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The year 2006 will probably be the biggest homeschool convention season yet. The homeschool movement just keeps growing and growing. Virtually every state now has a homeschool convention. The season starts in March and usually ends in late July. This year, California has six conventions in different parts of the state. Illinois and Texas have five each. Tennessee four and Indiana four. If you want to find out what is happening in your state, simply go to your search engine and type in “Homeschool Conventions” and you’ll get a national listing of conventions from Alabama to Wisconsin.
If you are thinking of homeschooling, get to one of these conventions, attend the workshops, listen to the speakers, and examine what the vendors have to offer. Most important of all, talk to homeschooling moms and dads and look at the homeschooled kids. You will easily conclude that homeschooling is the healthiest and most exciting educational phenomenon in America today.
If you happen to live in New England, I will be at the Massachusetts (MassHOPE) homeschool convention in Worcester on April 28 and 29, giving a workshop on teaching reading and selling “Alpha-Phonics.” Jane Hoffman, of Backyard Scientist fame, will be there thrilling the kids with her great experiments. Steve Demme, master mathematician, will be giving one of his amusing and inspirational talks.
Other workshops: “How to Prepare Your Homeschooler for College.” “The Case Against Darwin” by James Perloff. “Building Character in the Family.” “Winning at the Scholarship Game.” “Homeschooling As a Single Parent.” “Strategies and Resources for Teaching Kids with Special Needs.” “The Father’s Role in Raising Daughters.” And much more.
In other words, there is something for everyone at a homeschool convention. And nowadays they are bigger than ever. I remember the first convention that MassHOPE had back in the 1980s. It was held in a church basement with about 300 participants. This year the convention is in Worcester’s huge convention center, and about 3,000 people are expected to fill the halls. So even in liberal Massachusetts, the Christian homeschool movement is thriving, and its convention draws attendees from Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont.
That the homeschool movement is, for the most part, a Christian phenomenon should surprise no one. For Christians have been most sensitive to what the public schools have been doing since the 1960s to de-Christianize education. Children in the public schools are at risk in four significant ways: academically, spiritually, morally and physically.
They are at risk academically because of the deliberate dumbing down of the students through faulty teaching methods. The growth of illiteracy in the United States is not an accident. It is the result of teaching methods that make sure that most young Americans will be intellectually crippled by their schools. The kids know that something terrible is happening to them, because they felt so intelligent when they entered school, and by the second and third grade they feel stupid. Because they are frustrated and angry, they act up, and are then labeled ADD or ADHD and put on Ritalin or some other mind-altering drug.
Student religious beliefs are undermined by values clarification, secular humanism, teaching evolution as fact, and making sure that God is kept out of the classroom. The student’s morality is undermined by sex ed – which nowadays should be called porn ed – not to mention the rash of teacher seductions of students, plus moral relativity, homosexual teachers with their own agendas, and drug ed in which kids are taught that the decision to take drugs is part of their personal decision-making process. As for the physical risk, it can be summed up by the continued violence in schools, the shootings and stabbings that we continue to read about in our newspapers.
And that is why more and more parents are taking their children out of the public schools and educating them at home. The children who are most at risk are those from minority families who rely on the public schools to do the educating. But even more and more of these disadvantaged parents are showing up at homeschool conventions. The word is simply getting out.
Another interesting fact about homeschooling has to do with demographics. Christian homeschoolers love children and are having large families. I know of several that have 10 kids. So, while liberals are aborting their children, Christians are nurturing theirs. It turns out that the Bible is the most effective fertility pill to be had. And that augurs well for America’s future.