It has been a pleasure to introduce Texas home educators to home school families from across the state. For this issue, in recognition of February as Black History Month and in appreciation for all the work they have done, we are pleased to feature the Obamehinti family.
It is unbelievable that it has been nine years since we started our home schooling journey. We began when our oldest daughter, Lola, was two years old. Why would any parent want to home school a two-year-old? You will have to know our family history to appreciate the direction behind it. At age two, Lola was talking very fluently for her age and showed great interest in learning. She had already exhausted the typical preschool curriculum – the alphabet, counting to 100, colors, and shapes.
My demanding veterinary profession at the zoo kept me so occupied in those years that my wife, Feyi, was faced with the task of keeping Lola occupied for the day. We decided to get more educational resources for Lola to satisfy her thirst for learning. She devoured everything we got her; at age three she was already reading fluently. Unbeknownst to us, this would begin our home schooling journey. By then, Layo was born. At age two she also showed keen interest in learning and wanted to do what her older sister was doing. She too began reading fluently at age three. Lade was born, and it was just a matter of time before she followed in the footsteps of her older sisters. It became apparent that God had entrusted some talented children to us. The rate at which they were grasping things and their academic levels made us realize quickly that we would not be able to find a public or private school that would adequately meet their needs. We did try one for Lola for a year, but it never fulfilled the need to challenge her.
We knew that we were privileged as parents to provide the academic background they needed. My seven years of professional training in veterinary science and animal nutrition afforded me the foundation for math and science. Feyi’s professional training in microbiology and science education balanced out the other subject areas, but that was not our focus as we began our home schooling journey. Being able to pass on a legacy of faith in Christ Jesus meant so much to us. Coming from a Muslim royal family, my encounter with Christ twenty-four years ago had given me an eternal perspective in every area of my life. It became our mission in our home schooling journey to build godly character in our children, bringing a balance to their God-given academic abilities. Every year we focus on a specific spiritual theme to build and develop in our children. This year we are building and affirming the virtue of biblical love. We combine the interdisciplinary approach with the traditional method to meet our children’s academic prowess.
We settled for one income and made good on our conviction to home school. It has been an enriching lifestyle for us. Although we are still in the trenches, we are fulfilled in knowing that our children are catching the spirit of Christ in us. They also have the opportunity to develop and hone their leadership skills as our family serves other minority home educators. They are catching the truth that biblical leadership is all about serving. From the behind-the-scenes of stuffing envelopes to collating copies, they are learning about Leadership 101.
Lola is tackling junior high curriculum; she is working toward her internship this coming summer at the Duke University Talent Identification Program. Layo has one more year to complete the elementary program and is participating in a leadership program with her sister; she will be traveling to Kenya on a mission trip to address issues of concern to Kenyan children. Lade is enjoying herself in the fourth grade and benefiting from the path her sisters have been able to pave for her. The blossoming in each one of them is inspiring as they walk in what God has destined for their lives.
The scenery along the way has been very beautiful and breathtaking. We are overbooked with opportunities for socialization (that big anti-home schooling word). It has not even occurred to us that there has been any missed opportunity because we have home schooled. We have never stopped to worry about socialization with all the resources that are available: 4-H Club; AWANAs; the coop program with our local support group; a leadership program at church; volunteer opportunities at the library, the Red Cross, and the zoo; a mission study program; interscholastic competitions; violin and piano lessons; literary programs; summer talented and gifted programs; sign language classes; and acting, filming, and taping opportunities. It has been challenging, especially for Feyi, who does the bulk of the teaching, to have three highly curious minds desiring answers to all their questions, inquiries, and searches in every realm. Feyi is giving daily what it takes to provide our children the godly guidance they need as their curious minds are being satisfied and nourished.
In 1998, the vision to encourage, enlighten, motivate, and promote home education among ethnic minorities (African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics, Jews, Native Americans, and Anglos with adopted minority children) who wanted to train and nurture their children in the way of the Lord and in the spirit of excellence was birthed. This vision was established as the Minority Homeschoolers of Dallas Metroplex (MHDM). A burning passion was ignited in our hearts to promote home schooling among ethnic minorities and proclaim that, indeed, home schooling is for all. Our home schooling lifestyle then brought us in contact with many minority home schooling families who had questions about home education, who wanted more information on the legality of home schooling, who wanted a place of fellowship where they could meet other minority home schooling families, and who wanted a place where their ethnic backgrounds and diversities could be celebrated. The support group started with three families, and today it serves well over sixty-five registered families that participate in what it has to offer. The 2000 Annual Home School Bookfair held in Arlington was able to provide an avenue for minority home educators in the North Texas area to network (thanks to Kirk and Beverly McCord). This led to an expansion of the vision. At the 2001 THSC State Convention and Family Conference in Conroe, we carried our message to another area of the state. What started as a local support group in the Dallas area four years ago has now expanded to provide the same opportunity for all minority home educators in Texas as the Minority Homeschoolers of Texas (MHOT). We realize that ours have been lives of a sovereign and divine endowment by God to enjoy and fulfill what He has designed for our family. How amazing and humbling the entire journey has been – the journey of our family’s home schooling and that of serving minority home educators as they strive for excellence in training their children. We can say with all confidence according to Philippians 1:6 that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
To God be all the Glory!!!!