May 27, 2015
Homeschooled Hero: André RiendeauACPEQ President
“Looking back, André says that ‘this is probably one of the most valuable gains of homeschooling: [you] can’t run away from conflict.’” Working through conflict, growing through flexibility, and learning to live in the moment are some of the keys to André Riendeau’s great success.
Meet André Riendeau, president of ACPEQ in Quebec. André was homeschooled from Grade 4 through high school, and he and his wife Stephanie have four children: Vanya, 8; Raphael, 7; Samuel, 5; and Emma, 4.
André is the youngest of three boys. When his oldest brother was ready for high school, his parents decided to homeschool their children—they wanted their boys to be strong in their faith, and they realized that the local high school would be a negative influence.
André is a self-motivated learner: he recalls getting up at five o’clock in the morning to start his schoolwork so that he could be finished by noon and have more time to play. He enjoyed almost every subject (except French), but his favourite was history. He also enjoyed the outdoors and spent time biking, skiing, skating, canoeing, camping, and playing hockey.
When asked to describe a typical day, André said that his schooling was fairly structured but flexible when there was the opportunity to learn or do something else. The family would start the day together studying the Bible; then they would have breakfast and hit the books! They would do some classes together and other classes individually. André’s father was a pastor and had his office in the home, so when it was break time, he and the boys would play chess or ping pong together. André says, “It helped my mother greatly just to have him close; three teenage boys can get pretty rowdy!”
Of course, there were days when he didn’t get along with his parents or his brothers; when this happened, there was nowhere to go! The issue simply had to be worked through. Looking back, André says that “this is probably one of the most valuable gains of homeschooling: [you] can’t run away from conflict.”
Another thing that André appreciated about homeschooling was the flexibility; it gave him the opportunity to help others with things such as computer projects, farming, and construction. He was also able to go to Moscow when he was seventeen and teach English in several schools and orphanages. Moved by the physical suffering of the children, he returned and decided to become a registered nurse. Unfortunately, in André’s words, “The first few weeks of college were a challenge: way too slow! Sitting in class listening to someone talk at a fraction of the speed I could read? Really?! Once I figured out I could do all the boring homework of one course while listening to the other, I did fine!”
André went on to complete a bachelor degree in nursing science. Today he works as the director of physical health, general services, and nursing.
André has served as president of ACPEQ for the last two years. He says, “The opportunity to have an organized group such as ACPEQ is of inestimable worth for homeschooling families. I can’t change the fact that I didn’t have this growing up, but I can make sure families nowadays and for the future have access to such support.”
André’s advice for homeschoolers: “While the end result is important—and for many, the end result is the motivation to homeschool—it is important not to miss now: homeschooling is a daily way of life and should not be a burden just to improve a future outcome. It is worth it in everyday life.”
Written by Caitlyn Watson