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, 1996)


Homeschooling Works!

* 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.

Regulations

* 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.

Diversity

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.

Support

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.

Vouchers

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.

Conclusion

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.




National Homeschool Association
P.O. Box 290, Hartland
MI 48353-0290
Voice Mail #513-772-9580



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