August 28, 2018

Controversial Topics and the Family

When I speak to various groups about homeschooling, I’m often asked what subjects we taught our homeschooled children.

I usually say that I was the “superintendent” of our homeschool and that I supported my wife, the master teacher. My favorite saying to our children was: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I promised to make sure that was true when I returned home for the day.

Of course, discipline is key to a good and effective homeschool experience. However, most of my input was related to our free-ranging and energetic discussions at mealtimes and other family gatherings. We had fun discussing politics, history, theology and everything in between.

In fact, we had such vigorous discussions that some guests wondered if we were upset with each other. Although we were all free to strongly express and defend our positions, we required everyone to be respectful and stressed the difference between debating and arguing. That was a difficult concept for some of our family.

Like many homeschoolers, we loved to question everything and research the facts to ensure that we were reading accurate information. The Apostle Paul said that the Bereans “received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11b). We encouraged our children not to accept things at face value.

I was reminded of this as I read reviews of Dinesh D’Souza’s recent book and movie titled “Death of a Nation.” These ideas, although controversial and startling to many, should be used by homeschoolers as an educational opportunity to discuss with their children.

The experience of dialoguing about controversial topics in our home was invaluable in helping our own children. They learned how to think and process information and how to present their thoughts clearly, concisely and persuasively.

A relative once complained that “you all will discuss anything with your children!” We valued the opportunity to have informed debates, as opposed to shunning such conversations and allowing others to indoctrinate our children. Perhaps that is another reason why homeschoolers are doing so well academically and socially.

THSC believes that parents should be empowered to raise the next generation of leaders. As a THSC member, we support your family to do just that! Have you joined? If not, check out our membership benefits that are Keeping Texas Families Free.

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August 21, 2018

Does Imposing Double Standards Prevent Child Abuse?

Since early 2017, we have been chronicling the efforts of a so-called homeschool advocacy group whose true objective appears to be the dramatic reduction of parents’ freedom to homeschool. They argue that it is not “responsible” to allow families to teach their children at home with little or no government oversight.

Their tactic is to highlight tragedies and abuses that involve homeschoolers and call for radical state regulation of all homeschoolers to “protect children.”

When the group targeted Texas, some Texas newspapers wrote editorials echoing their call for restrictions on the freedom of homeschoolers. THSC responded with an op-ed giving the facts and making the case for the God-given right of families to educate their children as they see fit.

The group’s campaign has also generated media attention in Maryland, Kentucky, Hawaii, California, New Hampshire, Ohio and now Oklahoma.

Unlike other media outlets, however, The Oklahoman did not take the bait. Instead of adding to the chorus of voices demanding the restriction of homeschooling, their editorial called the proposals “impractical, discriminatory and mostly unnecessary.”

In response to the list of Oklahoma abuse cases cited by the group’s website, the editors said: “It’s hard to imagine a credible homeschooling regulation that would dramatically change the outcomes of such cases.”

Reasonable people can draw the same conclusion. Clearly, the group’s main goal is actually the regulation of homeschooling by trumpeting abuse and tragedies.

With regard to mandatory testing for homeschoolers, the paper said that “standardized tests show thousands of Oklahoma’s third-grade students read well below grade level, and there is no penalty placed on the public school for those failures.”

Rally cries that these proposed regulations are “about the children” fall flat when they only target homeschooled children, who, as a group, perform far above the national average academically.

Any casual observer can see from these facts that it’s not about the children. Rather, it’s about control.

The editors of the Oklahoma editorial close their comments as follows: “Proposed remedies would impose higher expectations on homeschoolers than what public school officials face and would make homeschooling less effective. Those wanting to reduce child abuse should look elsewhere for a solution.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!

We believe that the best place for children is in a home with their loving families. Thank you for partnering with us and our goal of Keeping Texas Families Free. Would you consider donating to THSC today?

