Transcript of an interview with Rick Hopkins (my husband)
Q. What was it that first got you to consider homeschooling your children?
A. My wife Diane was the first to feel impressed to begin homeschooling. She saw the problems our children were having in school; she investigated, and she didn’t like what she found in the public schools. Several of our children were having trouble with the school environment, their peers, the expectations, the school procedures, etc. At the time I was out of touch with our children’s emotional state. I felt open to change and the desires of my wife. I was involved in working as a design engineer and was very busy in my own life and, like most fathers, did not have contact with the children during the day. I became very supportive of our homeschool from the beginning.
Q. What wrong attitudes or beliefs did you have to give up or work through to do this?
A. I thought that school was the same as it was 20-30 years ago when I went to school. I assumed that the schooling I received was really good for me (I had never even thought about it before). We hadn’t considered that there was another way to meet the needs of our children. Although I always believed we could do anything we were inspired to do, I just had never considered the avenue of “homeschooling” before. We accepted this eagerly after having it confirmed in prayer. We had no idea who else homeschooled, we had no support group, we didn’t know how our church felt about homeschooling—but we knew the Lord approved of this decision for our family.
Q. How do you perceive your role as father these days?
A. I have a great responsibility to teach and train my children and bring them up in the right way. Education is a vital concern in my effort, and I think it should include the following four areas:
1) Gospel centered teaching, based upon scripture.
2) I believe that I need to teach and train them in the U.S. Constitution and American patriotism. I believe that our liberties are being severely eroded.
3) I feel a responsibility to teach basic life skills. My sons need to learn to be good providers and stewards. I do this by working side by side with them as often as possible. The work ethic is paramount; scouting and survival skills are needed to become independent. My daughters similarly learn domestic skills from Mom, as well as helping out in our business. I also want to expose my children to other basic life skills: gardening and working the land, using the computer, raising animals, building and constructing things, cooking, child care, giving service to others, etc.
4) Next is the responsibility to teach them academics. The foremost of these are reading and writing. Basic math skills are next. I believe other subjects are important also—science, language, geography, etc.—and I encourage them explore their interests in each. My object is to spark their interests in the area of their God-given talents and help them prepare for their life’s contribution to society. We make regular visits to the library, take many field-trips, and experience hands-on activities. I take the lead in teaching our scripture study, and I do what I can to help them with life skills. My wife tries to cover the rest in homeschool.
Q. What changes do you see in yourself since you began homeschooling your children?
A. My views on what’s really important in life have drastically changed. I am more sensitive to the heartbeat of the family now. We began homeschooling our children eight years ago. This was born out of a sincere desire to save their souls and come closer as a family. We began our bookstore business ten years ago. I had worked as a Mechanical Engineer previously. This changed my daily work to be more service-oriented. We all work very hard together in this business, which helps family solidarity and our need for each person in our family (we depend on each one for the business success). We are better able, I hope, to teach our values to our children now that our lives are more interwoven.
I feel I have increased testimony in my life now more than ever before. I try to question everything I do to be sure it is consistent with the Lord’s will, and not just accept a habit because that’s the way it’s always been done. Instead I truly want it to be the way God would have it be.
Q. What is your long-range goal for your family? What is your dream? How are you working to bring it about?
A. Here is my dream—to please God and to fulfill my life’s mission. This includes living righteously, helping my family do the same, and being involved directly in service to God. I want to overcome my personal problems and false traditions so that I will continue to repent and change in the direction He wants me to lead. I want my children to see that this is what they too should do (by my example). All of my goals are centered along this dream.
May I recommend: