by Jenny Fletcher, mother of two boys from Idaho
We live in a unique time in the history of our world. Because of a global pandemic and its accompanying uncertainty, more families are choosing to educate their children at home. It is important to realize that the Lord can use difficult times to bring about mighty changes. I have certainly answered many questions for friends and family members who felt that the Lord was leading them to keep their students home this year. I know that many of you experienced home educators had similar questions come your way. And many of you who made the difficult decision to take on the education of your children for the school year did so because you felt it was what the Lord was asking of you.
We know that the world is heading for rockier times at some point. It is no secret that the last days will be filled with turmoil of many kinds. It has been prophesied, and our modern prophet has just recently addressed the women of The Church and given us instruction on how we can “Embrace the Future with Faith.” I find it so fascinating that at this time, when so many parents felt the Lord encouraging them to bring their children home, the first principle that President Nelson outlined was to “Create Places of Security.”
The Lord’s Temples are perhaps our greatest place of security against the world, but in the Bible Dictionary, it states that “Only the home can compare with the temple in sacredness.” Never has it been more important in the history of the world that our homes be a sacred place, a place of security, and an escape from the world. And in a time where the philosophies of men and the counterfeits of Satan are openly taught to our children and youth in the public school system, it is a wonder that events have led more and more parents to try their hand at home education, something that many of them never even imagined doing. Having our children in our homes instead of in institutional halls allows them to spend the majority of their time in a place of security, a place that can only compare with the temple in sacredness if we work to make it so.
The second principle that President Nelson taught was to “Prepare Your Mind To be Faithful to God.” We have been taught that the most important gospel learning happens in the home. One of the greatest blessings that I have enjoyed since I began teaching my own children is the organic way that gospel discussions and questions come about because we are together more than we used to be. We should all take advantage of the gospel discussions that happen naturally when we are together. These moments of impromptu teaching can provide opportunities for the Holy Ghost to testify of truth and in turn add to our families’ foundation of faith.
I also have had the opportunity to see and help my kids make connections to the gospel in all of the subjects that they study. According to President Nelson, “The Lord taught us how to increase our faith by seeking “learning, even by study and also by faith.”” Learning in the home not only allows us to learn by study and by faith, but also to learn and study through a lens of faith. Whether your children are home for this year only, or for the majority of their education, the experience of being able to connect the gospel to other things they are learning can influence the way they think about things for the rest of their lives.
The final principle that President Nelson taught was to “Never Stop Preparing.” No matter what educational paths we choose in the future, we can reap rewards from what we are doing now and learn lessons that will help us throughout our lives. He urged us to “Please, keep going! Your vigilance in safeguarding your homes and instilling faith in the hearts of your loved ones will reap rewards for generations to come.”
When and if the world goes back to normal, many of the families who chose to home educate for this year will choose to send their children back to public school. But many will also find that they like the flexibility, the quality of education, and the bonds that are created as a result of educating their own families. More importantly, many will discover that they can educate their own children, that they are enough, and that education does not have to be what we have been told it is. Whatever choices we make in the future about the education of our children, I hope that we all take full advantage of the opportunities that we have now, because we are educating at home, to create in our homes a place of security, to help to prepare the minds of ourselves and our families to be faithful to God, and to keep preparing whatever our circumstances.