"It is better to grow a child than to repair a man."

Earl & Diane Rodd 93 Gt. Ryrie St. Heathmont, Victoria 3135 Phone (03) 879-4082


  1. There will not be an FHC meeting on the first Sunday of January, 1989. The next meeting will be Sunday, February 5, 1989 at the home of Chris and Gabrielle Symons at Lot 1, Steels Creek, Yarra Glen, Victoria (730-1791). Come with a picnic lunch (or your barbeque - weather permitting) or come when you can get there. To get to the Symons home, go north into Yarra Glen on the main road. Just north of the shops, turn left on Eltham-Christmas Hills Rd. Shortly after turning onto this road, turn right into Steels Creek Rd. Go 4km up this road. The Symon's home is on the left. The letterbox is a cream can with a sign with the name "Glenlaker". On the right of the road is a hayshed. Just before arriving at their home, you will see a Kangaroo warning sign.
  2. If you write Australian dollar checks to US publishers (such as The Teaching Home ), do not cross them "not negotiable". The US banking system is different from Australia and crossing them may cause the US bank to refuse payment.
  3. Gospel Light Education (advertised in The Teaching Home ) takes Australian personal checks.
  4. We want to encourage everyone to enjoy the freedom of functioning as individual families in training your children. You are not under any organisation whose plan you must follow. You are responsible to God for your family. Therefore, we encourage each of you to be free in taking initiative for things you believe are worthwhile. Meetings, presentation days, excursions and even seminars have all happened by the initiative of one or two people. So be free to take the initiative for an excursion or whatever. If you don't take the initiative, and God has given you the idea, then who will take the initiative? As people move away and many new families start home schooling and want to be part of a support group, we have to expect changes, but God wants us to treat changes as opportunities!
  5. Being newsletter editors, we will take the liberty to use this space to ask for help from someone of you. We would like to find a good home for our cat. We have the option to take her to the U.S.A. but this represents a traumatic trip for her and is expensive. She is a small black cat nearly 9 years old and spayed.
Worried and anxious about starting your first year of home schooling?
Assessing all the various subjects, curriculum and things you do not know?

Solution? Mediate on the life of Noah (Genesis 6 and following). He and his family had never seen an ark before let alone know how to build one! It took 100 years but it was perfect because he obeyed God. He saved his family by obedience. You can trust God to be specific with your family. Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever!

Heritage and/or Heirloom

Looking for an easy way to have family heirlooms so that there are different ones to pass on to each child? Parents can change Bibles every 3 to 5 years. As you read the Bible , through each year, keep notes in the margins of what the Lord shows you about particular passages. Then when you start using the new Bible, the old one can be kept to give to one of your children as a family heirloom. This not only functions as an heirloom, but also provides a way for future generations to gain insight into their spiritual heritage. This is very simple to do - it requires you to do 3 things:

  1. Purchase a Bible with enough room to write in margins.
  2. Read the Bible consistently - daily.
  3. Write down insights, thoughts and personal cross references as you read.
  4. Another suggestion for family heritage is for parents to keep a personal diary of significant or interesting events. This will make fascinating reading one day for your children and grandchildren.

Victorian Law

From time to time, we continue to encounter the attitude that Victorian law requires parents to gain permission from the Education Dept. in order to train their children at home. One important source of this confusion is information from non-Christian home schoolers. Many non-Christian home schoolers recognize the State as their supreme authority and accept the State's right to determine how children should be trained and what subject matter they should be taught. Therefore, Christians need to be extremely cautious when reading informational material produced by non-Christians. Non-Christians may home school, but we must remember that home schooling is not the Kingdom of God. The primary motivation for Christian families to train their children at home should be to obey and follow King Jesus!

There are two important issues to address in Victorian law.

