The Origin of Education Unlimited: Meet Education Unlimited (Part 2)

How far back does one need go into the past to paint an accurate historical picture? In the case of home education, it is safe to say that it predates schools, but modern home education, as we now know it, got its initial start in Alberta in the late 1970’s, mostly because private schools were too expensive or simply unavailable during a time of increased secularization of public schools.

The 1980’s saw some growth in numbers. However, home education really got popular and more accepted when funding was made available in the early 1990’s.

My wife, Faye, and I were among the earliest home educators in the late 1980’s. This was a critical decision for us since I was teaching in a public high school. I was, in essence, voting against the very agency through which I was earning a living!

In any event, we had determined to teach our own children as we could not find a school that would do the task with the dedication of loving parents. And it was a serious commitment as there was no funding available, at least not that we were aware of.

As funding became available, agencies specializing in the delivery of home education programs began to emerge in the home education community. They were either schools or worked through an authority vested in them by registered schools, but either way, this transformed the home education community into being another educational industry.

My first experiences with this new industry were very enlightening. I observed that very few of these “experts” in home education had much of an idea of what education, home education in particular, really was.

There certainly weren’t many of these experts who had had the extensive experience that I had, and even fewer who were giving serious thought to the fact that home education and schooling were different.

The second, and most disheartening thing I observed, was that most of the home education providers, while masquerading as experts, were actually intent on cashing in on the home education money, rather than helping the people who were lined up to take advantage of that funding.

Most everything that was being offered as help was nothing more than marketing ploys preying on the ignorance and greed of the people, something that was sure to compromise the home education community over time.

I got to the point where I was as frustrated with the home education industry as I was with the public school industry, in which I was employed.

I did not want to be part of the problem that was growing within the home education community, where the competition for students (read: cash) was becoming so commonplace as to be an embarrassment to the Christian faith.

In the spring of 1999, several very questionable moves by the “home education provider” through which I did part time work as a facilitator, led my wife and I to seriously consider the need for an agency that would be focused on truly ministering to parents while balancing their desire for financial assistance, in that order.

I really believed the home education community needed a place to escape from the nonsense that was starting to infect it. This was the thinking that led to the creation of Education Unlimited. It started as a ministry within an increasingly cash driven industry.

I informed the families with which I had had the privilege of working, that I would be continuing on my own (and without actually saying so, that I could no longer, in good conscience, work for a mercenary organization that consistently reminded its employees that it was a business first and a ministry second).

So, after having completed my duties for the business I was working for, I set out to find a school that saw students as having more than a monetary value.

I was not surprised to find that there were very few schools that even cared, much less were interested in home education, at that time. This was a sad testimony, since we approached only private Christian schools.

We finally were able to convince a school principal that our vision and mission to serve the home education community was worth supporting. So in July of 1999, we had the good fortune of connecting with the dedicated folks at a Christian school who agreed to “loan us their authority” so we could proceed with our plans.

Thus in August of 1999, Education Unlimited was born with my wife, Faye, and I as the entire organization, from director, to IT manager, facilitator, administrator, secretary, receptionist and book keeper!

From the beginning we did everything we could to help and support our school, our parents, our students and then, after everyone else was taken care of, we paid ourselves. In this regard, things have not changed, continuing as we always have!!!

As a consequence of our focus on ministry, we did not engage in marketing ploys to increase our numbers as we so often saw with what were now our competitors.

We conducted our business affairs with the highest level of integrity while putting all of our efforts into advancing and defending home education, including: exposing the unhealthy focus on money and the consequences of its unethical use; the normalization of school-based thinking; and the general absence of genuine faith in the God of creation.

Home Education Providers

Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-03-28.

If there are too many registration options for home education, a competitive environment is created where survival becomes more important than function.

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 Peter 5:8

In Alberta, every child between the ages of six and sixteen must be registered for “education”, somewhere. There are really only two choices provided. Either children are registered to attend some kind of school or they are registered to be educated at home. There is presently no option for simply notifying the government of the intent to home educate without government interference, in Alberta.

