We are All Homeschoolers Now
- Tom Frye Founder, Family First
- 2014 14 Mar
If you're a homeschool family, you are likely well aware of the court battle involving the Romeike family. The Romeikes fled Germany and its Hitler-era laws against homeschooling, seeking asylum in the United States so they could honor their conviction to homeschool their children. This case serves as a great reminder of how truly blessed we are to have the freedom to educate our children at home, choosing curriculum that re-enforces our values, spending those all too fleeting moments with our children, and helping them develop and pursue their passions.
Homeschooling is not without its share of challenges, but like any good investment the dividends received far out-weigh the required sacrifice. In the early years when we began homeschooling, we faced many questions and objections. There were concerns about socialization, the limited amount of resources available to homeschoolers, and the fact that neither my wife nor I have a degree in education. But in the end we have found two things to be true: God's grace is more than sufficient, and there are, in fact, even more educational and social opportunities available to homeschooling families.
I am often reminded of the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah found in the book of Daniel chapter 1. These four men risked death to honor their convictions and not defile their bodies with the delicacies of the king, opting instead for a diet of vegetables and water. God honored their faithfulness by giving them "knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds." (v.17) The king "found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah" (v. 19) declaring they were "ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom." (v.20).
Over the years, as the exhaustion or exasperation sometimes diverted our attention to the sports facilities, social organizations, or the "more qualified" teachers found in the public school system, we regained our focus by remembering the “diet of vegetables and water.” Looking back now, we can see the beauty of obedience. We have found our children to be, in fact, more social than most kids their age. Not only do they have a strong friendship with each other, but they have never had a problem engaging people of any age or background in conversation.
I recall one evening many years ago when I was singing at a coffeehouse, there was a gentleman there from Mexico who was in the United States on a work visa. Maggie knew only a handful of Spanish words, certainly not enough to break the language barrier. But like the two fish and five loaves feeding the multitudes, those few words began a dialogue that lasted all evening with the man writing numbers on a napkin and teaching Maggie to count to two hundred in Spanish. The owner shared with me afterwards that Maggie had brightened that man's spirit because he had a little girl about Maggie's age in Mexico whom he missed terribly. There have been many occasions over the years when we have visited local nursing homes. I have watched all three of my children - even now in their late teens - take time to talk with the residents or help them walk or wheel down the hall. I believe their ability to interact with almost anyone is due, in part, to the fact that homeschooled students are not segregated into peer groups as are those in traditional classroom settings.
The flexibility of homeschooling has allowed us the wonderful opportunity to share our music ministry whenever and wherever we have been called to go. Our children have been able to pursue their passions of theater, dance, and sports. Together, they have been a part of nearly twenty separate theatrical productions with both our local civic theater, as well as in a professional setting at an area resort. As for sports, our son has been able to satisfy his desire to play football through a regional Christian high school football league. Our children have always been able to pursue whatever interests they have, debunking the myth that homeschool kids just don’t have the same resources available as public school children. It simply isn’t true.
My wife, though not formally trained as an educator, has taught Latin, Chemistry, and all the other necessary high school level classes. Most communities also now have a local network of home educators, which can often assist with various subjects. In our homeschool community, we have had the opportunity to participate in science labs through a local Christian college. Our children have been able to take cottage classes for English as well as dual credit classes. Both our daughters were able to graduate high school with several college credits, and our son plans to begin taking dual credit courses in the fall.
Though I am an advocate for home schooling, it is not for everyone. As Jesus said it is important that we "count the cost" (Luke 14:28-29) before making a decision. My wife and I are not super-parents--we are a normal family who have simply made a commitment to educate our children in the way which best represents our values. I believe homeschooling has allowed us to delve much deeper into the understanding of God's faithfulness, not just in education, but in life, helping us to see more clearly that the vegetables of obedience are always more healthy than the delicacies of the king.
I applaud the Romeike family for not giving up on their conviction to educate their children at home. I thank God for His faithfulness in honoring their desires. And I pray our nation continues to be a place where the freedom to raise our kids in the way that we choose is always defended.
Tom, Lisa and their family live in rural Indiana. Tom is a singer/songwriter, worship leader, speaker and author. He and his family have an active music ministry, known as the Frye Family Band. The Fryes recently founded Family First, a ministry to strengthen families. The Frye Family Band’s new book, 101 Devotions for Busy Families, and their new EP “Alive for the First Time” are available at www.fryefamilyband.net.
Publication date: March 14, 2014