“Parents must understand that sending their children into the public school system without adequate training is like sending them into a spiritual war unarmed.”
In March, we had the privilege of having Alex Newman join us as a speaker for the Homegrown Generation Family Expo, with a session titled “Rescuing Our Children.” In that session, Alex hit upon a topic that is crucial to parents. Alex argues that parents have the sole responsibility of educating their children, and using government funding to provide that education jeopardizes not only the quality of education but also religious freedom. He presents a passionate plea to parents to reclaim their rightful role as the primary educators of their children. Newman’s insights shed light on the dire state of our current education system and offers a compelling case for homeschooling as a powerful antidote. Let’s take a closer look at some key takeaways from this eye-opening discussion.
“God has given clear responsibilities, clear authorities to different people, different institutions. And the Bible is very clear about who is ultimately responsible for the education and the discipling of children. It’s parents. And maybe you could argue there’s a supplemental role there for the church, certainly not the civil government, not Caesar.”
The Perils of Government Funding:
Newman ardently argues that relying on government funds for education may compromise our educational and religious freedoms. He cautions against accepting any financial assistance tied to government regulations, citing examples from Canada, where government funding has led to restrictions on private and religious schools. He believes that such reliance on government funding, albeit seemingly beneficial at first, can ultimately lead to government control over what can and cannot be taught in schools. Newman stresses the importance of seeking support from communities and churches, rather than placing trust in government programs.
“Using government funds for education puts educational and religious freedoms at risk.”
Homeschooling as a Vital Solution:
Within the episode, Newman underscores the importance of homeschooling as the best alternative to public schooling. Citing concerns about the public school system as a wicked place, he emphasizes the urgency of providing children with solid biblical education and grounding in God’s word. Newman draws from Psalm 1:1-2, which urges parents to guide their children away from wicked counsel and seeks to equip parents with the necessary tools for homeschooling. He understands that parental responsibilities may seem overwhelming, but encourages hesitant parents to “just go for it.”
Safeguarding Educational and Religious Liberties:
Newman strongly recommends reading Education: Does God Have an Opinion? by Israel Wayne, as it provides deep insights into the biblical foundations of homeschooling. He advocates against bills like HB1 in Florida, which plans to provide tax money to homeschoolers and private school students, but also subjects them to Common Core-aligned tests. Such measures, Newman suggests, place vulnerable homeschooling families at risk and interfere with their educational autonomy.
“What I tell people is, first and foremost, get your own children out of the public schools. And once your own children are safe, then you can worry about what’s happening in the public school system. I don’t believe that it’s a sensible strategy, and I don’t believe that it’s a biblical strategy to send your kids into a spiritual war when they haven’t been properly trained. Your kids are not going to end up being assault and light.”
The Unsettling Truths and Solutions:
“They’re being dumbed down on an industrial scale. […] What they are going to learn is a fraudulent version of history, a totally fraudulent worldview, a totally fraudulent understanding of science, and some of the most grotesque things on sexual issues that you can even begin to imagine.”
Newman delves into the troubling origins of our public school system, tracing its roots back to non-Christian thinkers like Plato and Robert Owen. He explains how these ideologies paved the way for the adoption of government-based education, ultimately aiming to undermine Christianity and promote socialist ideals. With the system hell-bent on indoctrination and dumbing down, Newman highlights the urgent need for parents to shield their children and dismantle the public system through homeschooling or alternative educational approaches.
Quoting Alex, “The public school system was designed to control children and create worker drones.” He unravels how the path towards total power for totalitarians lies in molding young minds, capturing not only their educational growth but their souls as well. This revelation serves as a wake-up call for parents to take back control of their children’s education.
As parents, we are left with a resounding call to action. Alex’s wake up call encourages fervent prayer, research, and equipping ourselves with the necessary tools to provide our children with a holistic education founded on biblical principles. The power to rescue our children lies in our hands.
If you resonate with the urgency to reclaim education from the clutches of the public school system, we highly recommend giving this episode a listen. You will find not only a wealth of knowledge and inspiration but also practical steps you can take to become the primary educator your children deserve.
Remember, by shaping hearts and minds with a biblical worldview, we can empower our children to be discerning, courageous, and capable individuals who will impact the world for God’s glory.
Want to use this interview for a co-op meeting or small group? Here are a few discussion questions to keep the conversation moving in the right direction:
1. What is Alex Neman’s perspective on the public school system, and why does he hold this opinion?
2. What are some of the examples cited by Alex to support his arguments against government funding for education?
3. Why is the guest critical of the HB1 bill in Florida?
4. What are Alex’s thoughts on colleges actively seeking out homeschoolers? Why does he believe this is the case?
5. What is Alex Neman’s opinion on elite universities, and what is his advice for finding a good college?
6. What does Alex believe is the ultimate agenda behind the public school system?
7. What does Alex propose as a solution for parents who wish to opt-out of contributing to public schools with their tax money?
8. What are some of the historical roots of government-based education?
9. Why should we be concerned about the indoctrination and “dumbing down” of children in the American public school system?
10. What is Alex’s advice for parents who wish to protect their children from the dangers of cultural trends and spiritual warfare?
