Monday, June 25, 2007

Our state home educators magazine...

had this story in it a few months ago:

On April 28th, 2004, the police uncovered a family (father and daughter) deep in the forest in northwest Oregon. Homeless and destitute, the father had opted not to leave his daughter to grow up on the streets. Instead, he took her into the woods, and for four years they lived in a lean-to in the forest. Police were amazed to find the girl clean, healthy, and...educated! There in the forest, the father had homeschooled his daughter with nothing but a Bible and a decrepit set of encyclopedias. Officials tested the twelve-year-old and found that she had already achieved a 12th-grade equivalency. (Source:Full article by Kevin Swanson)

Obviously as a homeschooling mom who greatly appreciated, at onset and still now, the pep talk wisdom of "You only have to be one day smarter," this type of news is chocolate sauce on cheesecake. A set of decrepit encyclopedias and a Bible--schooled with since age eight--testing eight grades higher--that's something to put in your permanent record.

If you're a homeschooling parent who has ever agonized, as I have, over the vast and overwhelming multitude of curriculum choices, then this type of news should make you grin. A child will learn when an invested parent takes the time to read, to listen, to discuss, to answer questions, and to be a shepherd for the child. Even when the pasture seems only to be "a decrepit set of encyclopedias."

But if you're a Christian parent who has ever agonized, as I have over how to impart Biblical truths and training to your children, then this type of news should cause you to leap for joy with loud hallelujahs issuing from your mouth. The import of God's Word can not be emphasized enough in the teaching, instruction, direction and training that the inspired Word imparts. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness; that the man of God would be equipped, adequate for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16-17)

The science is the same as with the decrepit encyclopedias: Taking the time to read, to listen, to discuss, to answer questions, to be a shepherd for the child. For in this case, the pasture is rich in goodness and full of wisdom. The streams are living water for thirst and true manna for hungering of righteousness. The shelter is secure, the foundation is solid, and the portion is eternal. What is required? An invested parent that trusts in the name of the Lord and daily gives example of personal reliance on and devotion for the truth of God's Word.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Psalm 119:9


  1. I remember reading about this when it was in the news, and just kept thinking WOW, at how impressed I was not only by the daughter's desire to learn in such circumstances (how many of us would like to live in the woods for 4 years?) but at the dad's dedication to raise her up with a good education in the worst of times for them.

    Your words are so true - listen, explain, discuss. It's an investment of time and of the heart.

  2. How very exciting and very humbling. How many times have I labored over getting the "right" textbook, the "right" extras, etc.?

    I KNOW God's Word is sufficient, but admittedly can be easily distracted by all the "pretty shiny" things dangled in front of us and our children.

    Almost makes me want to go look for vacant land in the mountains! Ha! Thanks for passing along this story, it is very timely for me.

  3. That is really interesting! You're right, though, the key is being a parent who reads to and shepherds his/her children.

  4. I hadn't read this before, so I'm glad you posted it. Here's what struck me: a child, secure in her father's commitment to her well-being and "under socialized" (preserved from peer influence and doubts of her own worth), facing the daily work of survival without the contentment-destroying effect of television, daily living God's provision, protection and sustenance, tests years beyond her "grade level". For four years she benefitted from her father's undivided attention and worked, suffered and struggled WITH him for both of their benefit. They must have known fear, lonliness, illness, hunger and discomfort the likes of which I cannot even imagine. I have a feeling this girl is not only educated, but wise and confident in a way that comes from suffering and being delivered by God's hand.

    A thought provoking post, as usual.

  5. Thank you so much for this post. As I have been pouring over catalogs for the past weeks searching for an ever-better something. Thanks for the encouragment.

  6. Very timely for me, too, Elle. Thank you for this encouragement!

  7. Love this story! Very encouraging indeed!

  8. This is just what I needed to hear! Just yesterday I posted about wondering how to incorporate the Bible into our homeschool day. The article you linked to gave some good encouragement! Thanks for this post!

  9. Thank you Elle, this was very encouraging to me too.