The Adventure Begins
You could say our family has been home educating for 40 years. That is when our eldest son was born, and we discovered the joy of raising and training children. We officially began the search for the proper way to educate our children in an institutional setting over 35 years ago. The journey began when we had the choice of entering our bright young son as the youngest or the eldest in his grade one class at the local school. Every parent that we spoke with who had been through this decision said that holding their boy back was the best way to go. If they had sent their child to school as the youngest in his class they regretted it. If they sent him in as an older, more mature child they claimed it was "the best thing we ever did".
We first learned about home education at about the time we were examining these options. I was sure that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard of. I was never going to do that! Never say never. By spring break of Kindergarten we had taken our eldest child out "to see if we could do this thing". And we could. And so can you.
No one had heard much about home education in those days. The web was not even a source we could go to! So I read everything I could get my hands on. And I had the best tutors available. Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore taught us about readiness; Ruth Beechick carried on with how to teach well without using a lot of workbooks; Greg Harris thrilled us with the idea of delight directed education; Jessica Hulcy helped us use and develop unit studies; Mary Pride gave us the "Big Book of Home Education" with reams of curriculum description and sources; Cathy Duffy gave us the "Christian Home Educators Guide" with even more curriculum choices; the Colfaxes showed us that our children could go on and excel in higher education; and of course Susan Schaeffer Macaulay introduced us to Charlotte Mason who wonderfully told us not to teach with twaddle, or dumbed down materials but to open up God's world to our children. Each of these amazing people shared their experiences in home education and greatly influenced our family's decision to and also how to home educate.
We enjoyed our years of home education. It wasn't always easy. Things didn't always turn out the way we thought it should. But we have great kids, who fortunately are also resilient and got past our inadequacies. They did go on to succeed in higher education and beyond. And we are grandparents of THE most wonderful grandkids.
Grandparenting is an amazing time of life. You can enjoy the kids and send them home when you are done. Fortunately my daughter lets us share some of the teaching with the grandkids - and like all children they love to learn.
My prayer when I began home schooling was that God would send me a Titus 2:5 woman who would train me in raising my children. I was fortunate enough to have come to know many wonderful women then and since. The books we have in the Recommended Resources section on this website represent some of those incredible people who came along side us through their books and workshops. We offer them here in hopes that you too will benefit from their wisdom and love.
We hope you too will discover the blessings that come with home education,
Brenda & Gary Baradoy
Gary and Brenda Baradoy began their involvement in home schooling 1986 when their first child was ready- or rather, not ready to go to kindergarten. They kept him home and planned to take it one year at a time to determine whether or not it was right for them and whether to continue. Brenda was soon a staunch supporter and became heavily involved in the movement, eventually teaching all three of their children at home. She was a co-founder of the Calgary support group - CHEERS and organized many special events and programs for home educators. Among her favorite events were Mom's Encouragement Dinners and Ski Week. Gary also served on the executive of the Christian support group- CCHEA.
In 1993, having recognized the need in the growing home schooling community for a supplier of educational materials, and with the idea to be a part time endeavor for a little extra income, they stocked about three bookshelves in their dining room, sent out a one page list of materials in stock, and C.H.E.R. was born.
Thirty years later they are now both full time(and a half) in the business with both full time and part time wonderful employees operating out of a 4000 sq. ft. facility with an email list of thousands across the country.
They are now enjoying being very proud grandparents of nine amazing children.
Their eldest son has completed his Master's Degree at Queens, while the youngest has his Masters Degree from the University of Calgary. All of their children helped out at CHER at some time. Their daughter was amazing as office manager for 11 years before she retired to stay home with her children. The boys helped in the store by shipping and one even programmed their first (and best!) website.
An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.