Meet the Hurd Family
Two weddings in ten months, SATs, graduations, dirty socks, skyrocketing car insurance premiums, lesson plans covering the ABCs to physics, algebra to grade, dirty socks, driver ed, haircuts, tuitions, house remodels, dirty socks…. Carrie and I, reared as only children, had no clue what life would be like after twenty-eight years of marriage and eleven children. We did, however, have an idea of what we wished to avoid.
As products of the public school system, we were not pleased with the academic, religious, and social training we received there, and we desired better for our children. We had no intention of having a child-driven home, one manipulated by peer influences and fads. More important, though, was our desire to give our children a distinctly Christian education.
Searching out options in the mid-1980s was easy. There were private schools and public schools. Home schooling was not well known or accepted at that time. But God was faithful to our desires and sent across our path a family that introduced us not only to the idea of home schooling but also to the fruit of it in their children—just what we were looking for.
For most people, the convictions that lead them to home schooling soon creep into other areas of life: church, family, and recreation, for example. We were no exception. The desire to maintain the hearts and loyalty of our children into the “tween” years and through the teenage years influenced the overall rearing of our children, not just their education. Character issues and training became and have remained important ingredients in our home schooling.
As the first set of our children grew and matured, our vision for them developed and advanced, too. We were no longer satisfied only with the idea of providing them with an education that would benefit them as adults in the marketplace or homeplace. We also desired to equip our children to be influential in people’s lives. This type of training starts primarily in various service-oriented opportunities. We look for occasions when one or more of our children might be able to serve another person in some unique way and, hopefully, gain or fine-tune some additional life skill at the same time. The important ingredient here is the child’s reputation. We desire our children to be known as willing and capable servants. We believe this reputation is the first foot into the lives of people in our community.
The desire to see our children become servant-leaders also prompted us to closely examine our theology. Embracing the notion that the only basis for education, personal and social progress, and maturity is a vibrant, orthodox, optimistic, and defensible Christian faith caused us to make some radical changes in our theology and worship practices for, what we believe to be, the benefit and effectiveness of our children’s work and ministry in the future.
This kind of thinking and development of the vision for our children also influenced our choices of curricula. Like almost everyone, Carrie tried several curricula along the way, eventually mixing and matching as she learned more and grew more comfortable in the routine. However, in time we began to focus on the Christian worldview and application aspect of the curriculum, not only on its academic content and scope.
It dawned on me, about the third round of having three in diapers at the same time, that my closest and dearest friends had not been completely honest with us. It is not that they outright lied, but they let us, for years, work from the belief that as our children grew older and more capable of taking care of themselves (e.g., dressing themselves, getting their own breakfast or lunch, etc.) that life would get simpler. And, in fact, it did get simpler to the extent that the older three (the “big kids”) were capable and willing to help with the next three (“the boys”) and the next two (the “little girls”). I am not sure how many of Lindsey’s siblings she has taught to read, but I know for sure that it has been a big help to Carrie.
However, some things happened along the way, about the time the last three (the “boys-2”) came along and began getting underfoot. First, schooling for the big kids got harder. To resolve some of this problem, we turned to Internet classes and tutoring, support group co-ops, and college dual credit. Second, there was this wave of children behind the big kids beckoning to be schooled like the big kids were. Third, and most importantly, the older the big kids got and then the older the boys got, the more complicated all their lives became, thus making our lives more, rather than less, complicated.
It seems that the complications begin to really kick in about driver license time. (For a glimpse of the Hurd Home School Driver Education failures, see www.fortifyingthefamily.com/2005.pdf.) It is truly a blessing to have more people able to shuttle kids around and run errands into town for us. However, the added mobility does not come without a price, economically and emotionally. Add to it the bustle out-of-town trips for the big kids, courtships, weddings, and impending grandchildren. Carrie and I look at each other and wonder if we will ever have a quiet moment again.
However, the truth be known, we would not have it any other way. For we believe God’s Word when it says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord” (Ps. 127:3), and we accept that with blessings comes responsibility that requires faithfulness and work. Our prayer is that you, too, would find reward and fulfillment in the calling of God in your family’s life, your children, and your children’s children.
Patrick and Carrie Hurd live in Weatherford with 9 of their 11 children where Pat earns his living as an accountant and serves as pastor of Heritage Covenant Church. They have homeschooled all their children for the past 18 years. Pat also serves on the board of THSC and has written articles for the THSC REVIEW, Homeschool Digest, Chalcedon Report, Salt Magazine, and Table Talk Magazine. Pat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit their website, www.fortifyingthefamily.com.