This past week, Awana launched their new website, awanahomeschool.org. It is a new initiative by Awana to reach out to families who home school as well as home school co-ops.
I became aware that Awana was looking at this option several months ago but I had few details.
Several home school families currently utilize the Awana handbooks as a Bible component for their children. You have probably noticed that often, not always, children who are home schooled progress through their handbooks quickly. So it almost seems logical for Awana to take this step.
I may surprise some people with my comments, but initially, I’m concerned about this move. I understand the desire to reach out to a wider “market” and I can see it benefiting Awana in the “big picture”. My concern comes for clubs whose attendees are similar to mine.
In our church we have several families who home school. So much so that one Sunday in our children’s church I used an illustration talking about sitting at the school lunch table and one of the children got my attention and shared that everyone there was home schooled. I stopped, took a quick glance of the children there and they were right!!!! All of the children in attendance were home schooled!!! Not one child attended a public (or private) school and they had no connection with the “lunch table”. Likewise, currently all of the children who attend the Awana club are home schooled with the exception of a few who attend public school.
Why should parents buy a vest or club shirt for their child and spend another evening out if they can do the same thing at home as part of home school for about the same cost and free up their schedule a little? I see some families opting to just do it at home in lieu of attending club. Yes, they can attend club for the fun and fellowship with others, but handbook time could be damaged if children have completed that portion at home as part of their home school, and if one portion is damaged, it affects the other clubbers and the other aspects of the night.
I am concerned that the Awana Home School program may negatively impact some Awana clubs (like mine), but ultimately, it is not about my personal club (there are other ways I can reach out to children and families), but it is about reaching children (and families) with the Gospel and training them to serve Him. In the “big picture”, I do see the Awana Home School program having the potential to do that in a mighty way.
Have you looked at the Awana Home School initiative information yet? If not, take a look, then post your comments. I’m interested in your thoughts.