A Summary – Part 1

Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-04-25.

This blog summarizes and concludes “The Problem” series.

We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Bible Reference: 1 Tim 6:10

Have you ever known something about someone or something and decided that it was best to say nothing? We likely all keep those secrets, thinking that we will only make things worse by spilling the beans. True, there are times, likely more often than not, when we should hold our tongues, but there are also times when the truth must be revealed. When people, a group or a movement is threatened by the silence of those who see the problem, it is imperative for those who know to make it known.

I have been a professional educator for forty years and part of the home education movement for twenty eight of them. Long enough to remember how it started and enough time to see the trends that help me predict with a reasonable amount of certainty where the movement is likely headed. I may have tended to be a bit philosophical in the recent past blogs in an attempt to say something without sounding negative or to be accused of having bad motive. Please understand that I am speaking in general terms and so not everything mentioned is applicable everywhere or all the time, but I do not believe I am doing the home education movement any good by remaining silent or by obscuring the truth as I have of late. Therefore, I am going to take a risk and tell it as it is. You may not be happy with what I will have to say. The truth is, I am not happy with having to say it! However, I believe it needs to be said, so here goes.

I listed seven agencies as part of the problem, but before I review what has been said, I want to bring in the eighth agency, the one most likely to have the greatest influence of all as it represents all. The media, for the most part, has purposefully been providing a very slanted view of things, reporting what they want you to hear and not necessarily the news. News junkies are pretty well indoctrinated into accepting, defending and advancing the modern “progressive” agenda that is both secular and socialist. Even professing Christians are at risk of being part of the problem rather than offering sound solutions through the power of the media.

Government makes claims to having authority which when accepted by parents, validates the claim and empowers the government to totalitarian rule in education. When did God give parents permission to abdicate their responsibility and to take directives regarding the teaching and training of their children from government?

The modern institutional church is compromised and therefore, sick. Not to be confused with the Church, the body and bride of Christ, modern day churches quickly give credence to government “authority” which makes them more an arm of the bureaucracy than the representatives and voice of God. A greater focus on attendance, buildings, cash, and survival has largely usurped ministry in importance. As a consequence, most churches, even if sympathetic to home education are not really supportive of it.

Schools are schools. What more can be said? In my opinion, school has devolved into the most dysfunctional institution ever created by man, unless of course, you are a believer in using it to indoctrinate the children of our society to think, say and do as directed by a secular government that desires to be God. School has so infiltrated the world as the standard format for the education of children, that most everybody simply defaults to it as the norm, not only advancing it, but defending it or trying to fix it by creating variations of the same thing.

Private schools may be private, but they are still schools. Private Christian Schools may also be private schools, but are they actually Christian? No doubt some are. However, there are certainly some for whom the talk is much different from the walk. Our personal experience this year has clearly demonstrated that the “Christian” part of a “Christian” school can most certainly be questioned. If we are to use scripture as the premise upon which to measure the validity of the claim to Christianity, one need look no further than whom the private Christian school is beholden to. A Christian school should be seeking God before government, but that is actually becoming increasingly rare these days. I have witnessed first hand as a teacher, a facilitator and home education provider that there is little faith in Christian schools today. There may be Christian curriculum, Christian teachers and Christian leaders, but when faith in God is replaced with a Christian version of secular indoctrination, there is no real life, just a more lively version of death.

A Summary – Part 2

Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-05-02.

This blog summarizes and concludes “The Problem” series.

We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Bible Reference: 1 Tim 6:10

Home Education Providers have given me one of the biggest reasons for concern about the future of home education. Like most beginnings, these organizations may have had a valid part to play in supporting home education, but most, if not all, have lost this focus, to concentrate on self-preservation. Whether public, separate or private, any school’s reason for recruiting students has likely more to do with money than wanting to support home educating families. There are only three independent contracted home education specialists (ICHES) left and of them, two thought nothing of knocking out a former ICHES in a brazen effort to take out the founders, destroy the entity and steal the students. Whose job description contains that? What could possibly be the motive for such a diabolical action? Trust me, this is not “sour grapes” on my part, but bewilderment as to how these entities can on the one hand claim a Christian perspective yet behave in such a fashion that even the world found the actions to be deplorable! What is Christian about a private school and two ICHES conspiring to destroy a “brother”? Yikes!

