The Home School Court Report
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JUNE 1996
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The Dads of HSLDA

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C O V E R   S T O R Y

The Dads of HSLDA

In honor of Father's day, We asked the dads of HSLDA to share with us the ways home schooling has benefited their families and impacted their relationships with their children. Here's what they told us

After fourteen years of home schooling, I am convinced that the greatest advantage is simply time. Time to invest in your child's spiritual life. Time to simply enjoy each other. Time to read. Time to laugh. Time to be together.

Other than home schooling, our lives are typically hectic. If we did not have the time together that home schooling requires, we would not know our children. As it is, we have deep and great relationships that only come through time. It is the greatest gift.

Michael Farris, Esq., President of HSLDA

[CAPTION] Mike and Jonathan (1993)

[CAPTION] Back row: Vickie, Mike, Christy (21), Angie (9). Front row: Jessica (11), Michael (7), Katie (15) holding Emily (6), Jayme (18) holding Joseph (2), Jonathan (4)

Home Schooling has changed the emphasis of the working part of my life. Prior to beginning home schooling I was involved in the practice of law, specializing in defending real criminals in California. Soon after home schoolers found out that in addition to home schooling my children, I was also a lawyer, I began to represent families who were being accused of "criminal" home schooling activity. This brought me in touch with Mike Farris, who was doing the same thing in the state of Washington, and gave me the opportunity to participate in the founding of HSLDA.

As a result of God blessing HSLDA, I have the opportunity to work full-time in what I consider to be a ministry to families. The primary part of the ministry is to enable home schoolers to carry out God's mandate and calling in their life regarding the training and discipleship of their children. In my view, there could not be a more fulfilling job for me in my occupation as a lawyer than the one I have had for the last fourteen years: representing families all across this nation who seek to obey God's call on their life.

But by far, the greatest benefit of home schooling for me is that I have been able to spend many thousands of hours with my children that I would have missed had they been in school. Because of home schooling, our older daughters as teenagers were able to work for me in my law office as secretary and receptionist. In the process of piling up quantity time with my children, there has been tremendous quality time, as well.

Home schooling has brought us closer together. We do things as a family, even with our teenagers. We talk over problems and attempt to solve them together as a family. We work through the trials and tribulations that come to every family, together. When one family member hurts, we all pull together to be a comfort and resource. When one member rejoices, we all rejoice.

Through our involvement in the home school movement, we have been blessed and challenged with ideas of discipleship for our children that we might never have been exposed to otherwise. For example, we have been exposed to the idea of courtship, which we believe to be a more biblical method of choosing one's life partner. We are working through that with our children now.

Home schooling has enabled our children to receive an education which emphasizes the Word of God all the way through. The emphasis of our home school has been on character, yet the children have received more than an adequate academic education as well.

Home schooling has exposed our family to many godly men and women who have been outstanding examples of Christ-like character. We have had an opportunity to meet many of these godly leaders personally and receive warm fellowship from them. Additionally, the fellowship from other home schoolers in both California and Virginia has made it possible for us to have positive peer influence in the life of our children. This support is so important, since our life style and beliefs run so contrary to the world's.

Home schooling has given us opportunities to take spontaneous trips with our children. These times together have been experiences we will cherish as a family for the rest of our lives.

Through home schooling we have seen our children grow—every step of the way—in favor with both God and man.

J. Michael Smith, Esq., Vice President of HSLDA

One of the advantages of home schooling, from my perspective as a father, is that I have a level of interaction with my children I do not believe I would have if they were in a conventional school setting. This is because we start our school day with Bible reading and a discussion of how various biblical principles are applicable to our lives. So often the level of conversation within the family has only to do with the daily routine ("Pass the butter, please. Would you please straighten your room? Have you done your math yet?") The routine of home education provides me with an opportunity to talk with my children about more than superficial matters at a time of day when I have not yet spent myself on the responsibilities of my work at HSLDA. Because of the demands of work and outside interests, it is so easy for a father to be a virtual stranger in his own home. For our family, having the children at home for instruction has enabled me to better fulfill my role as their father and to more effectively influence their developing character.

Dewitt T. Black, Esq., Staff Attorney

[CAPTION] Back row: Rickie and Dee. Front row: Susannah (5), Brian (7), Christina (14), Witt (12)

[CAPTION] Brian, Dee, and Susannah

To me, home schooling means accountability. Because my wife and I have assumed responsibility for the education of our children, we are accountable for that task. I cannot expect any teacher, any school, or even any Sunday school class to train our children in truth and godliness. And I know that as the father, the ultimate responsibility is mine. So I am accountable to my wife and to God to do "evening devotions" when I'd rather not, to lead the family in prayer when they're finally in bed, and to relieve my wife of discipline even when I'm safely hiding in my room.

