It has long been asserted that the left believes that children don’t belong to their parents, but is there any proof of this claim? The answer is a resounding “yes.” In this post I will let prominent progressive leaders and educators speak for themselves.
However, I think it is necessary before we before we begin to remind you that to a certain extent the state DOES own your children – at least when you drop them off at a public school. This is why I caution every parent to understand the legal concept of “In Loco Parentis.” “In Loco Parentis” means “in place of the parent.” It is the legal responsibility of schools to act in place of parents when students are in their care.
It is also necessary to remember that whenever the government is using “their money” to provide a service or administer a program they are going to expect oversight, accountability, and results. This is exactly why, as homeschool parents, we should be extremely cautious of “school choice” programs, which offer government money to private schools and homeschools. While the allure of “free” money is enticing, privately funded, parent-directed homeschooling is currently the only way to ensure true parental rights and autonomy from government intervention in the most private and sacred aspects of your family.
If you are ready to take back your children but don’t know where to start, let me suggest the Free Homeschool Survival Kit. This 70+ page resource will give you the encouragement and tools you need to start strong and finish well.
“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children. ‘Your kid is yours and totally your responsibility.’ We haven’t had a very collective notion of ‘these are our children.’ So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents’ or ‘kids belong to their families’ and recognize that kids belong to whole communities. Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s we start making better investments.”
“My inbox began filling with hateful, personal attacks on Monday, apparently as a result of conservative reactions to a recent ‘Lean Forward’ advertisement now airing on msnbc, which you can view above. What I thought was an uncontroversial comment on my desire for Americans to see children as everyone’s responsibility has created a bit of a tempest in the right’s teapot. Allow me to double down.”
“One thing is for sure: I have no intention of apologizing for saying that our children, all of our children, are part of more than our households, they are part of our communities and deserve to have the care, attention, resources, respect and opportunities of those communities.”
“I believe wholeheartedly, and without apology, that we have a collective responsibility to the children of our communities even if we did not conceive and bear them.”
Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother’s care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together.”
“What will be the influence of communist society on the family?
It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage – the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.”
Hillary Clinton popularized the saying “It takes a village to raise a child” in the mid-1990s, but it was hardly a new idea. Clinton was citing a traditional African proverb, but Africans don’t have a lock on the idea of collective responsibility for the welfare of children, either. ‘Your children are not your children,’ wrote the Lebanese-born poet Khalil Gibran in 1923. ‘You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.'”
“Parents aren’t in charge of our public schools – and they shouldn’t be.
That’s not a problem; it’s a best practice, and one that has prevailed in this country for a hundred years. It also happens to be the law.
Maybe you don’t like that law. Maybe you believe that parents alone should dictate what goes on in the classrooms their children attend. If so, you’re in luck: Dozens of private and parochial schools are in frenzied competition for your tuition check. Almost certainly you can find one whose curriculum, library catalogue and hiring practices are compatible with your own political views, religious values and cultural preferences.
“If California is ever going to achieve true equity, the state must require parents to give away their children.
My solution is simple, and while we wait for the legislation to pass, we can act now: The rich should give their children to the poor, and the poor should give their children to the rich. Homeowners might swap children with their homeless neighbors.
Now, I recognize that some naysayers, hopelessly attached to their privilege, will dismiss such a policy as ghastly, even totalitarian. But my proposal is quite modest, a fusion of traditional philosophy and today’s most common political obsessions.”
“’I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision,’”’ [Virginia Governor (D),] Terry McAuliffe said. ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.’”
“’Parents and politicians are now weighing in on what books should be in our school libraries, and what their kids are being taught,’ Jones began. ‘Where’s the line, in your opinion, with how much of a say parents have when it comes to what their kids are learning in school? Is there a balance between, you know, “This book should be in the library, this book is under review … “
Before Jones finished the question, Jill Biden jumped in: ‘All books should be in the library. All books. This is America. We don’t ban books.’”
“A common complaint – voiced most vociferously by the newspapers that also glory in the good old cliche about the nanny state – is that the authorities do too little to protect desperately vulnerable children. I agree. Perhaps Ms Hodge’s critics forget that the constant defence of social workers who fail in their jobs is the claim that they did not want to intrude into family relationships.”
“’Great piece on parents’ rights and #publicschools,’ tweeted Randi Weingarten, who serves as president of the American Federation of Teachers. Her tweet on Monday came amid an uproar over the op-ed, which was published in The Washington Post.
“There are parents who think they made their children for themselves, and parents who think they made their children for the world; those who regard their children as belonging to them, as opposed to belonging to the world.
