Homeschooling Families: Ready for the Next Decade
A Foundation for Ongoing Conversations
(Informed by the National Homeschool
Association's Roundtable Conference held at Becket, Massachusetts, October,
* People are born ready to learn. Learning involves everyone
everyday. Living and learning are not separate activities. Learning cannot
be contained in a place or time. Learning is too wonderful and powerful
to limit it by turning it over to conventional schools.
* Children need the love and support of their families and communities,
just as adults do. Throughout time, families have raised their children
to be knowledgeable and competent adults. Having a sincere desire to homeschool
qualifies a parent to homeschool. A homeschool is a good place for people
to heal from the inaccuracies and injustices that accompany labels such
as ADD and LD.
* People gain social experience and skills by interacting with a diverse
group of people of all ages. Homeschooling provides opportunities for such
interaction easily and naturally.
* Hundreds of thousands of families are showing that homeschoolers
do not need to be regulated by the state. There is no evidence that any
regulations foster better homeschooling.
* To maintain homeschooling freedoms, homeschoolers learn what rights
and responsibilities they have, refuse to do more than the minimum required
by law, and avoid setting precedents that exceed the law and cause difficulty
for homeschoolers. Laws and court cases cannot protect our freedoms. Any
law, even one that is viewed as good, can do damage. No law, no matter how
good, is enough. Exercising our rights and responsibilities daily and consistently,
even on seemingly small points, is essential.
* We oppose special regulations or requirements for small groups of
homeschoolers, such as those who want to play sports; those who have been
labeled "at risk," "ADD," "LD," etc.; and
those who have been accused of truancy. Increased regulation of any homeschooler
can easily lead to increased regulation of other or all homeschoolers. Homeschoolers
are not joining the bandwagon to beat up on those for whom conventional
schools do not work.
* Attempts of homeschoolers to regulate each other are unnecessary,
complicated, divisive, and dangerous.
Federal and State Goals and Standard
We are concerned about the way state and federal standards in
education, standardized tests and assessments, and schooltowork programs
are moving conventional schools toward "compulsory education"
(different from the currently required "compulsory attendance")
which will undermine the basic freedoms needed to maintain a free society.
We are committed to resisting the homeschooling movement being drawn into
this web of compulsory education.
Not Mixing Ccauses
For homeschooling to remain about homeschooling, we must resist
being used by others for their agendas.
There are many approaches.to homeschooling that work. A major
strength of homeschooling is the diversity of people, methods, and philosophies
involved. Having close connections across diversity lines is a radical act.
Homeschoolers foster diversity by:
* Respecting and celebrating diversity.
* Respecting anyone's desire to homeschool while remaining true to
principles that make homeschooling freedoms possible.
* Understanding that what supports one family's homeschool might not
be right for another's.
* Working to maintain the rights of families to make their own decisions
regarding the education of their members.
* Developing and maintaining inclusive organizations across cultural
and religious diversity lines.
* Describing to others the diversity within the homeschooling community.
* Refusing to speak for homeschoolers; rather, providing forums for
individuals' voices to be heard.
The knowledge and effective support homeschoolers offer one
another are major strengths of the homeschooling movement. Homeschoolers
who create and participate in support groups, share resources, and gather
for activities and discussions are making an important contribution to the
growth and stability of the homeschooling movement. Grassroots organizing
and networking have been a source of the homeschooling community's strength.
We would not expect the government to give away tax money with
no strings attached and no accountability. Government programs to supplement
homeschoolers' educational resources (by providing services or funding)
would have accountability strings attached. We realize that vouchers given
to families would lead to increased government presence in our homeschools.
Vouchers inevitably lead to increased government regulation and unacceptable
reductions in our homeschooling freedoms.
Homeschooling strengthens families and communities. Strong homeschools
are an asset to our communities and our nation. They provide alternatives
to conventional schools, save taxpayers' money, and provide valuable perspectives
on learning and education.
This statement was written to stimulate discussion, not to speak
for all homeschoolers.
YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO REPRODUCE THIS AND DISTRIBUTE IT WIDELY.
P.O. Box 290, Hartland
Voice Mail #513-772-9580
Contents of this page Copyright NHA 1996.
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