Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 2nd Grade :)

Freedom is Priceless

on July 2, 2013
(Excerpts are taken from this article in Home Education Magazine, and this article at Home School Legal Defense Association.)

I am proud to be celebrating this 4th of July the wonderful freedoms of a homeschool life afforded in our sweet land of liberty!!! Did you know that our country’s homeschool freedoms have been attained through much sacrifice on the part of our homeshcooling forefathers and foremothers? “A few decades ago parents took tremendous sacrifices and risks to follow God’s leading to train their children at home. These families faced fines, jail, and even the threat of the state taking their children away. These families held on to their convictions and God honored them in an incredible way. After 15 years of litigation and legislative battles, we won the right to homeschool in all 50 states.” Now, thank God, educational freedom is ours for the taking because of these parents and the vigilant work of the Home School Legal Defense Association to protect family, religious rights, and homeschool freedoms.  “Homeschoolers have had tremendous success before the Congress and the state legislatures because we are not asking for a handout but simply to be left alone. Private homeschooling is thriving, with no help from the government. The studies all show homeschoolers are academically above average from the elementary level all the way through college. Homeschoolers have earned the right to be left alone.” Freedom, bedrock to the homeschool movement, has been hard earned, but wow, what privileges we have now! Thank God for our freedom!!!

Sacrifices of Freedom-Minded Homeschoolers Reflect Traditional American Spirit

Many homeschoolers are God-fearing, country loving, individualists full of self-reliant American pioneering spirit. Many Amercians have chosen the freedoms of homeschooling at a sacrifice–especially a personal economic sacrifice in order to live off of one income so that one parent can stay at home and teach. We proudly value family enough to let go of some material luxuries as necessary. Forbes magazine recently disproved the notion that those families who are well off are the only ones who can afford homeschool. “At least 1.5 million students receive home-based academic instruction. The ranks of homeschoolers are rising rapidly across every social strata, faith and ethnicity. While many families lack sufficient means for someone to stay home, it’s not generally those affluent enough to afford exclusive parochial education. The highest homeschool participation appears in households with incomes ranging from $25,000 to $75,000. The homeschool community reflects a cross-section of Americans; the children of truck drivers and lawyers, whites and blacks, rich and poor, Christians and unbelievers.” Christian homeschoolers valiantly make the sacrifice because we strongly believe that what we are doing for our children is right in the eyes of God.

 Our nation’s founding fathers also sacrificed their own economic well-being in the fight for freedom. Freedom can not be maintained without sacrifice. Sadly, freedom, won at great cost in blood and treasure, can be lost by a future generation tempted by false material gain………

Which Do You Choose: Material Gain or Freedom?

Homeschooling today is represented by two groups: private independent homeschools where children are taught at home free from government intervention, and the much newer group– home-based Charter schools where the public school system directs and oversees most aspects of a child’s education. Although the two groups seem similar at first glance since they both fall under the title of “homeschooling”, the philosophies and mindsets are as different as can be. Today I will delve into the differences between private homeschool and home-based charter school so that we may continue to make informed and wise educational choices for our families. I urge anyone who may have any interest in Charter school to read on and fully consider the implications of enrolling in charter school. I urge you all to read on and consider the freedom of choosing to homeschool!

Charter school  seems like a good choice to some and is gaining popularity with families considering homeschool because of reasons like support from an overseeing teacher, accountability to a functioning school, tests and grades to prove progress, and scores on file to present someday should you need them. But that is not all that is alluring. Charter schools offer free computers and free curriculum. Resource teachers are available when you need them. There are reimbursements for educational supplies and extracurricular activities. Charter school homeschool sounds like a very tempting idea. Free money sounds too good to pass up. The drawback however, is that doing charter school is doing public school in your home. The problem with that is “when we interact with public schools, we are drawn into their values, standards, mentality, assumptions, and approach to education.” The other drawback, and deal breaker for our family, is that doing charter school ultimately means forfeiting freedom.

What is the big deal about freedom, when I need confidence and help in order to make homeschool happen?? If smooth and easy homeschool days are what you are looking for, realize that enrolling your children in charter school may actually be a recipe for burnout. “Your child is expected to use the curriculum sent to you, even if you don’t care for it, or if it doesn’t fit your child’s learning style. He may have to continue doing lessons he already “knows” because the assignment is required.” Plus, 4 to 6 hours of instruction a day is required. When curriculum is dry or tedious or not well suited to a child, the child is dangerously placed in a position to begin to dislike learning. Then confidence to teach begins to erode in a parent’s heart as she inevitably starts thinking, “I can’t teach!” or “Homeschooling is not for me!” Next comes burnout, and throwing in the towel. Oh how I wish families with this experience had given private independent homeschooling a chance first! In homeschool, you have the freedom to move at your own pace, have a flexible schedule, have shorter schooldays, and choose your own curriculum. I was pleasantly shocked when I found out how little is required by the state of private homeschoolers in the way of records. So much freedom! Plus, homeschool is a purposeful approach to education. “Thought is given to the direction and depth of education, rather than accepting a series of requirements and plodding towards its completion.” Being purpose driven in all your endeavours makes a world of difference. Also, studies show that homeschoolers are academically above (4 grade levels on average!), but studies show that homeschooled charter students are graduating on par with students who attend a public school (which we know unfortunately is pretty low!). After all those good intentions of home-based charter school families, how sad. Proof that public school methods, whether used at school or home, produce similar undesirable end results.