Now, I’m really not the back-to-the-earth, Paleo-Parent, ‘It Takes a Village’ type, but in this case, I’m of the latter persuasion. My daughter is the world’s child.
Don’t be sad when she gets on that bus for her first day of kindergarten, or walks into that classroom with her tiny hand in someone’s besides yours. That’s her job. That’s why she’s here. That’s why you had her. This is what you prepared her for. This is her first step to fulfilling her ultimate destiny; becoming one with the world, which is exactly where she belongs.”
“Parents aren’t in charge of our public schools – and they shouldn’t be.
That’s not a problem; it’s a best practice, and one that has prevailed in this country for a hundred years. It also happens to be the law.
…[M]y concern here is public schools, which Merriam-Webster defines as ‘free tax-supported schools controlled by a local governmental authority.’
See? Not a word there about moms, dads or legal guardians. Because public means everyone – or at least, every citizen eligible to vote in the election for whatever local government authority calls the shots in the school district they reside in.
…[T]hose with no children of their own are stakeholders, too – and they have every right to expect that the schools they subsidize with their tax dollars will prepare students to live and work in a democratic society that includes people with political and religious views different than their parents.
…[P]arents worried that any exposure to any perspective incompatible with their own views may prove noxious can opt out entirely by joining the ranks of home-schoolers,”
This is, by no means, an exhaustive compilation of examples of progressives intent on undermining the role and rights of parents. So, what should we think? Do children belong to their parents, to the village, to the schools, or to the state? God’s Word tells us “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3 ESV
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:6,7
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching,for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.” Proverbs 1:8,9
Not surprisingly, the Bible also includes instruction for children on how they should respond to the instruction of their parents.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:1-4
The Lord is calling parents to turn their hearts back to their children. Me must face down the enemy of our families and heed the Word of the Lord. “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:6
“I grew up in this country where, in a socialist country, communist country, which really tried to teach us not to think with their own heads. The government wants to make decisions for us. The doctors made decisions for us. In a country like ours, basically everything; your body, your soul, belongs to the government. You were not supposed to be asking questions or think outside the box.” – Andre Furmanov
In this episode of the Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast, Yvette Hampton speaks with Russian pastor and homeschool dad, Andre Furmanov, about how and why he and his wife began homeschooling and what homeschooling looks like in Russia.
Andre Furmanov came to Christ while still living in Communist Russia. He is a graduate of Leningrad State University, with an English philology, literature and translation major. Considers himself a pastor by default, since his ministry started after his high school class accepted Christ almost in its entirety through his witness as a teacher.
Andre is a graduate of the pastoral training center at the International Church of St. Petersburg and has been pastoring his flock for the past 29 years. Andre is a major advocate of Parenting ministry in Russia and the initiator of the Christian homeschooling movement in his hometown of Vyborg. He and his wife, Nadya, have been married for 21 years. They have three daughters – Emily (18), Erika (17) and Elsie (16), who they have been raising according biblical principles and homeschooled for the past 6 years.
You can support Andre and his family at https://www.novo.org/projects. Select “VCC- Andre Furmanov” in the designation drop-down list. (once in the list you can search, rather than scrolling).
Yvette Hampton: Hey everyone, this is Yvette. Welcome back to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast. I am so glad that you’ve joined us again today. We have a really, really exciting guest on today. His name is Andre Furmanov and he is a Homeschool dad and pastor in Russia. You guys, Homeschooling is growing around the globe. It’s not just in America. He has a really exciting story about how Homeschooling is affecting his family and how they got into it. So let me introduce you to Andre. Andre, welcome to the podcast.
Andre Furmanov: Thank you so much. I’m excited to be here.
Yvette: Yeah, I’m so glad to have you. We got to meet you at a conference about a year and a half ago. We got to hear you speak. Your story was so moving and inspiring. So I would love for you to introduce your family to our listeners and then tell us your story of Homeschooling, how you got started.
Andre: I’m Andre Furmanov. I’m a pastor as already was mentioned. I became a Christian way back in the ’80s, still under communism. I always called myself a pastor by default because my church was started when I was still a school teacher, under communism is not being allowed to do that. I shared Christ with my 24 students who accepted the Lord. I ended up with the flock without even being trained to be a pastor, but somebody had to take care of these kids. So at this point, I’ve been a pastor for almost 30 years. It’s 29 this year. I’m a father of three daughters and a husband of one wife. My daughters are Emily, Erika and Elsie. At this point they are 18, 17 and 16. All are working with the Lord and excited about ministry. Our family is basically a team that does ministry together. We are very much, we believe in family discipleship and I just feel my wife and my daughters in the first place as my primary disciples. My wife is my coworker, a very faithful partner, and the love of my life. So this is my family.