Home Education Facilitators, if experienced in home education, having more faith in God than fear of man and in subjection to the authority of the parents, can become a real blessing to home educating families. Alternatively, if representing government or schools, or if pretending to be authorities in education, facilitators can not only provide a great deal of grief, but actually be destructive of parent-directed home education.

Home Education Organizations ostensibly created to support home education have, for the most part, taken on lives of their own. I am fond of describing bureaucracy as an animal that has learned to feed on its own young. Nearly all these entities have become so. Whether a local support group, a provincial organization or a national group, all have seemingly lost the Christ from their definition of Christian! Parents complain about the sectarian nature of local support groups which have mostly become fan clubs for certain providers whether led by the parents or by the providers themselves. Our provincial organization has become a defender of the need for ICHES’ more than of home education. A provincial home education conference that bans children is hardly a defender of family! A den of confusion which cares little for what is being offered reminds me of the merchants and money changers who moved our Lord to make a whip, is not likely putting the needs of home educators in first place. On a national level, do we really need a representative to interpret the government’s position without defending ours? Has anyone noticed how scripture, Bible, God, Lord, Jesus or any reference to Christianity is increasingly being avoided? Could it be that we do not want to alienate any potential members and corresponding income? Survival first, then ministry is backwards, isn’t it? If ministry is not first, it cannot be ministry.

Home Educators are most responsible for the downward spiral of the home education movement. Aside from being ignorant of what is really going on, apathy is worst. Home educators are often no better than the other parents in that they are primarily concerned with their own comfort without regard for the future well-being of the movement. Fathers are abdicating their authority to the delight of those who can only benefit from this error. Normalizing what is clearly in contradiction of biblical directives and common sense is no way to escape the problem. However, the biggest issue, the source of my greatest heartaches, has to be the ethic-defying demonstration of unabashed parental greed. I have seen more garbage Christianity in this area than everywhere else combined. No doubt the entire home education movement has defaulted to a movement of money, but parents could have stopped it in its tracks if not so attracted to it. I could write a book on how parents and home education providers have made a mockery of acceptable Christian behaviour when it comes to the home education funding. I have already extended this blog way beyond its usual length, so I simply want to end by saying that the home education providers’ manipulation of the parental love of money is largely to blame for the deteriorated state of home education today. If money keeps talking, God help us all!

The Consequence for Home Education

Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-05-09.

We can compromise until there is nothing left to give. How close are we to the end of the traditional home education movement?

We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Bible Reference: Luke 12:4-5

In the last two weeks I concluded the summary of The Problem with a no-holds-barred critique of the various players in the home education community, including (and especially) the parents. Organizations and individuals have been focusing on themselves and their own personal interests to the detriment of the home education community and its testimony for Christ. This self-centred emphasis has led to a kind of blindness towards the “big picture” of decay among the home education movement. In Hosea 4:6 the Lord said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” This lack of knowledge is being facilitated and encouraged by the agencies mentioned in the series that benefit from the derailing of home education in Alberta.

Most people are under the illusion that they are informed, but in reality they have been purposefully misinformed so they can be supporters of a system. For example, Vladimir Lennin, the Russian dictator of yore, referred to the “useful idiots”, who in their misguided zeal, supported and defended his subversive system. Although there is a greater chance that home educating parents are somewhat more aware of the trappings of secular socialist indoctrination, most people, while believing they are free, are oblivious to the fact that a lot of what they do believe has been instilled by controlling agencies. It should come as no surprise that indoctrination is always towards the bondage of serving man and his agencies, rather than to God, the author of freedom, often even when coming from a religious perspective. This was what Jesus most vehemently opposed during His earthy ministry.

