URGENT: Romeike Family Facing Deportation

From Classical Conversations & HSLDA

Within our organization there is unanimous conviction that all people have a right, not just a priviledge, to educate their children freely, without any intervention by state or any other organizations. One such family – The Romeike’s – fled Germany to the United States to exercise this freedom, but are now facing deportation.

The Romeike’s need your help, and they need it FAST. Please see the following message from our friends at HSLDA below, contact your Representative, and sign the petition.

The Romeike family fled Germany for the United States in 2008 seeking asylum so that they could homeschool their children without fear of persecution. After more than a decade of making the United States their home, the Romeike’s were abruptly informed they had four weeks to return to Germany.

Tennessee Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger has introduced private bill H.R. 5423 to stop this deportation from happening and make the Roeikes eligible for an immigrant visa or permanent resident status.

But the Romeikes also need your help!

Please take just a moment to ask your congressional representative to intervene on their behalf. It’s as easy as filling out this form.

HELP NOW

Rallying support for the Romeike family and H.R. 5423 is so important—we need voices from both sides of the aisle speaking out for them.

Will you stand with the Romeikes and ask your representative to support H.R. 5423?

As always, thank you for your continued support of homeschool families and homeschool freedom!

HSLDA passionately advocates for the freedom to homeschool and offers support for every stage of your homeschool journey. To learn more about HSLDA, and various legal issues facing homeschool families, please visit herhttps://hslda.org/e.

Michigan Capitol Day: October 4, 2023

Capitol Days, Legislative Days, Homeschool Days at the Capitol, and other similar events foster communication between parents and their elected representatives. This is a great opportunity for you to teach your children the importance of the legislative process and help them mature into civic leaders who will protect American freedoms.

Next month, on October 4, Michigan families will be able to convene at the Capitol for Day at the Dome to grow and engage the legislative process.

To find out how you can participate, please contact the Michigan Christian Homeschool Network for more information.

To find out more about your state’s upcoming the Freedom Action Center Days at the Capitol Schedule.

7 Resources to Help You Rethink School Choice

By Edward Murray

For some time now, school choice has been a hot topic—and honestly, in my opinion, for good reason. I’m a product of government-funded schooling, and I’ve been a harsh critic of the institution since before I even started having kids.

I Am Not Binding Consciences or Condemning

Now let me clarify as I’ve done before:

I am in no way trying to condemn or bind anyone’s conscience here.

I am in no way saying you are in sin for choosing public schooling, and I am not condemning your reasons for doing so.

I think there are many well-intentioned families out there who attend public schools (I know and have been impacted by many), and it’s ok to disagree.

But There are Many Issues to Consider

However, there are many issues (historical, systemic, and immanent) with public-funded schools, and many states are looking for more ways to offer people a way out. Ergo, many families are eager to receive government funding to move into other educational options.

Hopefully, at least at this point, you see the irony of leaving government-funded schools for the opportunity to attend government-funded schools . . .

In short, “school choice” (i.e., using taxpayer state funds to pay for private education [especially homeschooling]) is worth rethinking. To aid you in this process, here are 7 resources on the topic you should consider:

1. Parental Rights vs. Government Responsibility – Where to Draw the Line with William Estrada

(Spotify)

2. ESAs: What You Need to Know with Israel Wayne

(Spotify)

3. Educational Choice vs. School Choice with E. Ray Moore

(Spotify)

4. Educational Vouchers v. Free Market Education, with Leigh Bortins

(Spotify)

5. I Run a Private School and am Against School Vouchers. Here’s Why (Article)

6. School Choice and Your Child’s Tuition (Article)

7. Vouchers: Sheckles with Shackles (Free pdf)

Edward Murray currently serves as Manager of Special Projects & Policy Research for Classical Conversations and The Homeschool Freedom Action Center. He is a native of Augusta, GA, and an alumnus of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC, where he earned his MDiv. He currently lives in Newport News, VA, with his wife and three children.

