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Monday, January 7, 2013

Homeschooling Was Our Choice, 30 Years Ago -
Ecclesia College in Northwest Arkansas Supports Homeschoolers

Martin and I were looking at my Greek New Testament in the pastoral study.
Later I tutored him in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew.
I grew up among teachers in the Illinois public school system. I was often surrounded by my mother's colleagues and attended many PTA meetings, where I majored in dessert. My wife Chris was trained and certified as a teacher. My sister, aunt, and many friends became teachers.

I read to him every night, so we still laugh over our favorite passages,
such as Merlin causing bricks and mortar to fall for several weeks -
Mark Twain, Connecticut Yankee.

We had mixed experiences with our son at various schools. Some public school teachers were excellent. Some parochial teachers were among our favorites. One public school teacher said he gave information about illegal drugs if his students asked - he did not want to be judgmental! Two
parochial school teachers were unfit to teach anyone. We gave up on most public and private schools, 30 years ago.

We decided to homeschool, long before most people accepted  that departure from the norm.

Many asked, "How can you do that?" I said, "My wife is certified to teach in this state, and I have a PhD. I think we can manage."

Some questioned its value. I asked them, "How are the children of rich and powerful people taught?" They had to admit than many were tutored at home. I added, because a nearby teacher was dealing drugs at school, "We do not sell drugs to children."

The hostility and the doubts were ongoing. "Does the school system know?" I said, "We met with the school's supervisor and gave him a complete lesson plan." In fact, a teacher in that system gave us a complete plan to use. When I handed the enormous notebook to the supervisor, his mouth closed shut.

My wife worked at home, except for a little part-time teaching. I had an office at home and at church, so I was available.

Our system quickly moved to a seven-day program, because Martin asked for no vacations. I remember tutoring him in Latin on our trip to Washington DC.

That year we:
1. Began Latin and translated the entire Gospel of John from Latin to English. No words were written above the Vulgate text and a translation was used only in emergencies to help with a phrase.
2. Read the classics of literature, such as the Iliad and the Odyssey. On the DC trip we were downstairs at a Yale professor's home; we heard Martin chuckling upstairs over his reading in the Odyssey.
3. Started algebra using the Saxon books.

Martin was accepted at a residential Lutheran prep school, and he wanted to attended. I really hated to give up the time we had together. He began there early by tutoring the football team in Latin, a required course at the school. Later, after I took him through the Fourth Gospel in Greek, he tutored the college students, because they were failing Greek. One of those students recommended him for a job as a specialist in the Unix operating system.

Homeschooling creates a closeness between parents and children that cannot be matched. The teaching can be adjusted to the child's needs and abilities. Best of all, life is a seamless experience of learning. 

We attend business meetings together and share many of the same hobbies.

Ecclesia College, Springdale, Arksansas, Supports Homeschoolers
My wife and I were pleased to learn that Ecclesia College, in Northwest Arkansas, actively supports homeschoolers. That was almost entirely missing in the 1980s.

Ecclesia Prep has programs for homeschooling parents. President Oren Paris III says, "Many of our best college students come from homeschooling."

Ecclesia Prep - Enrich

Girl in Library
Ecclesia Prep offers academic, social, artistic and spiritual enrichment opportunities for Christian homeschool students at every level. Our growing schedule of classes ranges from Choir, Art and Theater, to History, Science, English and much more.

Ecclesia Prep - Engage

Kids in Circle
Ecclesia Prep offers a Christ-centered environment where homeschoolers can connect with other families whose life and educational values are similar to theirs. This is a place where lifelong, positive friendships can be formed.

Ecclesia Prep - Enjoy

Sing in a choir, take an art class, join a casual game of touch football after class, or just enjoy being with friends. Ecclesia Prep has become a high point in the weekly schedule for many homeschooling students and families.

A Note From Twila Paris

Dear Homeschool Student,

Twila ParisI know you must be deeply grateful to your parents for their commitment to providing a Christ-centered education for you.  I believe it will positively affect your ability to find and fulfill God’s calling on your life.  My husband and I have also chosen to homeschool our son.

Soon you will be entering a new phase of your education, and you have a big decision to make—where to attend college.  As you weigh your many options, I invite you to consider Ecclesia College.

Ecclesia is a work learning college, which, along with financial aid and deep scholarships, enables the institution to offer private, Christ-centered higher education for the same (or lower) out-of-pocket costs as a secular state school.  Along with high academic standards, they also place a heavy emphasis on discipleship, Christian mentoring, and a Biblical foundation for learning. As you may know, the word  “Ecclesia” is Greek for “called out ones”.       

Because Ecclesia is a small and friendly school, determined to prepare students to stand firm in their faith and truly be salt and light in their chosen fields of vocation, it has proven to be an ideal choice for a growing number of homeschoolers.

Wherever God leads you, I pray for and expect great things as you continue to grow in following Him.

Twila Paris serves as a member of the Ecclesia College Board of Regents, along with David BartonEric Metaxas, and other Christian leaders.

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