Yvette: I love that. I love it. Your family is so beautiful and so sweet.
Andre: Thank you.
Yvette: Very gifted as well. Your girls are incredibly gifted in so many areas. Tell us your story about how you got started Homeschooling.
Andre: Well, that’s, how much time do we have? Anyway, we began Homeschooling only about six years ago. Prior to that, I grew up in this country where, in a socialist country, communist country, which really tried to teach us not to think with their own heads. The government wants to make decisions for us. The doctors made decisions for us. In a country like ours, basically everything; your body, your soul, belongs to the government. You were not supposed to be asking questions or think outside the box.
Andre: But I just remember even when I was growing up, I had a lot of questions about a lot of things. I guess this is the good thing about the way I turned out to be. I like asking questions and I need answers for those questions. With my wife and I having three daughters, we decided to make a very, very serious step of faith and not send them to daycare. Everybody send their kids to daycare. Everybody’s supposed to work. Wives are supposed to work. Everybody talks about how important it is to make more money and stuff like that.
A working wife, a working mother is considered to be such a wonderful, wonderful thing. People forget that mothers work at home so much that if a man, a husband tries to do what a woman does at home, at the end of the day, he feels like, “Okay, I’d rather go to work than do what you’re doing.” A lot of men testify to that.
We didn’t send our kids to the daycare center. Many people thought we were crazy. Then there was a time for us to send our kids to school. Everybody does it. I’d never heard of anything like Homeschooling in my country. I heard that Americans did that. But in this country we kind of think that things come easy for Americans. It’s a bunch of baloney of course. But people have that view.
I remember I was taking my oldest daughter to school. I was walking behind her and she had these beautiful pony tails and I walked behind her carrying her bag and a bouquet of flowers. I was in tears. I think I was the only man in the face of this earth who was like bawling when he was taking his daughter to school. I felt I was doing something incredibly wrong. I didn’t know what was wrong. I didn’t know that there was something else that could be done.
So anyhow, she went to school and there was one less person at the breakfast table. Then the second daughter went to school and then the third one and my wife and I felt like empty nesters without our kids having grown up. I remember what happened to our kids, we always try to raise them in the Lord, but what happened to them, they just became different. They became distant and alienated from us. At some point I just realized that we only spent about 30 minutes a day with our girls because they went to school, they went to music school, they did all of their little routines, sports and everything.
By the time they were done, they were just dog tired and wanted to go to bed. They needed to make their home assignments and all that kind of stuff. I felt like, so why have a family if you can’t raise your children the way you know you should be raising them? I was a very strong believer in raising my girls or kids God’s way based on the biblical principles.
That was the time when God brought us to America. I’ve visited America at this point about 14 times and there was one of those times. Every time when God takes us to America, I know that he wants to tell us something. I didn’t know what he wanted to tell us at that time. So we came to visit our friends in Colorado and it was interesting when we came to see them they just said, “Oh, we mixed up the dates of your arrival and that’s why we’re going to go to Homeschooling conference tomorrow. You can take our car, drive around, and do whatever. We want to give you some money to have fun or you could join us at the Homeschooling conference.”
I’m the kind of person, I really would like to see things and experience things, especially things that are so different from what I’m used to. So I said, “Well, we’ll definitely go to the conference.” So we went to the conference and the first person we meet is a person that was going to Saint Petersburg, Russia, which is where we’re from, along with his entire family. Eight children, one of whom was, had just been born. I was like, “Whoa, that’s crazy. I’ve been traveling to Russia and why are you going there?” He said, “Well, I would like to teach Russian people about Homeschooling.” I was like, “Wow, you must believe in it very strongly.”
Anyway, I heard Kevin Swanson, I heard Ken Ham and I saw a lot of people there. What really struck me was the discovery that at some point a time Americans were actually put to jail for trying to Homeschool their children. I was like, “Oh, so things don’t come easy to Americans too. That’s interesting.” I thought, “Gosh, America’s a free country. Everybody can do whatever they think is right.” But it’s like, no. It wasn’t like that. People had to actually fight for their right. I was like, “Uh-huh (affirmative).”
Anyway, so I experienced three days of Homeschooling conference. A lot of great things, heard a lot of testimonies, talked to a lot of people. I was asking questions at the speed of light. Then three days later our friends took us to the famous park, the Garden of the Gods. I remember we drove up there and we stood there looking at the mountains and the beautiful rock formations and all that. It just struck me, dawned on me, I thought, goodness. I know from history that sometime not too long ago, people who were fathers, were taking their families west going across this wilderness with no beautiful roads that brought me here by car, with nothing, just wild animals. They just really needed to go west. They needed to explore and conquer that land there was wild.
