It was with the support of their local school principal that Ken and Marlane Noster brought home their eldest child, half way through grade 3; but the superintendent threatened to charge them with truancy. The late 80’s were rife with inconsistencies in treatment of home schoolers.
In response to the first Alberta Home Education Regulation of 1989, Ken was invited to help a school board develop its program for administrating home schooling. He and Marlane began to pray for an answer to two burning questions. The first was: “How can an administration that is focussed on running schools have a positive impact on home schooling?” The second was: “What are we being called to do in response to the poor treatment of home schooling families?”
Both in their own home and in the homes of others they noted that learning was more enjoyable and more effective when parents didn’t try to emulate schools. Everything from planning, to teaching methods, to evaluation needed to be different; but school administrators were typically very leery of the merits of teaching differently from the institutional way of running a classroom.
By 1995, the answer to both questions converged. It had become evident that provincial administration and the perceptions of many local boards would not readily change. Institutional schooling was the norm, and all decisions would be made accordingly. Clearly, in order to serve the needs of home schoolers, an administration designed just for that purpose would have to be fashioned. Ken tried to convince various associates in educational administration that they should commence upon such a project; he even conducted the research and created the business plan for them. He laid out the strengths of such an approach and projected the possible stumbling blocks. Not one of them felt called to take on the venture.
Then came the answer to the second question, “what am I being called to do?” An extended conversation with home schooling friends clarified the call: “Ken, it’s time to do it yourself.” Ken had wanted to farm, not administrate, but the call was undeniable, and he returned home to have it confirmed by Marlane, who immediately gave this new administration its name. She said, “wisdom is the purpose of all our efforts as parents, so that should be the name of this new means of achieving it.”
WISDOM began that Summer by virtue of a series of affirmations and open doors, especially the prayerful response of Richard and Margaret Schienbein of Trinity Christian School, the umbrella under which WISDOM would operate for the next 25 years. There would be many challenges in the months and years ahead, but one clear beacon kept WISDOM true to its purpose and clear in its response. The beacon was the knowledge that WISDOM did not belong to anyone involved in its inception or its operation, WISDOM belonged to its author. The Lord had prepared his workers and clearly indicated the time to begin. He would protect what was his as long as he required it to exist. Each family who is part of the large WISDOM family expresses delight in being surrounded by like-minded friends. And now, all of these years later, we are still being called to support one another, pray for one another, and gather strength and courage from our solidarity.