Home educating parents have a choice of either registering their children with the local school board, or with some other willing non-resident school board in the province. Willing school boards can be public schools, catholic schools, or private schools which can either be providing home education programs directly or through what has come to be known as Independent Contracted Home Education Specialists (ICHES).

Alberta is one of very few jurisdictions that provides funding for home education. Therefore, aside from a legal obligation a local school board has for the education of all of its resident students, there is only one reason a non-resident board could have for wanting to provide home education services for students outside of its geographical area and that would have to be…money. The funding of home educated students has created a rather peculiar situation that involves competition for students as well as a few variations on the theme of home-based education that is truly unique to Alberta. Besides the age old debate among home-based educators as to whether one should school, home school, home educate or un-school, Alberta also provides mixes of these involving blending, aligning or partially complying to public programming. All these options are not actually offered to meet every family’s needs, but are specifically designed marketing techniques for attracting clients and/or increasing the provider’s income.

In addition to confusing the question of what a home education is, the desire to attract students because they represent money has also created opportunity for questionable behaviours. A board making no claim to religious affiliation could be expected to behave in ways that could be considered contrary to what would be expected of a board claiming to be Christian, which would naturally be held to a higher standard. When considering that the vast majority of home educating parents are coming from a Christian perspective, home education providers know that in order to attract these people, they also have to be “Christian”, however this talk is often disassociated from the walk, so to speak. I don’t suppose this is the time, nor the place to list the questionable practices that I have witnessed coming from home education providers claiming to be of a Christian persuasion, but let me assure you that not everything could be considered moral, ethical or even decent.

Aside from the potential for giving Christianity an even worse reputation than what it already has in the western world, the most unfortunate consequence of this focus on money is that it has divided the home education community. Consider this: when the survival of providers becomes of bigger concern than that of home education itself; when one provider is willing to destroy another to gain a larger market share; or when providers are willing to risk having all home educators suspected of their own misconducts; are we not becoming increasingly more vulnerable to being destroyed from within? Few parents are actually aware of what is going on as providers make self-centred, short-sighted decisions seemingly without regard for the potential casualties or for the future welfare of home education in this province.

I cannot help but wonder how many of these organizations would suddenly lose their “love for home educators” and promptly disappear should the funding of such be ended. Could it be time to seriously reconsider participating in funded home education? While parents may indeed be benefiting in the short term, could it be that the providers are actually benefiting more?

Private Christian Schools (Part 1)

Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-03-14.

If these schools are “private” and “Christian” why are they insisting on “public” and “secular” programing?

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 John 4:1-6

It is hard to imagine how any thinking parent could ever believe that government, displaying no allegiance to God or his word, but rather openly hostile towards biblical teaching, could possibly have their children’s best interest in mind. However, it happens all the time. For some reason, the fact that government cannot give birth to children escapes their notice and through a lack of knowledge regarding scriptural directives, parents not only validate and empower the government’s claim to authority in education, but try to emulate its leadership by creating Christian versions of the same thing, something called Private Christian Schools.

Now to be fair, schools do have their place. In countries where illiteracy is high, they have a very important part to play in enabling children to function in the modern world. In our country, where most parents have at least some level of literacy, parents could and should do as directed by God and educate their own children at home. Even so, there is no doubting the fact that not everyone can do so. In a perfect “Christian” world, those that could, would be there to help those that couldn’t or shouldn’t. However, as you may have already noticed, this is anything but a perfect world!

So why have Christian schools? In my opinion, the biggest reason for the creation of Christian schools is the unquestioned normalization of what we have all come to believe as “education happens in schools”. Christian parents who think this way simply carry forward the idea, but within an assumed Christian context and environment. Since we are in an imperfect world where everyone is left to fend for themselves, Christian schools can be a real asset and a positive alternative to public schools, if indeed the leadership, staff and program are…well,… Christian!

