They say that the love of a family is among life’s greatest blessings. There’s a lot of truth in that.

Blessings, after all, come from God Himself: He allows us to experience the love of a family for our own good, and to see how healthy parent-child relationships reflect God’s love for His own children.

This is the last in my three-part series on HSLDA’s core values. In my first column, I talked about the important role of Faith in our mission here: we want our staff to reflect Christ’s character, serving our members with honesty, integrity, excellence, empathy, grace, humility, generosity, good stewardship, and care. And in my second column, I talked about the valuable and fragile nature of Freedom: how homeschoolers must remain vigilant in protecting our liberty.

Now, I want to talk about the last of HSLDA’s core values: Family.

We believe, for many reasons, that ensuring the very best educational environment for each child generally means promoting healthy relationships between the child and his parent/guardian.

First, parental involvement plays a vital role in the development of healthy kids. We know from research that this applies not only to their academic success, but also to their emotional and physical maturity.1 (And Scripture also teaches that the wisdom of parents fosters spiritual maturity in their kids—see, for example, Proverbs 1:8-9 and Ephesians 6:1-3.)

Second, it goes without saying that parents are more familiar than any other person or government entity with their child’s unique personality and needs. As I have seen again and again in my work here at HSLDA, no government agency or school district can have enough knowledge about a child to know what physical, emotional, or spiritual support he/she requires—and a one-size-fits-all solution can’t meet each child’s educational needs.

And third, parents/guardians are generally the most motivated to meet their child’s needs. As the Supreme Court of the United States wrote in Parham v. J.R., the “natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interest of their children.”2

At HSLDA, we believe that homeschooling offers parents and guardians a prime opportunity to develop healthy relationships with their students, while giving them the very best educational experience and opportunities to thrive.

From those that serve

Many of our co-laborers here at HSLDA currently homeschool, have homeschooled, or grew up in homeschooling families themselves—and now, they’re passionate about helping homeschool parents give their best to their children. They each have unique and memorable experiences. I asked several of my co-laborers what their family meant to them during their homeschooling journey.

Rebekah Sayre works with our HSLDA Online Academy as program coordinator. She recounted how homeschooling allowed her to care for her grandparents:

Homeschooling made possible the most influential season of my life: my family’s providing total caregiving for my grandparents. When it became apparent that Dad’s father would need full-time care, we decided to bring him into our home. Immobilized from multiple strokes and a leg amputation, Grandpa Sayre lived in a hospital bed at the end of our dining room. 

A couple of years later while I was in high school, about a year after Grandpa Sayre’s death, Mom’s father underwent a heart surgery that resulted in his hospitalization for a month. During that time, I moved into my grandparents’ home to help care for my grandmother, who was chairbound from years of untreated Lyme disease.

The experience of caregiving, whether watching from the sidelines or taking it on full time, gave me a greater understanding of what sacrificial, Christlike love looks like. That season was the most challenging in my life, but my faith and my family’s love grew in more ways than I can explain. And without the mobility and flexibility of homeschooling, the experience wouldn’t have been possible. 

For Leah Garber, our member services manager, homeschooling allowed her to keep in touch with her extended family:

Our family lived on the West Coast, and my mom’s family lived on the East Coast. Homeschooling freed us to make the trek east twice a year to see our maternal relations, and to pick low-cost times to travel since we weren’t tied to a traditional school schedule. These trips kept us connected with all our family members throughout our childhood, and when we moved east when I was in college, we were able to quickly and easily connect with the extended family on the other side.

My (East Coast) grandfather died just 18 months after that move, so I was very grateful that we had so many memories from the years before his death.

Ryan Ash, one of our IT analysts here at HSLDA, told me about his own experiences as a homeschooling dad:

I can’t imagine not being in touch with what my children are learning and/or experiencing throughout the day! A benefit of being a homeschooling family is that there’s a parent-teacher conference every night after the kids go to bed. In today’s culture, it’s hard for dads to stay in touch with what’s going on in their children’s lives. And while it still isn’t easy, homeschooling makes it much easier than it would be otherwise.

Joyce Blankenship, one of our special needs educational consultants, looked upon her homeschooling journey with fondness:

I often tell people that the number-one thing that I valued most about homeschooling was the opportunity it gave me to develop a close relationship with each of my five daughters.

I learned that one of the best ways to show my daughters that I loved them was to invest time to be with them. Homeschooling allowed me to do just that. Helping my children answer hard questions like “why did my puppy have to die?” or “what can I do to have more friends?” or “what should I do with my life?” Strong relationships are forged through doing life together—day in and day out. Working through the hard times and rejoicing together in the good times. I truly believe that homeschooling played a central role in helping me build an enduring relationship based on love and trust with each of my daughters.

And Heather Frommack, our educational services program manager, shared this story:

Our adopted children are African and I am Caucasian. The beauty of my homeschooling experience was expressed by my adopted son one day, when he was just 6 years old. He had been home for five years, and we were out for a coffee/hot chocolate date. He said to me, “Mommy, sometimes I forget I wasn’t borned from you.” With a heart warmer than my coffee I said, “Yeah honey, me too.”

Starting a new journey

At HSLDA, we care a great deal about making sure our members feel valued, encouraged, and loved. We know peace of mind is important for you and your family—as such, we strive to always be accessible, responsive, and uplifting to our members every step of the way. This is our way of helping you provide the best learning environment for your child.

Faith, Family, and Freedom are always the driving force behind why we do what we do. These values form the core of our identity and motivate us to find new ways to continually innovate and serve our member families.

A lot of changes will be taking place over the next year or so, like on our website and how our internal database works . . . but our mission will remain the same. We will always be here to help you make homeschooling possible.