Families who enroll in an alternative public school program must make uncomfortable trade-offs. Charter school families are saying, “In exchange for resources, guidance, and money, we agree to adopt your values, use your curriculum, take your tests, and comply with your standards. We realize that if we skip today’s math lesson, we still have to make sure that our children can pass the required math test. This means that skipping geometry altogether is not really an option, and that things like the music that the children love will just have to wait.” Homeschoolers, on the other hand, are saying, “We are taking fundamental responsibility for choosing the values, approaches, methods, curriculum, and assessment for our children’s education. We may choose to purchase a curriculum that tells us what to study each day and follow that curriculum precisely. Or we may develop our own curriculum, based on our children’s interests, strengths, abilities, and unique timetables. What is central to our homeschooling is that we are freely choosing each of these things. We willingly take on the responsibility for our children’s education and are free to change any time, to make mid-course corrections, to skip math today and do two math lessons tomorrow, or to skip today’s math entirely because it’s a review of things our children already know, or skip geometry altogether because music is more important and we only have so much time and energy.” Homeschool is total freedom down to the most minute details of education

The Home School Legal Defense Association together with homeschooling families, have been working hard for the last 20 years to convince legislators and the general public that homeschooling works and that homeschoolers do not need to be regulated by the government. “The homeschool movement has provided families with the opportunity to take greater responsibility for their lives; to discover that they can do things without the direction, control, or regulation of conventional schools and without the “assistance” or interference of the government. We are finally at a point where homeschooling is pretty well accepted, although we have to continue to work to maintain the freedoms we have reclaimed. We are under the same government that once heavily restricted and prohibited homeschooling. If we begin crawling back to the government to drink from the public trough, we risk our liberty.” As more and more parents are choosing to accept government funds from charter schools to educate their children and create small public schools within their homes, we are risking our homeschool liberties. I believe that one of the biggest current threats to homeschool liberty is the growing interest and participation in charter schools.

The High Price of “Free” Government Money

“If more and more homeschoolers choose to become dependent on government money, we need to realize that controls will be added, and we will not be able to break free. As homeschoolers “yoke” together with the public schools through charter school programs and cyber schools, the public schools and the state will once again dictate to us our curriculum, teacher qualifications, and methods.”

(As the Home School Legal Defense Association says, “This is not idle conjecture. It is already happening.”)

“Programs for Non-Public Students (PNPS’s) create a highly visible group of families who are willing to accept greater regulation and control by public schools and the government than are most homeschoolers. Because of their high visibility and their willingness to follow conventional practices, families enrolled in PNPSs threaten to become the standard by which homeschooling is understood by the general public and regulated by the government and the educational establishment, thereby unnecessarily increasing state regulation of homeschooling. PNPSs give the impression to legislators, the general public, and the educational establishment that homeschoolers are comfortable with and willing to accept public schools as appropriate and correct settings for homeschooling. PNPSs seem to say that public schools are so important and essential that we need them even to homeschool. If chartered homeschooling becomes the norm, those homeschoolers who resist state regulation will be considered a fringe group who must be forced into submission.”

“Cyber charter schools offer great opportunities for entrepreneurs to make money. They receive money from the government. There are no expenses for school buildings, transportation, lunches, athletic programs, etc. Since parents do most of the teaching, few teachers are required, so salary costs are much lower. It is much easier to make money this way than through a conventional private school that has to depend on tuition and independent fund raising. Despite the differences in philosophy and requirements, marketers either do not understand or are deliberately blurring the extremely important distinctions between homeschools and cyber charter schools because homeschoolers are their most promising target market”

It seems that most people I talk to to differentiate little between families who independently educate at home and families who do charter school at home. We are all known as “homeschoolers”. Can someone enrolled in full time public school be called a homeschooler? Despite all of the attractions for homeschoolers, charter schools are supporting homeschooling in name only. “Because cyber charter schools are based in homes, many people, including some homeschoolers, will assume they are homeschools. However, we don’t use the term “homeschoolers” for students in work-study programs or in schools that have open campuses, or those taking correspondence courses or doing their school work at home temporarily because of health problems. Although people like this are literally studying in their homes, or at least outside of conventional classrooms, they are not identified as ‘homeschoolers.'”

