At the recent NCHEA Legislative Day. we were privileged to hear from Governor Pete Ricketts, Lt. Governor Mike Foley, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Mike Heavican, Chief Deputy Attorney General Dave Bydalek, representatives of other state offices, and fifteen state senators (the number of senators had to be limited due to time constraints).
It was encouraging to hear many of the state’s highest officials express their Christian beliefs, and it is fair to say that all who spoke had a favorable opinion of homeschoolers. I enjoyed all of the speeches, but I was especially delighted to hear Senator Laura Ebke, a former college professor, refer to homeschoolers as “the dream of college professors.”
In the early 1980’s, it was illegal to homeschool in Nebraska without being a certified teacher who was teaching in a state-approved school. To be legal, this meant having a four-year degree from an approved teacher’s college, having an endorsement to teach at the grade-level of one’s own children, and having to meet a long list of other requirements in order to operate an approved school.
It was in this same time period when God convicted more and more parents that He wanted them to give their children a Christian education. Many (including us) began to educate our children at home, and others formed small parent- or church-led Christian schools. The state did not consider these schools legal and so the conflict began.
Misfits? Welfare Recipients? Criminals?
During this period, my family attended many hearings on proposed bills that were intended to solve this conflict. Most legislators on the education committee were quite unfriendly, and it was not unusual to hear them express profound doubts about the ability of uncertified teachers or mere parents to teach children. I remember talk of how these children would grow up to be misfits, welfare recipients, or even criminals who would cost the state much revenue in welfare or in mental or prison institutionalization. Another senator expressed his belief that they would never fit into the 21st – century society that was approaching.
The truth is that my husband and I did not know how our children would turn out either. We only knew that God had spoken to our hearts, and we had decided to obey. The results were in His hands, and we believed He would prove faithful.
We certainly didn’t know how our children would do academically. At that time, there were no studies showing that homeschooled children scored significantly higher on standardized tests. The question of being accepted by a college certainly entered our minds, but we figured there was nothing wrong with manual labor in order to earn a living.
How About Successful!
Fast-forward many years: Homeschooled children as a group have been shown to score way above average on standardized tests, and many colleges actively pursue them. Comparatively few homeschooled children end up on welfare or become criminals. (All nine of our children attended college, and all are contributing members of society.)
I remember the summer before our twin sons were to begin college. They were signed up for a pre-calculus course. Wanting to order the right calculators for them, I called the professor. He engaged me in further conversation and asked what high school math they had taken. I reluctantly told him they were homeschooled, what textbooks we had used, and also expressed my hope that they were ready for his class. His answer both reassured and surprised me. He had previous homeschooled students and was certain my sons would have no trouble because one thing he knew was that homeschoolers, unlike so many of the public schooled, “were used to reading their textbooks.”
God Is Faithful
God has certainly proven faithful to us and to so many other homeschoolers.