It can be safely said, therefore, that ignorance has always been anybody’s biggest enemy. Unless people in general, and home educating parents in particular, make being informed an important part of their lives, they will go on being duped, tricked and manipulated by those who would direct others into being part of the problem, by either providing or perpetuating faulty information. In fact, most home educators subscribe to elements of the secular socialist worldview without truly understanding why or how. They believe in government; trust the media; follow a church or church leader; normalize all schools; are loyal to a home education provider, even if unethical, to the point of dividing the community along tribal lines; and support organizations that are more about themselves than home education. While all this demonstrates an abiding confidence in the “progressive”, secular socialist agenda, it shows little to no faith in God.

Today, the home education community has generally accepted the very things that moved parents to leave the system a generation ago. It is not uncommon to see parents educate their children at home by repeating what is being done in school, or worse, allowing the school to dictate what is to be done. Parents wonder if they are doing the right thing or doing enough, looking to man’s agencies for answers. Parents may start by teaching their children at home, then send them to school or bring the school home so the “education” can be “completed” by “professionals” in keeping with government accreditation. This reminds me of the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Galatians: although they had begun in the Spirit, they believed they could only be perfected by the flesh!

The result of accepting the false claims to authority, the marketing of products over service to the people and the focus on money, is that resourceful people have successfully recaptured the home education community and submitted it back to the world. Even though the movement started with people convicted of their God-given responsibility for the teaching and training of their children, it has slowly devolved to a choice of convenience, even if it means sending the children back to school. Home educators can be just as ill-informed, narrow-minded, short-sighted, and self-centred as any other parent. When external agencies put themselves and their well being ahead of the parents’, the lines get so blurred as to make home education no longer stand out. Home education, as it was originally, is in trouble because we have lost our original reason for doing so. It has become a movement more focussed on immediate self-serving issues than with the greater purpose of preparing children for God’s Kingdom.

The Issue at Hand

Part of the series Wrapping Up 2015-16
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-05-16.

The truth will set us free, it is said.

We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Bible Reference: 2 Peter 3:17

After spending nearly two months travelling the province, visiting families; hosting a number of Community Home Education Conferences (CHEC) where I had the opportunity to talk to all manner of families; having to deal with government in one way or another, either directly or indirectly; sponsoring a few campaigns dealing with pertinent and urgent issues potentially damaging to the home education community in this province; and having time to think on these things while travelling thousands of kilometres in our truck and camper; I have much to share and little time to do it in these blogs.

The biggest lesson learned this year is that I have been in error by desiring to be liked and not wanting to cause discomfort to others. You can chalk this up to my “being a nice Canadian” and my subscription to the unbiblical attitude of being positive at any cost. Both are just excuses cloaking cowardice with a sweetness more akin to aspartame than real sugar. I was corrected by a lady who attended my presentation at the provincial conference for alluding to problems and issues while carefully avoiding the use of names in order to … protect the guilty?! After having checked, I realize that the Bible is full of examples where bad people had their names published. How else could they be avoided if not by being revealed for the crooks and scoundrels that they were? Indeed, when nothing is done about bad people doing bad things, nothing changes and good people are hurt or taken advantage of by these bad people, who may not even realize they are being bad. Therefore, I have determined to tell the truth, at great personal risk, by including the names of the people and organizations that are continuing unchallenged with their ungodly, self-serving causes. There is a great deal that I see wrong with the world, but my most sensitive “buttons” include the abuse or manipulation of parents and children and the tarnishing of the name of Christ by people and agencies pretending to be Christian while obviously neglecting to apply the teaching of Jesus Christ.

