Homeschool Resources

Gluten-Free Table At A Potluck – Homeschool Resources

By Lauren Gideon

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

An Illustration From My Gluten-Free Friends

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

I also bet some are 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 neighbors…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 have ever hung out with someone like this who has had accidental gluten contamination, you know why.)

Specifically, 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 Homeschooling?

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, no state-funded options are available for those who have chosen to homeschool.

Do you know what they DO have? They serve 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.”

Do you know what happens to our table when this is our outlook? 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 will create better options, and more homeschool resources for the next generation

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

Lauren is a regular contributor. You can find Lauren’s other blogs here.

Lauren Gideon profile smiling at the camera

Lauren Gideon is the Director of Public Relations for Classical Conversations®.  She has been a home educator since her first student was born 18 years ago. She came to Classical Conversations for support when the student count in their home grew beyond what she thought she could navigate on her own. In addition to homeschooling her seven children, she co-leads community classes that unpack our nation’s founding documents and civic responsibility. However, she is happiest at home, preferably outside, with her husband of 18 years, tackling their newest adventure of building a modern homestead.

School Choice has Come to Louisiana

School Choice Has Come To Louisiana

By Jennifer Bright

Each year, more and more states are embracing school choice options through education savings accounts (ESAs) and school voucher legislation. Alabama was the first state to pass a universal school choice bill in 2024! Louisiana will not be far behind as it is being debated this week in the Louisiana Senate.

As private homeschoolers in Louisiana, why should we be concerned about ESAs or school voucher legislation? Statistically, Louisiana has always been near or at the bottom in education as compared to the other fifty states. For example, in 2023, Louisiana ranked 46th. The question that is often asked is, why wouldn’t we support these school choice options? Wouldn’t ESAs help lift Louisiana students from the bottom?

School Choice

‘School choice’ is often referred to as educational choice, educational options, parent choice, etc., in which taxpayer-funded monies are channeled through school vouchers, educational savings accounts, educational empowerment scholarships, tax credits, etc., (which sound and look enticing) for parents to choose the educational option that they believe is best for their child(ren). Louisiana’s version, the Giving All True Opportunity to Rise (LA GATOR) scholarship program, is being decided this week at the capital.

Government Monies—Government Regulation

As with all government monies, there will be regulations, rules, accountability, and control. Currently, 13% of Louisiana school districts receive their funding from the Federal Government, and the rest is divided between the state’s budget and our local sales and property taxes.

How will this new legislation affect private homeschoolers in Louisiana? From HB 745, section 4037.5. (Schools and service providers; eligibility; participation), private homeschoolers who register either as a home study program or a nonpublic school not seeking state approval are not eligible to participate or concurrently enroll in the LA GATOR scholarship program. The LA GATOR scholarship program sets up a new class of government-funded students, just like Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. So currently, private homeschoolers will not be affected.

            “When parents take these funds, they sign a statement that they are no longer homeschooling, even if they may be educating at home. As a result, accepting ESA funds places the student in a new category as an ESA student. Because students are no longer privately funded homeschool students, but instead publicly funded ESA students, government regulation inevitably follows and impacts the education these students receive.”[1]

It may not affect private homeschoolers today, it could in the future. The current bill requires all students who participate in the LA GATOR scholarship program to comply with all program requirements (including yearly testing). But what about next year or the year after, how will the government change or modify the program requirements?

Other States’ ESA Programs and Problems

Let’s look at a couple of other states that have drunk from the well of ESAs, like  Arizona and West Virginia. Budgets have blown up! There is an administrative nightmare and a lack of accountability. Politicians and educational leaders are looking for solutions to fix the failed experiment.

Resist the Temptation

As Leigh Bortins shares in this article,

            Parents are presented with “choices” that aren’t really choices at all.” And “Receiving one-time government money with no strings attached makes the second, third, and fourth times easier with strings attached. With the shekels come the shackles.” So, “we must…resist the temptation posed by government funding.”

Educate Yourself

Think through these questions from Classical Conversations® Educational Freedom website, as you consider who do you want to control your homeschool—you or the government?