He commanded our fathers,
That they should teach them [God's ways and laws] totheir children;
That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born,
That they may arise and tell them to their children,
That they should put their confidence in God,
And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments (Psalm 78:5-7)

David Gordon, Attorney

[CAPTION] Back Row: Stephen (9), Elizabeth (10). Front row: Joseph (7), David holding Benjamin (2), Julie holding Samuel (3 weeks), Jonathan (4)

[CAPTION] Elizabeth and David

Home Schooling together has been one of the greatest blessings in our family. It has enabled me to spend both quality and quantity time with my children. There is no doubt in my mind that home schooling enables me to best fulfill the scriptural mandate in Ephesians 6:4 which states, "Fathers, do not provoke your children but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD." As a father, this commandment weighs heavy on me, since I am responsible for my children's spiritual training.

With six children, my wife and I have our hands full. However, home schooling has enabled me to develop bonds with each of my children which I believe will never break. This past year in particular, God has brought me closer to my children as a result of my suffering with Multiple Sclerosis and nearly losing the lives of our twins. We have been able to see the faith of our children grow in ways that parents who send their children off to school do not experience. The flexibility of home schooling has also expanded our opportunities to learn together in so many areas. As one who travels a considerable amount each year, I find this flexibility particularly helpful to make sure my children's schooling and my time at home do not conflict with each other.

Ultimately, one of the greatest privileges God has given me is training and nurturing the souls of my children so they will know Jesus Christ as their Savior and walk in His paths of righteousness. Home schooling our children enables us to best fulfill that wonderful responsibility.

Christopher Klicka, Esq., Executive Director
National Center for Home Education

[CAPTION] Amy, Megan and Chris

[CAPTION] Chris holding Amy (1), Megan (5), Tracy holding Charity (1), Bethany (8), Jesse (3), and Susannah (2).

It seems as if the Lord is sending constant reminders of the brevity of life and the importance of living for eternity. When a Christian goes to heaven he leaves all behind, all except the souls of those loved ones who someday will join him in Glory. It is the desire of my heart to make every precious minute that I have with my wife and children count for the cause of Christ. I can think of no better way to do that then by investing all the necessary time in the training and discipleship of my children. Beall and I share a vision that by God's sovereign grace, our children will not only be with us in heaven, but that they will someday stand as mighty warriors of the King in the gates of our nation. We are convinced that home education is the method which most closely models the biblical ideal for training and discipling such warriors. Training warriors is not always easy, but then neither is the Christian's walk. What makes the process so sweet, however, is that that there is nothing on this earth that gives my wife and me greater joy than spending time as a family learning about the God of creation.

Doug Phillips, Esq., Director of Federal Relations
National Center for Home Education

[CAPTION] Beall holding Justice (1), Joshua (3), and Doug. (Baby number 3 is due in September.

[CAPTION] Doug and his boys, Justice and Joshua.

My father was a busy man. Caught up in the workaholism of the 1950s and 60s, he saw little value in investing in family life or his children as he chased the American dream. He did a good job that is, if his goal was to raise rebellious children with no moral compass. We shared nothing. In contrast, that is perhaps the central way home schooling has made a difference in my life.

Nine years ago, when we started investing in the lives of our three children through home schooling, I never would have dreamed the deep rooted impact we could have by focusing on biblical absolutes, academic excellence, and critical thinking.

But perhaps the most important thing I am thankful for is having a real relationship with my children. I know them and they know me in deeper ways than I imagined possible. I am inspired by my children. They bless me by choosing God's ways for themselves time and time again.

They are fully integrated into my life, even my work life. As I am writing this, they are here at HSLDA stuffing an emergency mailing to protect home school freedom in Michigan. They didn't ask why; they didn't resent coming. They dropped everything at home to assist families they will never meet.

Wow! My children are amazingly high quality kids.

Of course, these results would not be possible without the dedicated efforts of a loving wife and mother. Together, by God's grace, we are not chasing the American dream, we are seeing the results of chasing God's dream.

Doug Domenech, Legislative Liaison

[CAPTION] Doug and Benjamin (1986)

[CAPTION] Back row: Doug, Jeanne. Front row: Ellis (9), Emily (11), and Benjamin (14) holding Florence (2).

As a school teacher for ten years, I watched in dismay as the self-esteem of one child after another was eroded by a daily deluge of slights and insults from uncaring peers. With the passage of time, once gentle, serene personalities characterized by trust and confidence were worn down, creating jagged emotional landscapes filled with distrust and uncertainty. I purposed in my heart that this would not happen to my children.

Home schooling has given us the opportunity to protect the fragile environment of our children's souls, allowing them to develop a right view of themselves and of God our Father.

Chuck Hurst, Membership Director and Office Manager

[CAPTION] Chuck, Jennifer (12), Jackye (10), and Jacob (6)

[CAPTION] Chuck and Dianne