In a couple of months I will have the privilege and honor of speaking at the OCHEC homeschool convention here in Oklahoma City. As I start pulling my thoughts together for this class….I have spent some time looking back over the past eight years…. All I can say is what a journey. A lot of people ask me; Do you have any regrets about home schooling your children? I can proudly say I have only one regret. That would be that we did not start schooling our children at home years earlier than we did. When we finally made the leap into Home schooling we were still living in Florida and my oldest was enrolled in third grade and my youngest was in Kindergarten. I truly wish that we had never placed them in government schools. It is not my intention to offend or upset anyone with my comments. Nor is my intention to convince everyone to run and pull your children out and start schooling them at home. I need to stress that I have the utmost respect for those individuals who dedicate their lives to schooling our children. I have been on this Journey long enough to know that home schooling is not for everyone. However, I do know that it is a perfect fit for my family. It is my desire to share my heart with someone out there who may be considering starting out on their own journey.
This is a journey that takes sacrafice…..When we made the decision my wife was working with Hewit Associates and was well on her way to becoming a certified Benefit Administrator. We were a dual income family and living in one of the finest neighborhoods in the Central Florida area. We had annual passes to the Theme Parks, took long vacations, and pretty much were living what we felt was “the good life”. Our children were enrolled in the finest schools in Seminole county. However, it was at this point that we started noticing the change in our children. Our oldest came home one day and let us know that it was ok if we got divorced….his teacher had told him that all parents get divoriced. This was an issue to us that someone was leading our child down this road of thought. That someone with a high level of influence on our child had this as their belief. A short time later our youngest came home and advised us that we were all wrong..God did not create the universe..it was created with a big bang….That was the beginning of our wake up call. Most of you home schoolers are aware of this moment. That point in history when you know what must be done. We knew we had a choice…keep our current lifestyle and let our kids be raised by the world…..or make some changes and raise our children in the way we wanted. The decision for us was an easy one. In short order, Angela quit her job, we sold our house, and switched to a simpler lifestyle and all was perfect…….not quite. In between these events….were three hurricanes, a new baby, job change, cross-country move, house fire, and taking in three littles under two..to name a few. I would be truly remiss to say the change was an easy one. For a while we tried to hold on to both worlds…but God had other plans. The journey through all these challenges and how God strengthened and provided for us are the subject of another blog. However, if I had the chance to do it all over again….I would do so without even an ounce of hesitation.
I watch where my boys are now in their journey to manhood. I am amazed at the work that God has done in their hearts and with their lives. My oldest is an Eagle Scout, working toward his Mitchel award in Civil Air Patrol. His ultimate goal to gain acceptance to the Air Force Academy. My youngest is already working on his dream of owning his own General Contractor business. When other kids ask for video games and electronics for their 14th birthday…He asks for Dewalt tools to start building his toolbox ( A quick plug…Trinitywoodwork.webstarts.com…is his woodworking business website…Just a quick plug from a proud papa). My little girl is a blessing to her family and a helper to her mother. I know some of you say…well what kind of education are they getting…My answer is a good one. When we have our children tested they continually score well above their grade and in the top percentile. However,all these things aside…The greatest joy has been watching these boys characters develop. They are two young men with a heart for God and the little children of this world.
This is something that we have discovered as a unique quality of home school children. They do not recognize the grade and age structure put in place by our schools. It is amazing to go to the co ops and see 16-year-old young adults playing with and interacting with the elementary kids. The Middle School age kids working with High School age kids….I love to watch the maturity level of these children. To be greeted with a firm hand shake and a Good Morning Mr. Jones by my sons friends. I have to say it is quite refreshing.
Some of you may ask…where is he going with this. I by no means want to come across as just bragging about my kids (even though I am a very proud dad). However, as I said preparing for this speech has left me slightly introspective. Causing me to look back and take all of this in. My prayer is that this will speak to someones heart. That there may be someone out there who is thinking about home schooling or is asking is it worth the journey. The answer for me is a resounding Yes….I so look forward the coming years with my four remaining little ones. Have there been challenges and victories along the way…of course. Have there been times that I have had to look back and wonder…sure. However, as I press on down the road I am certain that we have taken the correct path and look forward to what lies ahead. If there is anyone out there who has doubts or questions if this is the road for their family. I would love to discuss with you. God did not create us to walk these paths alone…I am always glad for a little company on the journey.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tim them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)