Homeschooling, Reading, and Adventure

In a world of a million books, why read your adventure book?

My three children are all adults now but each one was homeschooled during a part of their childhood or adolescence. Homeschooling worked great for my first child, poorly for my second child (he called it his year of vacation) and nicely at the early grades for my youngest. In one particular year, we had one child in public school, one in private school and one in home school. For each of our children, at that time, those differing formats made perfect sense. 

When we decided to homeschool our first child, we were stunned at the availability of quality materials and the different type of teaching formats. Being newbies, we studied and learned. My wife took the lead and over the years, like most homeschooling parents, we taught classes, our children attended various group classes, and my oldest attended a classical school. Along the way, we learned a few things.

1. Homeschooling books, supplies, and resources aren’t cheap.

The first thing we learned is that home schooling isn’t necessarily cheap. Homeschooling is like a wedding; there’s no end of helpful things to spend your money on. However, with discipline and a vision for our child’s educational path, we learned that homeschooling can be accomplished at a fraction of the cost of a private school.

2. Well-rounded homeschooling reading lists are hard to find

The next thing we learned is that the published reading lists need to be carefully reviewed. These days, people homeschool for a thousand different reasons. We lived in a good public-school district, but we wanted to have the final say in the curriculum. And because parents from the far left to the far right, from the faithful to faithless and from the crazy to the sane frequently opt for homeschooling, we learned that some reading lists catered to groups that didn’t remotely share our worldview. Also, there seemed to be a shortage of books that were interesting, current, relevant and fun.

3. It’s tough to get your children to read books that are beneficial to their education

For us, if a book supported our worldview and added to their knowledge, our child was far better off reading a book that was fun than a book that was not. Forcing our kids to read was hard enough. Forcing them to slog through a book they didn’t enjoy added an unavoidable element of stress between parent and child. 

One of the reasons I wrote Kaiyo is because I believe life is best learned through stories. If Jesus thought teaching through stories was a good idea, then I’m all in. Plus, by experience, we know it’s far easier to recall a parable than it is to remember the Sermon on the Mount. That got me started with Kaiyo – The Lost Nation. I wrote the Kaiyo Stories (Kaiyo – The Lost Nation, Raphael [to be released in fall 2020] and Defectors, [to be released in Spring 2020])  as a Christian oriented, modern-day epic, similar in the broadness of appeal as The Hunger Games, Chronicles of Narnia or Lord of the Rings, while fully captivating the imaginations of readers of different ages and backgrounds.  With strong diverse characters, Kaiyo is a visual, gritty, fast and exciting adventure book that revolves around a ranching family in modern-day Montana. 

On one level, I want the students/readers to have a lot of fun. In the mandatory education world of math, history, language and dozens of other necessary foundational topics, I want young adult readers and their parents to know that it’s also a very good idea to read for fun. Especially if the story can help the student wonder about things that are buried deep in their hearts. 

On a higher level, I believe that our journey in life is molded and directed by an understanding of our origins and of our futures. If we don’t know where we came from and if we have no idea where we’re going, it’s no wonder the middle part, the living part, is filled with confusion. Confusion in life, especially for the young, is painful and far from healthy.

In the beginning, we were created by God. And, for good or ill, we also have an eternity. The way we live now should be informed by grasping the breathtaking fullness of what man lost at the beginning and the damage we foisted upon an innocent creation. Then, we must know that we have a chance at recovering our once perfect communion with God. There are concepts and ideas in the Kaiyo Stories that awaken an understanding of our squandered past while rekindling an awareness of an adventurous eternity. The goal is to fascinate the reader/student and stir their minds to wonder.  

A reader of the three stories described the trilogy as a single story that “gives life and words to the questions we’ve all had.”  

I think she’s right.