CommanderBill.net

Insight from a Children's Pastor & Awana Commander

Awana Homeschool

This past week, Awana launched their new website, awanahomeschool.org. It is a new initiative by Awana to reach out to families who home school as well as home school co-ops.

I became aware that Awana was looking at this option several months ago but I had few details.

Several home school families currently utilize the Awana handbooks as a Bible component for their children. You have probably noticed that often, not always, children who are home schooled progress through their handbooks quickly. So it almost seems logical for Awana to take this step.

I may surprise some people with my comments, but initially, I’m concerned about this move. I understand the desire to reach out to a wider “market” and I can see it benefiting Awana in the “big picture”. My concern comes for clubs whose attendees are similar to mine.

In our church we have several families who home school. So much so that one Sunday in our children’s church I used an illustration talking about sitting at the school lunch table and one of the children got my attention and shared that everyone there was home schooled. I stopped, took a quick glance of the children there and they were right!!!! All of the children in attendance were home schooled!!! Not one child attended a public (or private) school and they had no connection with the “lunch table”. Likewise, currently all of the children who attend the Awana club are home schooled with the exception of a few who attend public school.

Why should parents buy a vest or club shirt for their child and spend another evening out if they can do the same thing at home as part of home school for about the same cost and free up their schedule a little? I see some families opting to just do it at home in lieu of attending club. Yes, they can attend club for the fun and fellowship with others, but handbook time could be damaged if children have completed that portion at home as part of their home school, and if one portion is damaged, it affects the other clubbers and the other aspects of the night.

I am concerned that the Awana Home School program may negatively impact some Awana clubs (like mine), but ultimately, it is not about my personal club (there are other ways I can reach out to children and families), but it is about reaching children (and families) with the Gospel and training them to serve Him. In the “big picture”, I do see the Awana Home School program having the potential to do that in a mighty way.

Have you looked at the Awana Home School initiative information yet? If not, take a look, then post your comments. I’m interested in your thoughts.

 

 

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  1. Wow, Commander Bill, damaged Handbook Time? I am the Commander of an Awana Club in it’s second year and we have a handful of homeschooled children (including my own), but the majority are public schooled.

    We offer the Sparkies a reward area if they know their sections and get them done immediately. For instance, they can play quietly with legos or practice their sewing skills with alphabet letter stitching cards.

    It’s freed up time for the public schooled children to work one on one with the leader. We have a 5 to 1 Child:Leader ratio in Sparkies and it’s worked great this way. Ironically, the Sparkies who know their sections and don’t need help are public schooled.

    I originally was going to just use Awana as my children’s Bible portion of our homeschool day, but God led me to start Awana at our church. It’s been a major blessing to many:) I didn’t even know about Awanahomeschool.org, but I’ll go check it out.

    More and more parents are turning to homeschooling because they know that Deut 6 passages are directed at parents, not public/federal school officials or Youth ministers. Public school is also a relatively new concept, brought on by Darwinian principals.

    Homeschooling isn’t just for the bun-wearing, long denim skirt fashioned anymore:) It’s fun, too!

    FYI…our lunch table can have just as many interesting ‘happenings’ as the school’s lunch table. Just be creative in your teaching at church and think of your own family time experiences. It’s where healthy social skills are learned, mistakes are made safely and a biblical worldview is reinforced.

    Love your website!

    God bless,
    Amy

  2. The number of families choosing to homeschool has continued to increase rapidly.

    I have seen that the general attitude among homeschoolers is NOT to do everything at home but rather to keep home as the foundation of training. The reasons among families vary. I don’t know of any homeschoolers who are on a mission to keep everything isolated at home including church, sports, camps. In fact, I have seen the opposite to be true. They are more out in the community and church and involved in things outside the home more than most other families. Maybe because they have time to be.

    As to church, and even Awana, I have found that the homeschoolers tend to be the most involved, regular, and enthusiastic in their participation – parents and children alike.

    I know of a couple homeschool families that have inquired with Awana as to how to participate from home. For one family, it is because they recently moved to an area in which there is no church close to them with an Awana program.

    We ourselves are another family that will be looking into it for our oldest who is entering Journey. There is only 1 church within at least 50 miles that offers Awana for Trek & Journey. We can no longer participate at that church because it runs its program on Sunday nights. We have begun serving in ministry at our own church on Sunday nights and can no longer get the kids to the church with Awana (they are over 30 miles apart).

    My husband and I have served as Awana directors and commanders, and continue to serve on the regional board for our Awana missionary. We have always adjusted our schedules around Awana participation. Participating within a church will always be our first choice. It’s best. But we will have to have our oldest continue through the books at home if she is going to be able to continue. I’m thankful Awana HQ will accommodate us being able to do so!

    I suspect that most of the Awana inquiries from homeschoolers are not because they choose to do Awana at home over church, but because there is some other obstacle to their being able to participate otherwise. Homeschoolers tend to have an attitude that if something is valuable enough, then there is no “can’t”, but to instead find a way, even if it means doing it at home or with a group of friends.

    I also can’t help but wonder if some of those inquiries to HQ might not have even been homeschoolers. Just families looking for a way to continue being involved in something of such great value when there is no other way to be involved.

    From what I’ve seen, Awana catering to homeschoolers will not take current attendance from clubs but will instead enable more families participate.

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