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Many people want to believe that if their children attend a public school they will receive a “neutral education.” Unfortunately, they fail to realize that education is NEVER neutral. All education is indoctrination. All education is discipleship. It’s just a matter of what worldview is being promoted, what values are being taught, who is discipling your children, and what they believe.
So I ask you, who is indoctrinating YOUR children?
In the past few days, three very stark examples of religious indoctrination in public schools have come to light, so I want to share them here. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking these same worldview aren’t being taught in your local schools, because they are.
Religion is prominent in schools, with one exception: Christianity.
As a side note, before I get to the examples of the past few days, I have to address “secular” education, because I constantly hear objections to Christian education and Christian Home Education from “secular homeschoolers”. One must realize that atheism, secularism, and secular humanism ARE religious worldviews. Secularism IS religion. Atheism IS religion. They just replace the God of the Bible or the gods of mens’ imaginations with SELF as god. Even agnosticism IS religion, but it replaces God with a self who is unconvinced. I am aware of the simplicity of these statements, but no further explanation or justification is required when a statement is self-evident.
Even secularists MUST be aware of the level of religious indoctrination occurring in public schools, and secularists MUST consider the consequences of a fully-implemented secular worldview. I strongly doubt that ANY secular parent would want all (if any) of the philosophies I have outlined below to be adopted by their children.
Story 1, MUSLIM INDOCTRINATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“Charles County Public Schools released a statement after the Supreme Court’s denial saying, ‘The decision reaffirms a favorable U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling earlier this year that the school did not ‘impermissibly endorse any religion and did not compel Wood to profess any belief.'”
“One Muslim scholar strongly disagrees. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said: ‘They made this the student recite the Islamic call to call of witness a prayer, which makes her a Muslim. That’s absurd.'” – Lauren Green, Fox News
Story 2, BUDDHIST INDOCTRINATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
“While the controversial program claims to be a “secularized” version of Buddhist practices that have traditionally been viewed as occult and dangerous by Christians, critics are nevertheless sounding the alarm. And despite claims of being “secular,” it does not take much digging beneath the surface to detect the obvious anti-Christian nature of the “mindfulness education” schemes.” Alex Newman, Freedom Project Media
Story 2, SATANIC INDOCTRINATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
At Grant Lee school outside Richard’s Bay, in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, a parent is shocked and heartbroken to find a sprawling “art” display featuring torn up Bibles, paintings and sculptures of Satan and demons, paintings and drawings of Christ in compromised interactions with Satan, and paintings depicting Jesus Christ and his disciples as clowns. I urge you to watch the whole video and share this post, as it is so shocking, it is likely to even offend staunch secularists.
Grant Lee School Satanism – South Africa
While this is a school in South Africa, don’t be deceived. This is the true spirit of government schools being exposed. This same spirit governs the public schools in the United States and the rest of the world.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard parents say things like “I know that –insert evil practice or message here– is going on in some schools, but that’s not happening in my kids’ school.”, “We have a great school.”, “Our school is a blue ribbon school (or whatever other silly, made up award).”, or “My daughter’s teacher (or principal) is a Christian.” WAKE UP!!! THIS IS THE SPIRIT THAT GOVERNS YOUR KID’S SCHOOL. If your kids are in public school this is what they are being taught, whether or not they have a christian teacher or principal:
1) There is no God and everything, including you, came about by blind chance, therefore NOTHING has any ultimate value or meaning.
2) Homosexuality, transgenderism, gay marriage, and ANY other deviant sexual practice that makes you “happy” are valid and good and should be explored, with no restraint, whenever you feel “ready”. To say or believe anything else is HATRED and BIGOTRY and must be silenced, punished, and ultimately corrected, as those who espouse these hateful beliefs are forced to become “allies” who approve and endorse these behaviors themselves.
3) Socialism is fair and good.
4) America and her representative republican form of Government are evil and oppressive.
5) Capitalism, corporations, and “the rich” are evil.
6) Religion (specifically Christianity) should be stripped from every public place, practice, and institution, UNLESS that religion is Islam, which is a religion of peace and should be defended and taught as true and virtuous.
7) There are no absolutes. You determine what is right for you (and almost nothing is truly wrong), but your determination of right and wrong has no bearing on my values, unless you disapprove of something I do or think, in which case you are a hater and a bigot and must be silenced.
8) Race, gender (whether biological or imagined), sexual identity, and economic status matter much more than merit, knowledge, beliefs, values, or skills when determining EVERYTHING about your life. Anyone who disagrees is a racist/homophobe/misogynist/privileged white male/or some other acceptable scapegoat for personal responsibility and reasonable response.
9) The CLIMATE is the most important issue EVER, and WE MUST do whatever we can (including sterilizing and killing giant portions of the population, regulating childbearing, and demanding that people eat what the UN, “scientists”, and government deem to be the least impactful foods (namely NO MEAT).
10) Human lives have no value. It is a greater virtue to KILL a baby in the womb than to allow that baby to possibly face any suffering (including poverty, single parenthood, physical or mental problems, or being “unwanted”).
11) Some human lives have less value than others (even though none really have any value because they are all products of chance anyway).
12) Parents are not qualified to teach their children. Teachers must be educated and licensed, and instruction should only happen in age-segregated groups.
13) Parents are not able to feed their children. Children must have access to THREE school meals a day.
