Today, we have a special spousal edition of “Ask the Grad,” featuring a homeschool graduate who married another home educated graduate. Brook Wayne is a second-generation home educator, teaching her own six children much the same way she was taught. Be sure to read to the end for a special offer from Encouraging Word magazine!
Ask the Grad
by Brook Wayne
In 1983, as a five-year-old, I was enrolled in a local parochial preschool, attending three days a week. The end of the school year was looming, and my mother was scrambling to figure out where to send me to kindergarten. Though the teachers at the preschool had been kind, and nothing dramatic had happened, I was not faring well. At preschool, I was a shy child, putting up invisible walls around myself until I could be home again in the safety of my parents’ love and the play times with my brother. The local government school was one of the few choices to put me into kindergarten, so while I was still in preschool, my mother went to visit. The teacher, apparently trying to make a good impression, verbally degraded the intelligence of her students, and in fact smilingly showed my mom just how on top of discipline she was in her classroom by sticking a naughty child in the trash can! My mom left that day resolving that was not where I’d be!
Summer came, and along came vacations and a family camping trip with our church. When a small accident landed my younger brother, then 3, in the emergency room for stitches, who should happen to be on the waiting room’s TV but a man named Raymond Moore, interviewing a family that, of all things, taught their son academics at home! Not long later at a family camp a friend gave my mom one of those old-fashioned audio cassette tapes to listen to a man named Raymond Moore as he spoke about home education. My mom thought the friend was crazy, and wouldn’t listen to the tape for weeks. Finally one day in late summer, she popped it in and half way through was an avowed home educator. Neither my mother, nor father for that matter, had ever had any teacher training, but she jumped right in working on reading to us, doing simple math, and phonics. After the first month, my parents noticed such a change in me as I had grown in happiness and confidence that my dad proclaimed, “If it’s this good, we’re doing it all the way through high school!”
Thus began our journey. It was “that good” and both my brother and I both homeschooled through high school. I think one of the things that made our homeschool unique from the other families in our local home school support group was the amount of talking my mom invested into day. Thankfully she was not content to put on a video, or place a book in front of us, but kept a running dialogue going about not only what we were studying, but world history, human nature, goals and plans, and books we read aloud as a family. While we did participate in field trips with our homeschool support group during the elementary grades, and in a few collective classes with other homeschooled students during high school (debate, Latin, choir, volleyball), my mom and dad kept a really good balance in spreading the classes out so that our weeks were not absorbed in collective schooling. Part of their goal was so that we wouldn’t be too far spread keeping up with our regular studies at home, where we followed the Moore’s advice on spending 3 equal parts of the day on academics, work, and service, but even beyond that, my parents wanted to shelter us from the pull of peer pressure, that yes, exists even in the home school groups. We had friends, we had ample time to get together with others our own age, but I’m grateful my mom and dad had the foresight to allow us to grow up primarily as part of a family and not primarily as part of the peer group. I’m sure this only worked because they actually had our hearts in the first place, were open to conversations about “why” and worked hard at creating a family culture we would want to identify with. I solely attribute this choice of my parents to allowing me the freedom, both time wise and emotionally, to my beginning writing for and publishing a girls’ magazine during high school that later blossomed into a ministry after high school.
Did I dislike anything?? Hmmm, I’m honestly trying to think what! I know I had times along the way when certain academic structures didn’t fit, but that was never a big deal since we kept open communication and made changes as we went along. My dad was pretty strong that he wanted me to go to college, and I was pretty sure I didn’t want to move out of the family just yet! We finally compromised and I started correspondence courses. I never made it far since the magazine for girls I had started in high school grew to being nearly full time. Several years later, through the publication of the girls’ magazine I came to know, and then marry Israel Wayne.
We’ve now been married 12 years and have six children. Guess what? We’re second-generation homeschooling parents now! It has been such fun walking through life with my children as their eyes are opened for the first time to the wonders of the earth, reading, and understanding history. My teaching style is quite similar to my mom’s; her passion for heart connections with her children, her love for reading aloud, and her zest for real books have all become part of our approach as well. One of the gifts that my parents passed on through home education was making learning a lifestyle of “go, and find out!” While naturally I’ve run into areas I didn’t understand, the well-rounded educational experience of my growing up years, and an attitude for learning have helped me to never feel at a loss.
Here’s a question I have for a future “Ask the Grad” participant. How can we, as homeschooling parents, best help our children not feel like outsiders to the rest of the world? It’s good, of course, to be in the world and not of the world, but as children reach their teen years, I sense this is a greater concern to them. Did your parents do anything to help you in that regard?
Parents can have a tremendous influence in equipping their child to relate to the “real world.” Someway, or another, your child will face the real world, and he will either be swayed by its influences, or he will be a light to help the lost and hurting find the Lord. First it starts with you, the parents (Deut. 6) and how you do or do not identify who you are with the world. Start with lots of conversations about what it means to be OF the world and what it means to be IN it. Talk about real life examples who have chosen one way or the other, and take it to the full consequence. The world puts on such a shiny face to your young people, alluring them with its innocent-seeming entertainment and good times, but helps them open their eyes to see where each ideology’s consequences land a person. Give them exposure to real life examples of those who are OF the world, allowing them to see firsthand just how far sin will indeed take a person. Seeing the negative consequence of sin (rather than just the allure) has the potential to put distaste in their mouth to last a long time. But as a Christian, you have a higher goal than to just keep your kids out of the world: you are called to be a light to those around you. Develop in your children a vision to help the spiritually needy. By purposely engaging the world as ambassadors in a way that doesn’t put a child in a vulnerable position, he will never need to have a culture shock to the world, or experience confusion about what the world really is.
Teach your children the power of influences, media, music, movies, and friends; equip them and give them the space from the world to learn to stand strong.
Growing up, my mom and dad shared with us, at age-appropriate times, the lure of the world as they had felt it as unbelieving young people, how it affected and pulled on the young people they knew and of their times, and used every opportunity that came across our path to discuss the pull of the world, and how God’s way is to stand strong against it. My mom and dad also steered us away from movie-going except as a family, mall shopping was with parents, interaction with other young people was in family-settings . . . in general, whatever we did, the whole family did! And we loved it and benefited from it because my mom and dad first had our hearts.
Brook Wayne is a homeschooled graduate who is married to Israel Wayne, also a homeschooled graduate. Together they are homeschooling their six children in Michigan. Brook is a regular columnist for the Home School Digest (www.HomeSchoolDigest.com) and An Encouraging Word (www.AnEncouragingWord.net) magazines. She is the former publisher of Kindred Spirits Magazine and she occasionally speaks at homeschool conferences and other events. To receive a FREE SAMPLE COPY of An Encouraging Word magazine, email your name and address to: firstname.lastname@example.org.