During the last week in January, there is a nationwide public awareness event called School Choice Week. This is an effort 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."
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, private, religious education, 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 will be the real and important "choice" facing parents in an environment of "school choice." HOME is here to make sure that parents remain free to make that choice!
You can help to preserve education liberty! 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!
When the opportunity arsies, share the option of homeschooling with another family. Here are two resources that will help:
1. Share information about upcoming Getting Started in Homeschooling workshops happening throughout Maine!
2. Provide parents with a FREE packet full of homeschool information, so that they can make an informed choice. Contact HOME to order one today!
My grandchildren have been learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have learned from them that he had a lot to say about education. Dr. King said, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character -- that is the goal of true education.”
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 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, and are encouraged to follow their dreams.
Homeschooling parents get to spend the best part of their day with their children. So they also have the advantage of shaping and molding children of character. They can place an emphasis on integrity while learning. Parents can weave meaningful discussions about faith, citizenship, service and character into all the various aspects of everyday living and learning.
Dr. 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.
Our world needs thoughtful leaders of good character. Dr. King knew this, and today's homeschool parents know this, too. I am thankful that here in the great State of Maine we value the vital role that parents play in the education of their children, and that homeschooling is a viable option available to them. I am hopeful that the good people of Maine will contiue to protect the fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children.