|HOME SCHOOLING / INTERNATIONAL|
Homeschooled MK Wins Scholarship to Top Medical School
Submitted by the Antonio family
One of the often-heard concerns about homeschooling is how young people will fare when it comes to getting into professional schools, like medicine. Dominic Antonio, 22, son of veteran missionaries, Dr. Gene and Rebecca Antonio, has recently been accepted to one of the top medical schools in the Dominican Republic. The institution has also awarded him a half scholarship for the entire course of studies. Graduates from this prestigious medical school regularly do well on the rigorous medical licensing exams to practice medicine in the United States.
Dominic posing with members of the Dominican police force after providing them with martial arts instruction.
The second of eight children, Dominic left the US with his parents, who went to work and minister in India, over eighteen years ago. For the last ten years, the family has lived in the tropical island nation of the Dominican Republic. Then as now the family homeschooled their children, currently ages eight to twenty-four. “We were the only homeschooling family in a state of over fifty million people,” Rebecca comments. “Many people urged us to put our children in private schools. We were even offered free tuition. However, none of them used a Bible-based, Christ-centered curriculum, and we wanted to maintain the close bonding between parents and siblings that homeschooling provides. We had to be our own homeschool support group. Since we homeschooled, our children were able to come with us to help minister in the villages, meet the local people and see God touch lives. Homeschooling has empowered us to build strong, godly character and enable our children to be different from the culture which surrounds them.”
As highlighted in their compelling book, Venture to India, the Antonios were blessed to have Aunty Carunia, a spiritual daughter of the famous missionary Amy Carmichael, teach the Tamil language to Dominic and his sisters and brothers. Tamil classes ran two to three hours a day, interspersed with captivating vignettes of what it was like to grow up as an orphan in the Dohnavur Fellowship, the mission that Carmichael founded. The Antonio children then had classes in Hindi, the language of North India, from the daughter of a pastor. “Learning two entirely different new languages was a great mental discipline,” says Dominic. “It made learning Spanish second nature to all of us. Being fluent is essential, not only to minister here, but also because the classes in medical school are all conducted in Spanish.”
HIGH SCHOOL TO MED SCHOOL
It may come as a surprise to many readers that in rest of the world, such as the former USSR, Asia and Latin America, young people go directly from high school into professional schools, such as law, engineering, dentistry and medicine. In the DR, the course of medicine is five and a half years long, with the first year and a half used for intense review and study of advanced biology, chemistry, anatomy and other subjects. The course of studies is intense, with classes going year-round, including summers.
Instead of going to college, Dominic spent the last several years doing pro-life and evangelistic ministry in schools and pursuing advanced studies in the martial arts of Shotokan Karate and Yoshinkan Aikido, earning his black belt in each. He became so proficient in the art of Aikido that his Japanese instructor appointed him to continue teaching his classes after returning to his country. As a Sensei (professor) of Aikido, Dominic has been invited to teach members of the Dominican police force. “It is important that law enforcement personnel learn how to defend themselves without using lethal force. As a committed Christian, I also utilize the classes for sharing the gospel and praying with them.”
Dominic has also worked in helping his father, Dr. Gene, in the practice of regenerative and holistic medicine. “We have seen some pretty amazing results in children with autism, ADHD, and cerebral palsy, as well as adults with various conditions,” Dominic asserts. “This is a way of ministering to families as well as the children.” Working with these families helped motivate him to pursue his studies in medicine. In addition, he says, “Being a medical doctor will open up tremendous opportunities for missionary service.”
We asked Dominic, “In today’s world, there are so many young men your age without much ambition, squandering their time playing video games, constantly watching TV, heavily into online pornography, drinking, fornication and so forth. What has made you so different?”
Dominic speaking in a Dominican school about purity and following Christ.
Dominic: “My parents have been married for twenty-nine years and provide a wellspring of love, strong guidance and direction. Both are totally committed to the Lord, to each other, and to homeschooling. I was weaned on daily reading a chapter of Proverbs, Psalms, New and Old Testaments, and CH Spurgeon, a practice I continue. I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior at a very young age.
