Today we meet a homeschool graduate of many talents. Former political aide, author, and southern gospel music journalist Daniel Mount shares how his home education trained him well for his exciting adult life.
“Ask the Grad”
by Daniel Mount
Even before they married, my parents were discussing homeschooling. So they were intentionally training and discipling me from birth. Academic training began when I expressed an interest in learning to read at age 3½.
As the oldest sibling, I had both the positives of having more individualized time and the negatives of being the official guinea pig! Early on, we spent several years using the Weaver Curriculum unit studies approach. That became too much busywork, so we switched to individual, separate textbooks for the core topics throughout the remainder of elementary and middle school.
In high school, I tried . . . well, just about everything. (As I said, I was the guinea pig!) I tried going back to unit studies with Listen, My Son, the classical approach with Worldviews of the Western World, five different algebra and geometry textbooks, and all manner of different texts and approaches in other subjects. I also took two years each of Latin, Spanish, and Greek; my parents expected that my natural strength working with words in the English language would translate into a strength with foreign languages . . . yet all I recall of any of the three was “no hablo espanol.” Ah, well—recognizing that you are just as weak in some areas as you are strong in others is a key component of humility!
I earned a bachelor’s degree through distance learning. I started at one state college, which I picked because of the strength of their history department, but transferred to finish at another when I discovered that the first mandated a course including a key component of study of and essays on homosexual and feminist literature.
What did I like about my homeschool experience?
Can I say “everything”? Of course, that wouldn’t be quite true, because there were the days when I was ready to pull my hair out over something, usually math or science related. But it was an overwhelmingly positive experience.
I loved that I was able to breeze through the easy topics and spend as long as I needed to master the harder topics.
Since I wasn’t tied down to spending most of my day with age-mates, I got plenty of experience making friends of all ages. In point of fact, I’ve never worked in or seen a job situation yet where one only works with age-mates, so this was actually quite an advantage.
Most importantly, I was able to be discipled by my parents in the truths of the Christian faith—and to be there to watch as they lived those truths.
What did I dislike about my homeschool experience?
There is only one major thing I would change. I spent a couple of years in high school using the classical approach—spending an immense amount of time immersing myself in Roman, Greek, and medieval culture. While a certain extent of basic knowledge of pagan cultures is necessary, I plan to spend far more time immersing my children in truth, and teaching them to recognize the counterfeit by their familiarity with the genuine article. (My parents have also come to this view and are using it with my younger siblings.)
Would I home educate my children? Why or why not?
Beyond any shadow of a doubt! I would not consider any other option. God has given parents the responsibility of training their children, and should I have the opportunity to get married and have children, I trust I shall be found faithful with that responsibility.
How can the next generation of home educators do better?
Let’s start with the basics. Making disciples is more important than academics. Earnestly strive to teach the Biblical worldview. Immerse your children in truth.
Beyond the basics: We have three options: Gaining ground, getting stuck in a rut, or backsliding. Our parents fought and won the battle to train us through age 18. As the second generation, we should give serious consideration to taking homeschooling to the next level—literally.
Does a parent’s responsibility to train their children end at age 18, or when that child is trained? I believe the Bible’s answer is more clear than many of us would like to admit.
Our parents had the nerve to assert (and prove!) that the high school diploma they handed us was every bit as good—and better—than the one handed out by the government high schools. Will we have the nerve to assert that the life training—apprenticeship, vocational, or academic—we give our children after age 18 is every bit as good—and better—than the diploma handed out by the government colleges?
Will ours be the generation to fully embrace the vision, and go all the way?
What am I doing now?
I spent my teen years in politics—culminating in spending two years campaigning for and then working as an aide for a conservative U.S. Congressman.
During these years, I wrote a book, The Faith of America’s Presidents. It was published in 2007 by Living Ink / AMG, and opened the doors for me to speak at numerous conferences and events, and be interviewed on several dozen local and national Christian talk radio programs.
I then spent about three and a half years in sales; the highlight of that period was spending two years selling ads for a homeschooling magazine, Home School Digest.
Almost five years ago, I launched a Southern Gospel news and commentary website, http://www.southerngospelblog.com. In January 2010, a Southern Gospel record company, Crossroads, hired me to work on their website and web-related projects on a part-time basis. Last July, they invited me to go full-time; I accepted and moved south from Ohio to Arden, North Carolina. My job has since expanded to include publicity, marketing, video editing, and social media management.
Earlier this year, I launched a new project, The Biblical Bookshelf, reviewing a broad variety of books and films to see how they compare to the Biblical worldview.
On the personal side, I’m still single, and an active member of a family-integrated church, Simple Truth Bible Fellowship in Leicester, NC .
What advice would you give homeschooling parents to encourage them to stick with their commitment to educate at home even when times get tough as opposed to placing children back into the school system?
Why are they doing it in the first place? If it’s for pragmatic reasons—say they live in a particularly dangerous or academically weak school district—then I’m not sure we share enough common ground for me to really give them advice.
But if they are training and discipling their children because that is the responsibility God has given them as parents, then there simply aren’t any valid options other than homeschooling. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Now, I must admit that that’s a pretty cerebral answer. I often get quite cerebral when talking on a theoretical level. If a close friend asked me the same question, I trust I would give an answer far more personalized to their specific situation—and do anything in my power to enable them to continue.
Daniel Mount can be reached through his website.