I thought, what drove them so firmly and so strongly? Then I thought, just some kind of crazy dream that they were passionate about. I just realized, oh my goodness, that’s what actually made America great. That spirit of discovery, pioneering, and daring spirit not to be afraid to try something new that you think is right.
I felt so ashamed. I thought, if some people came from Europe and settled this land and they were just so brave. Here I am knowing that I need to Homeschool my daughters, that I need to raise them in the Lord and I’m losing them to the system. I’m afraid to do that because of what? I turned to my wife and said, “Nadya, we’re coming home and we’re starting to Homeschool.” I didn’t know how, I didn’t know what we need to do in our country in order to actually escape jail, but I’ll do that.
Then as we came home, I started to explore things. I realized that Homeschooling had been allowed since 1992. Since the very beginning. Since communism fell. But nobody really knew about it because we’re just too careless to figure it out. So, anyway, a long story short, we took our girls away from school, started to teach them at home. 15 families that attended the same school, families from my church said, “We’re going with you.” I was like, “Guys, I want to make sure that you’re not just following us, that you’re following the will of God, because it’s like, we might even be in trouble for that.” But they said, “You know what? We think we should do it.”
Then that family from Colorado came and shared their experience. I remember as they came to Russia with eight of their children, we were thinking, “Okay, now this is a family with eight children and they’re Homeschooling them all. This is a family that was not afraid to come to Russia to teach us about Homeschooling. Why are we afraid to Homeschool our three girls or two kids, whatever?” However many kids was in each family.
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So anyway, there was like a huge exodus from public school system. But I’m going to tell you, the whole point was just not leaving school but going somewhere we wanted to go. For me, my passion was to really raise my girls for the Lord because I always knew that I was never raising them for my pleasure. I knew that the kids were a gift from God and they didn’t belong to me. I was their daddy, but they already had a father. But I wasn’t able to really teach them how to fall in love with Jesus because I didn’t have time. The fact that we took them out of school and started to really explore how to involve God in every subject, it really changed our lives.
Our girls were just growing apart from us and all of a sudden we started to read the Bible. But for the whole year I spent every day just teaching them about Christ and their identity in Jesus. That changed their lives because they just realized that they didn’t need to … I mean, they almost became invincible. That they know that their identity is not in what they do and not the achievements they make, but in Christ already accepted them.
It’s amazing. We taught our girls not to live for acceptance so that others would accept them for their good grades or whatever, but from acceptance because they already know that the Lord loves them dearly and will never leave nor forsake them. They don’t need to really live for anyone’s pleasure. They just live out of the fullness of their lives.
We could see that they started to get involved in ministry. They started to read the Bible. They started to talk about God. We have these amazing family times when everybody shares their hearts. I can see that their knowledge about God became their knowledge of Him and also turned into practical steps of manifesting that amazing love. I can see that, when in Galatians 2, Paul says, “It’s not me who is living with the Lord who lives through me.” I can see that in my girls’ lives and I’m so grateful.
I know that it’s not the magic of Homeschooling, but this is freedom we got in order to do what is right. We also figured that, I remember I told you that our girls, children are not, they’re not a bucket to be filled, but they’re a gift to be unwrapped. I realized that our children already were designed by God a certain way and we allow them, in the context of Homeschooling, to explore who they truly were, how they were designed by God. I could mention that they’re extremely talented and I think every kid is, but we allowed the Lord to actually help them develop their special giftings.
With the Erika, my middle daughter, she’s so gifted in music. She plays the piano, she plays the harp, she plays the whistle, and she plays the Ukulele. Elsie plays violin. Emily plays guitar and the piano. But again, Erika decided that she wants to be a musician, but again, she doesn’t need to become someone. But she is a musician at heart, but she’s a child of God. That’s her primary identity. But she uses music to glorify Jesus.
I see Emily is excited about technical things. She’s reading a lot about business, but she would like to actually free herself up from having to go to a secular job so that she could do counseling. She really is passionate about that. Elsie is still searching what she wants to do, but she already knows who she is and that most important thing. So anyway, that’s in a nutshell. Maybe too long.
Yvette: No, I love it. That is an amazing story.
So you were talking about how there were about 15 families from your church who came along with you into Homeschooling when you got back. You went back and he said, “Okay family, okay girls, we’re going to do this Homeschool thing.” What was your, what was the response from your family to doing this? Were they excited and did having those 15 families make it easier for them?
