Homeschoolers and Equal Access

In June of 2013, the Ohio Legislature passed House Bill 59, which grants homeschoolers equal access to extracurricular activities in their local public schools.

PEACH (Parents Educating at Christian Homes, Inc) was formed with a specific mission;  to provide support, encouragement and fellowship to Christian families who are home educating, and to provide information about home education. We do not attempt to act as mediators between parents who wish to use this access to extracurricular activities and officials in their public school district, nor do we in any way try to act as facilitators for parents who are choosing this option.

What PEACH can do is provide information from reliable sources to help parents make this decision for their family, as well as make a few recommendations:

  • When communicating with your local school district, always do so in writing. This provides you with proper documentation should questions ever arise.
  • If you need professional legal help, contact a law firm that specializes in homeschool regulations, such as HSLDA  (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) or NCLL (National Center for Life and  Liberty).
  • HSLDA has a couple of articles on their website for homeschooling parents who are considering this option for their children:

Sports and Public School Classes
Ohio Homeschoolers Granted Equal Access to Extra Curricular and PSEO Funding

Ultimately, parents are responsible for their children’s education, and should thoroughly research and prayerfully consider what is best for their own family.

Update:

Check out Home School Sports Net- a network of homeschool sports teams.
In this related article by Scott Woodruff at HSLDA, he lists the myths and the realities of homeschoolers participating on public school sports teams.

The Battle is the Lord’s

This coming school year promises to be an interesting one with all that is at stake for home educators. There is the U.S. Presidential election which so far has been a humdinger. First, John McCain was down for the count, then he was the nominee. Hilliary Clinton’s juggernaut crushes everything in her way as she heads to her coronation. Wait a minute. That didn’t happen; Barack Obama is now the guy. As of the writing of this article, Barack and John are in a statistical tie, but Obama is selling more T-shirts and bumper stickers. Stay tuned for more.

In the Congress and Senate, there is talk of a Democrat super majority, with stunning losses foretold for the Republicans. At the state level, Ohio could very well end up as a blue state with democrats running at least the House in tandem with a Democrat Governor. Oh, and did I mention the state Home Education Regulations are up for a formal review after 19 years?

Boring it ain’t.

I would submit that no matter what happens, that the Lord will still be on his throne. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians:

6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. (emphasis mine) 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,

The bottom line is that we are citizens of another government. So, what happens here shouldn’t get us too shaken up, since after all it and they are all coming to nothing. However, we are temporary citizens of this world and I believe that scripture tells us to advocate for things like freedom, justice, and mercy.

Isaiah 58:
6Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

This election season, I suggest you make it your aim to advocate for freedom, to break any yokes. Certainly, many freedoms in our country and state are at risk. So, while the victory and the battle belong to the Lord, our God has given us power to act. The battle isn’t over. It is just beginning. So, this fall, I suggest getting involved as a family in the political process. Find out which state, local, and federal candidates support freedom. Since we as a group are dedicated to homeschooling, find out who is on our side and do what you can to support them. Work a precinct, help put up signs, make phone calls, get your kids involved. They will benefit much more by seeing and doing instead of studying how our political process works in a textbook.

Proverbs 21:
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but victory rests with the LORD.

Get your horse in the battle.

Complacency is not an option

The unfolding legal challenge to homeschooling in California caught many by surprise. Here is what happened – courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“The ruling arose from a child welfare dispute between the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and Philip and Mary Long of Lynwood, who have been homeschooling their eight children. Mary Long is their teacher, but holds no teaching credential.”

“The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.”

The entire background is here:

As of March 25th, 2008, The California Court of Appeal has agreed to re-hear the case. Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA commented: “This is a great first step. We are very glad that this case will be reheard and that this opinion has been vacated, but there is no guarantee as to what the ultimate outcome will be. This case remains our top priority,” he added.

The lesson we can all take from this is that, once again we as home educators must be vigilant. Many of us in the homeschooling community have grown complacent in recent years. We in Ohio have enjoyed a long run of stability and favor among the mostly home school friendly Republican majority in state government. That stability could be in danger as the political winds change throughout the state and the nation.

Not everyone in California was unhappy about the court’s decision. The ruling was applauded by a director for the state’s largest teachers union.

“We’re happy,” said Lloyd Porter, who is on the California Teachers Association board of directors. “We always think students should be taught by credentialed teachers, no matter what the setting.”

It is important that we know exactly who our political adversaries are. There are organizations right here in Ohio that are actively seeking to restrict or regulate home education.

How can PEACH members do their part? Here are five suggestions:

  1. Get to know your state and local elected officials. Find out where they stand on homeschooling. If there is a local or state official that isn’t “homeschool friendly” work to support a candidate who is. If there isn’t a suitable candidate, consider running yourself.
  2. If you are not already a member, join HSLDA. I personally consider membership a must for any homeschooling family.
  3. Consider supporting ParentalRights.Org. (Truth in advertising – My daughter is the Deputy Director of the organization.) They are working on a long term solution to the issue via a constitutional amendment.
  4. Join CHEO – Christian Home Educators of Ohio. They work to promote homeschooling at the state level. They also employ a part-time lobbyist to stay abreast of possible legal threats and to maintain relationships with lawmakers.
  5. Be alert. The California case described above began as a child welfare case and the proceedings were kept secret until the ruling was handed down. As a result, HSLDA and the California State knew nothing about it. If you hear or see anything that causes concern, let one of the PEACH officers know about it.

If we each do our part, hopefully we won’t be caught flat-footed if a challenge like the one in California happens here.

Current Meeting Location: Arrowbrook Baptist Church, Xenia

Meetings are held the second Thursday of every month at 7:00.

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PEACH provides general information about home education regulations and Ohio state requirements for homeschoolers. The information on this website is not a substitute for professional legal advice, and should not be treated as such.