  • Do you want the state involved in your homeschooling on any level?
  • Is accepting any financial assistance from the state a slippery slope?
  • Where does the money come from?
  • Would it be more beneficial for homeschoolers to keep their education tax money rather than fund the Department of Education with that money?
  • In your state, are you still classified and protected as a homeschooler if you receive government funding?
  • Is making your own curriculum decisions important to you, or would you prefer the Department of Education to assume oversight in those decisions?
  • What historical examples can you think of where the government was involved in decisions like this? What were the initial intentions? Were the outcomes positive or negative, and how accurately did they reflect those initial intentions?

In Louisiana, there are currently over 45,000 children being home educated. If we were our own school district, we would be the second largest in the state! Just remember, the state government (and federal) will do whatever it can to bring us under its control, and ESAs are just one of their avenues. We need to stand firm against any governmental encroachment on our freedoms to direct our children’s education. We, as parents, know what is best for our children.

The Homeschool Freedom Action Center website is here to help you stay informed and to help families educate themselves on what true educational freedom is!

Jennifer Bright profile headshot

Jennifer Bright is the Communication Manager for Research and Quality Assurance for Classical Conversations. Jennifer’s passions are classical Christian education and discipling the next generation to live for Christ. She supports homeschool families by tutoring their students with the classical tools of learning. Jennifer and her husband began their homeschool journey almost 20 years ago in Russia while serving as missionaries, and currently, they reside in Covington, Louisiana.


[1] “Educational Savings Account.” Accessed 4/15/2024. https://classicalconversations.widen.net/s/swkgl26rw7?__hstc=87463879.1d548548b58a4ef2d8bb0d564a005567.1638826400930.1670868123213.1670943201710.270&__hssc=&__hsfp=&hsCtaTracking=d9ec90d4-0a2d-4d25-bcbb-c8c3b64bb33d%7Cbc6a2c98-eeed-4bdf-adba-2ef77c9a312a

A dad reads a book to his two boys sitting on a couch

Does School Choice Mean Education Freedom?

By attorney and reporter Kevin Novak

The following was published in the Western Journal on August 27, 2022, and is a credible source for thinking through the issues surrounding “school choice and education freedom. The views expressed in this opinion article are those of the author and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by the website owners.

In our current day, school choice is a popular topic for parents and voters to consider, especially with rising inflation, our current environment post-Covid, and the legislative-sessional season. We are all presented with various cases regarding government funding for education. But with the prospect of financial aid comes multiple elements that aren’t being said.

Kevin Novak poses legitimate questions regarding school choice in the following article, including lowered taxes, privatized education, and educational freedom.

“Consider these inquiries. If a legislature has the present ability to pass ‘school choice’ legislation, why does it not instead pass legislation that lowers taxes? In conjunction, if a legislature has the present ability to pass school choice legislation, and it being the case that many children have escaped the civil government school system, why does it not instead decrease spending on civil government education? And how would passing more school choice laws produce more financial freedom for people or more thought freedom for children?”

Read the full article here.

Also, read other articles about school choice and educational freedom here.

a Classical Conversations family smiles at the camera, with text that says "Thankful for homeschool freedoms"

Are We Thankful for Our Freedom to Homeschool?

By Edward Murray

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving . . . ” —Psalm 50:4 (ESV)

Fall is my favorite time of year, and for several reasons—one of which is because it marks the beginning of the holidays. However, one holiday stands out as my favorite: Thanksgiving. While this holiday may not recognize a biblically historical event, its intended is to direct us towards a biblical virtue of contentment: being thankful for what God has already given us. This month, let’s ask ourselves: Are we thankful for our freedom to homeschool? Put another way: Although homeschooling is our God-given right, are we thankful that our country currently recognizes our freedom to homeschool?

News outlets recently reported that states across the nation have seen exponential growth in homeschooling since the pandemic. In fact, “Homeschooling has become America’s fastest-growing form of education and continues to explode in popularity long after pandemic-era remote learning has ended . . . ”1

Are We Thankful for Homeschooling?

Mairead Elordi further reports, “Before the pandemic, there were 1.5 million homeschoolers in the U.S., according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Now, there are between 1.9 million and 2.7 million homeschoolers in the country, the Post’s analysis estimated. Only two states, Georgia and Maryland, have seen homeschooling return to pre-pandemic levels.”2

Although conservatives lost both houses in my state of Virginia recently, Danny Diggs (R) beat out Monty Mason (D) for the Twenty-Fourth Senate District, and for good reason. Recently, Mason was captured on hot mic mocking parental rights as “garbage, crap, and stupid.”3 Meanwhile, whatever is thought of his official performance, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin made visible the parental-rights undercurrent when he ran on these issues and won.