Unfortunately, when unfunded, private schools struggle with the high cost of running a school and the need to properly recompense teachers and staff. Few parents can afford high tuition, therefore private schools usually end up seeking help from government. However, this help comes with “strings” attached. Knowing that increasing the amount of government programming used makes things not only easier, but potentially more profitable, it is easy to see how the secularization of “Christian” schools can be accelerated with increased government funding. Once on this path, the private school leadership starts to become increasingly focussed on survival, consequently developing a willingness to do anything demanded of them by bureaucrats, in exchange for continuing existence and support. Attempting to meet the government program with a collection of Christian resources often leads to completely adopting the public program and all of its directives. Private schools can become so much like public schools, they need only apply to become a part of the public system and disappear completely as “Christian” alternatives. Sadly, a true story.

I have always wondered why any Christian school would want to meet this government mandated secular programming at all, never mind trying to Christianize it! If God had given government authority in education, I would understand. However, the prevalent idea that government has something important to say about the training of children is more of an unquestioned cultural “habit” than of reasoned Christian thinking. I suspect this is likely due to a similar misunderstanding of the authority of government within the Church, since it too seems to have placed government ahead of God for it’s existence and survival.

Not every Private Christian School has sold its soul to the devil, but there are few, if any, which do not acknowledge government as in control of all things educational. If we think about it, what is supposed to set private Christian schools apart is that they look to God as the provider and director of all things, including the training and teaching of children. To say that Jesus is Lord on the one hand, then look to government for provision and direction makes a mockery of what a Christian education should entail. Why are Private Christian Schools looking to government for direction and support? Could it be because our culture has developed a greater fear of government than faith in God, when it comes to education?

Schools (Part 2 – Dishonesty)

Part of the series The Problem
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2016-02-29.

School is a giant, multibillion dollar industry that works well for everyone involved, except perhaps, students and good teachers.

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: Matt 6:24

Last week, I shared a greatly summarized story of my experience within the school system. Bear in mind that the story involves nearly every kind of school available in Saskatchewan and Alberta. There are likely not many people who have been “privileged” to have seen the inside of as many schools as I have. One can say that I got to see quite a few schools because I was substituting for some time in both provinces, but I prefer to say that God orchestrated things as per the aforementioned prayer. You see, I did not want to teach, in spite of being gifted as a teacher. Most would understand that the last thing the enemy wants from anyone is to have them working in keeping with their God-given strengths, gifts and talents and so he discouraged my being a teacher. In any case, I wanted to be sure that I did not want to be a teacher, so I asked to experience everything in education before I quit. Nuts! Like many a prayer request, I had not really thought this one through. Even though I have indeed experienced a great many things in education, it appears as though I am still a bit short of “everything” and so I am still here! Oh well? What else could I do but serve God here after all this “training”!? Back to our topic.

Even though I cannot say I have clear evidence of such from every school I attended, for some were only for a day or two, I can say that as soon as I “cracked” the political structure of any school, the most prevalent characteristic that surfaced was usually dishonesty. Even schools purporting to be “religious” seemed to be very “resourceful” when it came to rhetoric and the collecting and distribution of money. I came to the conclusion that since government is not usually seen as a model of integrity, schools, generally must have believed it was acceptable to follow the example. Time and space prohibits me from getting into great detail so let’s look at something that generally applies to most schools. Before I begin, I want to say that what I am saying are generalities and cannot be universally applied to every school, although I can not really think of an exception from my experience.

The dishonesty begins when schools promise all kinds of things to parents, and on marquees or billboards. These are nothing more than marketing ploys to attract as much money, er… students as possible. Funding is based on the number of students, so the more students registered with the school, the more money it gets. In spite of all the rhetoric on this and that regarding students, students are really just $tudents!

This means two things. The first, is that everything possible must be done to make sure that school is viewed as the normal thing to do and to discourage, at all cost, any deviation from this mindset. The further one’s education is from public school, the greater the threat to the system. Therefore, home education should be discouraged as much as possible with misleading and/or ridiculous statements.