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August 14, 2018

Homeschool Families Impact Local Elections

A special election in the San Antonio area (Senate District 19) surprised some observers when a Republican candidate supported by THSC was the top vote-getter. Typically, special elections have very low turnout, and this is a runoff where the seat is historically a Democratic seat. But the opportunity to put a pro-homeschool senator into that seat is motivating voters.

In Lubbock, a Republican candidate for a County Court at Law died in a highway accident in July. Because of the timing of his death, the Texas Election Code says the Republican Party in Lubbock County replaces him on the ballot. So, 39 GOP precinct chairman in Lubbock interviewed five attorneys for the position and chose one who will become the next judge in Lubbock’s County Court at Law #3 (since no other candidate is running).

Homeschoolers who have been active in Lubbock County had a very real impact on choosing this upcoming judge—and you can be sure that she understands homeschooling and the right of families to raise their children.

Homeschool Freedom in Texas

When I talk to new homeschool families, most are extremely pleased that Texas is such a bastion of freedom for homeschoolers. I frequently have people tell me that they moved to Texas in part (or sometimes exclusively) because our state is so friendly to homeschoolers and does not restrict our right to teach our children at home (as do other states).

However, it has not always been that way. Years of hard work helping the public understand that homeschooling is a legitimate educational alternative that is highly successful and beneficial (to families and society) brought us to our freedom today. We actively spoke up in the political arena and in political parties to educate legislators and other public officials on the validity of home education.

Homeschoolers in Texas are known as a key political ally of conservative candidates and are critical in the successful coalition needed by many candidates to win office. We are often able to help put people into office that understand and support the God-given right of families to raise their children as they see fit.

Our great freedom to homeschool in Texas did not happen by accident. It was through the engagement of thousands of homeschoolers across this great state for many years to educate and elect public officials to help us in Keeping Texas Families Free.

Thank you for being part of our ongoing efforts to make sure that we don’t lose the great freedom that we enjoy in Texas! If you haven’t joined us yet, become a THSC member today.

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August 7, 2018

Maintaining Open Options for Homeschoolers

In my 30+ years connected to the homeschool movement, I have regularly seen discrimination against homeschoolers. In fact, THSC deals with this issue on a daily basis. From college admissions to Social Security benefits, it is a regular occurrence.

Issues such as these keep us busy as we honor our mission to protect the right of families to direct the care, control and upbringing of their children without interference.

Discrimination Against Homeschoolers in Proposed Legislation

In 2017, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz proposed a bill that would have allowed private school and homeschool students access to tax-deferred education savings accounts for the purpose of K-12 expenses. However, Bernie Sanders explicitly discriminated against homeschoolers by removing them from the bill. I wrote a column at the time highlighting this blatant discrimination.

Cruz has reintroduced a plan to eliminate this artificial barrier that clearly treats homeschools differently from other private schools. We salute Cruz for his efforts to make these federal programs available to homeschool families and other private school students!

Fighting for Homeschoolers With Success

In 2003, THSC finally convinced the Texas legislature to end the discrimination against Texas homeschool graduates in college admissions. To this day, THSC intervenes on behalf of members whenever college admission is unfairly denied to a homeschool graduate or when Social Security benefits are withheld from a homeschool family.

We continue to work to ensure that these areas of discrimination are addressed whenever they appear so that families can be empowered to raise the next generation of leaders. It seems to be a never-ending process.

Some places (such as the United Kingdom) continue to move toward limiting the rights of homeschool families. In Texas, however, THSC is ever vigilant to make sure that freedom for families is expanded and protected.

We often read stories highlighting the tremendous success of homeschool families as a result of homeschooling. We believe that the best place for children is in a home with their loving families, and that homeschooling is the best education model.

Families simply want the best for their children. We will continue to protect and promote the God-given right of families to raise their children as they see fit. Your donation helps THSC continue to defend, protect and promote homeschooling and family freedoms in Texas.

Thank you for fighting with us in Keeping Texas Families Free!

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