke, doesn’t like the smell of smoke, and notices that smoking is prohibited in the subway station. So he decides to go over and speak to the young man. As he approaches, he sees that the young man is shaking. When the young man looks up, his face is wet from tears.

The businessman was prepared to deliver a lecture and a rebuke. Instead, he sits down and says, “What’s the matter?” That question leads to a conversation that takes several hours. It lasts out of the subway station (because the station closes after the last train leaves), out to a nearby doughnut shop, and then into a taxi to take the young man home.

The businessman is saying goodbye, shaking the young man’s hand, when the young man tells him one last thing: “I don’t know why you came over to talk to me, but I want you to know something. That cigarette was going to be my last one. I was going to jump in front of the next train that came into the station. I’d be dead right now if it wasn’t for you.”

Every minute is important.

I know home-educating fathers already know that, because one of the reasons we educate at home is to spend as many minutes as we can with our children, forming them and helping them grow into good and godly men and women. But it often seems that the rest of our world has forgotten what is truly important.

If my life is only for me, then one minute or two weeks may not be worth much. But when we become adults, and especially when we become parents, we learn that our lives are not for ourselves. As fathers, we know that our lives are not meant to be focused on self but focused on others: our focus is on our wives, our children, on God. If we try to make our lives God-centred, then we will naturally become less me-centred.

That’s not easy, of course. As I write this, the countries of Greece and France have just held national elections where the people of those countries chose political parties that would not impose cutbacks on the country. “Turning away from austerity” said the headlines. “Turning away from adulthood” is what I thought; the people want more even though governments can’t pay for more.

We all want more. Our children want more. But as they grow into adults, one of the things we need to teach them and model for them is the nature of adulthood: adults try to be selfless, adults know how to sacrifice, adults know what it means to serve.

Fathers can show children that there is another path to follow instead of the easy road of the world. Through our example and our teaching, we can show just how rewarding a God-centred life can be, how much better it is to give than to receive, how life-changing and world-changing it is to sacrifice and serve.

Home-educating dads know the value of selflessness, sacrifice, and service. We need to teach it and to model it. The world needs us.




Paul van den Bosch is a member of AHEA’s Board of Directors. He and his wife Mary have home educated their seven children for over 18 years.

This article was originally written for the Summer 2012 issue of Home Matters.  For more articles, go here.


End of the Year Folders?

Just wondering how you keep track of what your children study and do?  I've got boxes for each of our children, where everything worthwhile keeping (usually writing, art projects, and accomplishments) is kept for posterity.  (Smile - they might end up scrapbooking some of the items eventually!)

I do know one home schooling mom who is pretty purposeful at putting together bound *End of the Year* books for each school age child (and she just had her seventh baby recently!).

I saw this idea - End of the Year Folders -  and they are gorgeous.  Even if all each of us did was the cover page, it would be a lovely record of the year.  Why not check it out and at the very least, keep the best of your child's work in a duotang or binder this year?{jcomments off}


Check out *Animal School*!

I'm not sure where you are in your educational journey OR on your educational journey with your children, but I'd strongly encourage everyone to watch Animal School and think about what that means to you personally and what it means concerning each of your children.

I know the first time I saw it, it hit me very hard. 

One of the best things about Home Educating our children, is our ability to treat them as individuals and to encourage each of them in the way they should go.  As you watch it, why not pray that God would speak to your heart about what you need to do for AND with your children, and if homeschooling is part of it.  If it is, check out the other blogs on the site - there is a lot of encouragement and tips available.  {jcomments off}


Home School (and More) Links for Today

I am not sure how you are today, but I find I always enjoy reading encouraging articles any time of the year.  Here are a few of the best links I have seen in the last 6 weeks.  (Smile - just cleaning out my inbox)

5 Ways to be Home School Teacher of the Year - Really, these are just the basics to make our home schooling run well.  It's a good reminder.

What do you do when Curriculum Isn't Working?  Check out this link for some great tips.  Never hesitate to change a curriculum or home school activity that isn't working. 

Love, love, love this post - Peace Over Productivity.  What a great reminder about what is really important....

Home School Mom - how are you doing today?  Are you tired?  Here is a post on Fatigue Fighters that was a great read.  If it connects with you, why not print it off OR share with a friend.  There are things we can do to up our energy!

I sometimes feel like I post a lot for home school moms of littles, but I think that homeschooling with littles can be one of the hardest things we do as home school moms AND can make us feel like quitting the most.  Here is a post for moms that have a new baby and are a bit discouraged about how much they are accomplishing each day.  The Baby is the Lesson.   Great link and article.

Here are some misc. great links that might help you home school better:  Worldbook Course of Study - a great online resource of what our kids need to know by when, Mission Focused Parenting - reminding us to be purposeful about discipling our children, 17 Pieces of Advice for My Niece - great article for our big kids to read and think about, Mommy and Me Bookclub - such a good idea - preschool book club with picture books and activities.

While I actually have more links to share, my time is up.  Have a great day home schooling!{jcomments off}



New ideas to keep little ones busy!

Smile - I continue looking for ideas to keep the 3 year old I babysit busy.  I enjoyed looking for things to buy that she would enjoy doing and am always working on extra activities that I have for her to do, while I home school our older girls.
I bought some dinosaur skeletons at the Dollar Store and buried them in the indoor sandbox yesterday. That kept her busy for a while.  I wish I had bought more of those!  (She loves dinosaurs)
I also bought Squinkies a few weeks ago - have looked at them for a few months.  They are pretty expensive to buy, but small and easy to store AND she really likes them.   They also are the *perfect* size for Polly Pocket Houses (I've got old Polly Pockets from our own girls and just about can't find the *people* to go with them, so finding out Squinkies work is great!)   I am packing different Squinkies with different houses - the dolls and houses easily fit in a big ziplock - so that makes two different activities. (I bought Ariel Squinkies and Barbie Squinkies. smile They even have Squinkies for Boys.)  These would also make great quiet toys for church.
By the way, I am always  very careful to say this is a *special* activity for you. I bought it for you and I hope you enjoy it. smile  I think it helps make the activities seem special.
The Dress Up Princess Bag is still a HIT. Rings, Crown, Sceptar, Beaded Necklaces and even a couple sunglasses can keep her busy for 20 minutes.  I want to add a hand mirror, but for now, she looks at herself in the hallway mirror.  (I am still looking for princess dress up shoes to add to it.)  smile
Not sure if I shared about the Pompoms and Megaphone. Bought those in November.  Smile - HUGE hit.
Again, I try to have quite a few bags (60+ I should count them - perhaps I am getting closer to 100). As long as she doesn't have any *one* of them too often, they keep her attention. 
(AND please note, it has taken me a few months to work up to 100 activities.  I knew it would make our home schooling work better, so it was a priority over the past 12 weeks.  I just thought about it, planned what I would make or buy on the weekend, and kept adding to my stash every week.  I have many excellent ideas pinned on Pinterest - here are ideas to keep 1 to 2 year olds busy, and ideas for 3 to 5 year olds.  I love the ideas that I already have what I need!  smile)
Anyway, those are my latest and greatest workboxes for littles.  I am finding they also work well for quiet toys in church.{jcomments off}
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