As each of us is a work in progress, THEO, our homeschool group, is also a work in progress. Over the years, some things have been discontinued, some have been added, and some have been changed. It is always a good thing to reevaluate how best to serve our families while remaining true to our purpose.
Recently, THEO has been approached by several people who want to offer THEO members some wonderful activities and opportunities. These are all well-meaning people, and what they have to offer our children can be very beneficial. We believe that each family should look into these opportunities and decide for themselves which ones are best suited to their goals and dreams for their children.
The difficulty comes in when THEO is asked to advertise these programs in our newsletter and on our website. The requests are increasing each month, so that we needed to form a set of criteria that would help us to know which things should be included.
Of course, we believe that these programs can be a wonderful opportunity. So how to decide? Reexamining our Statement of Purpose, which is the essence of our group, formed into a single statement, helped to provide some direction.
Our Statement of Purpose reads as follows:
T.H.E.O., Inc., (Tri-Cities Home Education Organization), is a support group formed by parents who have the common goal of educating their children in the home according to Biblical principles.
In addressing the above-mentioned issue, we would like to concentrate on three main points.
homeschool – We understand this to mean education which is taught in a child’s home with parents’ guidance and direction. Sometimes, a parent will include classes or activities which are taught in a different building, but these classes and activities are still seen as an integral part of a child’s homeschooling experience. This interpretation, however, does not include organized schools, whether public or private. An organized school is different than a homeschool.
Regarding the question of a “cyber school”, as long as the parent is still directing the child’s progress and having a major input in the subject selection, and as long as the school is still in line with the part of our statement which reads, “according to Biblical principles”, this is seen as a homeschool.
parents – “Formed by parents” means that we, as parents, want to know what is being presented to our children. So in order to be aligned with our Statement of Purpose, parents need to be welcome to attend any outside classes or activities offered to our children. That is not to say that parents will always accompany their child, but if they want to, they should be welcomed.
common goal – In becoming a part of a homeschool group, we hope our children will come in contact with other families who are like-minded regarding hopes and dreams for our children. We hope that being in contact with adults and children who have “the common goal of educating their children in the home according to Biblical principles”, as stated in our Purpose Statement, will provide an atmosphere in which they are encouraged and can encourage others in love, hope and charity.
To that end, classes and activities need to be arranged for and attended by only homeschooled children. This certainly does not mean that our children should only be friends with homeschooled children, or that THEO members should not associate with families who are not homeschooling. It only applies to our criteria in endorsing and promoting classes and activities in the THEO newsletter and on the THEO website.
After prayerfully considering this issue, we, the board, believe that this stance will best serve our families, while keeping THEO true to the original Statement of Purpose.
Again, we want to emphasize that we are not implying that programs which don’t meet the three above criteria are bad programs, or that THEO families should not participate in these activities. We are only using these criteria to determine which programs to include, or advertise, in THEO materials.
It is our sincere desire that this determination will not alienate any person or group, but that, instead, it will draw us all closer together and help us recommit to our Purpose Statement as a group, while still encouraging individuals to follow the paths they choose for their own children.