Meet the Strassner Family
When my wife, Cathy, told me she wanted to homeschool our children, I thought she was nuts. That was in 1986. Now, twenty years later, I think it is the best decision we ever made. As Christians, we were well aware of the need to avoid conformity to the world. Yet we had not really considered how to live a transformed life. The decision to homeschool changed our way of relating to the world by avoiding blind “conformance to the world.” This countercultural thinking (what we now call “biblical thinking”) soon pervaded all areas of our lives.
In our attitude toward children, we came to see them as a blessing and a gift from God. Cathy, with a graduate degree in economics and a professional career, felt the call to stay home, take care of the children, and teach them to pursue excellence. As our family grew, I was led to start my own business to allow me the freedom, in time and money, to help with the educational process. We have attempted to lead and direct our children to grow spiritually, academically, morally, and physically.
The Lord has blessed us with seven children, ages eleven to twenty-three—two girls and five boys. Over the years, our approach and strategy toward home schooling has been fairly consistent, with modifications based on our need at the time and resource availability. We have pursued a classical approach, with the progressive, age-relevant stages of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. We have accomplished this through the use of elements of several curricula and study series, including Calvert School, Saxon Math, Sonlight Curriculum, a four-year series in the Great Books, and extensive music education.
What has changed over the years is a notable increase in public awareness—and acceptance—of home schooling. We no longer have people asking us “Is that legal?” and “Will the government let you do that?” However, people still ask the famous question “What about socialization?” While some home schoolers seek alternate options for education in the teen years, we have continued the process of home schooling and have found many (too many) options available for classes and enrichment. Anyone with older kids can attest to the increasing complexity of life as our “babies” get older. Somehow, these kids we are teaching to think critically and act independently, start doing so!! They begin thinking for themselves and wanting to make their own decisions. That is a shock to Mom and Dad!
Our oldest is now twenty-three and in her last year of law school at Regent University School of Law in Virginia. Our twenty-one-year-old is finishing his master’s degree in accounting and will begin working for one of the major worldwide accounting firms in July. This will begin right after his wedding to a lovely home schooled young lady. Our nineteen-year-old is finishing a two-year commitment to the military as a Navy medic, deployed with the Marines. Our seventeen-year-old graduating senior is blessed to have several colleges offering academic scholarships as she pursues study that will lead to missions or ministry work. The fifteen-, thirteen-, and eleven-year-old boys keep us running in many directions. This May will be crazy with three graduations, school year-end concerts, and wedding preparations.
As the result of “biblical thinking,” our Christian walk and service has also changed. This change is displayed in an active approach to Christian service in our local church, as well as in ministry involvement. We see the need for Christians to be salt and light in our culture. The approach to life that encouraged us to homeschool taught us many lessons and encouraged us to think outside the box in ministry as well.
Believing that Christians needed to hear and be aware of current events from a Christian perspective, we got involved with God’s World Publications (where I serve as chairman of the board), which publishes WORLD Magazine and God’s World News for Kids and also runs the WORLD Journalism Institute. This ministry now circulates a weekly news magazine to 130,000 homes a week. God’s World News has a circulation of almost 200,000, and the Journalism Institute is helping train Christians in the secular newsroom to tell the Truth.
As our children grew older, we saw the need to train youth in Christian apologetics and Christian worldview thinking. We wanted our kids and others to learn how to confront the culture effectively. We were able to help start Worldview Academy and have seen it grow from one camp, with thirty-five students at an old campus in Tehuacana, Texas, to seventeen camps nationwide, with over 3000 students (and growing) each summer. I am honored to serve as a board member there as well. Serving on the THSC board has been another opportunity to help and to encourage others to pursue the education of their children as God has called them.
With only three children still in the home, we may feel like we do not have enough to do. But we are sure God has many other things for us to pursue.
David Strassner and his wife Cathy live in Houston where they are homeschooling the youngest of their children. David serves on the Publications Committee on the THSC Board of Directors.