Category Archives: homeschool

A Father’s Birthday Wish Come True

Today’s my birthday.  Not a big deal for me, but I have a wife and 7 children, so it’s impossible not to celebrate.  But I was given one of the best presents I could ask for yesterday.

My 2nd daughter, Eva, turns 16 in 2 days.  She’s very thoughtful and kind, friendly to most strangers, and has a heart especially for disabled children.  Sometimes, I forget how much she’s grown.  Below is one of her writing assignments for her Christian Growth class.

When I read this, I was immediately reassured that we are doing something right, homeschooling our children, raising them in God’s Word, and teaching them how to express not just their thoughts but more importantly, their convictions of faith.  This is no longer her parents speaking and teaching.  This is her faith and life she’s chosen to follow.


Committing to pray without ceasing

“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy gave this command to the church in Thessalonica. (1Thessalonians 5:17-18) Why was this command so important, and is it still just as important? They, and other believers, were suffering imprisonment and persecution for their faith and spreading the Gospel message. Though the Thessalonians could not be with them in other countries, Paul, Silvanus and Timothy all knew they could be through prayer. The same goes for us; this command is for all believers today in this dying world, and will continue to be.

Committing to pray every day is important. It’s an appointment with God in prayer every day, for us to praise and thank Him, and intercede for others. It will take you a little bit of experimenting to find the best plan for you, but there are a couple of steps that you can take that might help you ease into it.  

1. Verbally declare your commitment.

You don’t have to announce with a megaphone in a town square, but it’s important to remind yourself (aloud) that you have to, and are going to have that time set aside today. Just like any other meeting, it’s important to be on time. Why should we strive to be on time for every appointment of our day, except for our appointment with God?

2. Fight all interruptions fiercely.

There will be times when Satan will try to slip little disturbances in the way of your appointments, but don’t let him! He knows that prayer is our greatest means of defense against his plans, and you should too! 

3. Develop a practical prayer plan.

Find the best time to have as your prayer time, and how long you have to pray. I enjoy basing my prayer plan on Dick Eastmans’ Scripturally-based Hour of Prayer, but again, it takes a little experimenting and practice to find what best suits you. I recommend setting aside at least one hour a day to pray when you first start out. You may find yourself at a loss of words at first, but this will give you time to fully enjoy having this appointment with God and God alone. After some time, you may find yourself wanting more than an hour a day! (You don’t have to pray for a whole hour straight; you could divide your prayer time throughout your day. Just remember to be consistent in your timing.)

4. Recognize the importance of your daily hour
 

Romans 10:13-14 says, ”For ‘Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Our prayers for our brothers and sisters-in-Christ, for the lost, for our leaders, and countries, make a difference. Even when you don’t know exactly what it is you’re praying for, “His (the LORD) ears are open to their (the righteous) cry” (Psalm 34:15)

Let us be “worthy of the calling” (2Thessalonians 1:11-12)! “For we are God’s fellow workers…” (1Corinthians 3:9) Let us work together to expand God’s Kingdom, and see other souls saved! Although we may lack opportunity throughout the day, there is always an opportunity to intercede for a lost soul in prayer. There is always an opportunity to pray for a friend, family member, stranger, etc. Let us take hold of this freedom and privilege to pray for others, and “pray without ceasing!” 

 

Prepare Your Children For Adulthood

Are we getting our money’s worth with public education?  Take a good look around you.  When you are going to work, shopping at the grocery, driving in your car, hiring a plumber, calling Customer Service, making a deposit at your bank, going out to the movies, dining at a restaurant — do you believe, based on the interactions you have every day, that we are getting progressively smarter as a society or are we going in the other direction?  Has Idiocracy finally achieved prophetic, documentary status?

I look around and I see grown adults who can’t form complete sentences.  I see men and women writing business communications at a 7th-grade level.  I see people who handle money or work with numbers all day and yet can’t do simple arithmetic without the use of their phone or calculator.  Logic and persuasive debate are completely foreign to most adults.  Thanks to the Universities of Safe Spaces, we don’t teach young adults to disagree anymore, and we certainly don’t teach them to defend any unpopular positions they might have based on their convictions and logical reasoning.  I see parents who haven’t the slightest clue of how to shop for groceries, buy and own a home, create and stay on a budget, or balance a checkbook.  Is it any wonder they are totally incompetent when it comes to preparing their children for the real world?