Andre: It was interesting. Everybody, there was not even one exception, everybody thought we were crazy. Grandparents were just upset with us. They thought we were destroying our children. Actually those 15 families came to us and they said they were leaving with us. But prior to that for about a week, they had thought we were crazy. We had to actually talk to a lot of people and give account of what we truly believed in.
There was really, for some time, there was no support. My wife’s sister and her husband actually became our best enemies. They really ostracize ourselves, I mean us, from their family. They just really were upset with us. Nadya’s mother came to us almost on a daily basis and called us all kinds of names and yelled at us for being so brutally horrible towards our children and depriving them of their rights that were constitutional for education. We had to actually … God really taught us a lot through that because, I kind of tended to get into all defensive mode and almost become just like those people that yelled at us.
But later on I’m like, “No, you can’t really change anybody through yelling. Think of Jesus and His example.” I learned a lot about what it means to give account in Godly way. So anyway, after about a week, those 15 families left school. It’s interesting that Nadya’s sister at this point is Homeschooling her children. My parents, they say this was the wisest decision we could ever make and they’re totally supporting that. Nadya’s mother is still undecided, but since her other daughter is doing the same thing, she had to quiet down.
But it was interesting because there was a lot of pressure and there was a lot of gossip spread around. You heard that story that one day the friend of my daughters comes to us and says, “Have you heard about this horrifying family that’s doing this horrible thing to their children. We heard that they not only had they left school but they also took a bunch of people with them.” It was really crazy. We said, “We are that family.”
You should have seen the look on her eyes in her eyes. It was really like a paradigm shift for people because people … it was interesting in our town, we were kind of well-known because I taught my girls English since they were babies. Even though I have an accent, they don’t have any accent. They speak totally like Americans. So we have been known in this town like the family that speaks English or something like that because my girls speak English to each other.
Anyway, so they kind of think we’re so smart and whatever. All of a sudden it’s like, “The smart people did this stupid thing.” But it was interesting because when this happens, when people ask you questions, when people … when that paradigm shift occurs, you have a lot of opportunities to share your faith and to give account of what you believe. So, it’s interesting because at this point people call me from time to time and people who are non-Christians and have different reasons for taking their kids out of school, but nobody’s happy with school system anymore for different reasons, like I said.
As a friend of mine, Chris Davis, you might have heard of them. I read his books. He’s an amazing Homeschooling dad. He’s in his seventies. He’s raised three sons and a daughter Homeschooling them. But anyway, he wrote a book in which he said that there’re pioneers and then there are followers. Then there are people that are kind of lagging behind. Pioneers are the ones that just go and make way and cut through the path.
Then there are followers who feel like, “ I’m afraid to become a pioneer but now that the road has been cleared, I can follow.” Then there are those who just rush from one side to another thinking like, “Okay, maybe I can Homeschool just in case so that I wouldn’t miss anything out.” Then when things get tough, they go back to the school system and stuff.
So anyway, I can see that a lot of non-Christians really don’t have the good foundation for why they’re doing what they’re doing, but nobody is really happy with the system anymore because the system is just killing creativity. To tell you the truth, in our country, it is becoming the tool of horrifying propaganda and nationalism. I just, I would never want my girls to be a part of that. I actually think it’s very unhealthy for any child to be there because it’s all about, we used to hail communism and hail Lenin, now we hail Putin. So it’s just the same old stuff. We’re just coming back with a very different, even more cruel and evil flavor.
So anyway, we don’t want to be a part of that. Funny as it is, or strange as it is, even non-Christians feel like something is wrong with that. So, people, parents sense that they’re losing their children. Some don’t. Some really are going along with the system. But there’re some that called me up and asked me lots of questions. In a way, I’m sort of viewed like some kind of Homeschooling guru, which I don’t really think I am because I have very little experience. Well, more than most people.
Yvette: You have a whole lot more than most do.
Andre: But anyway, it’s really exciting to be able to help them. This gives me an opportunity to talk about my faith, not only about school, but about the true reason why I’m doing that. It really opens the way for a lot of incredible conversations. So we’ll see. We will see what happens.
Yvette: That’s amazing. How many families are there in your hometown about who are Homeschooling now?
Andre: More than I know I bet. But I know at least 30.
Yvette: Okay, so it’s growing still?
Andre: Yeah. We have a very small town by Russian standards. People in Russia basically are very afraid of change. They are very fatalistic. So I mean, so people that are not are considered to be very crazy like myself.