What do we learn from all this? Although previous homeschoolers understood the threats in the 80s and 90s, now younger generations are awakening to these realities. The state is not to be ignored, and infringement is a constant danger. In other words, awareness is leading us to thankfulness and action.

It’s Easy to Forget

As a former pastor, I’ve made this principle a repetitive talking point. Thankfulness is not a passive state of being but an active discipline. Not to be too philosophical, but although we may reach a state of being thankful, biblically speaking, thankfulness is something we actively exercise, whether we are or not.

Many psychologists suggest beginning or ending each day with a list of at least 3–5 things we are thankful for. Why do we need this? Because we are naturally bent towards negativity and forgetfulness due to sin.4 This is why the Lord instructed His people to erect monuments and practice regular rhythms of festival and feasting in the Old Covenant. He knows our frame (Ps. 103:14) and knows our proclivity to failure when it comes to reminding younger generations (Josh 4:19–24). Throw all this in with these day-to-day realities:

  1. Homeschooling is hard.
  2. Making disciples is hard.
  3. Soul-winning is hard.
  4. Gathering ourselves for reflection when our energy is spent at the end of the day is hard.

Are we thankful for our freedom to homeschool? In many ways yes, we are! However, in many ways, we tend to drop the ball when it comes to being actively thankful. We’re distracted. If it takes sitting down and writing a daily list of three reasons to be thankful for our freedom, let’s do it.

Don’t Take Freedom for Granted

As I mentioned earlier, we currently have the freedom to personally educate our children. But let’s not take this for granted. Don’t fail to properly appreciate what we possess at this moment in history. Although homeschooling is our God-given right, the government’s willingness to recognize this is not to be assumed in a fallen world.

Although homeschooling is biblically normative (and was historically normative prior to the twentieth century), the legal prohibition against this is relatively recent. This current freedom is very fresh. Remember, it has only been since 1992 that all fifty states officially recognized homeschooling as a legal option.5

Moreover, you’ll recall that the Romeike family fled Germany in 2008 for asylum in the United States, solely for the opportunity to homeschool. They’re now under the threat of deportation by the U.S. government, with a temporary delay granted just October 6 of this year. Their stay is not guaranteed, and they still need our support.

Find out how you can help the Romeike family with our friends at HSLDA.

Although our current moment is witnessing a rapid increase and appreciation for homeschooling, critics and legislators continue to push for more government oversight. This shouldn’t be underestimated. Every year across the country, legislation swarms the halls of our capitols, sparkling with subsidies and laced with infringements. Don’t take your freedom to homeschool for granted. It is on the docket and at the ballot box every election.

How Then Should We Live?

This month, reflect on this question: Am I thankful for my freedom to homeschool? Current trends indicate that more are awakening to this blessing and that it’s something to fight for. Yet given our proclivity to forgetfulness, we need to endure with active thankfulness. Don’t take for granted the hard-won battles of generations past. Future generations are depending on us.

Legend has it that Ben Franklin was asked what type of government was created from the Constitutional Convention. His pithy response was, “A republic if you can keep it.” This mantra should ring in our heads as we reflect on our liberty to homeschool.

The principle is clear: If we want to keep our liberty, we must fight for it. It’s only ours “if we can keep it.” We cannot remain idle.

This Thanksgiving, let’s pause to be thankful for our freedom to homeschool. Additionally, let’s pray, celebrate, and feast in the presence of the Lord for this blessing. And when our meal is over, let’s be actively thankful by engaging our spheres of influence with awareness of what’s at stake.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” —1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (ESV)

Edward Murray currently serves as Manager of Special Projects and Research for the Strategy and Corporate Affairs Team at Classical Conversations. He is a native of Augusta, Georgia, and an alumnus of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he earned his Master of Divinity. He currently lives in Newport News, Virginia, with his wife and three children.

