Author Archives: Biola Youth Academics

What If? – Staying True to the Intergenerational Investment of Home Education

Silhouette of a Child leaning against a tree and reading the Bible

In the 75th anniversary of Wycliffe’s ministry in Bible translation, I found myself absorbed in reading their history over the holidays. Obstacles, such as cross-cultural and linguistic challenges, kidnapping, and martyrdom wove throughout Wycliffe’s history.

I was particularly struck by the story of Chet Bitterman. When Chet was considering missions work, he told his wife, “I’ve only got seventy-five years on this earth at best. I want to use them to give someone the Bible.” So in obedience to their calling, this young couple joined Wycliffe (p. 103). Chet and his wife, Brenda, prepared for missions work and were to work with the Carijona people. As they prepared to move to this village in Colombia, they were at the Summer Institute of Linguistics in Colombia.

Chet Bitterman’s investment in his calling

It was January 19, 1981. Several armed gunman appeared, planning to kidnap Al Wheeler, the director. When they couldn’t find Al, they kidnapped Chet instead. Interestingly, Chet had said to his wife two days before the kidnapping, “It’s okay for someone to die for the sake of getting the Word of God to the minority people of Colombia” (pp. 105-106). He had also stated, “If something is worth living for, isn’t it worth dying for too?” (p. 105). That’s exactly what the Lord called Chet to do … to die for the sake of the gospel at the hands of his captors.

The following year, missionary applications to Wycliffe doubled as Chet’s willingness to be obedient to the calling of missions inspired others. Chet Bitterman was willing to set aside his entire career for the sake of the gospel, even to the point of sacrificing his life.

Chet’s story woke me up to press on in my role and calling. Perhaps Chet’s story will wake you up too … to your call to home education and the sacrifices you must make to invest in your children’s education. Or maybe, you are tired of playing the dual roles of parent and home educator. Perhaps you are fatigued from getting up with your little one three times in the night and then teaching the rest of your K-12 children all day, plus fixing breakfast, lunch, and dinner on top of that, and then falling into bed exhausted and doing it all over again. Or, perhaps the blur of a few lackluster homeschool days has fogged over the larger mission to home educate your children so they might be missionaries in their vocational calling to a broken world.

“What if … ?”

You might be asking “What if … ?” What if I placed my children in the local school? What if I used that certificate or degree and launched my own career? What if I earned money instead of homeschooling? Would my life be better? Would my children’s lives be better?

Let me share that there is no better-equipped young adult to face the world than the one who has been loved well and home educated well.

“Why?” you may ask. Because that child does not spend his educational youth waiting in lines, waiting for an answer to a simple question, being socialized by children who may not be living for the Lord, or being educated into a non-Christian worldview. Rather, that home educated child has a 1:1 tutor that loves him and would give her life for his well-being. That child does not have to spend hours commuting on a bus, but enjoys the luxury of home educating in the next room. That child avoids the wait time and experiences moment-by-moment love, full acceptance, mentorship, and the gospel message infused throughout his education.

When your home educated child is launched, he will have been socialized to know Christ intimately and to keep Him at the Head, taught well and well read, and ready in an instant to share the reason for his faith.

“Yes, it is worth it.”

So, when I think of Chet Bitterman’s sacrifice, I say, “Yes, it is worth it.” It is worth the sacrifice to do what you are called to do and to complete the job well. Similarly, when you think of the temporary sacrifice of a set of years to home educate your children, say “Yes, it is worth it because my child will grow up knowing Jesus and become a healing salve to a hurting world as he enters the public square to proclaim the name of Jesus.”

Home educator, is it worth it? Yes!!! Then give Jesus the “what ifs” and simply trust Him and be obedient to home education if this is your call. It was worth martyrdom for Chet Bitterman to obey Jesus’ call and thousands upon thousands have heard the gospel message because of his story as his life and sacrifice inspired others to join Wycliffe Bible Translators. Similarly, the sacrifice of years of homeschooling is worth it if it launches your child into the career and ministry path God has for him.

Prayerful Reflection:

  1. Lord, do I second guess what you are calling me to do? Do you want me to stay the course of homeschooling?
  2. Lord, do I dwell on “what ifs?” and so dilute my obedience to your calling?
  3. Abba, grant me a vision of who my child will become, not just professionally, but spiritually. Encourage me through this vision to press forward in the name of Jesus.
  4. Lord, show me who I am to become in the process of home education. Show me, Lord, the qualities of Your Spirit that you will infuse in me, the people I will mentor, the way that I will use my giftings during this season for Your people.