14) Parents are CERTAINLY not qualified to teach their kids about sex, reproduction, or “gender”, and these classes should be provided by and taught be the loving specialists at Planned Parenthood (under other creative names, of course).
15) Parents are not qualified to handle the health needs of their children. If a child notifies a teacher, administrator, school nurse of any of a plethora of “sensitive” health or psychological issues the school WILL perform the necessary treatment or refer the child to a “qualified” expert for treatment, without the approval or knowledge of the parent.
The list goes on…
Do you doubt any of the above examples? PLEASE do the research. I promise, all of these are true, going on in your district, and easily researched. Need some help getting started, just Google “Comprehensive Sex Ed” and take a trip down a very dark rabbit hole. Want to get closer to home, just add your state’s name to the search. I promise you, just this subject will be enough to convince you that the public schools IN YOUR DISTRICT have an agenda that is dangerous for students, for families, and for culture.
TAKE ACTION!!! PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN! Contrary to the beliefs of school administrators, teachers, Planned Parenthood, and government officials (and what you have likely been convinced of) THEY ARE YOUR CHILDREN. You have other options, and if your ONLY option truly is public school, you must spend considerable effort learning what your children are being taught and UNDOING THE DAMAGE at the end of every day. OPT OUT of comprehensive Sex Ed. DON’T CONSENT to any medical treatments without your approval – you will find this is impossible – so talk with your kids and tell them what to expect and who to talk to when they have issues.
Finally, spread the word. SHARE THIS POST and watch the news and social media for more posts like this. Share those too.
“September 11, 2019 (Thomas More Law Center) — The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national nonprofit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has uncovered evidence of a well-orchestrated Islamic propaganda campaign aimed at teachers in school systems throughout Michigan and several other states.
Concerned about a two-day mandatory teacher-training seminar on Islam conducted by a Muslim consultant hired by Michigan’s Novi Community Schools District, TMLC filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents related to the workshop.” – LifeSiteNews.com
Those who believe that education is “neutral” are tragically deceived. There is no such thing as a religiously or morally neutral education. Education is discipleship. ALL EDUCATION IS WORLDVIEW TRAINING.
“DIVERSITY” is the RELIGION of public schools. Under the banner of diversity many religious and philosophical worldviews are promoted as valid, but none of these are based on the TRUTH of GOD’S WORD. Public schools enthusiastically teach secular humanism, materialism, blindnaturalism, socialism, communism, multiculturalism, transgenderism, homosexuality, New Age thought and eastern mysticism, and list list goes on – with the glaring exclusions of Christianity or Orthodox Judaism, which are defamed as foolish and hateful.
Now, public schools are openly promoting Islam. This is happening across the country, and has been steadily increasing since 9/11, when weak-kneed politicians felt compelled to sweeten every reference to Islam with the phrase, “religion of peace”. Whether Individual Muslims are peaceful or not, Islam is not a religion of peace and it is not a path to salvation, and to actively promote it within our schools is to feed our precious children yet another false worldview that leads to destruction. John 14:6 says, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” (ESV)
Luke 6:40 says, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (ESV) Who is teaching your children? What is their worldview? Remember, when your children are fully trained they will be like their teachers.
“I became passionate about this topic because my daughter was taking some leadership training classes to help prepare herself for working at our local Bible camp, and the conversation turned to how she would be less equipped to work with some of these kids because she was homeschooled. She came home really bothered about that, and at the same time actually, our youth pastor made the comment about the kids needing to be the salt and the light in the public school system, and how that’s one reason he had never homeschooled is because he wanted his kids to be the salt and the light… She felt like she wasn’t doing what God wanted her to do because she was homeschooled instead of being in the public school system.” – Misty Bailey
Yvette Hampton and Misty Bailey recently had the opportunity to discuss whether our kids have the responsibility of being “salt and light” in public schools. Are we missing an opportunity to evangelize when we remove our kids from public schools, and if they do not have the responsibility of being “salt and light” there, who does?
Yvette Hampton: Misty Bailey is a blogger, a podcaster, and she is a homeschool mom. I recently had the opportunity to discuss an exciting, and maybe a little bit controversial, topic; “our kids being salt and light in the world.” We often get that question. People will say, “well, we’ve got to have Christian kids in the public school system so that they can be salt and light.”
Misty, welcome. Tell us about your family.
Misty: We have been homeschooling since 2009. My kids, right now, are 14, 11, and seven. I was a former public school teacher and I kind of went into homeschooling begrudgingly. I didn’t really want to do it. Kind of went kicking and screaming, but God just started laying it on my heart when my oldest was four, as she was entering into those preschool years… You have to send your kids to preschool, right?
At the time, I was teaching in the public school system. So I ended up quitting when I got pregnant with my second, but my husband at this point was against homeschooling, even though the Lord had been laying it on my heart. So we sent her off into public school, and shortly after she had entered public school, we started noticing changes in her, changes in her personality. There were some issues that had come up with the public school system at the time, and so my husband said, “If you could teach her to read, you can homeschool.” So no pressure. But I did it, I taught her to read, she was actually the easiest of my three kids to teach.
