Sonja So Dr Jay, here you are in South Africa with us again, the second time around, some 10 years later, a decade in between. I am perhaps not the person to be asking you this question, but let me ask you to tell the people why are you connected with Oikos? How did that happen, what are you doing and what are your views on Oikos? People might like to know, outside of us, you know, the people, the founders, they know our hearts, we’ve been helping home educators all these years, got involved in the foundation, pioneering days of home education, so why are you interested in Oikos?
Dr Jay Well it started out initially because Sonia insisted. Well, I was just busy you know running Apologia and writing curriculum and so forth… when someone tells me that there’s a person from South Africa who insists on having dinner, and, you know, was talking about how we could get Apologia curriculum into South Africa. I was more than happy to have someone distribute my curriculum in another country, we had done it with Canada and other countries, so we sat down and…..
Sonja Right, before we go to dinner, I have to actually… to just bring in the story before that introduction. That was that I wasn’t interested in having science in Oikos. We just didn’t think we needed science in our curriculum, we thought we just needed The Word and if we can have Konos that helps the families to live the Word, great. Maths and language you need and you need to teach your children to read and write. So I was coming to Indiana to a convention as I was asked to share there, and while I was there I met your co-author of the biology book and Marilyn Dumell and she said to me have you got science in your curriculum in Oikos and I said no we don’t need it, and she said yes you do and she gave me a biology book, your biology book, yours and hers, and I came back to South Africa and I read through it and I did with my children and I thought we do need this. Here I was saying we don’t need this, what do we need science for, but God intervenes you see, and he brings this on to our path. Exploring Creation through Biology and the thing that captivated me in that biology book was the fact that it was about taking the children and the parents on a journey of discovery about God their Creator. Taking the children independently into that as well and that is that is what excited me about Apologia because I hadn’t even seen a science curriculum that did that. That’s why we would say you don’t need science, you need Scripture, you need The Word and don’t get distracted with the subject that is actually not going to have that as its foundation. So because that was its foundation, that’s when I became insistent. I found the man that wrote this and I had to see to it that Oikos got this into their resources because of the this. We could see its potential and what it could do on a spiritual journey, as well as the added bonus or benefit of science, of teaching science.
Dr Jay Well again, we were at our dinner and I was really quite surprised to find out that there were home schoolers in South Africa. You know not surprisingly most US people, including myself, know very little about South Africa, so we had no idea there was a home school movement here. So I was fascinated by what you were talking about and more than happy, we worked out a way …. it’s very difficult to get curriculum, very difficult to get curriculum from the US to South Africa.
We figured out a way to do that and it worked fairly well, so then you had me come out, 10 years ago. Shortly after we worked all this out, I can’t remember exactly whether it was a year, or two, but shortly after we worked all this out, I came out and brought my daughter along, who was traveling with me to school things at that time. We just had a marvelous time, I think we were here for three weeks, we went to several different provinces, saw not only the beauty of South Africa, but the beauty of the people here and so forth, and spending so much time with you and Greg, Missy and Jamie really gave me a feel for what Oikos was all about.
So as a result it really worked really well with my view, that it is all about discovering God, and so in the end I thought Oikos and we were pretty much together and like minded. So because we were so like minded I just thought we will just stay with the Oikos and just work with them.
That’s what we been doing, so when we have a chance to come back, 10 years later, far too long but ten years later, I said, yes of course. Unfortunately Dawn doesn’t travel with me any more but fortunately I could bring my wife Kathleen instead and it’s been yet another wonderful experience.
Sonja Have you seen much change in Oikos specifically ?
Dr Jay Yeah well Oikos has changed, not in the vision or the direction, but simply the way it’s producing curriculum and by the number of people it is serving. It has increased dramatically. I remember where the printing was done 10 years ago, where the printing is done now, how much volume I saw going through 10 years ago, how much volume I see going through now. It is really wonderful how God has Blest this Ministry but you would expect that because the Ministry is focused on Him.
Sonja Well I wanted to come back to that and say that you started that by saying that you hadn’t seen much change in the vision and direction and that’s what is has excited us about Oikos, because right from day one the vision and the direction God has given us, has remained in place. Change happens and change happens with growth, which is a good thing, so the change has been the expansion of the numbers of families we serve. But the wonderful thing is that the same vision of what God pressed upon our hearts for bringing parents to this view, this lifestyle, this way of bringing the children home and raising them with a biblical foundation.
Dr Jay Well you have to understand that is a little unusual for a lot of companies, even homeschooling companies. As these companies grow larger, oftentimes they become focused and distracted on other things and their mission and vision don’t stay the same. Or they think it’s staying the same but they are distracted so much with the other things that are really not keeping the direction and focus the same. I think that even though Oikos has had enormous growth over 10 years, I don’t think you’ve allowed yourself to be distracted the way some of the company have been.
Sonja That’s good to hear, its good to hear your experience of seeing that, that has stayed in place. That is very good because that is our heart, that is the desire, is to keep that, we are quite jealous and passionately protective I think, of keeping the vision in place so that the distractions don’t come. Something that takes people to what is most important to God first