This week’s Homeschool Graduate is Ethan Morden, a twenty year old who has already travelled halfway around the world. I enjoy reading his perspective on learning at home. Today Ethan tells of homeschooling from a “real boy’s” point of view. Seeing what he has already learned and accomplished gives us all great encouragement as we teach and train our own sons.
I would have to say that my parents’ choice to homeschool me was one of the greatest gifts they have given me. As the oldest child of three, I’ve sometimes felt like the “test subject” over the years, nonetheless, growing up in a Christian home as a PK (Pastor’s Kid) has had a huge part in shaping who I am today.
My parents utilized different sources as they decided to school me right from kindergarten to high school graduation, but for the most part the curriculum was from A Beka. My favourite part about homeschooling was always the flexibility it gave me. In each subject I had certain work scheduled for each day of the week. As long as I completed all the work for the week everything was golden. Therefore, getting extra schoolwork finished earlier in the week made for a longer weekend. On the downside, unless a massive hole appeared in the hallway ceiling, snow days were non-existent.
Another thing I very much appreciate is the closeness to family homeschooling brought. Just getting to be together for meals or having time for family trips is something I am still grateful for. Not everyone gets to have a pummel with their younger brother in between Grammar and Geography. And on a more serious note, it provided opportunity for our family to grow together spiritually as well. I always used to sit on my bed to work away at my books. Sometimes the peace and quiet was conductive to learning, although the Lego blocks didn’t think so. The bedroom/classroom did have its advantages. Being able to learn one-on-one with the teacher was nice and parent-teacher conferences were virtually useless. It was frustrating not being able to go to the park while other kids were still in school, due to the bother of getting questioned about our skipping school. For the most part though, I have no complaints about the experience as the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.
Around the time I was beginning high school my father went from pastoring into itinerant ministry. The best part was that we got to do this together as a family. I had already been involved in children’s ministry at our church and my sister was involved with the worship team. My mom has been involved with CE (Children’s Education) in the church for longer than I’ve been around. As we travelled to churches around Ontario each one of us had something to offer in the family ministry we were now doing. My favourite aspect of this was when we did Vacation Bible Schools and camps in the summers. Being homeschooled gave us the freedom to travel together throughout the whole year. We were involved for a time in a homeschooler’s group which met once a week with over one hundred kids of all ages. There my sister, brother and I were able to take fun and interesting classes. Some classes, like gym and drama, gave us opportunities that we didn’t have on our own. The last year that we went there was a growing time for me as I was able to help as an assistant teacher in classes for the younger grades. The friendships I made through this group will last a lifetime.
Family has always been a huge deal for me, and I hope to one day have my own family. When that day comes my desire is that my children also will be homeschooled. I want them to have that closeness to family that I have always had and which seems to be so uncommon today. I want to have the kind of friendship with my children that I have with my parents. Most of all, I want my children to be brought up with a Biblical worldview and a strong faith.
Since – and even before – graduating I’ve been able to work to save money and feed my entrepreneurial edge. That is one thing I definitely developed from being homeschooled – the love of reading, learning, and figuring things out all on my own. When I’m not creating VBS curriculum, writing a book, filming weddings, or developing computer games, I manage to keep myself busy. Sometimes I take on more than I can handle, but I’m always grateful for the friends and family God has given me to help along the way.
Earlier this year one of my biggest dreams came true as God opened the door for me to fly across the world to Nagpur, India. I travelled there on my own to stay with a missionary who has developed a hostel/school for poor boys. For a whole month I was able to minister to the seven hundred boys that live there. It was a time of growing and stretching for me as I was continually placed in brand new situations. God has placed in me a desire to go back and serve there for longer ,and that is what I am currently working towards.
Upon reflection, although as with most boys school was not my favourite thing, I can honestly say that I have no regrets about being homeschooled. I am who I am and where I am today because of it, and I thank God that it has all been a part of His amazing plan for my life. At only twenty years of age, I don’t know all that the future holds for me, but I am content knowing that the One who does know has never failed me before, and He never will.
Want to know more? Email Ethan Morden today to ask him more about his home education experiences or his ministry trips to India.
Are you a homeschool graduate? Do you know a graduate who may be interested in sharing his story? Contact Lea Ann for more information regarding an appearance in an upcoming “Ask the Grad” profile.