One mom attending a CHEC frustratingly shared her concern that most home educating parents were more often being duped than being informed. It has long been known by manipulators that the first thing necessary for anyone to be manipulated is that they be ignorant of the truth, otherwise they will be on their guard against being used by others. I am simply amazed at the level of ignorance, not only about things pertaining to home education in general, but things pertaining to the life that has been freely given us by our Lord. The frustrating thing to me is that most of these young people have a genuine and sincere desire to come to the knowledge of the truth about our faith, but most have no where to go. Churches are too often focussed on nearly everything other than supporting families and growing their faith, leaving the world without a compass along with the resulting madness of relativity and corresponding normalization of deviation. Today, it’s an anything goes world with the very agencies that should be defending what is right, encouraging rather than resisting secularization, for the sake of survival. This perverted progressivism has crept into the Christian community and through it to the home education community as well. True, there is more resistance to this insanity within the home education community, but when those purporting to be on guard for it make compromises towards their own self-interests, there is little one can do but watch traditional home education slowly slip into oblivion as it becomes more secular and driven by questionable motivation.

I am even more convinced than ever that the plight of traditional home education in this province is not good. Between government heavy handedness, and home educating parental ignorance and fears, not to mention the ICHESs, private schools and other home education providers competing for the students and the associated cash, parents are unwittingly being taken along on a wave of compromising that can only lead to the destruction of traditional home education in this province. Most parents quickly see that it is the money that is causing the problem, but they are not entirely correct in this observation. It is the love of money, demonstrated by some parents’ pursuit of what this money can provide, and hidden by the pseudo-wisdom of agencies willing to sacrifice parental authority on their altar of survival, so they can get even more of it. This problem will not go away until we start refocussing on Jesus and hearts are changed.

The Solution

Part of the series Wrapping Up 2015-16
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-05-23.

The focus on what’s best for the children has been obscured by a focus on what’s best for parents or organizations because we don’t focus on Jesus.

We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Bible Reference: 2 Chronicles 7:14

Don’t we just love finding solutions to problems? At least, I do. Perhaps that is because I am a natural fixer and I delight in seeing what was broken as repaired or restored. In fact, I believe that is also the heart of God. He created the world perfect and willingly gave man enough freedom to reject Him which, as you know, he did. And, even though man has been running from God ever since, God never gave up trying to fix the problem created by the fall, even being willing to personally descend on earth in the form of man to not only repair and restore man, but to redeem him. The ultimate solution to the ultimate problem! Thank you, Jesus!

To redeem is to go beyond repairing or restoring, which actually deals with the effect of a problem rather than the cause. Redeeming goes beyond fixing the cause or the problem, to eliminating it. This is what we need to do to save Christian home education. We need to bring it back into right standing, much the same as Jesus’ sacrifice provided opportunity for mankind to be repaired and restored into right standing with God. I am not saying that we need a saviour, because we already have one. What I am saying is that unless home education agencies in general, and home educators in particular, seriously refocus on why Christian education was restored to the home from the schools, we will not be able to clearly see what the objective for home education was and continues to be and we will simply return to what we want to escape.

Home education has never been about money, as almost every other jurisdiction in the world knows. Neither is home education about out performing the world in their school and educational games. It is not about winning spelling bees, writing a world class essay, offering solutions for some major issue or inventing a new gismo, even though these are noble accomplishments, nor is it about being able to fill the children’s heads full of knowledge, even though this is good too.

Home education is when parents seriously consider that Jesus’ great commission, to go out into the world to preach the gospel, starts at home with the children God has given them. It is about taking the authority and associated responsibility to make sure that the truth has been written in the hearts of the children and demonstrated as being the major component of the heart of those in authority, starting with the parents. To teach the heart is to prepare for eternity. The head may get us through this life, but then what? How about eternity? What was Jesus willing to give us so that we could have that eternity with, rather than separated from, God? What do you think His expectation of us would be in exchange? Is this expectation part time or only applicable in some instances, something like entertaining a Christian world view on Sunday at church then a secular world view thereafter? We cannot serve two masters so let’s pick the Winner.