Yvette: So how, okay, of those 30 families and looking at those 15, 16 families, including yourself who started six years ago or so, how have you seen that change the culture of these families individually? Have you seen the kids change, the families changed as a result of Homeschooling?
Andre: Well, it’s interesting. I realize that the problem that occurs a lot of times that people take their kids out of school, but they don’t take school out of their system which has been a problem. It was actually a problem for us the first year. It took me going to a conference, a Homeschooling conference and meeting some radically amazing people. Some of them are very well known in America. I’m not going to mention their names, but because some people think they’re great, others think they’re horrible.
But I just love people that are different. I don’t have to necessarily agree with all of them or about every little thing, but I just like people who think outside the box. Anyway those people help me see that under it, you’re still thinking like the system. So I repented of that and I said, “Okay, now I need to have a biblical worldview.” So anyway, those families who realize that, that they need to get the system out of their household, they really changed radically.
Because it seems like it’s really, it allowed parents to focus on God more in their personal walk. It allowed the children … I mean the children are really focused on what is true, what is right, and what is worthwhile. It’s interesting because those kids do not really strive for getting a degree, but they’re striving after pleasing the Lord. If a degree is something, is a step towards that, they would do it.
It’s amazing because a typical Russian person just goes through all these hoops. Just you’re born, you go to kindergarten, you go to school, you go to college, then you get a job and that’s that. Well, one of the conferences, one of the craziest and very controversial peers came to the conference, which was Rhea Perry. I mean, you meet this woman once you’re changed forever. It’s just amazing.
So when she came and she shared with us her philosophy in life, I just realized, oh my gosh, I still had that in me. That my girls are being raised and we’re doing all these Christian things. But then they grew up and they figure out a way to get a job. So you raise a kid to get a job and all of a sudden it’s like, “No, we need to raise them to be able to be free.” So I would say that those people that really got that, they are raising their kids differently.
We don’t live for today, we live for eternity. We live today but not for today, we live for eternity. They’re trying to make eternal difference. Then the methods they choose and the way, even they schedule their time is just so different from a typical Homeschooler that has not figured what it is truly about. Do I make sense?
Yvette:That makes absolute sense. I mean, it’s the same way here in America; in that most people when they start Homeschooling, they think they’re bringing the classroom into their home and they try to make it, they try to just replicate what the classroom looks like. Pretty quickly, I think most start to realize that you can’t do that. Now, certainly you can have structure and you can have your different subjects and all, but it’s not just about the academics. It’s about their character and about growing them as people.
I love that you talk about success and the idea of going to college and things. We’re certainly not anti-college, but we’re also not of the belief that every kid must go to college in order to be what some would consider successful. God has called everybody to do something different with the gifts he’s given them. So, no, I completely understand it and agree with that. I think that’s a very exciting thing. Really, a great thing.
Talk about your family and what you’re doing in ministry because I know that you have, you’re a pastor and you’ve got a ministry that your family is involved with. What do you do as a family for ministry?
Andre: It’s amazing how much scope for Christian work there is for us as a family. Well, of course I’m a pastor and I do a lot of teaching, training, counseling and that kind of stuff. It’s amazing because as I trained my girls, they actually doing the same thing. Meaning teaching, training and counseling their peers. We’ve gone through a lot of amazing, well, one of the most amazing courses I’ve ever gone through and apply in my life is called Victorious Christian living.
Basically, I mean, it’s nothing but the Bible and it just shows to you how to solve any issue. Just going through, going to the Lord with it. I’ve taken my girls three times through this and they’re so eager to pass it on to others. They’ve been able, I mean the oldest two are just really walking in this freedom in the Lord and they’re really able to share it with others.
My girls do a lot of things. Like they would, they work a lot with children. They serve families. They can see that those young families, young couples that have children have babies, kind of fall away from everyday church life. One of my girls, Emily said, “I just really feel like I would like to make it my ministry and not a job, but a ministry. I would like to help those families.”
My girls would go and babysit for the families that would like to attend a small group or go to a ministry team meeting. It’s not just like, “Oh, I’d like to go to the store and go shopping.” No, my girls don’t do that. But it’s like, “Okay, if you want to attend the church, if you really need to go to a meeting in the church, or would like to have a getaway together to build the relationship between the husband and wife.” They would just be there like, “I’m willing to babysit.”
It’s amazing because in our church, because of people like my kids, there is never a lack for babysitters. When I, a lot of times I come to America and some of my friends go like, “We would like to go out, but we can’t because there’s nobody to babysit and we have eight kids. We don’t have enough money to hire a person.” I was like, “Well, I wish my girls were there.” Because they would totally tell us, “Well, every Wednesday I’m yours. Just invite me over I’ll take care of your children.”
