Helping to Keep Homeschooling Legal
Today homeschooling is legal in all fifty states. This was not always true. About a year after we began homeschooling, we went on a trip from our home state of Illinois, where we enjoyed homeschooling freedom, to Michigan, where homeschooling was not yet legal. One morning in a grocery store, the cashier asked our children why they weren’t in school. “We homeschool,” one of us replied. “My neighbor did that,” she said. “They arrested her.”
Every homeschooler in America today stands on the shoulders of brave pioneers. Parents fought hard to win our freedoms. Homeschooling freedom is something to cherish every day. Praise God for the pioneers.
Almost all states have at least one state organization for homeschooling families. A main purpose of many of these organizations is working to keep homeschooling legal in their state. Many state organizations plan special days when homeschooling families travel to their state capitol to meet with legislators. The premise is a legislator will view homeschooling in a more favorable light if he or she has actually met homeschooling families who live in his or her district.
The Tennessee Home Education Association calls their homeschool day at the state capitol Rally Day. Ray and I are honored to be speakers at THEA’s 2019 Rally Day on March 19. We are to portray President James Knox Polk and his wife Sarah Childress Polk. The presentation is to take place in the state house of representatives chamber inside the Tennessee state capitol.
When board chairman Claiborne Thornton and his wife Lana spoke with us about being a part of Rally Day, we suggested the Polks. Of the three U.S. Presidents who resided in Tennessee when they were elected, Polk was the only one who had served in the Tennessee house of representatives (the other Tennessee presidents were Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson). We are very excited about our presentation. Ray and I don’t look like the Polks, but we have had fun pulling together costumes based on paintings and photos of the Polks.
If you are already aware of a homeschooling legislative day in your state, I encourage you to think seriously about participating. If not, I encourage you to talk to veteran homeschoolers or research the possibility online. It is a wonderful way to teach your children about their state government, a chance for them to meet their representatives, a way for your family to have a positive influence on your state legislature, and a way to show gratitude for the homeschooling pioneers who have paved the way for you to homeschool.
In Tennessee, families:
- Make appointments with their legislators ahead of time so they can meet with them early in the morning or in the afternoon.
- Set up tables displaying student projects, if they so desire.
- Meet in the house of representatives chamber at 9:00 a.m. for a program, including music performed by homeschoolers. The other main speaker on March 19 is Christian singer and musician Scott MacIntyre, a homeschool graduate who was the first blind finalist on American Idol.
- Deliver cookies and gift bags that THEA volunteers have prepared for each legislator.
- Have an opportunity to tour the state capitol.
- Eat lunch in the state capitol library.
- Meet with their state senator and state representative.
I know you are busy with a long to-do list, so I am certainly not trying to make you feel guilty or obligated. It’s just that I believe in the purpose behind days such as these and decided to share the information. These days are a way to bless your own family and the families of others. Your participation could be one of the many ways that you obey this verse, a verse I am confident you are already obeying.
…do not merely look out for your own personal interests,
but also for the interests of others.
Homeschooling families in Tennessee can learn more about Rally Day at the THEA website and this website for one of THEA’s regional groups.