Finishing Strong

You have passed Getting Started and have Run The Race with your home education program on "cruise control" for some time now, but things are starting to change.  That little boy or girl that you have poured so much into is mysteriously changing into a young man or woman, and it seems that the old way of doing things is going to need changing as well.  Puberty changes more than the body.  It changes everything, including the approach we used in training, to a greater emphasis on discipleship.  The student is now entering the secondary level of their training, where they will be applying the basic skills they have learned in the primary level, in preparation for the post-secondary level, where the specialization of skills will occur.  The family dynamics change as the father takes on a greater role in preparing the student for the world he/she will soon be entering.  As the student goes through the transition from child to adult, he/she will start demanding a greater autonomy in what he/she wants to learn, generally with a corresponding greater self-motivation.  This is where "the rubber meets the road" and where the greatest amount of parental faith is needed as we begin the process of "letting go".

The scripture has a multitude of examples of people who having run the race, quit before reaching the finish line.  In addressing the Galatians, Paul succinctly summarized this situation by asking “why, after having begun in the Spirit, they believed they could be perfected by the flesh”.  Put into a home education context, nearing the finish line by following the directives given us through scripture, are we going to give in to the pressures and return the children to the system (in any of its formats) from which we worked so hard to keep them?  Quitting so close to the finish line is not what should be done, but it does happen.  Parents often reach a crisis point from which a decision has to be made.  Do we have more faith in God and His creative genius in order to continue with our home education or do we actually have more faith in man, his institutions and accreditation?

It is critically important to understand that if the parents are not committed to home education and vigilant about standing firm on that conviction, some students, usually girls, will challenge their parents by making known their desire to go to school.  They will usually cite academics and accreditation as the reasons they falsely utilize to gain access to their friends.  This is where the parents must exercise discretionary powers and strongly veto the option!

Education Unlimited sees puberty as the dividing line between training children at the primary level, and teaching young adults at the secondary level, in anticipation of creating disciples of Jesus Christ at the post-secondary level.

To Be Accredited or Not To Be Accredited

That is the question!  There will be no lack of encouragement to go the credit route.  Led by blended program providers and advanced by many groups claiming faith in God while advancing secular solutions, the standard misinformation of needing government accreditation to gain post-secondary admission is designed to put fear in the hearts of both parents and students.  This is most certainly the best approach for those who would benefit from having students dependent on their advice, but it is not the only, nor the best option.  Seeking accreditation through a home education is indeed the most demanding and frustrating option because of the challenge of trying to complete a program which was designed to be delivered by a teacher in a school and forces students and parents to jump through the prescribed hoops.

If the focus of the family faith is biblical, parents should be aware that the accreditation route does not follow biblical principles.  Christian parents should, therefore, be concerned when a school claiming to be "Christian " offers public programming as a good reason to attend their institution.  They should also be wary of schools and home education providers "pretending" to meet the course requirements in order to award credits.  One way or the other, obtaining credits returns us to the secular world for our direction, advancing the state as lord of our education.

Once the accumulation of "high school" credits is started, whether at home or at school, there is no turning back, as anything short of the full completion of all requirements for a high school diploma deems the student a dropout, much the same as the GED does.  Parents should be aware that home education providers who offer high school credits, usually do not make this information obvious. 

Parents can sometimes lose their resolve to freely educate a child through the secondary (high school) level and choose instead to pursue government accreditation.  This decision may have the appearance of being the easy way, but it is not the best option for the student or parents.  It is far better and easier to allow a student to be who God has created than fitting him/her into the “one-size-fits-all” expectations demanded by those who know nothing of the child, whether at school or at home.

Completing secondary training at home, without government accreditation, is a much better option because there is no time wasted on subjects that are not needed.  Students are allowed to be comfortable with who they are, can specialize early and by the time they are old enough to drive, are usually ready for the world to receive them.  Meanwhile, their school friends are putting in time awaiting the day when they are paroled from the institution with no greater access to post-secondary options than those who chose to continue their preparations at home, without the burden of meeting that which is required for accreditation.

Education Unlimited believes that credit should be given to God, in thankfulness, for His accrediting of our unaccredited home educated students as they seek post-secondary options!

Now What?

There are usually four phases of fears and concerns in conducting a home education program.  At this, final stage of parent-directed home education, you have successfully advanced past the first two stages which were when you first started and then as your child went through puberty!  Now that you have made it past those two stages, and assuming that you have determined to complete the secondary level programming at home without use of government accreditation, a new set of fears and concerns have been brewing in the back of your mind.  How do you negotiate your way through this secondary level in preparation for the post-secondary level?

Good news!  Your fears and concerns at this level of home education (as you learned also of the others) are unwarranted!  By now your child has given you many indicators as to the type of learner they are, how they learn best, what interests them and what they are willing to study.  Parents are advised to pay attention to these indicators and to listen carefully to the student's desires, but they should also insist on “trying” other things so that no opportunity for learning is lost. Students often discover what interests them if they are presented with new options and challenges, as long as no attempt is made to create something of them, that is, trying to put in what God has left out.  It is also recommended that parents not confuse post-pubescent “brain deadness” for a lack of interest, as children eventually come into their own, when they are ready.  Once ready, post-pubescent students will begin to show signs of ownership and self-motivation, resulting in a great deal of learning usually taking place in a very short time.  This should be the parent’s cue to back off from “programming” and allow the child to mould into their future.

Your home educated child is very well prepared at this stage to carry on with his/her post-secondary level, whether it is starting a business, going to work, or carrying on with higher level learning.  The following article is sure to inform and encourage you regarding your child's future.

See Addressing Home Educating Parents' Post-Secondary Concerns

Education Unlimited is here to encourage parents and students through those moments of doubt.

Leaving Home

The greatest fear a loving home educating parent will experience is their concern for the lives of their children. Nothing will test your faith more than encouraging children to strike out on their own, and most children find this prospect a bit frightening as well.  The fourth and most difficult phase of fears and concerns regarding a home education program will likely occur as your child fully takes on adult status. Whether this means giving the child freedom at home or seeing them leave for college, career or matrimony, it is never easy to let them go.  Home educating parents have invested much into their children and a piece of them leaves with the child as he/she leaves home.

The four stages of fears and concerns are a fairly standard process for the first child being home educated. As we discover that the God in whom we have entrusted our children is faithful and has each child’s ultimate best interest at heart, all our fears and concerns end up melting away as useless and often faithless exercises.  You will find that these fears and concerns are not nearly as important or prevalent as you continue home educating the younger children.

Congratulations! You have succeeded at doing your best with the training, teaching and directing of an imperfect child within the imperfect, yet God ordained home environment! You have obeyed God by directing your children to Him, now it is time to let Him direct them in their lives.

Education Unlimited staff have gone through the "letting them go" phase of child rearing with a multitude of parents.  We know how frightening and exciting it can be.

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