A Multi-Generational Vision for Home Education Is Shared Internationally

A Multi-Generational Vision for

Home Education Is Shared Internationally

The Lord organised a wonderful opportunity for me (Keystone editor Craig Smith, C.S.) to fly off to Japan, Canada, the USA and Mexico from 1 August until 10 September where I was able to meet up with a number of key figures in the Home Education movement as well as spend extended time with my sons Zach (21) and Alanson (19), both totally home educated. First I was given some Air Points that needed to be used by the end of this year. Then we noticed that if we re-financed our mortgage at the present (lower) rates, we could not only acquire what I needed while over there but could actually save money overall in the process!

Good friend Takeyuki Ozawa, Ph.D., lecturer at a private university in Tokyo, introduced me to Rev. Haruto Yoshii, a key figure among Christian Home Schoolers in Japan. On short notice, and during the holiday period, it was organised for me to speak about home education with Take interpreting. What a thrill to see a total of eight family groups represented! Speaking with Rev. Yoshii afterwards, we discovered that the Lord had been impressing the same things on our hearts: how Christian home education was going to strengthen families and empower fathers especially; how Christian home education was going to revitalise the faith in ways not seen in years due to the (up until now seemingly inescapable) stultifying effects of compulsory state education; how Christian home education would eventually bring reformation to the Church and to society as a whole.  This is a multi-generational vision out into the future where Christ the King’s Lordship extends further and further. I won’t see it, but by God’s grace my children’s children will watch it happen in their children’s day!

Standing, L to R: C.S., Migaku Hashimoto, Ryosuke Ida, Dr Shu & Chieko Suzuki (children Ray, Hannah & Marie), Julie Fujiwara (daugher Yuriko), Sumiko Ino (daugher Ruth).Kneeling, L to R: Takeyuki Ozawa, Rev. Haruto Yoshii, Yuji & Megumi Akatsu (sons Mitsuteru & Tomoki, daughter Ai).

Zach and Alanson have been working and travelling all over the USA for Rainbow Resource Center, a huge mail-order supplier to home educators far and near (www.rainbowresource.com). I enjoyed a warm welcome by Bob & Linda Schneider and their seven home educated children, mostly grown up, at their home in Illinois and camping near the sandy shore of Lake Michigan. This family enterprise started — and still operates — with the desire to supply home educators with the books and resources they’d like at really affordable prices.

“Our mission is to provide quality educational materials to home school families and private schools. Since last year we more than doubled the size of our warehouse and office. This year the orders far exceeded our expected growth rate.”

Schneider family with Craig, Zach and Alanson

One day I jumped into Zach’s 1989 Jeep Cherokee and drove (on the right-hand side of the road!) through miles and miles of corn and soy bean fields to the banks of the Mississippi River where I had the great pleasure of both meeting and sharing a meal with Harvey & Laurie Bluedorn, authors of Teaching the Trivium, their daughters Johanna, Ava and Helena, as well as sons Hans and Nathaniel who themselves have authored The Fallacy Detective. (See www.triviumpursuit.com) These folks have taken areas most would shy away from — Classical Studies and Logic — and have thoroughly explained them for home educators from a thoroughly Christian worldview making these topics thoroughly accessible! The desire to see themselves and other Christians studying, understanding and discerning what the world of literature has to offer that is “of good and lasting value” — that is, commensurate with the Scriptures — kept the Bluedorns focussed on the task before them for many years. And now this former carpenter and his wife find themselves increasingly recognised as having a unique and comprehensive grasp on Classical literature and Classical languages as well as how “mere parents” can effectively impart these things to their own children at home.

Says Harvey Bluedorn: “A good education is one which gives a student all the tools, so that if he were stranded on a desert island, he could re-build a civilization”

It was like home away from home when we drove into Spearfish, South Dakota, and met up again with the entire Waring Family: Bill, Diana, Isaac, Michael & Melody! There is nothing quite like meeting up again with good friends after an absence! Diana’s books Beyond Survival and Reaping the Harvest especially, as well as her many other unique resources (see www.dianawaring.com) have had a tremendous impact on New Zealand after their tour all around the country in 1999/2000. Doing school at home is a recipe for burn-out, but Diana’s advice about “taking the scenic route” has made the home education task just so much more enjoyable for many of us. And the Warings, Lord willing, are coming again to Kiwiland (Auckland, Christchurch and some other areas) in January 2004!

The Warings sum up their ministry focus in their mission statement: “To serve by encouraging, equipping, and educating families in an entertaining way.”

Our nutty, break-neck schedule only allowed us one night with the Warings from whence we traversed untold miles of more corn, soy beans, grazing land and then open prairie across North Dakota, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta . We finally caught sight of the Rocky Mountains at the border of British Columbia then carried on north into North West Territories, Yukon and Alaska. One night just north of the 60th parallel, with the bats flying around and the beaver splashing noisily in the lake by which we’d pitched our tent, a glow in the sky attracted our attention. It soon formed into those colourful curtains known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, but lasted only about four minutes. Alanson and I felt especially blessed by the Lord, for He had allowed the two of us to see the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights about two years ago at Foxton Beach.

Zach, Alanson & I would start each day with prayer and Bible reading; we’d sing the old hymns and psalms; we’d talk on all kinds of things; and we read and discussed Education, Christianity and the State by J. Gresham Machen; worked our way through the Canons of Dort, the Belgic Confession and part of the Heidleberg Catechism; and got started on An Introduction to Christian Philosophy by Gordon H. Clark. As we travelled south we visited family and friends in British Columbia, Washington and California. Roared through hundreds of miles of desert and cactus all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Just outside of Houston we spent an evening with a family we felt we mirrored in many ways: a lot of children, totally committed to very similar expressions of Christ’s church, a passion for home education, and we both edit what are probably the largest circulating magazines for Christian home educators in our respective countries: James and Tracy McDonald, editors of Homeschooling Today (www.homeschooltoday.com).  Again we were able to share the same exciting vision of how equipping Christian home educators with both the vision and the practical tools for being ever-increasingly Biblical in family life, in thought, word and deed would in time change our communities and even change our countries.

Homeschooling Today® Magazine – A focus not only on the mechanics, but also the mission and metrics of homeschooling. Learning from the past with a vision for the future.

San Antonio, Texas, home of the Alamo is also the home of Doug & Beall Phillips, their seven children and Vision Forum (www.visionforum.com). Doug and his team are really running with this multi-generational vision of what strong and independent Christ-centred families can accomplish for themselves, the church and the nation when each member is secure in his or her faith, committed to Biblical home education and rejoicing in his or her role of service within the Christian family. When our two families shared lunch at a restaurant right up to the moment I had to leave for the airport, we had trouble eating as we were so busy discussing strategies and ideas, me furiously asking questions and scribbling down notes.

Adults L to R: Doug & Beall Phillips, C.S., Zach Smith, Alanson Smith.

Children L to R: Honor, Faith, Justice and Joshua Phillips.

Says Doug: “The defining crisis of our age is the systematic annihilation of the Biblical family. Our mission at The Vision Forum is to facilitate the restoration of the Biblical family.”

So, praise God for His guidance and timing that I could meet so many key people and be so thoroughly encouraged and edified by them all. We will definitely see some of these good folks out here: the Warings are coming, Lord willing, in January and I am confident others will not be far behind.

From Keystone Magazine

September 2003 , Vol. IX No. 5
P O Box 9064
Palmerston North
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Fax: (06) 357-4389
email: craig@hef.org.nz

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