And here we are. We’ve not looked back. My husband now is my biggest cheerleader. So he is pro, pro, pro homeschooling. Like I said, my kids are 14, 11, and seven. My youngest son does have special needs. He has apraxia, ADHD, dyslexia, and dysgraphia. So we are also homeschooling with special needs which has opened up a whole new world for us, for homeschooling. I’m passionate about helping homeschool moms on this journey. Just encouraging them and being that mentor to them that I needed when I first started homeschooling.
Yvette: I’ve really enjoyed listening to your podcast and you’ve had some exciting guests on there, and you are just full of so much encouragement. I appreciate your ministry so much.
You said your husband was really against you homeschooling in the beginning. What was it that caused him to feel so negative about homeschooling?
“I was a former public school teacher and I kind of went into homeschooling begrudgingly. I didn’t really want to do it. Kind of went kicking and screaming…”
Misty: Yeah, so he thought homeschoolers were freaks. He didn’t want our kids to be weird or just stand out, and at that point we only knew one other family who homeschooled, and their kids were really good kids. It’s not like they were freaks at all. That mom ended up being my biggest homeschool mentor, but they were the only other homeschoolers he knew. So it was kind of funny because as the Lord was dealing with me to homeschool our kids, God kept putting homeschoolers in his path. From the mechanic who were fixing our van, to where he’d be at quiz bowl and he would bump into somebody and they would start talking about how they homeschooled their kids. So he started to see that our kids wouldn’t be the only weirdos out there, and I just thought that was so funny because I mean, I think God has a sense of humor, especially. I think if you ever say the words, “I would never homeschool.” You know, he’s going to come along and very likely change your mind and that’s what happened to us. He’s my biggest cheerleader now. He talks to everybody about homeschooling and I really couldn’t do this without him so.
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Yvette: I love that so much and that was our story too. We said, “We would never ever homeschool.” Now we’re making a movie about it! So I think we need to just stick on this never train and say, “I’ll never ever, ever make it to Europe.” “I’ll never ever, ever go back to Hawaii.” Let’s use those nevers to our benefit, right?
Misty: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette: Well I love that he is now really on board with homeschooling, and that is a big part of why we’re making this documentary. We want to open the eyes of parents to see what homeschooling really is and, because we had all those misconceptions too, like our kids are going to be weird.
You were actually one step ahead of us. You had a van it sounds like, because you said you were having your van worked on. So, every good homeschool mom has a minivan, and I didn’t have a minivan, but I still call myself a homeschool mom, so it’s all good.
If not, you have to have some kind of other bonus points like really, really long hair, or something like that. I’m not exactly sure what all the requirements are.
Misty: Denim jumpers.
Yvette: Right. Anyway, there all of those stereotypes. we think that homeschooling should look a certain way and it doesn’t. It is so individualized and so different for every family, and it’s what makes it so beautiful, is that every family can do this and do what’s best for their family, and every family looks differently, they act differently, they have different methods and ways of schooling, but it all points back to doing what’s best for your kids and your family.
Misty: Yes, absolutely.
Yvette: So, let’s talk about this whole salt and light argument. I know this is something that you’re really passionate about, which is why I was excited to have you on to talk about this because often times people will talk about the argument well we can’t take our kids out of public school or even private school because they need to be the salt and light of the world. There are, you have, I mean, we have so many great arguments against this, but I really want to talk and focus on what scripture says about this. What does God say about our kids being salt and light, and are we being unbiblical by taking our kids out of that public school system and not allowing them to be in there as salt and light and telling other kids about Jesus, or are we … Is there a benefit to having them out of the public school system? I know parents teeter both ways on this.
Misty: I became passionate about this topic because my daughter was taking some leadership training classes to help prepare herself for working at our local Bible camp, and the conversation turned to how she would be less equipped to work with some of these kids because she was homeschooled, and that really, she really came home really bothered about that, and at the same time actually our pastor, our youth pastor had made the comment about the kids needing to be the salt and the light in the public school system, and how that’s one reason he had never homeschooled is because he wanted his kids to be the salt and the light. So at this point my daughter felt very negative about, not negative about homeschooling like she wanted to go to public school, but she felt guilty. She felt like she wasn’t doing what God wanted her to do because she was homeschooled instead of being in the public school system.
“I cannot find anywhere in scripture where Jesus goes and he tells kids to go out there and to preach the Gospel, because throughout scripture whenever children are mentioned, even Jesus as a child, they’re learning. They’re not out there discipling or teaching other people.”
Misty: So she and I were talking about how it’s just not our kids’ job to be the salt and the light, and I say that because if you look at scripture, a lot of times when people talk about that verse, or they talk about being the salt and the light, they are referring to in scripture where in Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus tells his disciples that they are the “salt of the Earth and the light of the world,” and that they need to go and “let their light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is at heaven.” But I think a lot of times what people don’t look at is whenever he’s talking about that and talking to his disciples about them going out and being the salt and the light, he’s talking to adults. He is not talking to children, and I cannot find anywhere in scripture where Jesus goes and he tells kids to go out there and to preach the Gospel, because throughout scripture whenever children are mentioned, even Jesus as a child, they’re learning. They’re not out there discipling or teaching other people.
They’re learning under their parents; they’re learning under people within the temple. He’s telling the children to come to him, but he never, I can never find a place in scripture where he’s telling people to go, telling children to go out and be missionaries because that’s not their job.