Dear Jesus, you have called me to home education. I choose to obey. Just like the missionary Chet Bitterman, I choose to do your bidding and follow your plan for my life and for the life of my family. When I do this, I will be at peace. When I question you, I experience turmoil. Lord Jesus, open my heart to understand my places of questioning. Let me bring these questions to you and sit with them before you in prayer. Let me trust you for provision and not play the “What if?” game. Let me be faithful to your call and make the necessary sacrifices. Let me “draw near to the throne of grace that [I] may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

I love you, Lord, and want nothing other than “to know You and to make You known.”ª If the best way to do that in this season of my life is through the inter-generational investment of homeschooling, then I choose to say “YES!” In the precious name of Jesus my Lord and Savior, Amen.

June Hetzel, Ph.D., Dean of Education, Biola University


Wycliffe Bible Translators (2017). Till All Have Heard: A Celebration of 75 Years as Wycliffe Bible Translators. FL: Wycliffe Bible Translators, Inc.

ª Colombia Bible College’s motto was “to know him and to make him known.” (p. 106).



Where are They Now? Interview with Homeschool Alumnus Joshua Johnson

Young man standing under large tree beneath a stary sky - Homeschool Alumnus Blog

Our Homeschool Alumnus, Joshua Johnson graduated high school in 2015. Before that, he enrolled in Torrey Academy, where he took several online courses. As a senior, Joshua was a recipient of the 2015 Biola Youth Scholarship for writing an essay on how BYA impacted his spiritual growth in high school through reading the works of C.S. Lewis in Torrey Academy.

BYA caught up with Joshua to hear where he’s been since graduating, and how his experience helped him flourish in life after high school. Read more

Understanding Students with Special Needs

Empty Desk - Understanding Students with Special Needs

“The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained
will be like their teacher.” -Luke 6:40

Teaching students with special needs presents unique challenges, as well as opportunities to practice empathy, and refine our teaching—and allow the Lord to refine us. Dr. Eastman’s lecture models perspective taking, challenges presumptions, and gives practical tips on engaging and understanding students with special needs.

A homeschool dad and father of six (5 boys and 1 girl), Dr. Eastman invites his high school aged son to share from his perspective as a student with special needs.

Please enjoy Dr. Eastman’s presentation, offered by Biola University’s School of Education, and Open.Biola. Consider watching with a pen and paper nearby, and follow along with the in-lecture activities. Watch below. Read more

Don’t Do It Alone


The Vandewalles have been homeschooling their six children since 1999 and are about to graduate their third student. Until last year, most of their homeschooling was done at home without the benefit of outside classes;  like so many families, they were busy with activities and the daily demands of life. Academically, they tended to focus more on their high school students in order to prepare them for college.

Robyn Vandewalle shares, “A couple of years ago, we realized that our younger students, now entering middle school, had skated by with less academic attention than would be ideal. Read more

A Formula and a Solution: Why Homeschool Works

homeschool works

As a home educating parent, I am sure we have all experienced at one time or another, tongue clicking, head shaking, eyebrow raising, skeptics as they condescendingly offer the following comments—What about friends? You don’t have a teaching degree. What about college?  Fortunately for us, there has been a surge in home education in the past several decades, and there is research to support this “whim” of ours. Read more

6 Ways We Can Equip Our Students to Finish the Race

Finish line on red running track with while lines. Shot with pro Canon DSLR.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”
(1 Corinthians 9:24, NIV)

As parents who home educate our children, we must ask ourselves “how important is the prize that my child is running after?” Coaching our children to finish the year strong is a prize well worth our effort. Finishing a task well is just as important as getting off to a good start. It is not uncommon to be motivated and fired up when we start something new, but admit it, sometimes it is hard to stay focused and finish the task when things gets tough. The writer of Ecclesiastes knew this when he wrote, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” What can we do to finish our homeschooling year in a way that honors the Lord and our children? Read more


The Inspired Home Educator classroom of students

Welcome to The Inspired Home Educator, a place where Biola Youth Academics seeks to partner with you in your family’s academic journey. We are passionate about education and desire to come alongside you in your schooling efforts to provide a tailor-made education, nurturing your child’s unique purpose to become a relevant and redemptive voice in a changing world.

You may be asking yourself who or what is Biola Youth Academics? We are a valuable resource to the community and have been around since 1996, beginning as a supplementary education program for K–12 home educated students through Biola University, a Christian university with over 100 years of faithful service and doctrinal integrity. In fact, our instructors, tutors, and administrative staff are mostly experienced homeschoolers themselves! Read more