The second thing to observe is that it really doesn’t matter how the program is delivered, the funding follows the student. As a consequence, schools, be they public, separate or private, are offering variations of public programming to “help” er… appeal to as many $tudents as possible. We have online, distance learning, blended programming, fully aligned and seemingly no end of counterfeit varieties of these things, all with the goal of attracting as many $tudents as possible. Little thought is given to whether or not these offerings are of any benefit to the student, as long as they are “cashable”. No doubt the majority of schools providing such “opportunities” for “education” are public or separate schools, but private schools, taking their example from the “big boys” find some of these offerings just as lucrative in attracting $tudents.

So there you have it. As a student, so long ago, I found myself without value other than the fact that I had a number. I may not have realized it then, but having that number had value for someone else. I really wanted to change all that as a teacher, but the system was too well entrenched. The fact that even schools purporting to be “Christian”, $ee $tudents as a $ubstantial a$$et to their being, doesn’t make them any less guilty. What a crying shame. Tick them all off and bring those children home where they belong.

Who Says… Parents Have The Correct Point Of View On Funding?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-03-09.

Money is a blessing until it starts to control us, pervert a system or destroy relationships.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: 1 Tim. 6-10

Two weeks ago, I wrote about education funding from the taxpayer’s point of view. Last week, I addressed money issue from a home education provider’s point of view. This week, I would like to conclude by talking about money from a home educating parent’s point of view. I would like to do so by starting with parent resource funding from the school’s point of view and finish from the parent’s point of view. As you can see, it is all about perspective or the point of view and how we deal with money is very much determined by it.

When the government makes the 25% of public school basic funding available for the provision of a home education (public, separate and private schools are all funded at the same rate), it stipulates that a minimum of 50% of this money be made available to parents towards the purchase of educational supplies and services. (It should be noted that some home education providers promise slightly more than the 50% as a way of enticing more registrations along with the associated money.) Parents are often misinformed as to what this actually means. This money is to be made available (not given) by the school to the parents. This money is not sent to the parents but to the school and so it should never be viewed as the parent’s money. It is in fact the school’s money. It is the school that has to determined how parents can spend this money. The school is responsible to account for this money to the government from which it came. Everything purchased with this money belongs to the school, not the parents, and can legitimately be reclaimed by the school, even though most forego this option.

Therefore, the first thing that must be understood about home education funding is that the money does not belong to the parents, but to the school. Parents seeing this money as their money will be looking at it from the wrong point of view! With this wrong point of view will come bad decisions. Not only bad decisions but bad consequences that come from these bad decision, as this point of view leads to a sense of entitlement and entitlement usually does not consider the other guy. Many relationships have been irreparably damaged with this point of view.

The second thing that must be addressed is that the funding is to made available towards the purchase of educational supplies and services. Since the government has not stipulated how this money can or cannot be spent, there is lots of room for misappropriation of funds by both the provider and the parents. Unscrupulous providers can justify anything as an educational expense and often use this money as a way to “buy” more students. It is true that nearly anything can be justified as an educational expense, but we must differentiate between a legitimate expense and an illegitimate justification. In our twenty-five years of home education experience as parents, facilitators and providers, we could write a book on how this funding has been misused. However, it must be stipulated that no matter how badly this money has been abused, it is the providers that have allowed the parents to do so, largely out of fear of losing the parents to less discerning boards or as previously mentioned, as a way of increasing student count and who are ultimately responsible. We have seen a number of parents register with another board who is more liberal in the interpretation of educational supply and services and who are obviously far more interested in the immediate personal benefits than in home education’s long term best interest.

Who says that the parents have the correct point of view regarding home education funding? Some do. Most do. Most understand that this funding is a blessing and exercise reasonable restraint in how this funding can be spent. Furthermore, these parents are fine with not spending all of “their” money because they realize that it is not “their” money. Ultimately, all good things come from God and since if it comes from God it must be used with respect and thanksgiving. Good people are usually good stewards who make people and righteous living more important than money.

