By Mayor Doug Jeffrey
Rural homeschool families sometimes travel hours round trip to drive their kids to extracurricular activities. Often between time and expense commitment, children who grow up in the country don’t have access to the same activities that urban homeschoolers do. Here’s how the Tim Tebow bill can help rural families.
Homeschooling in Vernon, Texas
The generals were sitting in a huddle discussing cargo movements because an erupting volcano was affecting air traffic around the globe. As a young captain, I was taking notes. Then the conversation turned, they looked at me and said something that changed my life.
Six years later, I’m off active duty (although still serving in the Air Force Reserves), working as mayor of Vernon and coaching our four children in different extracurricular activities. I’d put our Vernon Lions and the Boys and Girls Club’s basketball, soccer and baseball teams against any in the state. Our kids are involved, but that is about to change. I and my wife are to blame.
Here’s the deal:
Our small town has incredible teachers and coaches, so it was a hard decision. But we decided to homeschool our kids. What started as two homeschool families in Vernon has now grown to 30. Currently, none of those children are able to participate in UIL.
Our homeschooling friends in big cities wonder why we don’t just put our kids in travel teams or other activities. The nearest big city is three hours away and homeschool families that live there have many options available for their children.
Why does this matter?
Out here in rural Texas we are hampered by miles of open country between us and extracurricular activities. But all of that would change if rural Texas homeschool families were allowed to participate in UIL.
I constantly hear teachers and coaches say, “We need more families involved with their children; the kids don’t behave or listen.” Well, look no further than homeschoolers. I’m not saying we don’t have our problem children, but if someone is willing to take on the challenge of homeschooling their child, I can guarantee that they will be an involved parent in UIL activities.
Tim Tebow Bill Offers a Solution
We are only asking for the opportunities that other children have. By the way, homeschoolers in 35 other states already have access to extracurricular activities through the public school system. The Tim Tebow bill is for families like ours that live hours away from alternative extracurricular activities.
UIL is one of the incredible things that we love about Texas. Across the state, from the largest to the smallest school districts, students participate in sports, academics and forensics, to name a few.
This is Texas, where we can disagree on politics and still be civil.
For the homeschoolers that are worried about more regulations, I get it. I am the smallest government guy you’ll ever meet, but this is an opt-in law.
If you don’t want to be involved, you don’t have to sign up. But please don’t take that opportunity away from those of us here in the country.
The majority of Texas homeschoolers support the bill, especially those that want their children involved in UIL. Last session, the bill fell just one vote short in committee. Otherwise, the bill would have made it to the House floor and most likely would have become law.
This time around, the Texas Senate will likely pass the bill once again. I encourage you to call your state representative, especially if they are on the Public Education Committee.
Here’s the deal:
Any elected official can say they support the bill. But we can’t know if they’re just giving lip service unless they actually have to vote on it. If you call their office their staff will alert them, especially if we all do it. If this bill goes before the full House, it will pass.
Back to the generals and younger me: each one looked at me and said, “You know what? I’m an incredible officer but not a very good parent.” I determined that I want to be a good parent, because Texas needs more good parents.
Is your family similar to Doug’s? Would your family benefit from the Tim Tebow bill because you live in a rural area of Texas? Share this post today with your homeschool friends and family to raise awareness of this important legislation. THSC believes that parents should be empowered to raise and educate the next generation of leaders. Sign the petition today!
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