By: Michael C. Broome
Home schooling is not only a right of each and every American, it is also a joy with blessings that many home schoolers wouldn’t trade for anything. Not just the children, but the mothers and fathers that give so much of their time to ensure their children have the best life can offer.
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrea Scully, a homeschooling mom from Arkansas. Andrea shared with me the joys that she, her husband (Adam) and her four children experience. And what started out thirteen and a half years ago, for them as an idea, soon developed into a six month trial before their oldest was scheduled to attend school. At the end of this trial period, a mutual trust was formed thus paving the road to home schooling all their children. Where did that road end? So far, it isn’t close to ending; but the oldest is a first year student at a college of pharmacy. She just turned 18. The second oldest is a freshman in college. The youngest two are still being home schooled.
Andrea is a disciple of Jesus in her everyday life, and a home schooling Mom with an English degree. Their children were taught to not only acknowledge the presence of Jesus in their everyday lives, but to think of Him as their best friend, their inspiration and foundation.
Being someone that is expecting twins in just a few months, I had to ask, “How did you combat ‘burn-out’ and stay focused on your duel role as a mother and a teacher?”
“Jesus,” she said. Genuine. Confident. And knowing His presence in her life, her husband’s life and the lives of their four children. Jesus is not an entity they fear or hide from or eliminate from their daily educational activities, rather they embrace His role in their lives as their pillar of strength.
Andrea told me that whenever adversity turned its ugly face her direction, she always found the presence of Jesus offering an answer. Like the time she was searching in vain for a more “user friendly” grammar curriculum. She took her kids to a dentist appointment and found a young girl diligently doing her grammar work on the floor. Andrea asked the young girl’s mother what grammar she was using, and the woman was more than willing to share what curriculum she used. The two younger Scully’s are still using this grammar to this day.
“Andrea, one of the main complaints home schooling parents deal with is the question of socialization. Was this a struggle for any of your children?” I asked.
“That’s funny. I hear that one all of the time too,” she said. “Honestly, my children are comfortable around anyone. They do what kids do when they are around other children and aren’t afraid of talking to adults. I’m not sure if that is just them or the home schooling, but socialization has never really been a concern for any of them.”
We talked more about this issue and eventually the word “confidence” materialized. We talked about how home schoolers tend to have confidence without the swagger. Confidence without the ego. Confidence to be approached or approach another, without the fear that is generally associated with immaturity. My philosophical side emerged and tried to claim that public schools can categorically force a bully system based on age, size and grouping by grading that forces children to learn where they belong and squeeze themselves into that space, either with comfort and ease or with force and shame.
Andrea wasn’t willing to comment on the wrongs with public schools, but rather what worked for her and her children. We did agree though – society questions home schooling socialization. Home schooling parents don’t. And the kids tend to laugh at not fitting in, since as home schoolers they are taught to fit into the entire world, not merely the class of children their same age.
“Andrea, are you familiar with what is going on in California and home schooling?” I felt compelled to ask.
“I am, but only from what I’ve been able to follow on the internet,” she said.
I briefly explained some information about it, and Andrea responded by telling me a quote her Grandmother constantly repeats, “I don’t know what the world’s coming to.”
We again agreed. People don’t send their kids to church anymore; it’s no wonder why there is so much evil creeping its way into their lives. Without Jesus, we are robbing the world of hope. Christianity nurtures our youth with hope. Hope for today, tomorrow and for the entire foundation that is. Without Jesus, we are without hope. And without hope, we are without the foundation to build a sound platform.
Hanging up with Andrea, I thanked her and let her know that her story is one worthy of more than merely a blog posting. It is bigger than the papers, and stronger than one person’s account of home schooling. She politely interrupted me and told me that I wasn’t only capturing her story about home schooling, because without her husband and his support, their lives just wouldn’t be the same. I was also crowning her children’s vast accomplishments.
Truthfully, Jesus and Christianity would certainly remain a constant, but their road to enlightenment would have had a lot of different turns and speed bumps. The children might not be in the same places today, but all of them would have traveled together, with Christ as their guide. For some, perhaps this is a road less traveled. For the Scully family, it has been the best route from point A to point B, earth to God’s kingdom.