Who Says… School Boards Honestly Acquire Funding?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-03-02.

Money is an unsavory topic that we usually want to avoid discussing. Unfortunately, this often results in our turning the blind eye to its misuse.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: 1 Tim. 6-10

Last week, I explained home education funding from the taxpayer’s perspective and that it is indeed, not only a big saving to have more students educated at home, but that they, on average, get better results than their public school counterparts. I also shared that the greatest grief of my education career has always been centered on the “creative” ways student funding was acquired. This week, I want to more fully explain this funding within the context of home education with the understanding that not all school boards are dishonest or greedy.

Before I begin to share my concerns regarding the negative effects funding has had on home education, let me emphatically state that I am not against the proper use of money, nor am I against government making provision for helping parents who have chosen to educate their children at home, nor do I condemn providers that access it, nor parents who accept it. However, two very important points are assumed when making this statement. The first is that the government simply wants to be fair in its treatment of all the children of this province by making some funding available to parents desiring to educate their children at home. The second is that both home educators and providers are careful in accepting and using these funds in an appropriate fashion. Unfortunately, both assumptions are just that, assumptions and not reality.

There are really only two major considerations related to home education funding: the number of students and the level of funding. If only the lowest level of funding, and the fact that it follows the students, is considered, home education providers can be tempted to offer all sorts of things to attract more parents and their students, some even without regard for proper ethics. Even when only a minimum level of funding is accepted, the potential for abuse is still a concern since whenever any part of any given group is judged as unethical, all within that group are condemned as such, even when the association is only remotely connected. We may have observed a first hand example of such over the issue of congregate schools.

The second position of potential abuse has to do with increased levels of funding for increased levels of public programming. In a nutshell, government desires to see every student in the province follow their one-size-fits-all programming and are willing to pay to see this applied to home education. This is likely the main reason it funds home education at all. Combined with a fundamental, natural human desire for more, home education providers “encourage” greater student use of public programming which, while being advanced as of benefit to the child, results in more funding income for the provider. Although increased funding may be “shared” with the parents, it is never a fair division, nor is it always fully divulged or truthfully administered.

If I was to share what I have seen happen to the home education community over the past twenty-five years, it would take a lot more space than this week’s blog and you would be disgusted! The tricks, ploys and promises used to attract parents and students defy Christian sensibilities while the government’s offering of greater levels of funding for greater levels of state programming, has led to the near ubiquitous acceptance of it’s delivery. Where I once saw colleagues, I now see compromisers.

State programming, once avoided at all cost, is now being offered in a variety of creative ways by organizations, which were, not many years ago, traditional only. Blended programming, fully aligned programming, and high school accreditation programming are not only offered by nearly every home education provider today, but sometimes outside of the clearly defined rules regarding their delivery. My personal experience within the school system saw a great deal of dishonesty when it came to billing government for programs not actually being delivered as prescribed, or at all, for that matter. I find it hard to believe just how badly home education providers, many of whom profess a Christian faith, are willing to conduct their affairs to increase their “take”.

Who says school boards honestly acquire funding? Dreamers! Those who believe that man is fundamentally good. Those who assume others will never bend the rules or stretch the truth. Those who naively trust bogus claims to Christian faith. Those who have not been made aware or have not questioned what is really going on with home education program delivery. It is true that home education funding is not even close to public school funding, but whether one is cheating at 6.25% or 100%, it is still cheating.

To be concluded next week.

Who Says… It Costs A Lot To Educate a Child?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2015-02-23.

Most people know very little about the cost of educating a child in Alberta. True home educators save the taxpayers a lot of money.

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: 1 Tim. 6-10

Money! There never seems to be enough. Money can be either a blessing or a curse, depending entirely on who and/or what is involved. It is often stated that the LOVE of it is the root of all evil. My grandfather told me that money was not everything, but it was inconvenient to try to get along without it. I am sure a very significant percentage of the world’s population would agree with that statement!

