Homeschooling strengthens values, Glorieta conference speakers say

GLORIETA, N.M.(BP)--"The homeschool movement has done more in our nation than any other group of people to shore up the declining moral values in our nation today," said Patrick Hurd, a father who educates his children at home in Weatherford, Texas.

Hurd and other speakers at Homeschool '97: Reaching New Heights, Aug. 17-20 at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center called the rise of homeschooling a positive development for the nation. Approximately 1,200 people attended the conference.

Homeschooling consultant Jeff Myers predicted children educated at home will be among society's leaders in the years ahead.

"If there are to be leaders in the next generation, a good percentage of them must come from the homeschool community," Myers, who also is assistant professor of communication arts at Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., said. "It's exciting to understand that, and I think it forms the context of everything we're doing today."

Among Southern Baptists, homeschooling parents are increasing in number and are grateful for denominational resources to help them in their tasks, said Glen L. Schultz, manager of the Christian schools and home schooling section of the Baptist Sunday School Board.

"A lot of Southern Baptists have come up to me during this conference and expressed gratitude that the convention is recognizing that they're here," he observed.

Schultz urges parents to remain focused on biblical concerns as they teach their children at home.

"As Christians, we need to make sure that our educational patterns are based on a view of the future that includes eternity with a real heaven and a real hell," Schultz declared. "Otherwise, we're going to betray our youth. ... We need to help children and youth develop a God-centered world view instead of man-centered."

Another speaker said homeschool parents should realize the education of their children is indeed a parental responsibility.

"I started searching the Bible and tried to look up every word in the Bible that had to do with 'teach,'" said Steve Demme, publisher of mathematics resources for home schools and Christian schools. "Guess what I found out? That it is the parents' responsibility."

Demme, who lives in Drumore, Pa., said parents should keep the Bible central in instructing their children.

He suggested having children read through and write out chapters of the Bible when learning vocabulary, penmanship and spelling.

Mary Pride of Fenton, Mo., author of 17 books on homeschooling, said parents who educate their children at home should aim for long-range generational goals.

"It's not enough to teach your kids," Pride declared. "You have to teach your kids to teach their kids to teach their kids. ... We want to hit the goal of having great godly grandkids and godly great-grandkids. Homeschooling is perfect for this."

During a workshop on the impact of homeschooling on the future, Hurd predicted positive spiritual change will escalate with the second generation of homeschooled children.

"It's not going to happen overnight," Hurd said. "Folks, we are gradualists. We're not going to conquer it all in one generation, but we have to get started. Too many of our contemporaries in the Christian arena are just not doing anything. ...

"It is an exciting thing to think you can be a part of God's plan of redemptive history today -- that God so sovereignly chose this time of history for you to be a parent and to be raising this generation."

Hurd said homeschooling families should develop accountability relationships with other families who believe America needs spiritual change. "We need to establish godly alliances with like-minded families."

He said family members who cling to a secular world view should "jettison it and replace it with a radically biblical one" that relies on the power of the Holy Spirit.

But Hurd cautioned against teaching homeschooled children a type of eschatology (the doctrine of end times) that is spiritually discouraging.

"Our kids need to have hope for the future, but they need a biblical hope -- that they can make a difference in the future."

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