I made it to the library yesterday to hear my friend's talk on homeschooling. See this post to get details. This is a particularly small library and not one that I use since I do not live in this county. It is a neighboring county though and the library is within twenty minutes of our house. When we arrived, we noticed a packed out parking lot and saw WCQR's (our local Christian radio station) van among the cars. My oldest daughter and I headed into the library, to a small room that was filled to overflowing with people. I grabbed a seat in the back and recognized many local homeschooling moms in the crowd. There was some local media there doing their reporting.
The topic for the program was homeschooling methods. Sonya did very well covering the Classical, the Charlotte Mason, the Montessori, and the Eclectic methods, along with talking about unschooling. It was very informative, even for someone like me, who has homeschooled for several years. It's always good to reevaluate. She also did very well keeping the crowd under control and not letting discussions, debates, or comments get out of hand or carry on forever. There were a handful of people there who did not currently homeschool but were looking into it. Questions were asked and answered for them and it was very successful.
I have to admit, I am thankful that the local media has been involved in this situation. Many people have such misconceptions about homeschoolers. I think this has been a wonderful opportunity for much of that to be clarified. Another thing is that this has exposed a government official who tried to use his power to infringe on the constitutional rights of citizens who just happen to homeschool. Also, the statement the mayor made about the public schools "loosing" money for each child who is homeschooled just blows my mind. It seems simple to me. How do they "loose" it if it was never given to them in the first place? Maybe the mayor needs a lesson in logic...I'm just sayin'. Sonya also made this statement. There are roughly two million kids that are registered as homeschoolers in the US (there are many more that are not registered). If it takes $7000 to educate a child (more in some states) and you multiply that times two million, you learn that it would take an ADDITIONAL fourteen billion dollars to educate them. Where's that going to come from? Aren't we saving the school system and our government money? Let me also make clear that homeschoolers pay taxes and we also purchase books for our children. We DO NOT get any kind of tax break, credit, or reimbursement for books, supplies, registration fees, etc. We don't get free lunches. We are absolutely ok with that. It's a very small price to pay for the enormous benefits we receive. It's just a fact that not many people are aware of. The money comes from our pockets.
Anyway, I can't wait to spend next week talking about this and using this as a lesson with my children next week. I'm hoping to pull together a little unit study on the First Amendment and how this situation relates to that. I also want to throw a few facts out to you. Sonya pulled these together and I believe they apply nationwide. I believe these statistics came from NHERI.
Homeschooling grows at a rate of 7-12% per year in the US.
65.3% of homeshool students watch one hour or less of television per day.
1.6% of homeschool students watch 4-5 hours of television per day, as opposed to the nationwide average of 19.5%.
In a study of over 7,000 students who were homeschooled, NONE were unemployed and NONE were on welfare.
In closing, I just want to say that I know many of you have children in public school. That was your decision. At one time, our oldest was in public school (for kindergarten). It was there that we noticed the decline in the public educational system as a whole. From there, we prayed and studied which led to our conviction to homeschool. It was a spiritual decision. Our lives changed forever with that decision. We went from being a two income family to one. Looking back, that was such a minor adjustment to all of the things we've gained. My kids are at my side 24/7 and I love, love, love that. I know they're safe. I know they are learning. I know they've been given many opportunities and avenues to explore that they normally would not have had. I know that I am fulfilling my role as a parent every single second of my life. Are there days when I'm tired? Of course. Are there days when I feel inadequate? You bet. Are there days when I feel that someone else could teach them better than myself or my husband? Absolutely not. God gave us these two beautiful girls. He trusted us to raise them and teach them His commands. The best thing I can do to honor God is to do exactly what I am doing. I hope I never live in a world where that is compromised.
Proverbs 6:20 My son, keep your father's commands and do not forsake your mother's teaching. 21 Bind them upon your heart forever; fasten them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. 23 For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the corrections of discipline are the way to life....
Proverbs 17:6 Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.
Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.