Governments collect money in the form of taxes and spend it as they deem appropriate. Although this money is referred to as taxpayers’ money, taxpayers have little say in how this should be done, outside of the ballot box. Governments are aware of the significance of their decisions, and, for the most part, are usually somewhat careful of expenditures. To be fair, it must be stated that it is much more difficult to budget in billions of dollars, than it is to budget for a family; and that within a family, there are only a few individuals involved, while there are a great number of people directly or indirectly involved when budgeting the taxpayers’ money.

Education is one of the most expensive ministries government has to administer. Alberta Education budgeted 7.4 billion dollars for education in 2014, including capital costs. It’s web site boasts that it spends 37 million dollars for every day the province’s students are in school. Dividing this sum by the number of students in the province, one gets a number exceeding $12,000 per student per year! When calculating this figure, one has to take into consideration that this number is based on all students including the ones being educated outside of the public system, such as private and home education students, which are funded at a much lower rate than public school students. Therefore, the actual costs for educating a public school student is actually much higher, but for the sake of simplicity, we will work with the $12,000 per student.

Public schools receive a base funding in excess of $6,000 for every student, which on average, is approximately half of the total per student spending in this province. Private schools receive only 70% of a public school’s base funding, and do not qualify for extra programs or capital costs. So, it is fair to say that private schools operate on approximately 35% of the cost of educating a student in public school, with equal or superior results. Home education is funded at 25% of the base funding for public schools. However, legislation mandates that half of this money be made available for parent purchases of educational supplies and services. Once again, since the average cost of public education is estimated at $12,000 dollars per student with the base funding being approximately half of that, the 25% of base funding allotted to home education is really only 12.5% of what is spent for a public education, most often with superior results, in spite of public school supporters’ negative rhetoric. Another factor that must be considered here, is that since 50% of the home education funding is earmarked for parent resources, home education providers who are not involved in the delivery of the better paying public programming, must fulfill the requirements for the supervision of the home education program on 6.25% of what public schools require to educate a single student!

Even though the 6.25% figure represents an enormous savings for taxpayers, it goes without saying that this is the case if, and only if, the rules are being followed. As mentioned in the beginning, the love of money is the root of all evil and there is no lack of love when it comes to money. I was appalled at the graft and dishonesty of the schools in which I worked. It truly causes me no end of grief to see the same or worse level of dishonesty being committed by organizations making claims to a faith that sees the love of money a sin! Home education saves taxpayers a lot of money. How much more could be saved if the love was removed from money and directed to God?

Who says it costs a lot to educate a child? Anyone who uses simple math by dividing the total amount of money spent in education by the total number of students. Parents educating their children do not need any funding to provide opportunities to learn. Of course, there are costs involved, for which government help has been gratefully received by many thankful parents, yet most would forsake the money in a heartbeat in exchange for the freedom to be the full time parents and teachers of our province’s most precious resource.

From a taxpayer’s perspective, home education is a real bargain, producing well educated, generally well adjusted and responsible citizens of the Province of Alberta at a fraction of the cost of public education.

More on money next week.

At Year’s End

Written by Léo & Faye Gaumont, published on 2014-06-16.

A heartfelt appeal to families registered with Education Unlimited to examine our hearts in light of a few rather unpleasant situations regarding “money”.

Honesty is always the best approach, even when not appreciated by everyone. Sometimes things just have to be stated, even at the risk of offending those whose guilt causes them to object.

Bible Reference: Matt. 6:24

As we close the office for the season, I am compelled to share a summary of what we observed over the past year. All in all, it was a good year, with many opportunities to help and encourage families, first, within the Province Of Alberta through Education Unlimited and hopefully beyond its borders through our web site and this blog. However, as with anything in life, some negative things also occurred. Besides the constant concern for the few families that are tempted to follow the trend to complete secular programming and accreditation, the biggest disappointment this year had to be the fallout from a decision we were essentially forced to make regarding parent resources funding.