The Thorn of School Choice

Why Liberty Matters

June 14, 2016 BY DR. MARLENE MCMILLAN

Even back in 2016, Why Liberty Matters’ Dr. Marlene McMillian was warning us about how school vouchers and educational grants can be clever and deceitful.

She writes: “He who pays controls. This is an immutable law of the universe. You cannot take government money without government control. Whether the civil government puts the money in your front pocket, your back pocket, direct deposit or you have to take the check to the bank, it is still government money. As soon as your ‘private’ school accepts government money, it becomes a government school. Oh yes, the ‘Private School’ sign may still be out front, but it is ‘Private in name only.’”

She asserts the future cost “. . . is incalculable” and ponders, “What will it cost future generations to get out from under government dependency? The real question should be: Will they ever have the will, the courage, or be able to undo generations of conditioning to government dependency?”

Dr. McMillian challenges us to “[think] about the statement ‘Education dollars should follow the child to the school of parent’s choice . . . ’ and understand that this means ‘Civil government regulation should follow the child to the school of parent’s choice.’ Parents and children will never have freedom, let alone liberty, as long as they are government dependents.”

Further sounding the alarm, she writes, “If your goal is not liberty, you get tyranny by default.”

Read more here.

The Free-Market Education Table at the Potluck

By Lauren Gideon

As I travel from state to state I find there are two tables of homeschool resources. Those that are total free-market options, and those that are fully or partially taxpayer funded. These resources could be tutoring services, classes, extracurricular activities, sports, fine-arts, and so much more. What I have found remarkably interesting is just like a gluten-free table, free-market options are either spars or plentiful; bland or diverse.

An Illustration From My Gluten-Free Friends

Nearly, every potluck I attend has an accommodating table, based on the reality that a large segment of our population has chosen to abstain from gluten. We know there are a spectrum of reasons. Nearly every gluten-free consumer has some moderate to severe negative consequence they are trying to avoid, and yet others take a proactive approach.

I also bet there are some on the train because… well, they get on all trains.

Motivations aside, in my lifetime the potluck scene has completely changed to accommodate this demographic.

Ok, nothing against my anti-glutenomist friends… If I still have you, follow me with the illustration.

The gluten-free consumer made a decision (forced or voluntary) that altered a major portion of their life. They have their position prior to any potluck. Once there, they are either delighted or depressed with the variety of gluten-free options. The most strict in this demographic choose only from this table. Rarely in their disappointment do they ever compromise and decide to browse the non-gluten free selection. (If you know someone like this who has had accidental gluten contamination, you know why).

To be specific, if there is no cake on the gf table, the consumer does not reluctantly go to the other table to get their cake, they simply go without cake. If this happens enough times, one of two things will probably happen. The friends and family of this individual will have compassion and bake a diet-friendly cake, or the consumer will get frustrated enough to bake their own cake.

How in the world does this intersect with home-schooling?

As we evaluate options on the two tables, we must first step back and evaluate our commitment to the homeschool resource “diet.”  What are the pros and cons of only consuming free-market options? Are there any consequences to sampling options from the subsidized table if you don’t find what you like in the free-market? Some states provide an “all or nothing” choice. In these states, for those that have chosen to homeschool, no state funded options are available.

Do you know what they DO have? They are serving a feast of quality, diverse, competitive, free-market services. How do they have such options? There you will find a rich legacy of groups and individuals who found a way to make a gf cake – by that I mean a robust free-market buffet because the consumers in the state required that accommodation. In other circumstances we find that families solved their own dilemmas with conviction and creativity.

In Many States the Free-Market Table is Lacking

If you are in a state like mine, the free-market table is lacking. One reason this is true is due to the fact that the other table is easily accessible. Families discouraged by the free-market are welcome to browse the state-funded options. At first glance, this seems warm and hospitable. Consumers say things like, “I do not have a choice, the option I wanted (or a quality version of this option) was not available on the free-market.

When this is our outlook, do you know what happens to our table? Nothing. It stays sparse and bland.

What will drive change? The options are the following:

(1) Families will set their “diet” and commit to it before they ever attend the potluck,

(2) Families will ONLY chose the bland options,

Or

(3) Families willcreate better options for the next generation.

