Sunday, October 28, 2007

Homeschool Heroes

In Christopher Klicka's latest book, Homeschool Heroes, Mr. Klicka dramatically retells the passionate story of the heroes thirty years ago - the heroes rarely mentioned, who sat in their basements, their Bibles opened, a globe on the table: teaching their children the Word of God. Contrary to what society said was "normal", despite the threats of arrests, these brave heroes labeled "home schooling parents" faced all opposition and won a great victory. Through this book, Klicka tells their story and encourages a new generation of home schoolers to rise up in honor and gratitude. Because of their sacrifices, we now have a new generation of home schoolers who are living and breathing the joys of this freedom to home school.
In much the same way, I feel another group needs to hear the gratitude of multitudes, and they will, you may be sure. This gratitude will not be expressed to the winners of Noble Peace prizes, champions of athletic or technologically advancing research, or even the great leaders of family friendly politics, but rather the little boys and girls playing with legos and having tea parties, or the teenagers who think they are "ruining" their brain by pumping it with information as they sit absorbed in their laptop and books. These same home schooled children, who are tempted at times, (who maybe do at times) to believe that they are isolated, uniformed, handicapped-to-the-world whimps, are the children I believe the world is celebrating, and will continue to celebrate. And as these children stand at the very pinnacle of success, their parents, the real heroes, who combated assaults led by family members and church members, will gently applaud their children as well, while the entire family will have been edified, strengthened, awakened and changed by the journey.
I remember a very dear friend of mine at the age of eighteen telling me that she was sure that her incredible success in high school was due to the way her mother taught her. Curious about the protocol her mother took, she informed me that her mother was at first very nervous about home schooling, but, being a creative individual on a limited budget, (in a world very anti toward home education) she did the absolute best that she could. Every Friday she would load up her daughter of six and her son of eight, and would walk three blocks to the library, pulling along two empty wagons. When they headed home some hours later, the wagons were laden with mountains of books, and when they returned the next week, every one of the books had been read, dissected, discussed, and reported on. Besides making this their major curriculum, these bright children never neglected their play time, the little son playing with his legos and building castles, and the little girl dressing up and playing tea party. In fact, after interviewing this brave mother, she told me that she felt like her son had spent his entire childhood playing with legos - not "doing school." At the time of her active home schooling, this worried her. But she didn't have much to worry about. Fifteen years after her first year with all of its opposition in various shades, (many coming from her own doubts) this precious lady is the proud mother of a leader in the original Microsoft Seattle, Corporation, an author of Microsoft's latest computer handbook, a top developer of software for the company and rising quickly to the top. My friend, the very nervous young lady, who, like her brother, thought that she would be inadequate and incapable to cope with her world, is now a completely capable young woman with outstanding social skills whom her local college has done articles on, and whom full front-page headlines have spoken of. She is known as an amazing individual in our area, especially because she was home schooled, but she is also known for her excellent skill as an RN in a major city hospital, and for her radiating smile through which she witnesses to her world.
Another friend of ours, a dear lady in California who completely and confidently raised her children, says that even though she spoke volumes of confidence into her children, she, at times, did not feel like having that confidence. Her children say that because of her indoctrination, she raised successful adults. "I would tell my children," she said, "look at that school fence! Those poor children are in prison! I'd hate to be in that school! WE get to do school whenever! Let's go get an ice cream while those poor, poor children have to stay in that place." By giving them a positive outlook on life, her children began to look at their position as one to be envied. But still, there is that little thing that tells us, "You're not going to make it. You're not like everybody else. Look, even your relatives don't agree. Even your CHURCH does not agree. You're WEIRD!" The wise child throws these thoughts off, but truly, we're all human, and we all face the temptation to fear. Listen to what the home schooling graduates of today are saying:
"DON'T FEAR!" There is nothing to fear from your friends, your culture, your world. You are doing something (being home schooled) because you believe in it; because your parents believe in it...because it's a part of who you are. Don't be afraid! God is with you, and the world will be astounded at what He can accomplish in and through you.
When I was fourteen, I went through what I call an academic "drop out." I was rather depressed at my fall of normal straight As, and I considered the home schooling movement a waste because I wasn't making it. I remember an old friend of my mother's telling me one day, "Sarah, don't worry about geometry. Just focus on what's in front of you now, and shine. When the world sees you, I want them to see you, not your grades, not your talents: you - because Who is in you is far more important. When the world can see your smile and the shine in your eyes, that's how they'll know that your difference as a home schooler is important and worthwhile. And they'll begin to question the depth in you - Jesus Christ. Shine, Sarah." These very words I wrote down in my journal, and you know what? They've stuck with me all these years. I can't quite seem to forget them.
Whenever a home schooling friend gets discouraged, (or, whenever I suspect they are!) I try my best to uplift them with positive encouragement. Who are the heroes of education? Home schoolers. And for this reason, if not any other: because they have pressed on, regardless, period. To the parents and heroes of our generation, thank you. You will never know what you have done by the valiant, courageous, godly choices you have made. To the children and heroes (that's right - heroes) of our generation and the generations to come, thank you. Thank for choosing to stand for what is right beside your parents, for uplifting the same banner they hold. Thank you for making a difference. You have. And I believe that the impact of your decisions will extend far into the depth of your future, our future, and the history of the world. To our great Father God, the greatness of our gratitude belongs to You alone. For it is You that gives us the grace and the strength to get through every day, every hour, every moment; even tomorrow when we're down to the itty-bitty, everyday things like teaching phonics, working at the math table, studying history, feeling Your hand...

1 comment:

Leah said...

*sqeal* LW, I get to see you in 5 days! :)