After resisting for ten years, we had to stop the indefinite carryover of parent resources funding five years ago, as it became impossible to manage. We then instituted a new carryover policy of one year which was a lot of work for us, but we did it as a service to our families. This year, as a consequence of retroactive changes enacted by the government, we found that any carryover of unused funds created a logistical nightmare for both our school and accountants, so we were forced to put an end to parent resources funding unused in one year being carried over into the following year. It was our sincere hope that everything would carry on as before, but our worst fears were realized once we announced the discontinuation of carryover. Even after clearly stipulating that any unused funds was not going into our personal pockets, nor was it returned to the government, but assumed by our school (to whom we are eternally grateful for the privilege of working with, since they are not in a compromising position), we initiated a “greed stampede” that we could not have imagined coming from our group of mostly dedicated Christians!

Funding paid to the school for the delivery of home education was suddenly “my money”. By far the most frequently asked question asked of our office this spring was “how much money do I have left?”. How money sent to our school suddenly became “the parents’ money” is hard to imagine, unless one considers the insidious power money has over people. If this funding belonged to parents who could spend it as they wish, would not the government have sent the money directly to them? The truth is, perhaps the government knew that to do so would initiate the kind of thing we witnessed this year, so they send the money to the school rather than to the parents so the school could properly mange the funds on the parents’ behalf. I must now admit that the government has probably acted with more wisdom than those parents who were so obsessed with spending “their money”, that they were more than willing to sabotage relationships we have had with them, some for a very long time. When money becomes so important, we are willing to accuse, insult or abuse others, we have a serious problem that is bound to have long lasting negative consequences for home education in this province. But then again, maybe that is what the government had in mind when they made the money available in the first place! Throw a little money in the ring and watch the “Christians” destroy each other over it! Sad, but we can always count on the misinformed and the greedy to wreck it for the disciplined and principled. Perhaps there should not be any funding for home education. Maybe then, we could switch our efforts to more meaningful tasks, like modeling an eternal vision for our children, rather than focussing on the temporal.

Yesterday’s Decisions Lived Today

Part of the series Friendship With The World
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2014-04-21.

Once engaged, compromise has a sinister way in taking us further and further from the truth, until it is no longer recognized as true.

We often refrain from being honest because we do not wish to offend those who need to hear the truth. Opinions expressed in this blog are intended to offend those who would advance anything, other than the truth, in order to benefit themselves.

Bible Reference: 2 Cor. 2:17

Isn’t it amazing how seeming innocent decisions can bring about such lasting negative changes? I have two examples of how commitments from years ago eventually led to disappointment. Proverbs 29:18 states that “where there is no vision, the people perish”. Failing to consider the future when making decisions is bound to create problems. Seeing the future through man’s limited vision rather than God’s eyes will lead to bad decisions, guaranteeing failure. In both instances, the decisions appeared to gain initial positive results, even though the path taken could be considered a compromise, from a Christian perspective. In both cases, money rather than wisdom was at the forefront and in both cases, it eventually led to disaster or impending disaster in the Christian community. Both involve money and education.

Many years ago, I stood against accepting government funding for home education. I clearly saw how short term gain would eventually lead to long term pain, but I was vilified by those of short term vision who thought that a little bit of money would only help home educators. Nobody seemed to understand that money meant the introduction of competition between potential providers and that this competition would eventually divide the home education community along sectarian lines in keeping with whom the parents would be associated. Nobody foresaw the sinister introduction of blended programming and the confusion that would introduce in the home educating community. Most certainly, nobody understood that eventually, increased levels of funding would be associated with increased levels of state programming that would result in the normalization of programming initially shunned as antagonistic to biblical directives. Between the lust for more money and/or more power as well as the perpetuation of ignorance on behalf of both providers and parents, this simple little decision to get a little help has resulted in nearly every home education provider unashamedly offering some version of state programming as “choice” in direct opposition to biblical directives.