Yvette: Yeah, that’s right. It’s not their job.
Yvette: It is their job to be salt and light wherever they go, but that doesn’t mean putting them in a system that is teaching everything contrary to the word of God and expecting them to be strong enough to defend that, and kids don’t … Kids can understand God’s word of course, kids are really smart and they are usually in that process of trying to figure out what they believe in and why they believe it, but a child does not, I would say even many middle school and high schoolers, they don’t completely understand yet what they believe and why they believe it. They’re still in the stage of asking questions and trying to figure out okay, this is what my mom says, this is what the world says, this is what my dad says, this is what my neighbor kids, my neighbors say, and where do I fit into all of this and what do I really believe. So expecting these kids to be able to say, “Well this is exactly what’s true and this is what I believe, and here is how I’m going to defend it.” They haven’t been taught yet how to do that.
Now, there are some amazing Christian parents who of course teach the word of God to their kids on a daily basis, and they have their family Bible time and stuff, but it’s very different when you’re not being able to teach them that day in and day out in a home setting where it’s you and it’s them, and you get to observe their struggles, and their victories, and all of the things that your kids deal with in their childhood, and you get to be the one to instill truth into them. When they’re apart from you for 35 hours a week, it’s not possible to be able to do that.
Misty: Yeah, and I think that that’s exactly it. I think that particularly when our kids are young, their job is to be trained up by their parents. It’s to hide the word of God in their heart so that when they’re older they can go out and serve him. Now, that doesn’t mean that our kids can’t be a positive witness to those around them, but it also doesn’t mean that we need to place them in a spiritually hostile environment at a young age just because we think our kids should be the salt and the light to the public schools because I think that our public schools are set up to where really our kids, our Christian kids are failing in the public school system. They’re not set up to where they are a place where our kids can even be a light to an extent because everything around them is so anti-God, and particularly I look at my two younger kids, and they’re seven and 11, and I don’t feel that I have had the time to fully prepare them for the world, to prepare them to be missionaries, to go into an environment full of people who are not Christians and spread the love of God.
Misty: Now, they can do it with me. We can go out somewhere as a family.
Misty: And they can be that light. They can be that light on a sports team. They can be that light if we go out as a family and serve homeless people, or serve at funerals. There are ways that they can still be a light, but it does not have to be within the public school system, and I don’t feel at that, at their age that’s really what they should be doing anyway.
Yvette: Right, yeah, and I agree. I think that’s a huge responsibility that we put on them, and to be quite honest, most wouldn’t do that. Now, that’s not to say that there are not Christian kids in public school or in private school who are really impacting the lives of other people because I’ve known them personally.
Yvette: There are certainly are kids out there who are, they’re hosting Bible clubs, and they’re leading Bible studies, and they’re inviting their friends to church, and they’re inviting their kids to youth camp and things like that. There are definitely kids out there who love Jesus and who are very solid and confident in their walk with the Lord, and they go out and they can really make a difference. So it’s not to say that that doesn’t ever happen, but I.
Misty: But it’s a rarity.
Yvette: It’s a rarity.
Misty: And those are the rare cases.
Misty: And a lot of times how old are those kids too? I mean, I don’t think they’re elementary age students or even early middle school. Most of the time they’re high schoolers, right?
Yvette: Right, right, yes, yeah. I definitely would think so, at least at the very youngest usually middle school.
Yvette: Yeah, and you know we’ve talked a lot with our girls about foundations, and you just use the structure of a building. You wouldn’t, we were driving by recently some houses that were being built and they were pouring the foundation and I said, you know, they would never build those walls around that house and start putting the roof on before building that foundation because the house would not be able to stand. You have to build that foundation and it has to be a strong solid foundation in order to hold up the walls, and hold up the roof, and be able to protect the family that’s inside of that home. So why do we do that with our children, with their hearts?
We think oh, let’s just ship them out there and then we’ll undo everything that they’ve learned, and we did a great interview with Bryan Osborne for Schoolhouse Rocked and he had been a public school teacher for I think about 13 years, and one of the things he said is he said, “If you are a Christian parents and you have your kids in a public school.” He said, “You need to be prepared to know everything that they’re being taught and then be willing to undo all of the lies that they are being taught.” And he, I mean, this is, he taught public school. Our kids are going out there in these schools and they’re learning lies, and so to have to bring them home, and it’s not even possible to know everything that they’re being taught, but to bring them home and then have to undo it all, well, you may as well just homeschool them because that’s, it’d be much easier to just teach them the truth in the first place. But talking about the foundation and our kids being able to build that solid foundation.
That’s our job as their parents, is to build that solid foundation of what they believe and helping them to understand why God’s word is truth, and then they can go out and defend that. That’s what apologetics is all about, and so I love that. One of the verses that constantly comes to mind is Luke 6:40, that, “A student is not above the teacher but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”
Yvette: So first sending our kids out to these schools that are teaching untruth and we’re telling them okay, your teacher is telling you two plus two is four, believe them, that’s true, and your teacher is teaching you that evolution is true, okay well don’t believe that. Okay but believe this, but don’t believe that, but believe this, but don’t believe that. How confusing is that?
Yvette: For any child.