I suspect many professional educators feel it’s their job to produce little Renaissance men and women, to enlighten and ignite their curiosities, and to send them off into the world filled with knowledge for the betterment of humankind.  Even the folks at Learn Liberty seem to embrace this notion — 

And it is the examined life that both George and West view as the purpose of a liberal-arts education. Its goal, that is, is to encourage critical reflection on the biggest questions; to lead us into an intellectual engagement that fulfills our nature as thinking beings; to help us achieve self-mastery; to enlarge our souls. It is, of course, possible to pursue these goals without going to college, but institutions of higher education are (or should be) dedicated to them in a special way.

 What does that even mean?  I hear things like “an examined life” and “well-rounded students” and I immediately think of someone that’s not an expert (or even above average) at anything.  Instead, they’re basically treading water like everyone else in the same cesspool of mediocrity and general, useless, regurgitated information.

We need to change how we view the purpose of education.  Every student does not have the same need.  How many of us had to suffer through years of a foreign language even though we knew we’d never use it?  How many of us struggled needlessly through biology, chemistry or physics when we had absolutely no aspirations to go into the physical sciences?  Has anyone that’s not an engineer or scientist used the Pythagorean theorem, calculated a 2nd derivative, or used Ohm’s Law lately?

Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach to education, would it not make more sense for parents and teachers to help our children develop essential life skills, relevant training geared toward a career and eventually adulthood?

I firmly believe, through personal experience, that college isn’t for everyone.  In fact, I would argue that most people don’t need a high school or college degree.  Parents, however, will insist on sending their children to college because they’ve been taught you need a degree in order to be successful and happy.  There’s a nice, short essay written by Jeffrey Tucker entitled “Ditch College, Get a Real Skill, Live a Good Life” which shares many of my thoughts on education and work.

As I had written in my last post, my wife and I comply with compulsory education requirements for our children because I don’t want them taken away from us.  My plan for them post-compulsory education is simple.  These are some guidelines and rules I’ve shared with our firstborn as she prepares to graduate from high school in the spring:

As long as you live in my house, you will work or you will go to school.  Or both.  There’s no sitting around waiting for the perfect job to just fall in your lap.  If you are going to attend school, it should be to prepare for a specific career.

Most high school and college graduates are woefully unprepared to enter the workplace.  They lack experience and useful skills in the real world.  The reason is that our high schools and colleges are not training students for work.  They are teaching them to pass exams.

The majority of young people, that actually get a part-time job while going to school, think it’s all about the money.  They might start at McDonald’s or somewhere else in Retail.  They get excited about earning a paycheck.  Pretty soon, they realize that the work is very difficult, the hours are long, you end up working holidays and weekends, and in the end, the money isn’t all that great.  So what do they do?  They quit.  This is the biggest career mistake most young people make.

When you have no experience, no transferable job skills, when you are competing potentially against a hundred other people just like you (except that maybe some of them have college degrees), when Leftists keep pushing for higher minimum wage, destroying entry-level jobs for inexperienced, young people — your spoon-fed, entitled world which you’ve been suckling since Kindergarten will eventually come crashing into reality.

But there’s hope if you look at your job as an opportunity to fill in the missing gaps.

Forget the paycheck.  Focus on the things you can learn from your job — skills that will separate you from your competition.  It’s not just about having the head knowledge to do simple tasks, but it has everything to do with PROVING you can and have done these things.

  • Can you operate a cash register, credit card machine, order entry system?
  • Do you know how to balance your drawer?
  • Do you know how to greet, listen to, and assist customers in person?  On the phone? Over the internet?
  • Have you proven to your manager that you can show up ON TIME to work, day in and day out, for weeks, months, or YEARS?
  • Do you know how to deal with unpleasant or even angry customers?

Eventually, if you prove yourself trustworthy with the little things, your manager might actually give you more important jobs to fulfill.  Maybe you will manage other people.  Maybe you will be in charge of a department or a sales group.

