Homeschooling has never before been so prominently featured as an educational option for today's K-12 students. More and more parents are waking up to the state of public education and the need for alternatives for their children. Many are coming to homeschooling because of its flexibility, as well as the ability to customize curriculum and programing, for the needs of each child.
A large and well-funded network of School Choice advocates argues that public school funds should follow the student to the schools or programs that best meet their needs. Will government funding for homeschooling preserve the freedom we currently have to teach our children when, where and how we want, or will government funding simply expand the scope of government controlled education?
During the last week in January, there is a nationwide public awareness event called School Choice Week. This effort aims to empower parents to make an informed decision about how to educate their children.
The goal for the event is to "raise public awareness of all types of education options for children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling." The larger goal, though, is to bring forward and effectively pass school choice legislation throughout the nation.
HOME believes that all parents have the right and high duty to direct the upbringing and education of their children. The parental right to direct education includes the right to choose public schools, private schools, religious schools, or homeschooling.
However, in order to fully protect parental rights and true education liberty, it is important to understand the overall mission of School Choice advocates.
EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice) is an American education reform organization. EdChoice states that, "School choice allows public education funds to follow students to the schools or services that best fit their needs—whether that’s to a public school, private school, charter school, home school or any other learning environment parents choose for their kids."
Sounds great, right? Parents are ultimately responsible for the education of their own children, not the state, though. When public education funds follow the student, parents are accepting government control. Parental rights and true education liberty are then lost. An environment where publicly funded school choices are the only option is no choice at all. Homeschooling that is funded by the parent and free from excessive government regulation must be preserved.
That is the real and important "choice" facing parents in an environment that supports "school choice." Remember, too, that School Choice advocates gain financially as support for their policies grows. HOME is here to make sure that parents remain fully free to direct the education of their children, but we need your help! All homeschoolers must stand together to ensure that we are successful in our efforts.
Studies show that homeschooled students are doing at least as well (or better) academically, than their public school counterparts. This is because the homeschool environment is tailored to fit the needs of the student. It is a positive and nurturing environment where children have time to read, ask questions, think for themselves, explore, invent and play. They have time to develop their interests and passions. They are encouraged to follow their dreams.
Homeschooling parents have long understood the benefits of guiding and directing their children's education without government interference. They enjoy spending the best part of their day with their children and learning together as a family. They know the advantage of shaping and molding children of character. Parents can weave meaningful discussions about faith, citizenship, service and character into all the various aspects of everyday living and learning without restriction.
Dr. Martin Luther King said that “the function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.” Because of the intensity of thought and strength of character developed in children within a homeschool setting, homeschooled students aren’t as apt to follow the crowd. They are more likely to lead the way. The mission of homeschooling, therefore, is to allow loving parents to do what they instinctively know is best for their children. Children will then emerge from their school years with maturity and confidence!
Whether it is School Choice Week or not, take every opportunity to shine a bright spotlight on homeschooling and true education liberty. Encourage and inspire other parents. Whenever and wherever possible, let them know that they, too, can homeschool freely and successfully without government funding!
When the opportunity arises, share the benefits of homeschooling freely with others. Here are five things you can do:
1. Share information about upcoming Start Homeschooling with Confidence workshops! Participants will learn more about the value of true education liberty and the difference that makes in homeschooling.
2. Share the "Preserving Homeschool Freedom in Maine" video above with all homeschoolers to help them understand the importance of true education liberty.
3. Support parents in need of assistance in their efforts to find quality, affordable (and even free!) homeschool resources to teach their children successfully.
4. Watch this video featuring Maine Representative Heidi Sampson and then talk to your legislators! Help them to understand our opposition to School Choice legislation that includes homeschoolers and invite them to stand with us for true homeschool freedom!
5. Share the printable brochure below with legislators, fellow homeschoolers, and others in your community!