Misty: Yeah, exactly, and I think if we look back to when we were kids, I was never taught to question my teachers. I was never taught to even remotely doubt what they were teaching me, and particularly when we send our kids to public school we want them to be respectful to their teachers, we want them to listen, we want them to learn, but like you said, they’re filling their heads with all of these untruths, and I don’t know about where you guys live, but where we live, our kids really they’re not, we live in pretty much the Bible Belt, but at the same time there are so many issues as in our public school system where God has been mocked, where religion has been mocked, and to where even Christian kids that my daughter is in youth group with have all said that they feel uncomfortable being a Christian within the public school, and these are teenagers, and I don’t remember. I was a church bus kid. So I grew up, my parents were divorced and I was one of those kids who was not raised in a Christian home but I had a friend who invited me to church, and the church bus took me to church every week.
So, I was a Christian in high school. I felt I had a very good grasp on my faith, but I also remember being tempted on a regular basis within the school system. I remember being mocked for having Christian T-shirt. I remember being one of those kids who felt like they didn’t fully fit in, and even though I had that good grasp on my faith, I don’t remember teaching or talking to other people within the school about God. They knew I was a Christian, but I never felt comfortable ministering or being that light within the school system because it did feel so dark, and if it felt that dark 20 years ago.
Misty: What does it feel like today? And I don’t know any of us that can look back as a child and say that we really had a good enough grasp on our faith, a good enough grasp on scripture that we could have really made a huge difference in a world that was so, so, so dark, and I think one-on-one ministering with our kids, one-on-one going as a family and doing those mission-led activities, it’s just a much better way to train our kids up in the word of the Lord, and to train our kids to be ministry focused and mission focused, than throwing them into the dark system of the public schools so.
Yvette: Yeah, and I love that you said that because that’s one of the questions then is if our kids are not going to be salt and light in a public school, how then can they be salt and light? How can God use them? Because certainly God can still use our kids. We’re not at all saying well, kids are kids, they can’t be used at all to impact the kingdom of God, certainly they can. How does your family do that?
Misty: So, for us, I feel that our kids are able to be the salt and the light by going out, and our church as a church we do back to school bashes every year and we give free backpacks to kids. My oldest took leadership training like I said at our church camp, and she was able to work as a cabin leader this past summer with eight, nine year olds, and six and seven year olds, and so many of those kids came from rough homes and they would talk to her about things that they had experienced within their home, and she was really able to pour the love of God on those kids, and there was one scenario where one of the girls was talking to her about some things about her home and she didn’t know how to respond, and I wasn’t there, I wasn’t at camp with her. So, she went to a good friend of ours and she was able to talk to her. Okay, one of the kids in my cabin told me this. How can I help them? And that right there, that mentorship relationship is exactly how our kids need to be trained up in the mission field and in the ministry.
So they were able to talk together and then she was able to go back to this child and talk to this child and really be the light, and I saw those kids when I came in and watched her at camp and how they just loved her and how she had just poured so much of herself into these kids.
Yvette: So cool.
Misty: Other ways that we do that is as a family, if there are people within our church or people within our community that we knew that passed away, I’ve always told my kids if somebody dies, take them food. Take their family food, go serve that family, and that is something that we as a family have always done, and we counted a school. That is going out and showing our children how to be servants, how to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Misty: So, we do that. My middle is a huge, huge animal lover, and while I would love to encourage her to love people more, she prefers the furry four-legged creature, but I feel God can still use that gift.
Misty: God can use that gift and that passion she has for animals. So we have went and worked with abused dogs. We’ve went and walked the dogs at the animal shelter. We have, she did one year for her birthday instead of getting birthday gifts she took up donations for the animal shelter and then her and a couple of friends went and worked for the day on her actual birthday at the animal shelter, and they spent the whole say scooping poop. But she was still being the light of God. Those people knew she was a Christian within the animal shelter. She had talked to them and said, “I’ve been praying for these animals.” And there are ways our kids can make an impact without being in the public school system.
Misty: And I think that one thing we don’t talk a lot about whenever it comes to the question about our kids being the salt and light is, we don’t talk about the aftermath of some of these Christian kids who go into the public school system. Is the public school system changing, or are Christians in the public school system changing the public schools or is the public schools changing our kids?
Misty: And I think that’s something too that we need to ask ourselves whenever the question about the salt and the light comes up.
Yvette: Yeah. Yeah, I agree, and statistically more kids are walking away from the faith coming out of high school and more of the public schools. I’m not going to say every kid who is in public school is going to walk away from the Lord, and certainly not every kid who is homeschooled is going to continue walking with the Lord. We’ve known both sides of it. We’ve definitely known-
Yvette: Public school kids and private school kids who are strong in their relationship with the Lord and they’ve gone on to do ministry and serve the Lord in amazing ways, and we’ve known homeschooled kids who have just said, “No, this God thing is not for me and I don’t want anything to do with it.” And they completely go off the other direction, but statistically there have been studies done that have shown that a larger majority of kids who are raised in homeschool families continue down that path of serving the Lord, and many, many sadly who are raised up with a Godless worldview are walking away.
Misty: Yeah. The studies that I found show that about 80% of Christian teens walk away from the Lord when they enter into their college years, but I’m thinking that the statistic of homeschoolers is somewhere around 10%. It may be 20%. I know it was no higher than that, but the difference is phenomenal to me and I think it goes back to making sure, like you said, with the house. With that they have that foundation.