The problem with Christian home education today is that we are becoming increasingly unaware of where we have come from and as a consequence we have mostly lost our faith and vision, not only for ourselves and our children but for society in general and the home educating community in particular. We have traded the eternal for the temporal. We have become self-serving and sectarian. We need to be shaken out of our lethargy and cult-like followings so that the Christian faith and home education can be redeemed as a service to the Lord and not to ourselves or our children, even if they are the focus of the exercise.

The solution, while simple, is not easy. Christian home education needs to be reunited, repaired, restored and redeemed as a service unto the Lord as we fulfill our responsibility to share the gospel with a lost and dying world. When money, grades, subjects, government, schools, home education providers, agencies, ICHESs, facilitators, and a whole host of other home education issues and concerns take second place to seeking the Kingdom of God, they will find their place and their appropriate functions. Let us all passionately repent, refocussing back on the author and finisher of our faith and make all that we do, starting with our children, a full time, uncompromising ministry unto Him.

Goodbye For The Summer

Part of the series Wrapping Up 2015-16
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-05-30.

A rather lengthy summary of this year’s Education Unlimited activities.

We are generally all ignorant of what is actually happening around us. This ignorance can either be perpetuated and capitalized upon or fixed to empower the masses. It is time to enlighten home educators who have generally been kept in the dark respecting what is occurring within their community. (Ephesians 4: 11-16)

Bible Reference: Eph 4: 1-24

Wow! What an incredible year this has been, especially in light of the fact that the Morinville Christian School (MCS), The Home Education Exchange (THEE) and MCS’s former principal gave the appearance of collaborating to kill the EU ministry, destroy the EU organization and steal the students that neither agency had done a thing for, essentially forcing the EU parents to decide whether to stay with MCS or move their children to another school, the Harvest Baptist Academy. After overwhelmingly failing in their apparent hostile take over attempt, another agency, ROOTS, joined MCS to form a rather polygamous union that was sure to rattle the government, who could not comprehend how large populations of students could be moved at will to another school!

Think about this from the government’s perspective. When has an entire school ever moved from one community to another? In the real world, such craziness would never happen but when Independent Contracted Home Education Specialists (ICHES is a term invented to give credibility to organizations that have no place in the government’s world) start moving from one private school to another, both private schools and ICHESs are legitimately called into question. Counting Families Learning Together’s move from the Lighthouse Christian Academy to the Red Deer Catholic system a few years ago, ten agencies (private schools and ICHESs) have been involved in the greatest transfer of students from one school community to another ever to have occurred in the history of education in this province. I cannot be sure that the massive clawbacks that occurred this year are directly related to this craziness, but I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the likelihood of the perpetrators of these very large transfers of students, considering the overall implications of these moves for the Christian home education community, is very small.

What could have been the primary motivation behind this insanity? Student welfare? Or is it more likely to be school and ICHES welfare? Were parents consulted before their children were unilaterally transferred to another school in another community? Don’t the parents have the last say as to where they want their children registered? How can any agency, let alone ones that claim a Christian faith, so brazenly ignore parental authority and trade in students as though they were a commodity? No wonder the government is concerned, as even the secular world would find such manipulation of students offensive. Please understand that while being forced out of MCS after sixteen years of association, EU continued to honour the authority of parents by clearly communicating with our parents both by personal phone call and by letter, what their options were and not what we had decided for them!

