1. Why should a Christ-centered church support homeschooling and family-directed education?
Because it is the only system the Bible actually supports – see Deut 6:6-7. Moreover, the other systems don’t work, and in fact undermine the family unit and the role the parents need to have to disciple their children. Current research shows that home-based education surpasses both public and private education academically, socially, and spiritually. (Click here for research on homeschooling/pdf )
2. Why haven’t churches supported homeschooling and family-directed education?
Some churches have been very focused on building their church programs and think (wrongly) homeschooling is a tangent to the ministry. Many in church leadership work during the week as teachers, administrator or staff at local public and private schools and have a bias against homeschooling. Some churches may be afraid to support home education for fear that some members of the congregation will leave. None of these are biblically-founded reasons for not keepiing parents in charge of their children's education.
3. Is working through Family Academy necessary to be legal?
No, though it does help provide some legal protection and key support to start homeschooling and keep it going over the long haul.
For legal requirements for Washington State (WA State law - PDF)
All states (www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp)
4. The local public school is offering services to homeschoolers so why shouldn’t we just encourage families to go there?
Many public schools are offering incentives to homeschoolers to enroll in their “homeschool” programs, including vouchers for curriculum and free computers. Enrolled in these programs the parents are under the public school’s direction and the district personnel are responsible to monitor those students’ academic progress and curriculum. Legally, this system cannot allow any faith or a biblical worldview in the instruction or materials, and though not always enforcing these restrictions yet, at any time they can enforce them.
Family-Directed Education, with or without support, provides families the opportunity to progress both academically and spiritually as directed by the Holy Spirit. The public school learning programs are secular and reinforce the false concept that spiritual truth can be separated from education. For a student building their worldview, this can undermine the very reasons a family should direct the learning. (See Luke 6:40). Also, see links on the Family Academy homepage.
5. How are the “Family Academy Way” and “Family-Directed Education” different from other educational programs and curriculum providers?
Jesus modeled for us in the Gospels that learning occurs best within relationship, not a within a specific curriculum. Over two decades ago, a few homeschooling families and a couple of teachers began meeting together. These teachers did not want to put their own children into the traditional system they had just left, so they established the Family Academy program. They purposed not to be a regular school or correspondence school (or now online school) or a publisher peddling a specific curriculum. These each require students and parents to compromise individual learning styles and academic needs in order to fit the program. So they founded their own private school without walls – a network of teachers, committed to assisting homeschooling families.
The FA Teacher Consultant helps the family choose resources from a variety of venues that fit particular learning needs. Also, the FA Teacher Consultant works with the parents and the students to support the on-going process through weekly classes, parent-teacher-student conferences, and problem-solving as needed.
Most other programs:
- Fail to accommodate the child’s interests or learning style
- Insubordinate the parents' role in the life of the child
- May be too slow with a lot of busy work, or too fast – creating discouragement.
- Can re-create the worst of school, making parents taskmasters of tools designed for a different environment (teacher of one grade and familiar with the materials).
- Usually doesn’t work with learning together as a family.
- May be expensive or not worth the expense.
- Often cause student and parent burnout.
6. Can we include our own courses (i.e. Bible Study or Bible Quizzing) into the curriculum?
Yes. Our program allows for much flexibility to integrate learning from all aspects of each student’s life.
7. What if parents want more classes than what the local Family Academy Teacher Consultant(s) can provide?
Your TC may kow of other resources for the classes you need.
But part of the TCs job is to help point the family to the other learning that is already happening in the home and the student’s life:
- Learning to cook or repair things around the home
- Participating in church, community service and events, and sport team activities
- Private instruction in art, music, dance, or drama
- Independent learning through reading or computer-based instruction
- Family approved classes from other institutions
It is important to not over-schedule so the family can have time to just be together.
8. What are the pro’s and con’s of home education?
- Freedom to adapt the learning to the student (faster, slower, alternative resources and approaches)
- Flexibility to plan life around the family not the school: off-season vacation, visit parks and museums during the week, and live their lives according to what works for them.
- Learning and faith are integrated and allow for family discipleship (see Deut 6: 6,7)
- Greater family stability and support
- Emotional stability of children can suffer greatly with peer pressure, competition, boredom, and bullies — all are part of a typical school day. Homeschooled kids can dress and act and think the way they want, without fear of ridicule or a need to "fit in." They live in the real world, where lives aren't dictated by adolescent trends and dangerous experimentation.
- Closer family relationships develop because that family has the time to foster loving ties between all family members, even and particularly, teens.
- Stability can be found even during difficult times. Whether there's a new baby, an illness, a death in the family, or another obstacle or transition, homeschooling gives families flexibility to cope during challenging periods.
- Well-rested kids don't have overly-scheduled lives. As more and more medical studies are illustrating, sleep is vital to the emotional and physical well-being of kids. With too many things, but especially school, the hurried child becomes the burned-out or rebellious child.
- Focused learning allows homeschooled children to accomplish, in most subjects, in a few hours what takes a teacher a week or more to cover.
- Teaching parent(s) time commitment can be significant. Planning, teaching, driving to, and participating in various learning activities can take much of the week.
- Financial restraints can impact the choice to homeschool. For many families, usually the mom gives up full-time employment out of the home in order to homeschool. However, most homeschooling families believe that the temporary loss of income is well worth the satisfaction of watching their kids grow and learn in freedom.
- Being with your kids 24/7 can be intense and is the definition of homeschooling. This takes commitment to your family's goals. If you don't enjoy being with your children, then homeschooling is not for you. However, most homeschool parents see their daily life with their kids, positive and negative, as opportunities for growth.
- Not having “House Beautiful” is also part of the equation. Yet, you can creatively integrate family needs into the learning process of home-making skills. See The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer. And accumulating all "the stuff" our materialistic culture encourages can wait till the important childrearing is completed..
- Living counter-culture can be a strain. Like any activity that challenges the culture, homeschooling may be seen as an oddity at best, or even as a threat to those who are unable to accept that ordinary parents can do better than the system.
9. How do students in public school, private school, and homeschool compare academically, socially, and spiritually?
Homeschool students surpass public school and private school students academically, socially, and spiritually. See "Facts Sheet: Public School, Private School, Homeschool, and Family Academy Students" (PDF)
10. How much does it cost the church to provide Family-Directed Education via Family Academy?
It depends on what the church decides to cover and what expenses the parents are willing to pay. Some expenses involved include:
- Facility use (heat, electricity, other utilities, wear and tear on facility, janitorial services); clean up should be done by the participating families
- Classroom resources (table, chairs, white boards)
The church might choose to cover these expenses to support this ministry to families and the community, or ask each family to pay a facilities use fee each month or quarter.
Through the Learning Center format, the parents will pay the affiliate school for the tuition that covers the TC fees and school program fees following an agreed to payment plan. If the church decides to establish an extension campus or become an affiliate school, then the church would receive the tuition funds and pay the TC and affiliate school fees.
The church could also establish a scholarship fund or a “work-study” option for families where services could be bartered with a teacher from the congregation.
11. Your questions not asked here? Give us a call 206-246-9227.