We all have a choice, and as we all know; all choices yield outcomes.

Lauren Gideon is the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

Independence

By Lauren Gideon

It is that time of year again. Grills are lit, parades are attended, and picnics and fireworks have brought families and communities together. July 4th elicits my mixed sentiments. Inevitably, we are drawn into the topic of comparison. Side by side, we attend to the world leading up to 1776 and the world in which we now reside. How are they the same; how are they different?

In years prior, I had feelings of reluctance to celebrate the historic overthrow of tyranny when it seemed our own generation’s tides of control were on the rise. My frustrations were aimed metaphorically far, far away at vague, distant targets of politicians, invasive policies, and oppressive enforcement agencies. Tyranny, freedom, independence; as I turn these ideas over and over in my mind, ideas and words take on different flavors. We all inherited the paradigm we live in, and sometimes we do not realize the layers and connections to the foundation we stand on and live in. So, join me in this thought exercise.

Directly or Indirectly Opposed to Tyranny?

If the War for Independence truly was what it claimed to be, the war was in opposition to tyranny, but not directly. Tyranny is more directly the inverse of freedom. The word “freedom” is a math word. It is most similar to the idea of zero. The only way to define zero is to say what it is not. You can have zero money, zero time, zero belongings, but without a unit of measurement, zero is an extremely abstract concept. Freedom is this same idea of zero. It is the articulation of zero chains, zero oppression, zero infringements, zero force, zero fraud. Freedom is a big beautiful nothing!

What is Independence?

So then, what is independence? And how is it related? To understand and appreciate independence, we must also attend to its inverse as well. If independence is what we love, the inverse is the threat to that object of our love. Some have even postulated that we have an obligation to hate the thing that is a threat to what we love. And what is this imminent threat? Dependency.

The founding generation were students of historical patterns. They realized that these lines run parallel. To be free, one could not be dependent. Thus, they reluctantly resolved to pursue, teach, and propagate independence as their door to freedom.  

The scary reality is that the path they walked has room for two-way traffic. If independence is the path toward freedom, dependency is the path back toward tyranny and totalitarianism. So, what does state dependency look like? In its simplest form, it is the public’s tolerance of the use of collective, regulated resources to supply individual needs. Our generation’s oversight is that the threat of dependency is not fresh in our minds. We have grown ignorant, distracted, apathetic, and negligent in keeping our guard up against the threat of dependency. Ideas of entitlement, “school choice,” “public-private partnership,” subsidies, and government grants are all modern manifestations of our collective, tacit-yet-obvious approval of state dependency.

Being opposed to dependency does not carry the same exciting, unifying battle cry that “opposing the tyrants” offers. Why is that? It is easy to oppose some ugly dragon in a castle far, far away. It is much more difficult to come to terms with the tiny, toxic terrors living in our own hearts and communities. This breed of dragons pokes its little head out on Election Day when we vote for the most benevolent Caesars promising to open the coffers and fund the voter or the voter’s pet project with the collective’s treasury. With each locus in which we tolerate this level of state “partnership,” we are actually surrendering more and more real estate from the domain of the free to the domain of the captured. Sure, the cost of independence is expensive, but what is the value of freedom? And what should we be willing to pay to expand and preserve it for generations to come?

Lauren Gideon is the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

Homeschool Provides Opportunity to Cultivate Deep Love

Homeschooling, and our freedom to do so, provides ample opportunity to cultivate the heart of gratitude and love in our families. We can be intentional about forming a heart of thankfulness and gratitude. We can also be intentional about loving deeply and sacrificially.

In his short blog post, “Giving Roots to Love,” Michael Farris observes:

“The world about us thinks that love blossoms only when things are pleasant … if you want a love that grows deep roots in your heart that cannot be swayed by the winds of change or trouble, then the old formula is the best. Time. Sacrifice. Hard work. Inconvenient hours….Homeschooling gives us all a uniquely intense opportunity to fall deeply in love with our children and they with us.”

Published by Homeschool Freedom November, 2021. Michael is president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom. Farris was also the founding president of Homeschool Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College.

