by Danny Ehinger
A few years ago in San Luis Obispo County an ordinance was being considered to help with truancy. Basically, the ordinance would allow law enforcement to take school age children into custody without cause during school hours. This presented a problem for the homeschool community and we were alerted by HSLDA to take action and we did. Many came to the meeting where the ordinance was presented to say why it was unfair and unconstitutional–so many that the county decided to pull the item and have a second meeting to address homeschoolers concerns.
I was able to attend the second meeting with many other homeschool families. All of the county officials were there, too. The room was filled with tension. The county would speak and share some of the reasons for the ordinance and the homeschool families would begin to explain why that was not constitutional. The county would then stop the homeschoolers from speaking and ask for time to explain. We listened as well as we could, but all we heard was justification from the county. When we could, we would protest only to be shut down as the county requested more time to explain. The meeting was frustrating for both parties until one county official stood up to clarify what the meeting was about. To set us at ease he lead with, “We are pulling the ordinance and going back to the drawing board. We just want to tell you what we were thinking in putting it forward.” He closed with these words, “Frankly, we didn’t know that you all existed.”
I could not get that line out of my head. It began to bother me. How could they not know we existed? After some consideration I realized that not only was he right, but that not being visible was our fault. We, as a homeschool community are strong…when we decide it is in our interest. Outside of that, we are busy and don’t pay much attention to the world around us. I am not throwing stones here; just being observant. I think the reason we are so “to ourselves” is due to the persecution homeschooling families faced when the revolution began. It was best policy to stay out of the public eye and avoid the conflict and injustice many faced. It is not a good feeling to receive looks from the suspecting public and to have our motives and faith questioned and looked down upon.
But times have changed and we need to adapt.
Today, homeschooling is much more understood and accepted than in the early years. In fact, the tide has changed so much that if we were to assert ourselves and show the world what God is doing in this movement, we may be able to take our rightful place as the leaders in education. The public school system has failed and is being exposed more and more for its socialist leanings and its practice of indoctrination that many are looking for a way out. How many families looking for hope and a way out of the public school system today would say what that county official said about our community, “Frankly, we didn’t know that you all existed”?
As a community we are strong. Why? Because in this world that is falling into chaos, we are building on the only firm foundation, God’s truth, the Word of God. We are taking our God-given responsibilities that will bless us and our children. By homeschooling our children, we are not only benefiting our communities by preparing better citizens; we are on the front lines defending freedoms. Not only did we demonstrate this with the county ordinance that we stopped, but again during a face-off with intrusive lawmakers in Sacramento. We stood up to them and they stepped away from their own legislation.
We are the canary in the coal mine of parental rights and are, simply by continuing to home educate, pushing back tyranny and standing up for our God-given freedoms. The only problem is that not many outside of our community know we exist. We need to make ourselves visible to the community around us. Making ourselves visible will give us a sense of who we are and help us to be encouraged.
We do not need to make ourselves visible for our sake alone. This idea is not about tooting our own horn. We need to make ourselves visible to reach out to all of the families looking for a way out and to push back on much of the homeschool stereotypes. We need to make ourselves visible for each other as well. Imagine living near another homeschool family and not knowing it? What a shame when we have so much in common and could support each other.
We need to be unified by an idea of who and what we are. With that our ideas will be refreshed and our efforts reborn. An example of this was the “I Love New York!” campaign. I watched a documentary on this slogan and it explained how New York had a terrible reputation and the people felt like they had little hope living there. Then this slogan was introduced and it gave people a new idea about who they were, where they lived, and how to feel about where they lived.
Homeschoolers today are in the same place that New York was. But, I believe homeschooling is a revival toward God in our nation and that we have much work to do and need to be refreshed and take a look at where we have come.
We are Homeschool Strong.