  1. Most important is the attitude of government authorities towards the law and home schooling. Thankfully, when talking to education departmental staff, Raymond Moore discovered a laissez-faire attitude towards those families who were actually training children at home (as opposed to letting children run free).
  2. The second issue is what the law actually says. This is confused because the relevant Victorian law is spread over two Acts, the Education Act (1958) and The Community Welfare Services Act (1970). Much of the relevant information is in the Community Welfare Services Act (section 74C). The information is in the Community Welfare Services Act because that department, not the Education Department, has the responsibility to enforce school attendance requirements. The confusion arises because this same information used to be in the Education Act (section 53). Section 53 of the Education Act retains only a skeleton of the information subsequently causing confusion.

Section 53 of the Education Act provides only one reason for school non-attendance (the word "school" is not defined). That reason is that the "child has been excused by a general or particular order of the minister." This single reason fails to provide the full detail provided in the Community Welfare Services Act. The Community Welfare Services Act (section 74C.3) provides four "reasonable excuses" for non-attendance. One of these 4 excuses includes the "provisions of section 53 of the Education Act 1958". The first of the four excuses is that "the child is under efficient and regular instruction in some other manner and is complying with the like conditions of attendance as are required under this section with regard to attendance at State schools;"

Some home schooling parents have been troubled by the stated requirements for attendance consisting of two hours before noon and two hours after noon. To put your mind at ease about this requirement, just remember that this law specifies only attendance and does not specify any particular activity . Children trained at home surely spend more than two hours before and after noon in "attendance"! However, if you want to keep good records to prove activity (in addition to attendance) including 2 hours before and after noon, remember to include cooking, cleaning, physical activity, artwork, personal reading etc.

Rhetoric - the Lost Subject

In reading the history of Christian education, we learned that there is one subject which in times past was included in every curriculum, but which we seldom (or never) see today. That subject is rhetoric which is defined as, "The art of speaking with propriety, elegance and force" in in the "American Dictionary of the English Language" (Noah Webster's original dictionary - 1828).

In the Bible , we can see examples of the importance of rhetoric. We know that being born again is a work of God, yet we are called to be witnesses of the Gospel. The Bible also tells us "Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do {it} with all your might." First, we will look at Biblical example of the use of rhetoric by Paul. When Paul was in Ephesus, we can read,

Acts 18:19
20. And they came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.

Acts 19:8
9. And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading {them} about the kingdom of God.
10. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
11. And this took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
12. And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul,

What was the result of Paul's "effective communication?" The idol manufacturers tried to have him arrested saying,

Acts 19:26
27. "And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods {at all.}

We see further evidence of pursuit of effective communication in the following examples.

Acts 17:2
3. And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,
4. explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and {saying,} "This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ."

Acts 17:17
18. So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing {Gentiles,} and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

Acts 18:4
5. And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
6. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul {began} devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ.

When Paul was before King Agrippa being tried, he continued to share the Gospel as effectively as possible with the result,

Acts 26:28
29. And Agrippa {replied} to Paul, "In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian."

Even when Paul was a prisoner in Rome, he continued with his life's work of persuasively speaking the Gospel as we read,

Acts 28:23
24. And when they had set a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God, and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening.
25. And some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe.

As home training parents, we need to ask God's wisdom on how to approach this subject of rhetoric. Within Australia, we start with the abominable example of our parliaments where invective (calling names) replaces reason, logic and information. Our instant society, where great issues are reduced to 30 second TV news reports, weighs against our children in developing effective communication skills. In this newsletter, we don't have answers for a complete program, just a conviction that this "lost subject" needs addressed, and we look to the Lord for wisdom with the anticipation that our children will bear fruit in His Kingdom.

We conclude with Paul's statement about the balance of sound persuasion and rhetoric with the work of God in our lives,

II Corinthians 5:11
12. Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.
13. We are not again commending ourselves to you but {are} giving you an occasion to be proud of us, that you may have {an answer} for those who take pride in appearance, and not in heart.
14. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you.

Just as the Bible says that wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, we also learn that the act of Christian persuasion and rhetoric also begins with the fear of the Lord.

Copyright by Earl & Diane Rodd