Sunday, May 28, 2006

Conference report

We're back from the North Carolinians for Home Education Conference and on the road to recovery, thanks.

Someone stopped me in the hallway at the conference and asked how I was doing. I told them I was hot, footsore, and full of headache, and wouldn't be anywhere else in the world. All true.

The big personal event was completing my three terms as president of the organization and handing the reins over to my extremely capable "executive officer", Ernie Hodges of Pfafftown. Ernie has been my wing man for the entire three years and I couldn't have asked for one better. I recently read Leading from the Second Chair, a book about how associate pastors, vice presidents, and assistant chairmen can improve their service in the "second chair" positions, and I was thinking the entire time, "Ernie already does this." I'm looking forward to serving under his administration now, and thank him for the support he's given me.

I also had the privilege of speaking to the Friday morning general session, about two thousand homeschoolers in one place, on "the state of homeschooling". The point I wanted to get across is that home education in North Carolina, like Franklin's summation of the Constitution, is a freedom we enjoy only as long as we are careful to keep it. Homeschooling has grown to a population comparable to the city of Fayetteville, and I doubt that we will see a true assault on the basic right to teach our own children at home. What concerns me is the rise of public school programs which offer a home-based instructional program. The educational libertarian in me applauds the development of any alternative system which will allow parents to spend more time and attention on their children's education, saving taxpayers money on school construction and personnel costs to boot; yet we homeschoolers have to remember that a public school program in our living room is not an expression of the parents' right to direct the education of their children.

If our only concern is negative socialization, then keeping our children off the bus and the playground by using a virtual school program may be an adequate solution. If our intent is to train up our children according to our own conscience and best judgment, though, we can't forget that accepting the convenience of public school at home means trading away our independence and freedom to do what we think is right, regardless of the state's largest bureaucracy.

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