Like any parent, we've really been "homeschooling" since birth. After all, we did teach them to walk, talk, bathroom, say 'please', clean their rooms (ahem), say their prayers, and read all before the age of compulsory schooling. (Is that even allowed without certification?)
But this year marks our 6th anniversary of homeschooling as recognized by the state government. Which makes all our progress legit, right?
The photo above was taken on our first governmentally sanctioned field trip. We spent the day at the park with our cousins and nature books and baggies of pretzels. Armed with my precious letter from the superintendent exempting us from compulsory attendance at the local school. Everyone had such a wonderful time. It was a lot like all the other unofficially educational walks through the woods that we've had but it did mark the beginning of the notification process.
As I see more and more legislative efforts to regulate homeschoolers, I am reminded to cherish these moments as a family because it is always possible that we will lose them to an anti-family agenda. Europe is slowly crushing the freedom and authority of parents over the education of their children. There are parents in prison right now in Germany for being courageous enough to stand against the overreaching system; and the trend is spreading .
The U.N. has long been known to be an enemy of the family and true freedom. It's recent efforts could effectively destroy everything that American homeschool families have worked so hard to achieve.
The U.S. government has only had it's claws in our children for about 150 years (a drop in the great bucket of time) and had to fight the American people for control over their children. The first years of compulsory education were marked in weeks, not months; and attendance was inconsistent as children continued to flourish in their family cultures. As federal oversight increased, we passed from an incredibly literate (almost 100% pre-civil war) and creative population to...well...what we have today. We are shockingly less literate and educated and moral than we were prior to government control of education. The bigger it gets, the more money it requires, the more time it demands, the worse it gets.
Catholic schools are largely not an exception to this because they follow the government mass schooling model of education, submit to it's regulatory power and take it's money. Some of these schools are clinging to their freedoms but it is getting more difficult every year.
The time is coming (lobbyists are working hard for this right now) when Uncle Sam is going to try and insist that you hand over your kids at ages as young as 2 or 3 years old. They say that the first 5 years are critical to childhood development so we'd better let the "professionals" have them.
They are usurpers who are trying to claim what is not their own.
When I look at this photo, I see all of the joy and struggle, love and peace of my home-based school. I see that freedom from government oversight is a blessing and allows us the flexibility and space that we need to pursue authentic academic and spiritual excellence. It is worth fighting for .
God has given parents authority over the education of their children. He has given us the grace to fulfill our sacramental vocation and the obligation to do so. Let's not give it away to politicians.