  • Can you train and lead a team of subordinates?
  • Can you be trusted to open the store?  Close up?  Make the night deposits?
  • Have you handled ordering supplies, working with vendors, or creating invoices?
  • Have you made accounts receivables calls?  What was your success ratio?

These are all highly sought-after skills in the workplace.  For many employers, a resume showing a history of consistent, proven execution of these skills is a lot more useful than a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy or 18th Century Scandinavian History.

The other important consideration is just to find out what kinds of careers are out there.  How many young people aspire to own a coffee shop or little boutique store or an internet business and have NEVER WORKED IN ONE before?!?  Or even spoken to someone that’s successfully doing that exact job?  

If you want to own a business someday, what do you know about finding a space?  Negotiating a lease?  Getting the necessary licenses or permits (because the State will confiscate your property and throw you in jail if you don’t)?  Are you going to hire employees?  Do you have the slightest CLUE as to what regulations and requirements are involved in hiring help?  Do you know how to file business taxes or keep accounting records?

Do you know how much liquid capital you require?  How long do you anticipate it will be before you are profitable?  Can you read or prepare financial statements?  Do you know who your customers are and where to find them?  

Finally, when it comes to college, there are legitimate careers that require a degree.  Do you know that many large companies offer free or partial college tuition reimbursement?  In other words, why shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for a college education in hopes that you might someday get a job related to your studies when you can start working at a company, gain critical experience and a salary, and then have your company send you to college or graduate school on their dime?

My daughter has been thinking about owning her own business someday.  Because of that, we encouraged her to find a job,  ANY JOB, at a business owned by an individual or family.  I even encouraged her to offer to work for free on the condition that the owners would teach her EVERYTHING they know about starting, managing, and growing a successful business.

And sure enough, God provided and answered our prayers.  Our neighbors and dear friends own a successful, family-owned, business and were looking to hire additional help.  We talked with them and before you knew it, they hired our daughter part-time.  And she’s been thrilled to work for them ever since, as she’s written in her blog. 

I have no idea how long she will be there or if she will someday go to college.  But I can guarantee her time is better spent right now learning invaluable, practical skills in the real world instead of running off to college, taking on debt, and searching aimlessly to attain the “examined life” shielded from any semblance of reality.  

Parents, think long and hard before you send your children off to college just because it’s what you might have done or it’s what everyone else is doing.  There are many free resources online to broaden your minds.  Instead, give your children a hunger to learn life skills to have success wherever they may go.

 

 

How Do You Measure Success as a Parent?

(I started writing this and I think I’m going to break this into 2 pieces.)  As our eldest daughter prepares to graduate from high school in less than 6 months, I’ve had this post brewing in my mind for a while.  We will soon have successfully taken the first of seven children through K to 12th grade of homeschool.  She’s even started her own blog, just like her old man.

As a husband and father of 7 children, I don’t take lightly the fact that there are 8 people in my home that depend on me not only to provide a roof, food on the table, and clothing on their backs, but most importantly, the family needs spiritual direction.

As a follower of Christ, I recognize that none of this is possible on my own ability, apart from Him.  It is only by the grace of God, that I’m able to do anything.  This is no small detail.  Christians may fall into a trap of losing the meaning of this word because we say it so frequently.  I literally cannot do anything apart from Him.  Scripture tells us that all things were made by Him and through Him.  I cannot wake up, breathe, eat, bathe, prepare a meal, go to work, or tie my shoes without Christ.

When it comes to my family, we’re definitely a peculiar bunch.  Everywhere we go, people take notice of us. It’s hard for a family of 9, Asian-American Christians to go unnoticed. We drive a huge, 12 passenger van.  We don’t curse, (at least we teach our children not to).  We don’t wear particularly fancy clothes. In fact, most of our children’s clothes were probably used or handed down.  And that might be what others see in us initially.  The exterior.

But then you start to notice some of the subtle differences in our family because of the values we’ve instilled in them.  If you’ve ever spent any time with my children, you’ll see that they like each other.  They deliberately include everyone in their activities. They speak kindly and respectfully to each other, offer to help one another, and talk to each other.  Now don’t get me wrong, tiffs will come up.  Arguments and tempers erupt.  Someone will push someone else’s buttons or get under someone’s skin.

