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Feb
4

Homeschooling and Public School Partnership Programs

Homeschooling and Public School Partnership Programs Homeschooling and Public School Partnership Programs by Kenneth Knott   For many homeschoolers, August represents a time of final planning for the upcoming academic year.  In doing so, wise parents naturally ask themselves if they are employing the most effective methods of instruction possible.  While some parents are content with implementing only minor adjustments to their routines, other parents are desperate for solutions for the various challenges they perceive.  It is not surprising, then, to witness a growing number of homeschoolers joining the various “partnership” programs offered by the public school system. There are a number of reasons why public school partnerships generally represent less-than-ideal approaches for most homeschoolers.   Before we discuss some of these reasons, it may be useful to review the historical context in which these partnerships have emerged.  While doing so, I’ll occasionally share certain firsthand experiences to help illustrate the shortcomings of these approaches. From Grassroots to Mainstream to Partnerships Homeschooling as commonly expressed today began as a grassroots movement in the mid-‘70s to early-‘80s.  Back then, the pioneers that initiated the movement didn’t call what they were doing “homeschooling.”  They simply schooled their children at home, intuitively knowing they were providing a better way for their children than the one offered through the public school system or through private education. As homeschooling gained initial momentum, a number of public school systems challenged its legality.  Many school districts did not recognize nor respect the God-given right for parents to be directly involved with their children’s education.  The arrogance of certain districts was so extreme that lawsuits were sometimes filed against parents for allegedly refusing to abide by certain compulsory attendance laws.  As providence would have it, virtually none of those lawsuits were successful.  By the mid-‘90s, essentially every state in the union formally recognized homeschooling as a viable and legal option.  Thankfully, Michigan emerged as one of the more “homeschool friendly” states. By the end of the millennium, homeschooling became essentially mainstream and, for the last couple of decades, has enjoyed certain reputable notoriety.  However, many educational professionals remained uneasy, most notably those in charge of budgets who resented the fact that thousands of dollars were no longer being received for every homeschooler who was no longer enrolled in the system.  Also at play was a general “the experts know best” attitude on behalf of many professionals; they were just sure homeschoolers were somehow neglecting their children.  Conversely, certain homeschoolers expressed their own resentments, sour...
Apr
2

Thoughts on 30+ Years of Homeschooling — w/ Chris Davis

Thoughts on 30+ Years of Homeschooling — w/ Chris Davis As a homeschooled graduate who began homeschooling in the late 1970s and 1980s, I have a desire to introduce current homeschoolers to their history. Chris Davis was one of the pioneers of the modern-day homeschooling movement. He was the founder of The Elijah Company, one of most successful homeschooling book catalogs of the 1980s and 90s, is an author of several books on home education, and is the founder of a homeschooling travel ministry. For many years Chris spoke around the nation, encouraging and equipping Christian parents for the task of raising their children to fulfill God’s unique calling on their lives. I am grateful to call Chris a friend and am excited about introducing you to his wisdom. — Israel Wayne Israel Wayne: Tell us about your background in education and what led you to the radical decision to home educate your own sons. (What year did you begin homeschooling?) Chris Davis: It is my experience that a person’s worldview changes only when he discovers truths he did not previously know. The Bible calls this “repentance” which literally means “afterwards, to understand”. Sometimes God has to deal with a person in such a way that, afterwards, he is forced to understand things he would not have accepted without God’s dealings which are often lovingly painful. So it was that in 1982, my 4 month old son was diagnosed with a terminal disease, a personal, drawn-out crisis that caused me to reconsider everything I had been taught (and had accepted) about God, the Church, and just about everything else I believed to be “truth”. My soul was in turmoil and my life at a crossroads. Not the best place for a young pastor to be. Into this confusion, God came to me with Jeremiah 6:16 promising that if I “stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ‘ancient path’—once I discovered that path and was willing to take it—I would find rest for my soul”. As I questioned everything from who He is to what His church means to how to raise children, I began to build what I considered a biblical framework and a very personal, faith relationship with my Father. About 1984 I left the professional pastorate and also decided my sons would not attend public school, an educational decision which was illegal at the time. Israel Wayne: What do you see as some of the greatest difficulties families face when they make the transition from institutional classroom schooling to a home-based learning environment? Chris Davis: My sense is that families face the same difficulties and basic...
Apr
21