Misty: They have been raised in a biblical worldview. They know how to discuss other cultures. They know how to discuss the Bible. They know how to talk about all these questions that they may get asked like well why do you believe in God? And well why would a good God let so many bad things happen? They’re raised to talk about bad influences and how can they can turn away from those bad influences, and they also have more Christian examples. They have more influences around them that are biblical and they get that more solid foundation, and I don’t think if our kids are away from us for six to eight hours a day, how can we do that? How can we teach them diligently? We can’t, and if we can’t teach them the word of God, and teach them those biblical principles, and those foundations in the little bit of time that we would have them if they’re in public school, then how do we expect our kids to go out there and to be a salt and the light in a world full of darkness, which is what we are doing. We’re expecting to send our kids into these public school systems as missionaries but they’ve never been properly trained.
Yvette: Right. That’s right. That’s exactly right. And it’s not like they’re not going to have opportunities to do that. They’ve got neighbors most of them that they can go and talk to and just be a good witness to. In our house that we left in California, we had a great neighborhood that had so many kids in it, and we didn’t keep our girls from playing with the kids, but there were many times, I mean, our girls would invite them to church, and they would invite them to just do all kinds of different things, and they would talk to them. They gave one of our little neighbor girls a Bible, and so my girls weren’t afraid to talk about those things, and so there were still plenty of opportunities for them to tell others about Christ.
Let me ask one quick question because we got to wrap here in just a minute, but if we’re not sending our kids out to be the salt and light in a dark world, who then? Who do we send out? Who goes to be the salt and light to tell these kids who desperately need to hear about the love of God?
Misty: Yeah. So I think that there’s a couple different ways we can do that. First of all, I want to say real quick or that something that had come up recently with the salt and the light is my daughter has been doing cross-country for our local school system, and she had ended up inviting a bunch of the kids from cross-country to a recent youth night. So even though she’s not in the public school, she still has this association with the public schools through sports teams.
Misty: And she was able to lead one of those little girls to Christ actually this past Sunday night.
Misty: She was living that example of being the salt and the light even though she’s homeschooled to these public school kids.
Yvette: That’s awesome.
Misty: So, I think that is one way right there, particularly as our kids get older. My kids where we live in Ohio, they are able to participate in sports teams. So even though they’re not within the public school system, they can still have those relationships with some of those public school kids, and my kids always invite them to church. They always invite them to church. They always invite them to Bible school, but they’re able to do that more in a controlled environment. They’re not being thrown into a school system without me. I’m able to be at practices, I’m able to know these kids through games and different kids. So there is that.
Also within, one thing that has happened that I’ve heard a lot of is something called the Good News Club. They are actually a Christian organization that go around and set up Bible schools or Bible clubs within the school system, and anybody can do this. I’ve actually thought about looking into starting one in our area. There’s programs like that. Also one wonderful example that I know personally, actually my homeschool mentor. So, her name is Janie and she raised her kids, she homeschooled them and they grew up to be wonderful, wonderful adults. They’re all serving God in the churches where they’re at. Her son is actually a missionary in the Middle East. They’re in the process of going over there. Wonderful, wonderful family, but after her kids were grown, she’s now working in this, in the public school system, and I think that is something to consider too. Public schools, they do need that light, but it doesn’t have to be our children, and when I look back on my school days, I do remember the teachers. They might not have been able to tell us about God, but I could tell the ones that were different.
I think that you can still be that light. You can even get involved as/us homeschool parents, we can get involved in the PTO. We can still get involved in our public schools without sending our kids into those environments to be the missionaries.
Yvette: Yeah. No, it totally did and I think that’s perfect. We have a good friend who is our public school math teacher and he’s a cross-country coach, and he is just, he always finds opportunities to talk to his kids about Christ, and he has led some of his students to the Lord and it’s just been such an amazing thing. He’s a homeschool dad, but he’s an adult who knows what he believes, and no one is going to shake his belief. So he goes out. He uses the platform that has given him to be able to be a light to these kids in a very, very dark world, and so it’s really exciting. And there are things, Young Life is another organization that goes out into public schools and has Bible clubs and tells kids about Jesus, and you’re right. I mean, there are a lot of ways that we can get involved as parents and then just pray. I think pray for the kids in the public school system and pray for the Christian teachers and administrators who are in the thick of it because it is a huge battle that they’re fighting right now and they really need our prayers, and I so respect those Christian men and women who are leading these kids in a very, very difficult time and in a very dark world, and everything is against them and they don’t have the freedoms to tell these kids what they desperately need to hear. But God can still open up opportunities for them to do 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 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.
Have you ever wondered why we chose the title, Schoolhouse Rocked, for a documentary on homeschooling? The “rocked” in the title refers to the impact that we see homeschooling having on “traditional” education models.
3a. To disturb the mental or emotional equilibrium of; upset: “News of the scandal rocked the town.”
We are really excited about the revolution currently going on in education and we want Schoolhouse Rocked to literally shake the foundations of education and culture: to completely undermine the notion that public school is the primary way we should be educating our nation’s children.
