Friday, October 21, 2011

Homeschooling...You've come a loooong way baby 1.Legal

I can still remember my mother's instructions.  "If a truant officer comes to the door, ya'll (I grew up in Texas) are to go out the back door, over the fence, and to the neighbor's house" (who happened to be a state representative...probably my first introduction to politics).  It was the fear in her voice that really caught my attention.  You see...we were homeschooling.  My parents had made the decision to pull my two brothers and I out of a local Christian school and teach us from home...for more reasons than I will go into here.  I knew that some of our friends had been taken to court for homeschooling but, as a child, I really couldn't comprehend what the fuss was all about.  It all seemed so far removed from the reality that I was living.  I was never afraid, but I knew that my parents were.  Fear was menacing and stalking at every daytime errand.  They trusted God to protect us...but nevertheless, we rarely went out during the day. 

At one point, we had several homeschool families join together to form an "umbrella school" in an effort to insure that were legally covered.   This was just a legal song and dance and we all continued to homeschool by families in our own homes.  Although, there was discussion of schooling together if it came down to it.  ( kids were able to run all over the back rooms of a local doctor's office...who was a homeschool dad...while our parents had regular evening meetings.  That is a blast for a 10 year old kid!  Not to mention all of the lollipops that we devoured.)

In addition to this, my parents had a "last resort" plan to move across state lines, if homeschooling became illegal in Texas, to Louisiana where my dad could still commute to his job.  As a child, it all just sounded so exciting and adventurous.  I could just imagine us stealing away in the middle of the night evading police as the Von Trapp family had done so many years ago...haha. 

However, this was the 1980's and we were in the United States of America.  It wasn't legal...or illegal to homeschool.  There were really no laws and no legal precedents concerning homeschooling.  Someone would have to set those precedents and introduce legislation to protect the rights of parents to educate their children.

25 Years Later...
Fast forward twenty five years and here I am, homeschooling my six children (well...really only three are officially schooling but the little ones think they are too).  Denim jumpers and fear of truant officers are a thing of the past...Haha!

The idea of getting into trouble with the law no longer seems exciting and adventurous to me.  I love these precious little people that the Lord has entrusted to me and I want them here with me.  I now understand fully the fear that I could sense in my parents so many years ago.  (Amazing how much better you understand your parents after having you own children!)  So, it would seem that love and fear are intertwined...twin emotions that will forever accompany each other because with love comes fear of loss.  The Lord is teaching me how to trust Him with my kids in all areas and follow after Him with "reckless abandonment"...not that I am reckless or abandoning my kids:)

I am grateful that I have been given the privilege to homeschool without  fear of my children being taken away.  A gift...neither fought for nor earned by me...freely given and yet not freely won by those who have come before me.  I am truly grateful for those trailblazers (and proud that my parent and in-laws are a few of them) who came before me on this homeschooling journey.  I am also grateful for those homeschool advocacy groups who watch legislation that may affect homeschoolers and step in when necessary.  I would really never have the time to do this myself.

EVERY freedom that we have, has been won through one type of battle or another...some physical and some legal.  Homeschooling is now a freedom that many Americans enjoy.  I am ever grateful to those who fought this battle for me and those who continue to work to safeguard us so that we can legally homeschool our children.

1 comment:

  1. I've heard stories from Josh Carden's mother... keeping the curtains drawn, not going out much during the day... So glad your parents and others stood for liberty and freedom in protecting our rights, to raise our children by God's design, and not the government's (no condemnation for those who have kids in public/private institutions). Thanks for sharing!