by Roy Hanson
Roy Hanson, FPM’s Founder, wrote this article in 1998, but the reasons for being prepared as a private home educator have not changed. We hope you are equipped and encouraged by this timeless article!
As the home education movement has grown, so have the attacks against it. Be prepared to defend your God-given liberties in directing your own children’s education.
1. Know why you’re teaching your children at home. Using Scripture, write down the mandates for parents upon which you base your convictions. Be prepared to articulate your reasons for teaching your children at home and the Scriptural basis for the authority you have over your children.
2. Know what the law does and does not require. Follow the law as much as your conscience and convictions allow. We are a nation under the rule of law, not the rule of men. Government officials should be ministers of the law under God for good. Their position does not grant arbitrary power. We should show professional respect to them and their positions while respectfully declining to follow any unlawful request or demand which would require us to disobey God. Keep current in your knowledge of the law. The California Homeschool Manual and The High School Handbook provide detailed information on legal private alternatives and requirements for homeschooling. These books are available for purchase at cheaofca.org/store.
3. Know other homeschoolers. Be connected with other local, private home educators. There are many homeschool groups providing parents with sup- port and opportunities for students to interact and learn. You can find homeschool resources by county at cheaofca.org/directory. Encourage your group to join CHEA’s Support Network, a statewide network of Christian homeschool groups and leaders that will provide access to further resources.
4. Know what’s happening. Ensure you are on FPM’s email list. This will keep you aware of current threats to your freedoms and provide you with information about how you can advocate for private home education! Encourage your homeschool friends to join so they will also be aware of the happenings at the Capitol. Join our email list at fpmca.org/contactus.
5. Know your representative. Get to know your state Assembly Member and state Senator now, before we need their votes in a legislative confrontation. There are two commonly known, successful ways to influence our legislators.
One is to have a high-powered lobbyist with lots of money—tens of thousands of dollars to contribute to election campaigns. The other is to have a well-informed, well-networked, competent, and active grassroots organization. Our strategy is for you to get to know your state assemblyman and state senator in a positive way. Building a relationship with your legislators—before you need to appeal to them about particular legislation—is an effective strategy.
For suggestions and guidelines on how to do this, visit fpmca.org/getinvolved. Our website is packed with practical information on how to advocate for your homeschool freedoms, as well as current information and Action Alerts. You can also participate in FPM’s Advocacy from Home program, where we teach you how to build relationships with your state legislators. For more information, visit fpmca.org/advocacyfromhome. Those who oppose private homeschooling are doing what they can to eliminate private home education. What will you do to preserve your freedoms?
6. Be prepared for legal challenges. Have the best legal defense available to keep you out of court or, if necessary, win in court. Join (and urge others to join) the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Membership is vital should you be contacted by a truant officer or social worker from Child Protective Services. HSLDA will cover all attorney fees and court costs of members for legal challenges to your private homeschooling. The staff members of FPM are not attorneys and cannot help you with legal challenges. If you choose not to join HSLDA, know exactly what you will do if you receive a knock at the door. Make sure you have a definite commitment from an attorney experienced in this kind of case who will defend you. Know all of the potential court and legal costs and the procedures to follow now.
Go to hslda.org/membership to join. HSLDA offers group and vocational discounts.
7. Know you are God’s. Pray and walk in obedience to the Lord. Write down Scriptures that assure you of God’s guidance and protection. Trust God to work through you—and to intervene on your behalf—for His glory and your good.
In faith, confidently step into your homeschool journey. While it is true that the Lord is sovereign over the events of this world, it is just as true that He works through you and holds you responsible to exercise stewardship over what He has given you.
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”
This article was republished on Family Protection Ministries’ website on September 22, 2022. Used with permission.
Roy and his wife Debra were married in 1972. They educated their children at home through high school. Roy holds a master’s degree in public policy and has many years of experience in legislative analysis and action. Before working on behalf of California homeschoolers full time, he was the Director of the Public Policy Resource Center in Southern California (‘81-‘86). Prior to that, Roy served on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin (‘77 to ‘81). Roy founded FPM in 1986.