My children don’t cower away from speaking with adults.  They know how to greet someone, introduce themselves, listen and have a conversation.  I’ve been told countless times that it’s amazing how comfortable my children feel, even the youngest 6-year-old, when speaking with adults.  I can’t even begin to tell you how often we’ve been approached by friends and complete strangers about how well behaved and mature my children are.

I don’t write these things to brag because, as I’ve already stated, none of it is by my own doing.  I write these because they are important to me and my wife.  We’ve made these things a priority.

My wife and I had chosen to homeschool our children pretty much from the firstborn.  We’ve lived in 3 different states where homeschool laws vary.  Though I completely reject the State’s presumed authority over the education of my children, we comply with their rules because I recognize the reality that the State could come into our home with guns and take our children forcibly away from us.  And though morally we would be justified, my children would be better served with parents that love them and are there to raise them.

Central to everything we teach our children is the Bible and our faith in Christ.  Reading, writing, spelling, literature, math and science – all these subjects are taught from a Biblical worldview. For almost 2 decades, we’ve raised them by teaching and living out our faith.  I’m not as close to their daily education as my wife.  We always say that I’m the Principal of our school and she’s the Teacher.  So it’s amazing to me when I realize just how much of our teaching is sinking in, to see our faith become their faith.

It occurred to me on a couple different Sunday mornings when I was sitting with one of the younger boys and the preacher would reference a chapter and verse in Scripture.  Not too long ago, when a book of the Bible was referenced, they would have to go to the Table of Contents to see where to find that particular book.  But now, they know (or at least have a general idea) where to look.  They know if it’s in the Old Testament or the New.  If it’s Old, does it come after Proverbs or before?  If it’s NT, is it one of the gospels or a letter from Paul?

And even more recently, I’ve heard about my children defending their faith, with Scripture. When challenged with new or unusual gospels, they rightly go back, not to their feelings or what someone told them from the pulpit, but to what they’ve read in their Bibles.

So I ask parents out there reading – how do you measure success for your children? What is it that you want to see most from them in their lifetime?  For some parents, getting their children into an Ivy League school or graduating with a 4.0 GPA or getting them into medical or law school represents the pinnacle of success.  Other parents may have aspirations that their children make the football team or earn 1st chair violin in the symphony orchestra.  Still others may have family traditions that are important like enlisting in the army or running a family business.  

Some parents say the thing most important for their children is that they grow up to be happy.

Or married.  

Or happily married.  

Or rich and happily married.

I’ve always believed my role as a parent is to train up our children in righteousness.  

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6 NKJV (http://bible.com/114/pro.22.6.NKJV)

You shall teach [God’s law] to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  – Deuteronomy 11:19 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy11:19&version=NKJV)

We teach our children how to behave in society and in the home, to communicate with others, to live peaceably, to love one another.  We teach them that God provides so that we must, in turn, be generous and good stewards with the things He has given us.  We fill them with Salt and Light so that someday they can go into the world to be Salt and Light.

We teach our children that although I go to work every day, my job does not define who I am.  Jobs will come and go.  Paul wrote – “… for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  – Philippians 4:11b-12” 

As obvious as it may sound to read, our success as parents depends greatly on our presumed goals.  If you haven’t determined what your goals are, you are guaranteed to fail.  If you let the State dictate what your goals for your children should be, I have a strong conviction that you and your children will end up disappointed, depressed, anxious, and woefully unprepared to face the challenges of daily living.  In my next piece, I will touch on Education, Job Skills, and Return on Your Investment.

 

Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling

Right on the money.

The Matt Walsh Blog

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Here’s the email I received last week. I was saving it for today, as I’ll be speaking at a homeschool conference tomorrow:

*The subject line of this email was: “Not all public school teachers are the devil.”* 

Hi Matt,

I’ve been a pretty decent fan of some of your writings, and while I don’t always agree I find that you sometimes have an entertaining way of presenting your opinion. Anyway, all due respect, I find myself having a hard time continuing to follow you now that I’ve gone back and read through your views on education.

It doesn’t so much bother me that you seem to be PROUD of your lack of a college education. You seem to be of the lucky few smart enough to get away with having no real education to speak of (congratulations). What I can’t reconcile myself with is your vitriol and hatred for public…

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Yet another reason why we homeschool