So they do that. They do a lot of music work. My daughters, they all play musical instruments and Erika arranges different pieces for different groups of instruments. So they do a lot of stuff for Christmas, for Easter. They used to go, when we had this mission in a small village close to Vyborg, they used to go there and bring musical education to kids and adults in that really dark little village. We’re not allowed to go there anymore because it was … anyway, it’s the government involvement that actually prevents us from going there at this point.
But they do a lot of music work with children in my church and they prepare worship for children’s Sunday school. They do a lot of music for youth ministry, teenage ministry. It’s just amazing. It’s like they feel the music is not their goal, it’s a tool that they use to teach people how to worship and they do that.
They also do a lot of cooking for different projects like orphanage project that we have. My girls really love to take some tough assignments. For example, in an orphanage, the kids never have pancakes because it’s too complicated to make pancakes for so many children. So it’s like every time our team goes there and there is a need to make pancakes, because kids really love those, so they would just spend the whole evening baking, making pancakes, frying pancakes for those kids.
It’s like, every day there is something. There is always every opportunity to minister, every opportunity to share with kids the Bible, to lead a small group. I mean, my girls are doing, it’s just amazing. I feel like I would never be able to do the job that I’m doing without them there.
It’s like my wife, she does a lot of the first Christians Living Counseling with women. She also does a lot of children’s work. It’s just basically everything I do, they do. On a different scale but-
Yvette: Yeah. You have more opportunity to do that because your Homeschooling them. You had said before that when they were in school, you felt like you only had about 30 minutes a day with your girls.
Andre: Exactly. Right on.
Yvette: Now that they’re home, you get to serve together as a family, which is incredible.
Andre: Exactly. We just, we can cancel some of our plans and just say, “Okay, instead of that, this is the need.”
Yvette: Yeah, that’s great. Really quickly, what is it like to Homeschool in Russia in regards to government laws and stuff? Do you, are you just free? Because you said as of 1992, I think that it has been legal. How does that work with the government there and the system? Do you have to report back to your public school system or do they have to do testing? I know that’s one of those questions that here it’s different in every state. So everyone is always wondering, well, how is it even possible for you to Homeschool there?
Andre: It is important for us to have certain tests, to pass certain tests and ensure that the government get the results. After the ninth grade and the 11th grade, we have 11 grades here all together, we have to pass the governmental test. That’s what my youngest is doing right now. That’s what my second daughter is doing at the same time for the 11th grade.
But anyway, the thing is that it’s all doable. It’s possible. It’s all legal on paper. But depending upon where you live and depending upon who is running the school you’re sort of officially attached to, connected to, they can either make your life living hell or it can be a piece of cake.
So in our case, the principal of the school we’re connected with, she’s just in love with us and basically we as a family get green lights always. She was like, she actually goes like, “You know what? I know that you know you don’t even have to pass some of the tests that are offered.” She’s like, “You don’t have to pass that. Only the ones that the governments require.” She’s just so amazing to us. But it’s a very rare situation. The problem with Russia though is that Russians are trying to brainwash their people right now.
The relationship between Russia and America is getting worse. I think it’s as bad as it was during the Cold War. So in order to brainwash people and continue pouring kind of supporting and building up that attitude, negative attitude, to America, you have to have a system for doing that. The school system is doing it really well. So in a way, even though it’s legal, it looks like the government is really not happy with the fact that a lot of people walk away from that system and teach their kids differently.
For example, when the Crimea was conquered by Putin, I shared with my family biblical principles of why it was wrong. My girls were not ashamed to say it. We were called pro Americans, traiters of our country, people that need to be crucified, people that need to be cast out forever and that kind of stuff. We really are notorious for just thinking differently.
When I was raised in this country, I was lied to so much that I decided I’m never going to lie to my daughter. Even if that’s what people call a white lie, no. I want them to really know what’s going on. For us, the Bible is the guiding force, the guiding light, and it’s Jesus. So it’s I will share with them the biblical principles. So they think freely and they think biblically and that’s what the government is not happy about.
Yvette:Yeah. Well, it sounds like God is really showing you much favor where you are and giving you great opportunities and opening big doors for you to be able to impact the lives of many people in your area. I think it’s amazing what you’re doing. We’re about out of time, but I have one more question for you that I would love for you to answer. You’re in Russia. Talk to the American parent right now who’s listening to this. Obviously most of our listeners are American.