Become an active participant in maintaining your homeschool freedoms. Look at your state homeschool organization’s planned Capitol Day. If you don’t see a date or link for your state, bookmark the site and keep checking back as it will be updated as we hear from state more organizations.

Here are homeschooling resources to assist you, or someone you know, with homeschooling in your state. These resources include state homeschooling laws and event information. 

Timeshares and Education

By Lauren Gideon 

Many people in America own timeshares or at least have been to one of those awful presentations. The concept is simple. Merriam-Webster defines a timeshare as “an agreement or arrangement in which parties share the ownership of or right to use property (as a resort condominium) and that provides for occupation by each party especially for periods of less than a year.”

The concept at hand regards how investors share ownership and rights to property. For many Americans, this is a tolerable relationship where all parties get pages of fine print and give their informed consent.

Does Joint Ownership Actually Exist?

Here is my question, though: Does joint ownership actually exist? In 1828, in the first edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, ownership was defined as “property; exclusive right of possession; legal or just claim or title.”

The difference here is collective ownership vs. individual ownership. They sound similar, but they are, in fact, mutually exclusive. Once a collective owns something, the individual does not. And once an individual owns something, then the collective does not have ownership.

Culturally, we like the concept of collective ownership. Why? Vacations are both valuable and expensive. They are genuinely valuable to relationships, to mental health, toward stepping away from life to gain perspective, to see new places, and to gain education.

So many good things come from vacations. If time and money allow, one could say vacations are essential. For most families, the friction does not come from whether we should take a vacation but from the question: “How are we going to pay for a vacation?”

Enter the timeshare industry, which has capitalized on the strain between the value of vacation vs. the expense. The presentations capitalize on this tension and propose a solution: shared ownership. This proposal stems from the relationship between investing and ownership. (I don’t know of any timeshare holder that actually thinks they have exclusive right of possession).

A Multiplicity of Ownership Means No Individual Ownership

This leads me to my point: a multiplicity of ownership means no individual ownership. Collective owners or investors are merely stakeholders. They each have a vote and a voice, but they are still subject to the collective’s will.

The stakeholder relationship works in many common relationships where responsible parties can tolerate giving up individual ownership. Roads, city ordinances, and vacation abodes are some of our collectively shared possessions.

But what about those central responsibilities we possess? When is deferring to the stakeholder option an abdication of responsibility? For instance, scripture indirectly warns about having outside stakeholders in a marriage (Gen. 2:24). No outsider should have a vote in your marriage. The couple answers to God alone; therefore, it is imperative that they do not sell out to other investors that do not share in their unique and personal responsibility.

This same idea can apply to very private matters of the human experience. As James Madison said,

          “More sparingly should this praise be allowed to a government, where a man’s religious rights are violated by penalties, or fettered by tests, or taxed by a hierarchy. Conscience is the most sacred of all property; other property depending in part on positive law, the exercise of that, being a natural and inalienable right. To guard a man’s house as his castle, to pay public and enforce private debts with the most exact faith, can give no title to invade a man’s conscience which is more sacred than his castle, or to withhold from it that debt of protection, for which the public faith is pledged, by the very nature and original conditions of the social pact.

To summarize, there should be no stakeholders in someone’s religion or conscience. Madison repeatedly warned against trampling the private property (exclusive, individual ownership) of someone’s conscience.

How Do We Categorize Our Family’s Education?

Here is our closing question. How do we categorize our family’s education? Is it common or sacred? Is it public or private? Referring back to the vacation dilemma—education is also an essential commodity. It is more essential than a vacation, and given our budget limitations, the appeal to invest with multiple investors is strong.

The unfortunate consequence with outside investors is that—by definition—you have forfeited exclusive ownership. Individual ownership and collective ownership are mutually exclusive. Moreover, stewardship of your family’s education belongs to you at the end of the day. It cannot be outsourced. Our ownership in this field is sacred, and we all bear personal responsibility. This is the message we should aim to communicate to future generations.

            Romans 12:2–3: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.

