A Home Educator’s Commentary on Finishing (the First Leg of) the Race

A Home Educator’s Commentary

on Finishing (the First Leg of)

the Race

By Craig Smith
The Growing Smith Clan of Home Educators. L to R: Jeremiah Smith; Zach & Megan (nee Schneider) Smith
holding Cheyenh Smith; Pete & Genevieve (nee Smith) de Deugd; Alanson Smith; Kaitlyn Smith; Barbara Smith;
Jedediah Smith; Grace Timmins (our foster daughter) being held by Craig Smith; Charmagne Smith.
Click on photo to enlarge image

This is the kind of thing home education leads to!
Friends, it doesn’t get much better than this. All I can
say is, give me more of it!
Our two eldest, Genevieve (born March 1980) and
Zach (born December 1981) have married. Both now
live overseas. Both married into pioneer home educating
families in their respective countries who have a
passion for seeing Christian families strengthened and
the Lord glorified by parents taking the government of
their own children back away from the secular state
and educating the children in the safe and secure haven
of home.
Our dreams have been realised. In spite of all the mistakes
and inconsistencies in our lives, the Lord has
blessed us more than we can express. What are the
blessings you hope and pray and wish for your
chidren? Our two and their spouses each have a:
• Solid walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Exemplary Christian character qualities.
• Great interpersonal relationships with us and with
their siblings.
• Emotional and physical purity before marriage,
which sets them up for emotional and physical
purity throughout marriage.
• Total commitment to marriage until death.
• Desire for as many children as the Lord will bless
them with…8 being a good round number for
• Passion for and commitment to home educating
their own children.
• A work ethic that leaves us huffing and puffing in
their dust and marvelling at their exceptionally
high standards of quality and service.
• Academic acumen which may or may not include
academic qualifications.
Zach & Megan live near Peoria in central Illinois and
work for Megan’s parents, Bob & Linda Schneider,
founders and owners of Rainbow Resource Center, a
mail-order book company that grew up catering specifically
for home educators. The Lord convinced Bob
& Linda of home education long before it was much
heard of, and they helped pioneer the movement in
their state. Not only so, but as their business was being
blessed by the Lord with exponential growth, all the
Schneider children became vital assets to its personalised
service and continued success. Christian discipleship,
entrepreneurial apprenticeship, service to others
and academic education were all rolled into one nonstop
home education lifestyle. Exhibitors and speakers
at Christian home education conferences from one side
of the USA to the other would tell different members
of the Smith family who were working at the Rainbow
Exhibits that Megan was their favourite out of all those
outstanding Schneider girls. Zach’s record-breaking
work standards and ever-dependable, never-flagging
character and personality attracted everyone’s attention:
and soon the Schneiders were offering Zach a permanent
job, and he was proposing to their daughter —
after first getting the blessing to proceed from both Bob
Schneider and me! No sooner were they engaged than
a husband and wife from work asked them to be the
guardians of their children (should anything happen to
the parents), for Zach & Megan formed the perfect
couple they’d been looking for as guardians. They’ve
also produced a daughter, pushing Barbara & I into the
grandparent category for the first time!
Pete & Genevieve live near Ballarat, an hour and a bit
outside of Melbourne, where Pete has been working on
the family farm and building up his own saw milling,
timber working and tool making business on debt-free
principles since he was 14. When we visited his home
town and family before he and Genevieve were engaged,
his extended family members, his clients, his
suppliers, his friends and the folks at his church were
pulling Genevieve aside to tell her that this guy was
pure gold! While Megan has one or two university degrees
(including Hippotherapy) and Genevieve has a
Legal Executive qualification and Zach aced the only
university course he ever took, Pete has a trade certificate
in cabinet making and was offered, but turned
down, a lecturer’s position at a local university specialising
in arboriculture. Pete & Genevieve shunned the
cultural norms around them in order to be as holy and
pure as possible for each other.

So what’s the secret? What did Barbara and I do to
bring down the Lord’s blessings in this way?
It is all of God: His unmerited Grace toward us in Jesus
Christ is more than we ever had any right to hope for.
Honestly, we are bunglers. We were from pretty typical
unbelieving families: decent folks with solid middleclass
values. But we were thoroughly defiled and corrupted
by the peers surrounding us at the state schools
we attended and the social environment of work and
play completely away from any kind of parental guidance
or oversight. Plus the TV and Rock & Roll culture
of the radio. The Lord converted us and put us through
an accelerated sanctification programme with The
Navigators…we needed something drastic, for we were
starting from a below-zero position. I think our greatest
asset is that we have no illusions as to what we have
been saved from. Personal experience and the heightened
conscience of the Holy Spirit causes us to hate
and fear sin. Yes, of course we still have weaknesses
and inconsistencies…but we do identify with Paul in
Philippians 3:13-14: “Forgetting what lies behind and
straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in
Christ Jesus.”
The only consistent thing about us, I believe, is the fact
that the Lord will not allow us to rest on our laurels, to
cruise along smoothly at any higher level of sanctification,
to turn aside and rest for a while…we are driven to
push on, to raise the bar, to explore that virgin territory
described in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such
there is no law.” We can go hog-wild in the areas of
love, joy, peace, goodness…boldly go where no man
has gone before…and never fear that we’ll break any
law! We cannot abandon ourselves to anything but
these things without getting into trouble. We find this
compelling and exciting…only because the Lord has
reformed our attitudes and desires by His Holy Spirit.
The Open Brethren used to say, “To get the Lord’s
blessing, put yourself in the way of blessing.” To get
squashed, put yourself in the way of a freight train. To
get a new heart and a new mind, put yourself in the
way of the Lord’s spiritual weapons: listen to preaching,
fellowship with keen believers, read and memorise
and meditate upon and apply the Scriptures, share your
faith with unbelievers, love one another, love your
neighbours, love your enemies. In short, love the Lord
more by obeying Him more (I John 5:2-3).

Specific things I believe the Lord led us to do: I
thought back to those places I’d robbed by shoplifting
and the people I’d robbed by gambling. I visited them
with money or posted cheques with added amounts for
interest and inflation. We fostered dozens of children
and ended up adopting three. We agonised in front of
the children about all these things as well as personal
confrontational issues with workmates and clients…and
the children watched as we drove off to apologise to
someone and come back rejoicing. The children have
seen us lending out our car again and again; and giving
groceries to probable con-artists begging for cash; and
getting total victory over the TV (we now never watch
it); and gaining increasing victory over rock music; and
being 99.9% consistently and vehemently opposed to
any flirtation with sexual sins be it pornography in
public or private, immodesty in dress to where we’ve
even told visitors to go away as there was too much
cleavage showing, and we now avoid swimming at any
public place. We guard our minds so our emotions are
fixed where they should be and not floating around.
We are not prayer warriors. I am conscious of the Lord
all day, but I cannot say I specifically pray to Him all
the time. Perhaps the number one family priority is taking
time over every meal to pray, read the Scriptures,
sing at least two hymns or Psalms and make an effort
to discuss issues of the day or those raised in the reading
and singing. Those discussions around the meal
table and the ones that happen as we read good books
aloud around the fire at night…those times of spiritual
and emotional and intellectual interaction have been
the key to a cohesive family. And we have been un-
apologetically strict in limiting the children’s socialisation
outside the family. In all the areas that count, we
assume we know better than they do…so we give them
no choice: they can choose their socks, but not close
friends; they can choose a shower or a bath, but not
which of His commands to obey.