What message would you have for us Americans and about American culture? Why should we Homeschool? I know why you Homeschool and I understand. Obviously, you do it for the same reason that many of us do it. But looking at it culturally, why should Americans Homeschool? Looking on it from the outside.
Andre: I used to come to America way back in the beginning of the 90s and every time I came to America I had this amazing experience every time without fail. Sort of like some load was lifted from my shoulders each time I landed in the states. That lasted until I guess 2011. For some reason during my visit in 2011, I just came there and I felt that oppression as much as I feel it here. I was like, “Where is my America that I love so much?” Spiritually, I just felt it was gone. I talked to my friends, I said, “Is it just me or maybe there is a reason for that?” They go like, “There is a reason for that.”
As I see what’s going on in America, it’s still my favorite country. I have to be honest, I still love it so much. But I can see that people there are losing the sight of why they live, how much they have, and how much they need to be appreciative of everything that the Lord gave them. Not proud, but grateful. When you’re proud, you just think you deserve it. When you’re grateful you go like, “Wow God, you gave me so much, I want to use it for others.” It seems the government in America is no better than ours really.
Andre: I mean, and the schools there, basically are also a tool for teaching kids the way of thinking.
Yvette: Indoctrination. That’s right.
Andre: If you truly want to change this world, we really need to teach our kids to be free. Free, I don’t mean do whatever they want, but the truth will set you free. Honestly, how much time do American parents invest in their children? How much time to fathers invest in their children personally so that they would stand strong on the Bible? On the foundation of God’s and make it a part of who they are?
I talk to a lot of American kids and it really saddens my heart to see that a lot of kids that grew up in American family, when you ask them, “What is your passion?” They just go, “Graduate from college. Get a job.” I’m like, “Really? That’s all?” The thing is a lot of my friend’s daughters who are a little older than mine, have been getting married lately and I talk to their fiancés, “Well, what would you like to do in life?” They just giving me a bunch of stuff that’s not even worth living for.
I had my girls hear that, I said, “Girls, never marry a guy who leads you nowhere because that’s exactly where he’s going to lead you.” I feel like it’s us fathers in the context of home and family, and family discipleship that need to instill this passion for the truth, for Christ, and for the ministry in our sons’ and daughters’ hearts. I don’t think school will ever be able to do it. Even Christian school. I would say that.
Yvette: I love it. Well, Andre, thank you so much for your time today. I love your story. I love what God is doing with you and through you and your family. You have such an incredible testimony. I’m so grateful for the way that He’s using you.
Andre: Thank you.
Yvette: Not just in Russia, but here. I know, we know many people who know you and who have met you. You are such an inspiration and encouragement to so many including our family.
Andre: We might be back this summer.
Yvette: Yeah. Come back. Come back for sure. We would love to see you again. But thank you for allowing the Lord to use you and blessings to you. How can people support you and your ministry there?
Andre: Well, pray for us because every time we want to do something in this country, it’s always a struggle. It’s always a struggle. Actually something that I love in America still, even in America after 2011, in America you can do, you still have so much freedom. You have no idea. Unless you lose it, you’ll never understand how much. Just trust me that you have it. In Russia, the simplest things is a struggle, is a fight. We feel like anything we do, it’s like there’s a threat. There’s a physical threat and spiritual threat.
So please pray for us and any time you guys are able to come here and minister, bring us some fresh ideas about Homeschooling, about making business, about thinking freely, please do that. People like Rhea Perry came here and did that. It’s like she changed lives of many people just by being a testimony, by teaching us the right things. So if that’s what your question was about.
Yvette: Yeah, no, that’s great. Is there a way that we can support you financially?
Andre: Yes, I’m actually on staff with CRM Nodal Ministry. I can send you information about what we’re doing and our accounts with CRM that you could send finances to.
Yvette: Okay. We’ll put those links in the show notes sent, so people know how to do that. But we will certainly be glad to pray for you, encourage you, and support you in any way that we can.
Andre: Thank you.
Yvette: So thank you so much for your time today, Andre. You are a huge blessing. Thank you for listening to The Schoolhouse Rocked Podcast today. If you want to know more about Schoolhouse Rocked, if you are trying to figure out what we are all about. We’re actually in production on a Homeschool documentary right now, called Schoolhouse Rocked.
Yvette: Then of course we’ve got the podcast and all sorts of other things to encourage and equip you in your Homeschool journey. So, go to schoolhouserocked.com. It’s R-O-C-K-E-D schoolhouserocked.com. You can learn a whole lot more about what we’re doing. So thank you guys for joining us. Have a great rest of your day. Thank you Andre. Enjoy the rest of your day and please give hugs to all your girls for us.