Posted 8 August 2022
Putting Down the Pom-Poms
By Sean King
It was early 2019, and little did we know that our lives were about to completely change! We moved our entire family to a whole new country to begin the journey of establishing the Kingdomcity campus we now have the privilege of leading in Lusaka, Zambia. Our decision in this time of great change was initially vindicated, but we still had so far to go.
Fast forward to 2021 and the news that we, as a church, were working on establishing our very own school program broke out. The opportunity to be part of the pilot program came, and today we are still privileged to be a part of it. This was such an answer to prayer! Don’t get me wrong, my wife Kgomotso was doing such an incredible job with our kids, but there was always that lingering feeling or thought, “Are we doing this right?”
And let’s be honest, it was just Kgomotso doing everything. Up until this point, I was just the cheerleader (without the pom-poms), hiding behind the responsibility of being a working dad. But over a period of time, through my own healing and realisation of what it meant to be a Godly father, I had grown the conviction that I needed to be more involved than I currently was. This was my opportunity to start afresh!
Kingdomcity School gives us structure, system, support, as well as a great syllabus to follow!
Before I get into the three main things that I have learnt in my short time of being a home-educating dad, one thing is undeniable – training up a child trains you up as a parent!
You deal with frustration and a fear of failure that you thought you left behind in high school but are now living out through your children.
The fruits of the Spirit have never been more applicable as they are now, especially on days where your son or daughter simply don’t want to do school.
Thank the Lord for the Kingdomcity Kids song, “Fruits of the Spirit” that plays through my head every time I am at the table with Josiah!
1. BE PRESENT, BE SENSITIVE
At first, the idea was for me to take a subject, then we decided that I would take a day, then we decided that I should pray with Josiah before each day. Some things worked, some things didn’t, but I realized very quickly that what Kgomotso and Josiah needed the most was for me to simply be present and sensitive to what is needed. The structure is given, the subjects are there, the online teachers are awesome and the help we receive is incredible but I needed to be sensitive to moments when Kgomotso needed a break or Josiah needed to kick a ball outside. Whether it’s doing something that will enhance the experience of what he was learning, or simply purchasing a dedicated table for Josiah to do school, I realised that what my son needed the most was my ever-present awareness of what I could do to make things better. When one parent is in the thick of things trying to complete lessons, knowing that I’m present and aware can sometimes be as valuable as sitting right there.
2. EVERY MILESTONE MATTERS
Every milestone, no matter how small, is meaningful when you go through it together. That is the number one thing that I would say has impacted me the most about being a home-school dad. Every test passed, and every challenge met means very little to our son if he can’t look into our eyes at that very moment and see the pride we have in him. This doesn’t mean we reward absolutely everything, as we want him to enjoy learning, but we remember everything!
3. FOCUS ON CHARACTER AS WELL AS CONCEPTS
I simply marvel at what Josiah is learning at his age through the subjects he is taking. I love how our program is embracing the fact that our children have such a capacity to learn, and it stretches them! It’s frankly embarrassing sometimes when we encounter things that he knows but I have no clue about or have completely forgotten. But as important as the concepts are, the character that he is developing as he learns those concepts are vital. As a father, I get to be the one who teaches Josiah to finish what he started, have integrity at all times, never give up, try again and learn how to deal with failure. I have also learnt that my encouragement means more to my son than any other teacher he may ever have and that we create an atmosphere with our words.
These are just three of the many lessons that I’ve had to learnt on this home-school journey; and Kgomotso and I have absolutely no regrets about this road that we have chosen!