By Dinah Whitton
Married for almost 20 years, Wayne and Marilyn Thiessen continue to show the power of their love through their growing family. In addition to their biological sons, David, 18, and Philip, 16, they have recently adopted two children – Anatasia, 4, and Riley, 1. Wayne and Marilyn are also proud foster parents to three children age 7, 4, and 2 years old. Needless to say there’s never a dull moment raising 7 children of various ages, stages, and backgrounds.
The Thiessen family’s homeschooling journey began as an inquiry during David’s toddler years. Marilyn diligently questioned home educators and students she came across about their experience. During that time students in grades 7-12 attended a school that required a one hour bus ride in the morning and afternoon. Soon there was talk of the K-6 school closing due to declining enrolment. Ultimately that would result in a two hour commute for the younger children. Wayne and Marilyn believed there was a better way for their children to spend their time. They began formally homeschooling in 2003 which built upon the foundation of learning they had always incorporated in their daily lives. David is a now a homeschool graduate and is on the honour roll at a local Bible College and Philip is currently in Grade 11. Although the foster children must attend public school due to regulations, homeschooling remains an option for the rest of their younger children.
High School Homeschooling with HSLDA
As Philip completes his final years of high school, his parents help him with scheduling his course work in a relaxed atmosphere. Like many families with multiple children, the Thiessen’s keep a flexible schedule to meet everyone’s needs. In addition to typical book work, Philip’s schedule includes child care and mentoring. Although Philip is responsible for completing his school work throughout the day, Marilyn makes herself available for any assistance her son may need. Despite their home education success, in September 2016 the Thiessen’s were challenged by their local Department of Education Homeschool Office. “The required high school courses for homeschooled students were different than those required by public school students,” said Marilyn. “We disagreed with their assessment and called HSLDA to help us resolve the issue.”
HSLDA’s legal team quickly corresponded with the Homeschool Liaison on behalf of the Thiessen family. Lisa McManus, HSLDA Legal Counsel, assisted the family through this process with consistent communication to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Like many homeschooling families, the Thiessen’s were reminded of the tremendous benefits that come with a HSLDA membership. “When we first joined HSLDA, we did so to help others, not thinking that we would ever need to call them,” said Marilyn. “Now several years later we are very grateful that we kept up our membership.”
HSLDA is the only Canadian organization with the expertise to provide legal representation in disputes between homeschooling families and school boards or provincial interference.
Whether you are just beginning your home education journey or are a seasoned homeschooler, HSLDA can provide the individualized assistance your family needs.
Do YOU Have a Burning Question?
Homeschooling is an adventurous journey with benefits and challenges. Fortunately your family is not alone. No matter how big or small your query might be the HSLDA team is only a phone call or a click away.