While homeschooling has been the standard educational model throughout history, in the last 150 years public schooling has taken over the education of our children. In that time the vast majority of parents have become convinced that it is normal and right to send your 5-year-olds off to a government institution to be taught by “experts” for the next 13 years (at least) of their lives. Many parents willfully ignore that this modern model of public schooling is based on socialism and secular humanism, and that the intent of its founders (men like John Dewey and Horace Mann) was to separate families to allow for the indoctrination of children. For too long, parents haven’t believed that there was a viable alternative to public schools or expensive private schools (many of which use the same industrial educational model as public schools, but sometimes wrap this instruction in a layer of Bible), so they have sent their kids off to the threat of violence, to negative social influences and peer pressure, and to indoctrination in progressivism, socialism, perverse sexuality, evolution, and the religion of secular humanism. To top it off, while violence and godlessness is on the rise in public schools, academic performance is declining. This massive social experiment has failed!
While homeschooling has existed throughout the rise of public education, until recently (1993), it wasn’t even legal in all 50 states. In the past few decades, homeschooling has seen incredible growth and it is finally being seen as a viable, dare we say mainstream option. There is a wealth of excellent materials available for homeschooling families, from curriculum, to co-ops, conventions, podcasts, blogs, and much more. Now, around 2.3 million students are being homeschooled in the United States, and the movement is growing around the world. This is “the Homeschool Revolution!”
We want Schoolhouse Rocked to fuel explosive growth in homeschooling. Our mission with the film is to encourage and equip homeschool families to start strong and finish well, so let’s talk about what that actually means. The film will, first, call parents to their responsibility to train up their children. The Bible tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6), and “…bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4). In fact, while there are scores of Bible verses and passages instructing parents to teach their children, there are none excusing them of this responsibility or instructing them to turn them over to the civil authorities for discipline and instruction. Following this call, Schoolhouse Rocked will provide the encouragement and resources to help these parents make a strong start in homeschooling. Next, the movie will show examples of what homeschooling looks like in real families, over the long haul. It will show what homeschooled students are doing after high school. The intent will be to validate parents’ decisions to homeschool and to encourage them that while it won’t be easy, the results will warrant the effort and sacrifice. It is our hope that this will have the effect of not only encouraging homeschooling families, but of breaking down the resistance of family and friends who oppose a families decision to homeschool.
Read what the Bible has to say about education in this excellent article from Schoolhouse Rocked cast member, Israel Wayne.
We want the naysayers to become advocates. We want the next wave of homeschooling families to have the resources and conviction to train their children with excellence and to arm them to become leaders and world-changers. While this may sound like hyperbole, we have seen so many examples of homeschooled kids graduating as well-prepared, morally and spiritually grounded, logical, intelligent, well-spoken leaders that we know it is no fluke. We believe these kids have the ultimate competitive advantage in the workplace, in culture, and in marketplace of ideas.
Ultimately, we feel like the time is right for this important film. There is growing displeasure and disapproval of public schools among a large portion of society. Stories of school shootings, teacher misconduct, pushes for blatantly anti-Christian instruction, gender and sexual insanity, and failing academics have even sympathetic, secular, progressive parents questioning whether it is profitable to send their kids to public schools. This is evidenced in the growing percentage of secular and non-christian (mormon, jewish, muslim, etc) families homeschooling, when for the past several decades the vast majority of homeschool families have been Christian. Now, taking your children to the grocery store in the middle of a school day doesn’t even raise eyebrows. Now, telling people that your kids are homeschooled usually elicits a positive response, where it used to spark a stream of probing questions and confused looks. We want to capitalize on this momentum and use Schoolhouse Rocked to pour fuel on this growing fire of excitement for homeschooling. We want to follow the film with a call-to-action and then provide them with the resources and encouragement they need to actually DO what we are asking of them – Bring their children home and teach them well.
We have made a big effort to provide excellent resources to follow the film. The Schoolhouse Rocked blog and podcast will offer excellent content for free, for many years. the Backstage Pass website will continue to offer in-depth training, encouragement, and perspective from homeschooling experts for the price of a cup of coffee a month (I would love to make these resources available for free as well, but they are very expensive to produce and Backstage Pass memberships help pay for the free resources on the podcast and blog).
One last note: we didn’t set out to make an anti-public school movie with Schoolhouse Rocked. We want Schoolhouse Rocked to show what is great about homeschooling! While I know that there are good public school teachers and administrators who work hard to teach well and love their students, they are working in an environment that is built from the ground up to provide a very specific outcome. A few good teachers and administrators in the giant machine of public schooling simply can’t change what public schools are doing. I highly recommend watching Indoctrination to get a great idea of where public schools are coming from and what they are producing. Between Indoctrination and the nightly news, I don’t feel like we need to make a case against public schools, but we can do much good by showing the benefits and joys (and challenges) of homeschooling. I really believe that homeschooling is the BEST option for educating our kids, and I am strongly convicted that public school is a very bad option.
That said, there are parents who really have no choice but to send their kids to public school. In this case, parents have an obligation to know what their kids are being taught in school and to actively engage in training the hearts and minds of these kids: undoing harmful instruction and pouring truth into their minds and hearts. This is no easy task, but to neglect it is to sacrifice these children to the whims and philosophy of the state: whims and philosophy that undoubtedly contradict yours and your family’s.