A Shift in the Homeschooling Movement

I have had a unique viewpoint in the homeschooling movement since 1978 when my mother started homeschooling my sister and me. The modern-day Christian homeschooling movement began in 1983, so I’ve literally seen just about everything that has ever happened in this sub-culture (for better or worse!). In 1988, my mother began publishing the national magazine, Home School Digest, which is the nation’s longest-running Christian home education magazine. I’ve personally worked full time in publishing, writing, and speaking in the homeschooling community since January 1993. I consistently speak to about 10,000-20,000 homeschoolers each year. My viewpoint is not omniscient, but I do think I have a unique perspective on where we have been and where we may be headed. My heart has been heavy for the future of this movement. In recent months, the homeschooling community has been rocked by a couple of national scandals involving some of the best-known speakers/advocates of homeschooling in America. As a result, many families are struggling to find their sense of “True North.” Many feel angry, some hurt, others betrayed, and more confused. I believe we are experiencing a shaking. That isn’t all bad. “And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:27). We’ve had some shifts before. In the early 1980’s and into the 1990’s, the homeschooling movement was largely controlled by those holding to a conservative, fundamentalist Baptist theology. The dominant curriculum publishers were A BEKA, Bob Jones University Press and ACE/School of Tomorrow. By the mid-1990’s, homeschooling leadership began to shift towards Reformed Theology. In many sectors of the homeschooling movement, the leaders were predominately adherents to some or all of the following: Christian Reconstruction, Dominion Theology, Postmillenialism, Calvinism, Covenant Theology, and Theonomy. Certain tenets of their theology influenced them to believe that they should have many children and systematically instruct them in the Christian faith. So homeschooling, for them, is a more logical outworking of their theology than it may be for Christians of other traditions. However, during this era, which began to diminish several years ago, many Christians who did not hold to this theology felt marginalized within the movement. Because of the staunch Biblical literalism and theological dogmatism entrenched in the movement, and traditional views on marriage and child-training, the Christian homeschooling movement has not been a welcoming place for a lot of people who do not hold to conservative views such as: Courtship/Betrothal as...
Apr
21

Christian Education: A Manifesto – Israel Wayne

Christian Education: A Manifesto – Israel Wayne This document represents a Biblical view of the training and Christian education of children. Since most Christians are unaware of the Biblical instruction on these matters, I have endeavored to lay out the clear direction of Scripture as it relates to the mandate of parents to provide Christian education for their own children in the ways of the LORD. All of this is predicated on the realization that God has given children to their parents (see Genesis 33:5, 1 Samuel 1:27 and Psalm 127:3), and has charged them with inalienable rights and responsibilities. What the Bible says about Christian Education: Exodus 10:2: “That you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians, and how I performed My signs among them; that you may know that I am the LORD.” Instruction of the young is given to parents and grandparents. Exodus 20:3: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Evolution and Humanism are substitutes for the true and living God.   Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and mother.” Government schools dishonor parents (and by example teach children to as well) by claiming that the State can nurture children better than the parents.   Exodus 20:15: “You shall not steal.” Government schooling forcibly takes money from property owners (who may not even have children) to pay for the education of other people’s children. This is legal plunder (socialism—taking from the “rich” to educate the poor) and it is immoral. Legal plunder is legalized theft and is a violation of the 8th Commandment. It is hypocritical that schools expect Johnny not to cheat on a test (taking answers from Billy—i.e. Billy’s intellectual property), but they see nothing wrong with taking money from Billy’s dad (i.e. his physical property), to pay for Johnny’s education. Government schools do not operate upon the Biblical ethics that insist that all charity or giving to the poor should be voluntary (See Matthew 6:1-4). “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) While taxation is not Biblically immoral, confiscatory taxation for things that are outside of the proper jurisdiction of the civil government (i.e. abortions, education, etc.) is immoral.   Matthew 5:19: “Jesus said, ‘Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven;...
Apr
21

Important Mini-Movements in the Christian World

In his book, Revolution, which focuses on the life of the American church, researcher and cultural analyst George Barna uses the term “mini-movements” to describe a number of forces that are shaping the landscape of modern Christendom. According to Barna, research is showing that the most dramatic life-changing catalysts at work among believers today are mini-movements that are not connected with any particular national denomination or specific local church effort. What are some of these movements that are challenging people to become more serious in their faith and to embrace a comprehensive lifestyle of following Jesus in every area of their lives? The following are some of the movements that I think are the most significant in our day and age. They are not given in any particular order of chronology nor importance. They each have their place and are likely indispensable in the overall big-picture of God’s plan for our day and age. Homeschooling I have to start with this one because it is the one to which I’m most intimately connected. The modern Christian homeschooling movement has been nothing short of a move of God on our land. It reflects the heart of Malachi 4:6, where God promises to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and children to their fathers. Christian parents must take responsibility for the spiritual upbringing of their own children if they want to see Christianity survive the forces of postmodernism and Islamo-fascism rampant in our world today. Creationism Beginning in the 1960s with John Whitcomb and Henry Morris, the return to a Biblical view of origins and the emergence of a new breed of Bible-believing scientists, has revolutionized the Christian world. I believe that the Creationist movement in many ways helped to inspire a new interest in Christian education, encouraging the expansion of Christian schools and later homeschooling in America. This was in many ways a movement of reformation, calling Christians back to believing in the inspiration and authority of the holy Scriptures. Christian Financial Management When the late Larry Burkett first emerged on the scene in the late 1970s, talking about financial stewardship, he stuck out like a sore thumb. Today, there are hundreds of Christian financial coaches, and a number of national ministries dedicated to helping believers to become good stewards and managers of God’s resources. There is much work yet ahead, but the groundwork has been amply laid for this important movement to stir hundreds of thousands...

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