Effort Aims to 'Evangelize' Families into Home Schooling

Julie Stahl, Jerusalem Bureau Chief | CNSNews | Monday, April 24, 2006

Effort Aims to 'Evangelize' Families into Home Schooling

(AgapePress) - Experienced home-schooling families are being encouraged to take part in "home-school evangelism" by bringing friends, neighbors, and relatives into home schooling.

An estimated 700,000 American families have five or more years of home-schooling experience. According to Dr. Bruce Shortt of Exodus Mandate, if just 25 percent of those families brought new families into home schooling each year, the number of home schoolers would easily double in a few years.

The idea is called "Homeschooling Family-to-Family" (HFTF), an effort started last year by Exodus Mandate to grow home schooling and strengthen state and local home-school organizations. Shortt says there are four reasons to get involved in the long-term project. The first, he says, is that helping families get started in home schooling "rescues" children from what he calls "government schools."

"Second, it's a great way to share the gospel or help disciple new Christians," he continues as he describes HFTF. "Third, when we grow home schooling, we're promoting revival in families, churches, and communities." And finally, he says, "if you don't care about anything else, every home schooler -- Christian or otherwise -- needs to understand that we're always just one election away from disaster."

Shortt, an advisor to the National Black Home Educators Resource Association, is among those heading up HFTF. He says getting involved in the effort does not require a large time commitment.

"Can you take someone along with you to a home school co-op meeting? Can you take that person with you to a home school convention or book fair?" he asks. "Can you introduce that new family to some of your home schooling friends? Can you spend a little time helping the new family decide on curriculum and provide some periodic encouragement during a first year?"

He contends the main barrier preventing most families from home schooling is fear. "[F]rankly, there are a lot of families who would begin home schooling if they had someone they know providing just a little guidance and encouragement during the first year," Short suggests.

Short, author of the book The Harsh Truth About Public Schools, believes the fruit of home-school evangelism and outreach can be immense. "Unlike the gimmicks that often pass for Christian evangelism today, Christian home schooling is true revival," he says, "and HFTF is the perfect opportunity for Christian home schoolers to become more evangelical."

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