Today, there is little difference between those who claim a Christian faith and those who would advance a more secular approach in home education. I believe it is safe to say that those in the secular crowd are not the ones who moved into the Christian camp. The Christians have compromised their faith. The future of traditional, Christian home education in this province looks bleak, not because of government threats, or impending regulations, but because of the home educating community’s willingness to be friends with the world, even when we have been warned that doing so would put us at enmity with God (James 4:4). I do not so much blame the parents as I do the providers claiming a Christian faith while violating biblical principles in the pursuit of money, power or private kingdom building. Unlike what one provider told me last week at the home education conference, I do not believe this is an issue that is up for interpretation. Compromising biblical directives has never been an option, if following God’s will is our desire. Doing so, if not immediately, will ultimately result in negative consequences. The present state of the provincial home education association has demonstrated what a compromise here and compromise there will do. Initially created to escape state programming, it eventually started defending that little bit of money. Today, every “choice” is presented as legitimate or simply ignored without considering how this will erode the very things it should be defending. Without vision, who is taking care of the sheep?

Next week, my second sad example of money and education.

Preying On Greed

Part of the series Mostly Honest… Isn’t True
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2014-04-07.

Some of our parents have expressed a desire to better be able to identify the tricks being used to convince them to believe things that may not actually be true. This series will provide applicable examples of such.

We often refrain from being honest because we do not wish to offend those who need to hear the truth. Opinions expressed in this blog are intended to offend those who would advance anything, other than the truth, in order to benefit themselves.

Bible Reference: 1 Tim 6:10

Hard to believe how many “traditional” home education providers either come from schools that offer public programming or that have come to know the direct or indirect personal benefits of government curriculum and accreditation. The old adage of “if you can’t beat them, join them” has certainly found its way to the home education community, such that, I believe, the majority of children being taught at home are now doing a variation of what is being taught at school. The reason? Money! Let’s call those influenced by money, “mercenaries”.

Mercenary parents shop around to find the board that will give them the most money. No consideration given to what the registering board will provide towards the home education program. Mercenaries end up “selling” their children to the highest bidder. Ethics need not be considered.

Mercenary parents are easily purchased with their own money. These folks will leave one board and go to another because the other will buy questionable “home education supplies” such as table saws, materials for the kitchen renovation project or noodle makers. They search for the provider that will give them the best “prize” for signing on.

Mercenary parents will do public programming, if it means more money. No consideration given to the fact that this programming is not only secular, but unbiblical, if not anti-Christian. No big deal to someone who values money more than anything, even children.

But, it is not only parents who can be mercenary. Home education providers and associations can also be motivated by the love of money.

Mercenary organization will say, do or promise whatever it takes to get people to sign with them. No lie is too big. No offering too outrageous. No promise too ridiculous. Just sign here, please!

Mercenary organization do not have an issue with reimbursing parents for questionable home education expenses. They know the government is not likely to find them out and God doesn’t matter. They are convinced they will be forgiven for their avarice when the time comes. After all, didn’t Jesus die for their sins? Just sign here!

Mercenary organizations will do whatever is required to stay alive and be in control. They will go where they have to to be the boss, even if it means compromising on nearly every thing they purported to be true, not that long ago. If we need to offer blended programs to survive, let’s offer blended programs. Parents want credits? Lets not confuse them with the facts. Give them their credits, even if it means not actually doing what is required. Ethics? What’s that? Just sign here!

Mercenary organizations will be whatever they have to be to get the client. If the parents want a Christian board, then they are a Christian board. Parents want a secular board, they can do that too. Hate government intrusion? So do they! Don’t like post-secondary institutions? Neither do they. Biblical? Of course! Simply “spiritual” and not religious? Why not? They can be all things to all men. Just sign here, please!

Mercenary organizations keep parents perpetually dependent on them by offering worldly wisdom. Advanced as a fan club, these organizations provide all sorts of things that pass as help, but do little to equip parents to take responsibility for the training of their children. Perpetual dependency means perpetual adherence to the group. Continue to sign here, please.