What does success in homeschooling look like? Simple, says Christina Perry.
“Success looks like my kids growing up to be who God makes them to be,” the homeschooling mom maintains.
Perry, who has homeschooled her children for over 12 years and graduated her oldest son last month, spoke at a June 23 meeting at Calvary University organized by The Sending Project, a nonprofit based in the Kansas City area.
The Sending Project, which helped organize the event, helps connect Christian educators with one another through its KC Educators Missional Network.
“We have to balance out what our kids really need,” Perry said, acknowledging the pressure parents feel to produce high-achieving students when homeschooling. As a new homeschool mom, she tried to push academic objectives and curriculum too much, too fast.
“You can’t do it all, and you will die trying,” she joked.
Educational takeaways for the next generation
Ultimately, Perry said, parents should remember that success will look different for every child. Each child is different, and homeschooling allows parents to teach them accordingly. And often, both students and teachers may learn more from a fleeting failure than from ongoing success, she said.
Perry also shared times from her own life when her family was undergoing a traumatic medical season, and how different homeschooling had looked during that season.
“We cut down on curriculum, but my family was healing,” she said.
During that time, her children learned the values of empathy and compassion and growing closer as a family: “They were learning all these things that a curriculum was never going to teach them.”
Another common concern that homeschool parents have is knowing whether their children are keeping up academically. Perry emphasized that children will learn things on their own time and schedule.
“When it becomes important to them, they’ll learn it,” she explained.
‘A platform, not a pipeline’
KC Educators Missional Network members meet regularly to collaborate and network with one another from different educational backgrounds, including public school, private school and homeschool.
“We want to maximize what the Kingdom of God can do,” said Karen Blankenship, the nonprofit’s Saturate KC Networks Director. “We want to serve the Church, the ‘big C’ Church.”
Blankenship has an extensive background in education, teaching in both public and private school as well as homeschooling several of her own children.
So far, The Sending Project has started 17 networks, ranging from health professionals and artists to pastors and marketplace leaders. These networks host regular gatherings that include featured presenters and a time of networking that doesn’t promote any one initiative, but allows everyone to contribute.
“We just want to help make people aware of what’s going on,” Blankenship said. “We’re a platform, not a pipeline.”
The KC Educators Missional Network’s next meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 27. Anyone wanting more information may contact Joshua Paxton, the network’s leader. Paxton is also program director of intercultural studies and director of the Burnham Center for Global Engagement at Calvary University.