  1. Peter Jamison, Laura Meckler, Prayag Gordy, Clara Ence Morse, and Chris Alcantara, “Home Schooling’s Rise from Fringe to Fastest-Growing Form of Education,” Washington Post, October 31, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/education/interactive/2023/homeschooling-growth-data-by-district/ ↩︎
  2. Mairead Elordi, “Homeschooling Continues to Rise Dramatically, WaPo Analysis Shows,” Daily Wire, November 1, 2023, https://www.dailywire.com/news/homeschooling-continues-to-rise-dramatically-wapo-analysis-shows. ↩︎
  3. Brandon Gillespie, “Democratic Lawmakers Caught on Hot Mic Mocking Parental Rights as ‘Garbage,’ ‘Stupid,’” Fox News, April 26, 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/politics/democratic-lawmakers-hot-mic-mocking-parental-rights-garbage-stupid. ↩︎
  4. Psychologists recognize a phenomenon labeled “negativity bias.” This refers to our brain’s response to negative stimuli with greater neural processing over positive stimuli. Because of this, we tend to find bad news more fixating than good, as well as see more lasting impact from negative experiences (e.g., insult, trauma, etc.) than positive experiences. For further reading, Kendra Cherry, “What Is the Negativity Bias,” Verywell Mind, November 13, 2023,. https://www.verywellmind.com/negative-bias-4589618. ↩︎
  5. “The History of Homeschooling in the United States,” Northgate Academy, January 12, 2022, https://www.northgateacademy.com/the-history-of-homeschooling-in-the-united-states/#:~:text=In%201992%2C%20homeschooling%20was%20officially,to%20750%2C000%20students%20in%201995. ↩︎
hands clasped together in prayer, resting over an open Bible

Colorado Homeschool Freedom Prayer Update

By Carolyn Martin

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.”

Nahum 1:2–3 ESV

The Lord sees all that we are dealing with and will by no means let it go unjudged. As I try to prepare for the next session, the storm clouds continue to build on the horizon. The power of those legislators holding a Marxist worldview is growing, and the rhetoric against God’s created order continues to confound reason. Meanwhile, I can only sit by and watch as those advocating for the growth of government through private-public partnerships as a way to disrupt the status quo in education build their kingdom which is antithetical to His kingdom. Yet, God’s power is greater, and His way is in the whirlwind and the storm!

There is no doubt a storm is coming, bringing destruction in its clouds. The exact characteristics of the storm remain hazy. Knowing the Lord is in the midst of the storm gives assurance to all who trust in His way. Yet, to stand on the edge of the storm as the winds howl and push against your resolve can be overwhelming. I am thankful that God has each of you praying for me, for His will to be done, and for the protection of His people. I am even more grateful that He allows me to meet many of you and thank you in person for upholding me and having a heart for the work He has me doing even when we can’t see the results.

Please continue to pray that I will be guided by His hand and remain steadfast in following His way as the storm clouds strengthen and build.

PRAISE!

  1. Praise God that He is IN the whirlwind and the storm!
  2. Praise God that He is trustworthy.

PRAY!

  1. Pray that God will allow me to speak the words He has ordained and those who hear them will listen.
  2. Pray that God will call more people to come to the Capitol to pray!
  3. Pray for the Lord to raise up an army to counter the lies spoken in His name.
  4. Pray for the hearts of the legislators God has called to the Capitol to be strengthened by His mighty power.
  5. Pray for His wisdom to be revealed to His people in order to overcome what is to come.
  6. Pray that God will protect His people from the repercussions of bad laws.
  7. Pray for His love to overwhelm those working at the Capitol who are seeking Him.
  8. Pray for God’s grace to abound and that the Senate will give us a room to pray in at the Capitol.

Action Items:

  1. Encourage everyone you know to vote. Ballots go out beginning October 16th. Read my most recent blog post on voting this ballot here and follow the links!
  2. Consider joining the CHEC Legislative District Connection (LDC)! I need people throughout Colorado who will commit to making connections with YOUR legislators. Legislators are more apt to listen to their constituents, who can actually impact whether they get elected again or not. We meet via Zoom on the first Monday night of every month to discuss what’s going on at the Capitol and learn about all things dealing with the legislature. Sign up here.

Carolyn Martin is the Director of Government Relations for Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC). She 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.

an interior shot the dome of a state capitol building with text that says "Michigan Capitol Day, October 4, 2023"

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.

a man teaches a classroom full of middle-school aged students

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.

A closeup of the American flag during sunset hour

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.