Speaking of parental authority, another thing I did was bring to light the news about the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA), our provincial organization supposedly representing the home educators of this province, having sent the Minister of Education a letter offering a form of evaluation and reporting on home educated student progress. Did you know that the organization created to defend home education has now grown to the point where it feels it has the “authority” to tell all parents, facilitators and schools how they will conduct the evaluations of student progress? How about the fact that one “ICHES with a large number of students”, arrogantly assuming to be speaking not only on behalf of all the parents associated with them but for every home educating parent of the province, has volunteered to conduct a pilot program of this newly minted evaluation process? When were the parents and providers consulted about this? Were you consulted before AHEA and the ICHES with a large number of students decided to violate parental authority to appease a ruling that had not actually been made? This unprecedented move strips parents of their authority and validates the Minister’s false claim to having authority over parents in the training of children. If it is a matter of having to answer for the taxpayer funds that private and home education are receiving (remember that we are taxpayers too), then a simple solution is to refuse the funds, if and when it comes with an obligation for evaluation. Given that choice, most parents would likely have opted out of the funding in favour of freedom, but agencies that would cease to exist if the funding was to be discontinued are likely to have a bit of a different perspective on this matter! When parental authority over their children is being violated by agencies trading in students and others willing to sacrifice it on their altar of survival, we don’t really need external enemies to destroy us!

Besides being unbelievably busy making the myriad of adjustments that came along with working with a new school after sixteen years with MCS, Education Unlimited had to make some serious changes in order to completely separate ourselves from the diminishing crowd of ever more compromising ICHESs. We morphed from being an ICHES under MCS into being a highly developed digital management system for traditional home education. Funny how things go, isn’t it? Others may have meant evil for EU, but God used this opportunity (it sure did not feel like an opportunity at first!) for good as we developed not only our web site (www.educatiounlimited.ca) to better serve our school and home education community, but another web site (www.leogaumont.com) which is sure to minister to Christian home educators around the world.

What can be described as the craziest, most nonsensical year we have ever experienced within the home education community was made even more bizarre by the unexpected and unprecedented moves by the Department of Education. Aside from having to wait until January before receiving any funding, our school (Harvest Baptist Academy) underwent three intensive audits this year, likely brought about by their sudden and overwhelming increase of students when having thrown our families a life line and an alternative to MCS. Our new management system proved itself to be outstanding as we seamlessly provided up to date and accurate information in keeping with all rules and requirements. Add to that, a pile of issues like Bill 10, Motion 504, public pressure to defund private schools, the retroactive reinterpretation of the proper use of taxpayer funds in home education, along with an overall near impossible intransigence of the self-declared infallibility of government bureaucrats, and you have a picture of what this past year has been like. It is likely that most home educators of the province were more aware of these last events as they involved a bit more media coverage and changes to funding expectations.

In preparation for these final blogs, I reviewed all the blogs that I have written this year. I was pleased by the outcome and truly thankful for the Holy Spirit’s direction as many times, even I was impressed with what had been said… and I am the one who said it! I encourage you all to start back in September and read through the year. You will get a glimpse of my heart and how it passionately beats for the Christian home education community, the authority of parents and true Christian education. It is sure to encourage you. I nearly never hear from anyone and would dearly love to know not only how these blogs are doing but what you may want to see in the future. Please email me (leo@educationunlimited.ca) to let me know how these blogs have affected you this year.

I want to end by thanking Brian Coldwell, the chairman of the Independent Baptist Christian Education Society, the operators of the Harvest Baptist Academy and all the staff of HBA for giving us a reason to carry on. It has been a great pleasure to have been able to have fellow defenders of Christian education stand beside us as we advance and defend parental authority in education. Thank you, HBA.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to take this time to thank each and every one of you for encouraging us, not only in word, but by being cooperative during these unprecedented times of change, both from without and within this ministry. We may have experienced bell ringing and death defying events, along with some exhilarating things as well, yet we have never lost our focus. We exist to serve our Lord, our schools and families, but most importantly we desire to be of service to our parents as they reclaim their proper authority for the welfare of their children by training their hearts to love the Lord their God with all their hearts, souls, minds and strengths to become servants of the Most High God.

God bless you all. Lord willing, I will “blog” you again in the fall. Please keep us in prayer.

Have a great summer!
Léo Gaumont