In our home, we have never had a television. We have had intense family devotions on a daily basis ever since I can remember. Video games have been very restricted, as they are considered a waste of time. Video watching has been confined to old black and white DVDs like Father Knows Best, Leave It to Beaver and Creation Science videos. All our computers are heavily filtered and have a reporting program, Covenant Eyes, which sends emails to accountability partners listing every site visited. Image searches are blocked as well as sites such as YouTube, which are saturated with impure videos. Watching pornography warps and deadens the personality and destroys motivation. No one has a cell phone with access to the internet. Internet access is restricted to daytime usage only and to sites necessary for work and ministry. There is no need to be online at 2 am.
In our ministry in public and private schools, we have found most young people are immersed in online pornography. It is ruining their character and saps their energy to do anything constructive. In order to reach them, we must first keep our own minds pure and set apart for the Lord Jesus, who has washed us in His own blood. Our hearts are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. As a result of our teaching, we have seen many young people surrender their hearts to the Lord. Young women across the country have chosen life for their babies. This is awesome.
Our family believes in positive courtship rather than the dating and fornicating pattern which I believe is a prelude to marital disaster. As such, I am waiting on the Lord to provide the right young lady who wants to be a godly wife and mother helping to reach people for Christ on the mission field.”
All this may sound pretty radical to some people. Did you ever feel stifled about the way you were raised?
Dominic: Actually, I feel quite liberated. Christ calls us to be radical for Him. In working with young people and adults, I have seen the heartbreak, misery and emotional problems produced by impure lifestyles. By having parents who loved and cared enough about me to homeschool, guide and protect me, my mind and body are free from the baggage of sinful living and toxic memories. I have had the freedom to preserve my heart and give myself to my future wife without bitter regrets. I have the motivation, emotional and spiritual energy to do all sorts of interesting and exciting things for the Lord.
Many of the moms out there might be wondering how Rebecca managed to homeschool eight children in foreign countries and how she was able to prepare Dominic to enter medical school. We asked her how she did it and if she had any words of encouragement to other homeschooling moms.
The Antonio family
Rebecca: It gets hectic at times. There are days that go well and others that are rough. No need to be discouraged when your kids are rowdy and rambunctious and don’t sit still like pins in a cushion. You need patience, dedication, persistence and to depend on the Lord. Prayer and exercise help maintain your stamina.
I did feel intimidated by the idea of teaching math and sciences. We have used textbooks, interactive DVDs, online courses and friends who are sharp in these areas. You can get a personal or online tutor if need be. In the US, the students will do their pre-med courses in college. In much of the rest of the world, they will have intense training and review after entering medical school. Besides, most kids are not aiming to enter medical school. Take it a day at a time and don’t project for the next ten years. When Dominic was very young, he jumped up, pushed his desk aside and exclaimed, “That’s it! I’m done with homeschooling. I’ve learned everything I need to know!” I gently ushered him back to his seat and continued teaching.
After twenty years of homeschooling eight children in four countries, I can say it is absolutely worthwhile. Using Christ-centered curriculum enabled our children to read well from an early age which helped all their studies. All our children are unique, and homeschooling enabled us to bring out their best.
Dominic, any closing thoughts?
Dominic: I am very grateful to my parents for pouring their lives into me. Living under grace in obedience to God is the path to true freedom and joy. Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to be close to my brothers and sisters. Medical school is rigorous, but being homeschooled throughout my life in the Third World has helped prepare me to face the challenge.
Both Dominic and Dr. Gene are available for speaking engagements. For more information about the Antonio family’s ministry or for contact information, see www.homeschoolersinmissions.org. To help support their ministry, you can send tax-deductible contributions to FACT, PO Box 54, Two Harbors MN 55616 or contribute online through their website.
| Other Resources|
Learn more by visiting HSLDA’s Dominican Republic page.