Since November 1998 the Home Education Foundation has contracted Craig & Barbara Smith to serve the home education community full-time. They have eight children aged 8 months to 26 years, (Genevieve, Zach, Alanson, Charmagne, Jeremiah, Jedediah, Kaitlyn and Grace Ariana) who are all totally home educated. These two are building on their volunteer work since 1986 in the areas of publishing (such as Keystone journal for Christian Home Schoolers, TEACH Bulletin and the booklet “Preparing for an ERO Review”), counselling, correspondence with politicians and educationalists, lobbying, running National Christian Home Education Conferences (six since 1987) and National Leadership Forums (annually since 1996), moderating various home education email discussion groups, media releases, speaking at local seminars, hosting overseas speaker tours and networking among local support groups and with overseas home schooling organisations. Their efforts are conducted under the eye of the Home Education Foundation’s Trustees and a Board of Reference, which represents 19 locations all over New Zealand.
Craig and Barbara Smith
When our oldest, Genevieve, was knocking on 5 years old, I started asking about schooling and didn’t like the answers I was getting. The secular clause (S.77) of New Zealand’s Education Act means “with no religious instruction or observance”. The Bible says fathers are responsible to train up children in the way they should go, in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. These two positions seemed incompatible to me, so we helped start Cornerstone Christian School in Palmerston North. The hassle and work involved in that is a nightmare I would not wish on anyone. When it opened its doors for business, we had been home educating for a year and had discovered so many benefits, there was no way we would ever send them off to “prison” (as I consistently called the place): having fun and friendship with the children, not just watching but causing the light of understanding to go on in their eyes, feeling more fulfilled as a parent than anything else I’d ever done, seeing their rapid advancement potential and innate curiosity heightened rather than dampened, etc.I gave up a cushy job with Air New Zealand (plus all the free world travel) to become a door to door salesman (Rawleighs), to the horror of all my university degree toting rellies back in the US. But it allowed me, the children’s Dad, to have the mornings completely free to do the academic teaching. We did the school at home thing for two years until I discovered the “Delight Directed” method of unschooling: whatever I delighted in directed our studies!! Our 7, 9 & 10 year olds and I did nuclear physics to the exclusion of everything else one time for three solid weeks! We all remember that as the highlight of our home education days.After about 11 years, though, the door to door thing folded up, and I became a full time student at Massey University, doing a BA in Social Policy. Barbara hesitantly took over the home education. She felt extremely inadequate because, although her parents did all they could to give her a good education, including sending her to boarding school, the conventional classroom never suited Barbara’s kinaesthetic learning style. But then she found how much the children could learn as they learned along with her and caught her excitement about learning and seeing the connections with the everyday real world.None of our eight children, three being adopted, and one fostered, have ever been to school.
Here are a couple of links introducing our family. One from Time Magazine and one from the Listener.
Photo Essay: School’s Out Forever(Our family’s photos are numbers 1 and 4.)
Listener (2 pages):
Work experience: Went to work for lawyer; he put her through night school; she achieved Legal Executive qualification. Worked overseas for a couple of years. Decided to come home and work with Dad & Mum (for no remuneration) for Home Education Foundation, a charitable trust, while continuing training and education in large variety of skills.
Zach and Megan Smith
Zach: DOB 1981,
Work experience: Got into Massey by talking to Admissions Officer; took only one paper and tied with another home schooler for top grade in class; went overseas and worked up in a family business (Rainbow Resource Center) to present position of Marketing Director; married owners’ daughter – Megan Smith (nee Schneider). http://www.rainbowresource.com/index.php
Zach and Megan’s first baby born 15 September 2007
Our first grandchildCheyenh Marie
Cheyenh is pronounced Shy-an. The Enh ending instead of the American Indian tribal name of Cheyenne, pronounced the same, is in honour of Megan’s best girlfriend, Enh.
Work experience: Technically failed entrance exam for RNZAF, but won trophy for academic excellence at Boot Camp; finished off Avionics course at RNZAF Woodbourne; now working at Ohakea
Work experience: Worked in NZ and overseas; returned home to work with Dad & Mum (for no remuneration) for Home Education Foundation, a charitable trust, while continuing training and education in large variety of skills.
Both Genevieve and Charmagne have calendars overflowing with events, activities and commitments. Both say a regular job would not only be intolerably boring, it would prevent them from enjoying the huge variety of work, service and self-improvement they are currently immersed in.
Jeremiah, Jedediah, Kaitlyn and Grace