Lauren Gideon is the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for Classical Conversations. She co-leads and teaches through an organization committed to raising citizenship IQ on U.S. founding documents. She and her husband homeschool their seven children on their small acreage, where they are enjoying their new adventures in homesteading.

Political Engagement Through Homeschooling

By Valerie Ward

Homeschooling is not for parents who want to let the state determine what their children will learn and how their children will live. In our eight years with Classical Conversations, my family has learned how our government works, how to construct well-written papers, how to present arguments well, and how to defend our beliefs. We’ve all heard the adage that “those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.” The past tells us just how easily freedoms are lost if we expect others to defend them or if we fight with weak arguments.

Only the Well-Informed Can Argue Well

All CC families will tell you that you can only argue well if you are well-informed. As a result, we now study our state’s legislative process and pay attention to new legislation presented. Our family is actively involved in a grassroots movement to bring awareness to those bills that are a potential threat to parental rights, educational freedoms, and religious infringement.

Here is another family testimony about how CC has prepared them for political engagement.

A Homeschool Mom’s Testimony

Above is another family testimony about how CC has prepared them for political engagement.

Valerie Ward is a former college admin turned homeschool mom that nerds out over learning new things. She married her high school sweetheart (and now pastor husband) and now runs a family farm with chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, and goats. Her current goal is to live as much as possible on what the Lord provides from the land He has given.

Brushfires of Freedom

By Carolyn Martin

[Reprinted from the CHEC Homeschool Update, Volume 2, Issue #116, 2023. 720-842-4852. CHEC.org]

“It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” — Samuel Adams

Early in our nation’s history, brushfires of freedom sustained our independence from a tyrannical empire. Other brushfires throughout our history brought forward a civil war, women’s suffrage, civil rights, abortion rights, marriage rights, and, more recently, gender rights. Not all these brushfires fulfilled the desired rallying cry of freedom because they were not grounded in God’s righteousness.

Today, a brushfire is sweeping across the nation calling itself “school choice.” A majority of state legislatures introduced bills this year to establish programs to fund private schools and home education.

Not a True Choice

In the early years of the homeschool movement, a spark grew into a brushfire of freedom in large part because families were willing to sacrifice for the cause. For the Christians in the movement, God’s command to disciple their children was the central driving force. They saw clearly the trajectory of the government schools and its goal of stealing the souls of their children. Despite the real threat of being imprisoned, following God was not an option; it was the only choice.

Purveyors of the school choice movement are trying to convince homeschoolers that government money provides a way for families to choose the best education for their children. But what they’re selling is a false choice. All the choices they are presenting will be ruled by government bureaucrats. We all inherently know: what the government funds, the government runs.

Most of the “school choice” bills introduced this year include bigger government and increased regulations for private and home educators who choose to accept taxpayer funds. Big, new government bureaucracies in partnership with private entities are built to manage the oversight of the funding. Requirements for homeschoolers using the funding often include frequent meetings with certified teachers, usage of curriculum tied to state standards, and yearly testing. Basically, it’s public school at home. A choice we’ve already rejected.

True Brushfires of Freedom

It is time to rekindle the sparks that began the homeschool movement some fifty years ago and revive the brushfire of educational freedom. Government-funded programs will never bring God’s truth to bear on the realities of this world. Brushfires begin within each heart and mind that is set on the truth of God’s Word. Jesus set us free and gave us liberty; it is this truth that God commands us to set ablaze in our children.

School choice advocates are relying on the greed of man to propel their cause. Politicians, nonprofits, and governments benefit from the enlargement of the government-funded and run education system and the number of people growing dependent on it. Yet, our cause rests in the humility of utter reliance on God for our very breath and a growing awe of who He is. The time has come to set afresh the brushfire that first brought us freedom and to lead others — especially our children — to the liberty found only in Jesus.

Carolyn Martin, CHEC’s Director of Government Relations, and her husband, Todd, began homeschooling their three children in upstate New York before moving to Colorado in 2004. Her passion is to see homeschooling remain free from government intrusion for future generations.

To learn more about Christian Home Educators of Colorado, please visit CHEC.org.