by Katie Julius

As Christian home educators in California, we, surprisingly, have a lot of freedoms. While we get to enjoy these freedoms, mostly unacknowledged and unnoticed in our everyday lives, it’s easy for us to forget that these freedoms came at a cost. It may not have been a cost to us, but someone paid the price–sometimes the ultimate sacrifice of their life–so that we can be free.

We have freedom to educate our children in the way that we see is best for them. It’s kind of crazy to think that this is even a “freedom.” In California, we enjoy very little government oversight of private education. But if you look at the history of the homeschool movement over the last forty years, this is something that was hard-fought.

I remember when I was in high school and my mom was homeschooling my brother. There were many cities that were trying to impose daytime curfew laws for minors. I know that sounds so strange to even imagine, considering the current homeschool environment today where we can take our children outside at any point of the day without even a thought that we might be questioned by law enforcement. 

Taking a look at the history of homeschooling in California, it is littered with legislation and court cases that have shaped homeschooling into what it is today. Thanks, in large part, to CHEA, HSLDA, FPM, and parent home educator pioneers, who took great risks and sacrificed much, we have the great freedoms that we experience today.

We have freedom of religion, speech, assembly, and more. We are afforded these freedoms because of the great wisdom (and compromise) of our Founding Fathers in those early Founding Documents of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. These freedoms, though, have come at a great cost – the lives of many who have fought for them – beginning in the 1700’s in the Revolutionary War and through to today. It is because of the courage and bravery of the men and women who fought to gain and now fight to protect the freedom we have in this country–freedoms we so often take for granted.

We have freedom in Christ. There are so many verses that speak to the freedom that believers experience because of Christ’s death and resurrection. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV), “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” As Christ-followers, we can have the confidence to live free because Christ has set us free. We can be free from guilt, worry, anxiety, shame, the list goes on.

It’s easy for us to fall back into the chains that tie us down and prevent us from experiencing the peace and joy that comes from Christ. Those chains that Satan wants to keep us in to prevent us from living life free. The chains that can wreak havoc on relationships – both with others and our Savior.

Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price and then conquered death so we can have the ultimate freedom.

As we celebrate Independence Day, when the United States was “born” as she declared her independence from Great Britain, may we take a few moments to remember that freedom is not free and that in many cases, our freedom is not guaranteed. We must continue to stand up and fight for what we believe in to preserve what we have for our children and our children’s children.

Gone are the days of sitting idly by as our freedoms are eroded away one by one. Ronald Reagan said it best. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”