Home Education Facilitators
Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-04-04.
Facilitators are the front line workers in the home education community and have the power to direct or misdirect the parents.
We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)
Bible Reference: Titus 2:1
I have always had a simple philosophy when it came to learning: Go to someone who knows something about what you want to learn. It is important to distinguish the difference between someone who thinks they know something about a topic from someone who does. For example, I believe it is not at all unreasonable to expect a swimming instructor to be able to swim well before signing up for that class! Unfortunately, in our modern world of diminishing knowledge and skills, one need not know much about a topic to claim to be an expert!
Take home education facilitation, for example. This is a position that is unique to Alberta, where funding directed at home educating students comes with the requirement that a certificated teacher visit the family twice per year to ascertain whether or not the student is progressing in his/her studies. The very fact that these teachers are sent to “supervise” a home education program speaks loudly of the government’s belief that parents are not likely to do an adequate job without governmental oversight.
Since the only qualification needed to be a facilitator is to be certificated to practice “teaching” in the province of Alberta, there is no requirement whatsoever to know anything about faith, or to believe, understand or even sympathize with home education. As a consequence, it is not uncommon for facilitators to bring the school to the parents rather than to encourage and equip them to teach the children in keeping with their gifts and talents. One should understand that the very first thing taught to students in teacher’s college, is the importance… no, the necessity of disqualifying parents from being the natural and best possible teachers of their children, which establishes the need for “professional” teachers. Since few bother to question claims to authority that are being made by extra-familial agencies, most facilitators are more likely to represent an authority claimed by government than respecting the authority of the parents of the child.
Facilitators can be very subtle about how they exercise this authority. One way is to “conveniently” visit when the fathers are not present. They may also show up as the experts who quickly normalize the very things parents were escaping when deciding to home educate and to take advantage of their lack of understanding rather than to help them come to a knowledge of the truth.
Another way to demonstrate a false authority is the inspecting of student work and approving or disapproving of what is being accomplished, as if by some “standard”. Considering that there is no such thing as a standard child, there can be no standard by which to make comparison, other than what a facilitator subjectively determines at that moment. The most destructive example of this is in the offering of credits at the high school level. Not only is this unnecessary for post-secondary admission, but doing so can actually hamper a student's credentials. Validating the secular ideology and "authority of man" may impress a misinformed or insecure parent who may still be questioning their own goals. However, to dishonestly advance a supposed school standard is to arrogantly claim a greater authority over children they do not know, over that of the parents who gave them birth. This completely defeats the reason for home educating in the first place.
This is becoming a major reason why the lines between secular and sacred are being blurred in the home education community. A growing number of home educators bring in a greater need for teachers, some of whom, having little understanding of home education, introduce secular ideology that is assimilated and normalized as acceptable. To be fair, there are good facilitators out there and I am happy to say that Education Unlimited is working with some of the best! Good facilitators often develop wonderful relationships with their families and do indeed encourage and equip them. However, this can only happen if facilitators respect the God given authority of the fathers and that of the mothers who help them meet the responsibilities they have for the training and teaching of children towards God’s eternal kingdom. If the facilitators honour God, they will honour this authority. If they do not honour this authority, they have no business in a home where parents desire to fulfill their roles in leading children to a future that only God knows.