Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

286, 33, 12, 87, 8. These are the numbers from just a few of the homeschool graduations in Central Florida in the past couple of weeks. For those of you who are in the public school system, this may not seem like such a big deal. For those of you who are new homeschoolers, this may not seem like a big deal. Those of you who have been around the homeschooling block just might realize how great this is. For a frame of reference, you should know that the very first FPEA graduation in 1997 (a mere 17 years ago) had 8 graduates.

Why are these numbers such a big deal to me? I find them an encouragement. It is encouraging to see how homeschooling has grown in number over the years. When we started and my kids were questioned about what school they went to, no one knew what homeschooling was. Today, when we mention homeschooling, everyone knows someone who homeschools. Our students are part of drama groups, high school sports teams, science fairs, band, dance and more. Opportunities abound for homeschooled students.

These numbers are encouraging because it means that it is possible to homeschool all the way through high school. Sometimes we get discouraged when our child doesn’t seem to “get it”. We feel we have failed. We reconsider our choice, and we are ready to give up. These numbers tell us that we can make it through those difficult times. We can find ways to educate our children all the way through high school. BTW, although I don’t have the numbers, I am pretty sure that most of these students are already taking college level classes. I know of several who graduated high school after graduating college with their AA. You can do it.

I find these numbers encouraging because it means we are not in this alone. There are others out there just like us. They are not really looking to be radicals who buck the system as much as they are looking to do the best job they can raising their children. When little Susie is refusing to do her fractions workbook, know that there is another mom out there (actually a 100 or so) who have gone through the same thing. If you haven’t joined a support group, stop reading right now and find one. Join it. Start meeting together with those women who will help you. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Blessed by Brenda

I just finished year number 23 of homeschooling. As I look back, I am amazed at the changes I have seen in homeschooling over the years. Our first years included keeping careful track of hours and days. Students had to have four hours of education each day for 180 days. Do you know how MUCH your child can learn with one on one education for 720 hours a year? Several times the police stopped by the local park where our children were playing to question why they were not in school. Our teens ran into roadblocks when they tried to get a driver’s license, and high school sports were out of the question.

          Today, I marvel at all that is available to homeschoolers, especially those who are fortunate enough to live in Florida. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of a few (Senator Webster and Craig and Brenda Dickinson especially), Florida is a very easy place for us to homeschool. We not only have little intrusion from the government, we also enjoy many exciting opportunities.

          There are support groups and co-ops all over the state to aid and encourage homeschool parents. Students are able to take part in science fairs, spelling and geography bees and more. They are playing sports for their local high school or as a part of teams made up of homeschoolers exclusively. High school students are eligible for Bright Futures scholarships and can participate in dual enrollment, letting them earn both high school and college credit at the same time.

          Homeschoolers are no longer being harassed for truancy. They are able to get their driver’s license at 16. They are not excluded from the opportunity to earn sports, music or arts scholarships. Many of these advancements are thanks to the work of the Home Education Foundation and our homeschool lobbyist in Tallahassee, Brenda Dickinson. If we want to keep homeschooling in peace and comfort, we need to give our support to HEF and Brenda. If our budget doesn’t allow for financial support, we should be on our knees daily.

          Homeschooling is not an easy task, but it could be much, much harder than it is. God has provided for us in a very special way. Don’t ignore His provision. Check out , and see what you can do to help keep Florida a wonderful place for homeschoolers in the future.