by Drenda Keesee
There’s such a short window of opportunity to develop your child. Nobody ever went to their grave saying, “I wish I would have spent less time with my children and family.” No, it’s never about more money or prestige. It’s always about family and relationships, the love and the care and the laughter and the tears. You get the joy of teaching your child to walk, why not get to hear them read their first words?
Over three million children are now…
…homeschooling in this nation. The number of children being homeschooled in America has increased by seventy-five percent over the past fourteen years in all states, according to a report in the online journal Education News. Thirty years ago, there was a smaller group of us who were considered strange radicals. People thought we were from a different planet and that our kids would all be backward and have no social skills. The truth is that eighty percent of homeschooled children achieved individual scores above the national average. Eighty percent! Fifty-four percent achieved scores in the top quarter of the entire population. Home educators score 18–30 points higher on achievement tests. “Th e study also indicates that public school performance gaps between minorities and genders were virtually nonexistent among the homeschooled students who took the tests.”10 Homeschoolers are going into Ivy League institutions, and colleges everywhere are actively going after homeschoolers.
More important than academic scores, you have the opportunity to instill homegrown character into your children. Without character and vintage values, we are left with educated fools. But with character, a person has the wherewithal to obtain knowledge. The opportunity to teach them real-life lessons goes beyond math equations and chemistry. You can teach them how to love God and how to have respect for the country and for the family. You can put before them the vision of how to be a mom or dad, how marriage and family systems work, and how to buy groceries, purchase a home, and many other practical life skills missing in schools. You place a perspective in front of them that it’s okay for families to spend time with one another and for mothers and daughters and fathers and sons to have close relationships.
By the time most children are in third grade, they’ve concluded that it’s not cool to be around their siblings and that it’s considered okay to put them down and mistreat them. After graduation, almost nowhere in society will people be segregated by age, so age segregation encourages demeaning others of differing ages, whereas most home-educated children have a protective attitude toward the younger. Many children experience emotional or physical abuse in the school system. They are called names, put down, and creativity is diagnosed with labels such as ADD and other labels for children who learn differently.
Children do learn differently. I had to teach each of my children differently because they all have their own unique personalities. Amy and Kirsten loved homework and learning; I could give them a book and they were fine reading it. Polly, however, disliked reading, and earlier on I had a hard time getting her to read books. When we were in a gift shop at the Grand Canyon, Polly spotted one of the first books she ever asked to read, Over the Edge: Deaths in Grand Canyon. Although it was slightly morbid, I was happy Polly showed interest in a book. She read that book cover-to-cover on our drive home, proudly sharing the interesting short stories with us. As a toddler, she always liked telling me a story instead of me telling her a story. Polly was fine with school, but it had to be presented to her in a different way than to Amy or Kirsten. I learned how to teach Polly in her learning style, and she graduated as valedictorian of her college class, a good lesson that children blossom at different times.
Tim, our second oldest, was a hands-on learner. To this day he loves house projects and building cabinets, and anything he can do with his hands. I was more effective with teaching Tim if I could give him something he could experience rather than reading the facts in a book, so with science, I tried to include experiments and things he could try out for himself. He had a speech impediment when he was a little boy. I truly believe if I had put him in the school system, his self-esteem would have suffered greatly. A few simple lessons I used from a speech pronunciation book mixed with encouragement and prayer helped him. Today, Tim is preaching and teaching to youth weekly and thousands of adults on weekends. He doesn’t have a speech impediment. He has an anointing and a calling of God on his life and is an amazing singer and songwriter.
Tom, our second son, was always very excited and energetic. If he had been put in the school system, I don’t doubt he would have been wrongfully diagnosed ADD and put on Ritalin. Tom isn’t ADD; he is creative. He loved to make things and run around on adventures. Every time we’d go somewhere, whether it was the mountains in Colorado or in our backyard, Gary would be saying, “Tom, stay away from the edge! Tom, stay with us!” Tom is now an amazing drummer, singer, songwriter/writer, and TV producer. He has created some unbelievable works, including a stage production that brought hundreds of teenagers to Christ. He didn’t need to fit the mold; God created him uniquely for his purpose.
Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage and family. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.