In a society where non-Christian ideals are beginning to dominate in the public sphere, many pious parents are choosing to homeschool their children to ensure they absorb Christian ideals and remain unharmed by ideas of the world.
To guide, support, and unite parents who homeschool their children, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, last year, founded its Department of Homeschooling. This department is headed by Father Noah Bushelli, Pastor of St. Philip Orthodox Church in Souderton, PA. He and his wife, Khouriyeh Elizabeth, are homeschoolers of seven children (their oldest now being 15 years old) giving him a personal stake in the work of the department.
Father Noah will be the keynote speaker at the St. Emmelia Orthodox Homeschooling Conference, which is being held from April 7th to the 10th at the Antiochian Village Conference and Retreat Center. His talks will focus on married life and how that plays into homeschooling children.
“I am looking forward to speaking from my life, pastoral experience, and the wisdom of the Church with an aim to encourage you in..first surviving, and then thriving..as a homeschool family,” Father Noah writes in a message to potential conference attendees. He plans to take: a” challenging and inspiring look at the meaning of family and education, the needs of children, the changing cultural landscape, tools for measuring success, and the need for support.”
St. Emmelia, the patron of the conference, was the mother of ten children, five of whom are canonized saints: Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa, Macrina, Peter of Sebaste, and Theosebia the Deaconess. In the Russian Tradition, she is commemorated on January 1st alongside St. Basil the Great while in the Greek tradition, she is commemorated on May 30th alongside her husband St. Basil the Elder and his mother St. Macrina the Elder.
Since, in raising her children in piety, five of them became saints, she is known as the “mother of saints” and a model for Christian parents. Persuaded by her daughter Macrina, the two women founded a convent in Pontus, Emmelia having divided all of the family’s assets among the children.
After living for many years in ascetical struggle, St. Emmelia reposed with Macrina and Peter at her side. She was buried next to her husband and another son, Naucratius, at their main estate in Annesi.
St. Emmelia, because of her radiant example as a Christian parent, was taken as the patron of the St. Emmelia Homeschool Conference Association, which is organizing this year’s conference once again. The weekend will feature several workshops for both parents and children, divine services, and fellowship.
To find out more about the conference, to learn more about the speakers, or to register, you can click here.
May St. Emmelia intercede on behalf of all Orthodox parents everywhere.