A Complex Issue

“Homeschoolers have worked long and hard for many years to protect the right of parents to choose for their children an education consistent with their principles and beliefs. We understand that in the best of all worlds, parents who are willing to accept all the restrictions and drawbacks of a cyber charter school should have the right to enroll their children in one. There may be times when a cyber charter school, despite all its disadvantages, may be better than the local public school. So in the best of all worlds, cyber charter schools would co-exist harmoniously with homeschools. Students in cyber charter schools would not be called homeschoolers. The general public would understand that cyber charter schools are regulated in many ways that homeschools are not. Parents could choose among educational options that include homeschools and cyber charter schools.

Unfortunately, we do not live in the best of all worlds. Given the advantages cyber charter schools gain by recruiting homeschoolers and their aggressive marketing strategy, they are likely to call their students homeschoolers. Even if they didn’t, much of the general public would still lump homeschoolers and cyber charter school students together and call them all homeschoolers. Only people who knew a lot about the subject would grasp the important distinction between the two. In addition, there are parents who want to homeschool or think it would be best for their children, but they think they don’t have enough money or confidence or education or whatever. These people may decide they can manage a cyber charter school program, and they will want to call themselves homeschoolers.

How can we protect our right and freedom to homeschool without interfering with the rights and freedom of families who want to participate in such programs? How do we as a society balance the needs and wants of a given individual with the needs and wants of other individuals and the good of the whole society? If my freedom is being undermined by what you are doing, do I have the right to prevent you from doing it, even though this limits your choices? Or do you have a moral imperative not to do it?”

Trust the Lord and Live in Freedom

As for us, total freedom of choice in homeschooling sounds right for our family. Give us us a life that does not separate us from our inherent parental rights and duties, or question our God given wisdom to chart the paths of our own children. The responsibility of freedom is awesome! To be accountable to virtually no one but God. The charge is so overwhelming sometimes that it drives me to my knees in prayer, right where I ought to be.

It takes courage, even heroic willpower for a family to choose freedom over free money. Our family has decided that we do not need the government’s “free” money. The price is too high. “The soul of homeschooling has its foundation built on the incredible sacrifices of many parents who risked all in order to win the right to be free from suffocating government control. To be free to teach their children according to God’s ways and in obedience to His commands. God honors those who honor Him and who trust in His sovereign love and power.”  Thank you homeschool forefathers and mothers who fought for my freedom! Thank you HSLDA for what you have done! Most of all, thank you God for how you have honored our decision!

We have personally experienced God’s blessings over our decision to independently homeschool time and time again. Every time I look back through our homeschool adventures pictured and written up here on this blog, I am overwhelmed, sometimes choked up, thinking about how Jesus’ Precious Little Lambs is blessed of the Lord!!! I never would have known it was in us if we had not made this choice in faith.

Dear friends, God is exceedingly and abundantly able to provide for your family if you will dare to trust Him for all your financial provision and educational guidance. God will honor your faith to stand apart! As He honored the sacrifice of our forefathers, he will honor your sacrifice for the sake of freedom! May the call for freedom swell within your heart this 4th of July!

.

My country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died!
Land of the Pilgrim’s pride!
From every mountain side,
Let freedom ring!

Our father’s God to, Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King!

.

Thanks for passing this post along to someone else!
The following article highlights many of the benefits of the freedoms of homeschool in a succinct and poignant way. Its a great article to share!
Want to Tell the State to Stick it? Homeschool Your Kids by Forbes Magazine.
 

4th of July Fridge Art

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Teach Some Patriotic Songs!

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Noah’s 4th of July Pattern Work

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My Big Guy’s Wish Came True–He Caught His 3rd Lizard

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Camping at Samuel P. Taylor State Park Was Gorgeous!

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Communing with Nature

(Millipedes are Safe to Hold)

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Cool Fungi

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Faith is Learning Her Letter Sounds So Quickly!

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A Wise Piece of Advice: When Assigning a Chore, Always Give the Job to the Youngest Person In the House Who Can Get the Task Done

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“varied experience and often a more purposeful approach to their education. There seems to be more thought given to the direction and depth of their education, rather than the typical public school students who accept a series of requirements and plod toward their completion.” – See more at: http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/articles/highschool/homeschooling-comes-of-age/#sthash.ZgHoaJok.dpuf

“varied experience and often a more purposeful approach to their education. There seems to be more thought given to the direction and depth of their education, rather than the typical public school students who accept a series of requirements and plod toward their completion.” – See more at: http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/articles/highschool/homeschooling-comes-of-age/#sthash.ZgHoaJok.dpuf

“varied experience and often a more purposeful approach to their education. There seems to be more thought given to the direction and depth of their education, rather than the typical public school students who accept a series of requirements and plod toward their completion.” – See more at: http://thehomeschoolmagazine.com/articles/highschool/homeschooling-comes-of-age/#sthash.ZgHoaJok.dpuf

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