Monday, May 09, 2016

OCHEC Conference, Notes

Nadine and I had the joy of attending the annual conference of the Ontario Christian Home Educators' Connection (OCHEC) this past Friday and Saturday at Redeemer University College in Ancaster.  The conference featured keynote addresses from Jonathan Lewis, the editor of Home School Enrichment Magazine and Mike Farris, the founder of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and the founder and chancellor of Patrick Henry College.  In addition to the keynote speeches there were numerous workshops covering a myriad of topics pertinent to home education and other related issues.  There was also a large group of exhibitors displaying all the latest curriculum materials for parents to browse and/or purchase.


All in all it was a great weekend.  My mom graciously came over and watched our daughter during the day and they had a blast together.  As for Nadine and I, though with a 4-month old in tow we were limited with respect to the amount of activities we could participate in, we still found the weekend to be a rewarding experience (even though Nadine got sick on Saturday....  thankfully she is feeling better now).


I am hoping to make several posts with summaries of the various workshops which we participated in.  The first is below, it was the opening address from Jonathan Lewis entitled, 'Strength in our Convictions: Eight Reasons Why Homeschooling is Worth It'. 


Though the talk was primarily directed at parents already homeschooling, I hope all parents will take the time to consider his points below.  When people ask me why we are planning to home-school my response is that 'It is our conviction that Christian education is the God honoring path which parents should take, and who better than parents to carry out that task'. 


I usually get the 'that's nice' response, both from Christians and non-Christians and a frank discussion rarely ensues.  It can be difficult to discuss this subject with other parents; I feel that this is because many parents can feel threatened when someone questions their parental choices.  Is it a matter of personal preference, or does the Bible speak clearly regarding education?  How can the principles of wisdom found in God's word lead us to correct conclusions on this subject?  I hope these are questions we are all willing to ask. 


Emotions aside, I hope that all parents can consider objectively what God requires of us and where the path of wisdom leads with respect to educating our children.  I found the points below to be well worth contemplating.



Strength in our Convictions: 8 Reasons Why Home-Schooling is Worth It

(Jonathan Lewis)

Homeschooling is about convictions.

1.  Without God Learning is Empty:

-"What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his very soul?" 

 -secular education has been set up as society's saviour, but it cannot save (Christ Alone can save!) 

 -Theology and Anthropology are the two most important subjects (Theology, Who God Is - Anthropology, Who We Are)

-Secular education by definition leaves God out - but how can we leave out the very foundation of knowledge? 

-education without reference to God is dishonoring to our creator and builds on a foundation of sand that is sure to collapse.

2.  Virtue is More Important than Academics:

-it is evident that there is a crisis of character in our world today

-character training simply does not take place in public schools today

-despite good intentions of some teachers, with 30 students 'character training' often amounts to crowd control

-one teacher cannot nurture and develop 30 students by themselves
-character is king, and a child with character makes a better student

-education should prepare our children for a life of virtuous service to others, and is ultimately training for eternity

3.  There is more to School than Books:

-there is success you cannot quantify on standardized tests

-life itself is the test and education should be about life itself

-with homeschooling life is our curriculum and the world is our classroom

-virtue is its own reward, and a life lived for Christ trumps academic achievement

-homeschooling combines the best of both, it is statistically better academically speaking

4.  No one can take care of a child better than their own parents:

-the experts are not more qualified than you are

-studies have shown that greater amount of schooling in education (i.e. M.A. in Education) does not correlate to better teacher performance

-if God has given you specific children he has also equipped you to educate them

5.  There is no such thing as an 'average child':

-mediocrity is the wellspring of uniformity

 -classrooms are like assembly lines of education with a 'one-size fits all approach

-homeschoolers can be free from the 'grade-level' mentality
-children can be gifted in out subject and struggle in another, homeschooling gives more freedom to spend time where it is needed

-one-on-one time from a parent who loves and cares for their child far more than any teacher cannot be beat

6.  Socialization Isn't Everything: Better no socialization than bad socialization.

-the best is positive socialization that is accomplishes a purpose

-"It is better to be alone than in bad company" - George Washington 

-schools are heavily peer based (e.g. 30 students, one teacher)
-"Do not be deceived 'Bad company corrupts good morals'" (quoted by the Apostle Paul, 1 Cor.15:33)

-the Bible warns even adults regarding the company that they keep

-remember the warning - "do not be deceived", many people are deceived about this

-"whoever walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm" (Proverbs 13:20)

-"folly (foolishness) is bound up in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15)

-when children spend time with other children does their behaviour improve or deteriorate?  (it deteriorates!)

-Prov. 22:15 continued - "but the rod of discipline will drive it (folly) far from him" 

-it is the parents role to teach and disciple their children in accordance with the principles found in the word of God

-better socialization takes place in spending time with family, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and church family, sunday school teachers, pastors and mentors

7.  Not Just about Education, it is about lifestyles:

-it is a mistake to view all educational options as equal

-every educational approach comes with a distinct lifestyle that influences family life, from subject matter to scheduling to homework etc.

 -homeschooling is the superior choice because that is how God designed and established the family from Genesis

-Deut. 6, "when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up", this is describing a lifestyle

8.  The Product is a Result of the process:

-education is not a neutral process

 -leaving God out of school is not neutral, it is actually teaching children that God is not relevant or important (infers a sacred/secular divide)

-it is a mistake to believe that as long as a child is educated it doesn't matter how it happened

-the road we follow dictates the destination we arrive at

1 comment:

Simone said...

Appreciate your summary -we didn't make it to the conference, but we hope to in the future. Excellent points here. Thank-you !