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All articles are presented to stimulate thought and assist Christian families in homeschooling their children. Articles may or may not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the management of

By Pete Storz

in the course of participating in the homeschooling community, it becomes necessary to dissociate one's family and its homeschooling from the community's popular customs and prejudices, in order to determine and use the methods of education, paces of instruction, manners of presentation, and associations that fit one's family, a decent respect for the opinions of those within the homeschooling community with whom one's family has associated and will encounter requires that one declare the reasons that are impelling that dissociation.

Our family holds that the truth of these principles is self-evident: that every person is created an individual, that each is endowed by their creator with certain unique personality qualities, that among these are methods by which one learns most easily, unique paces of learning, individual manners of presentation that facilitate perception and understanding, and a right to associate with people one finds most congenial. It was for the nurturing of these personality qualities that the family was instituted, under the governance of the parents. Whenever these parents fail to nurture their children's individualities this will prove hurtful, even inimical to them as a person. Prudence dictates that accustomed ideas and associations are not changed for light and inconsequential causes, and indeed, people put up with much provocation, before separating from the sources of provocation with whom they previously had associated. But when a long train of abuses and offenses, aimed invariably at the same object, demonstrates a design to pressure families to conform to the popular prejudices and customs of certain associations by subjugating their family members' individuality to those associations, it is the parents' right, it is their duty, to dissociate from those customs and associations, and determine and use those methods, paces of instruction, manners of presentation, and personal associations they deem most conducive and convenient to their children's education and personal growth. The history of our family's experiences in the homeschooling community is a history of occasional but regular abuses and offenses, all having the direct object of pressuring our family to subjugate our individualities into conformance with the popular prejudices and customs of various segments of the homeschooling community. In demonstration of this, facts are here submitted for the perusal of honest readers.

---Some unschoolers aver that theirs is the only true method of homeschooling, denigrating homeschoolers who use other methods.

---Some school-at-homers contend that it is necessary to have a special room in one's house, dedicated to homeschooling, with desks and blackboards, textbooks, a fixed schedule, and other common trappings of school classrooms.

---Many users of boxed curriculum insist that their chosen curriculum is the one, right curriculum, and dispute this warmly with users of other curriculum, whether boxed or drawn from multiple sources.

---There are the ardent unit study advocates who try to pressure all homeschoolers they meet to use their particular program.

---Some people have urged us to keep our children "up to grade level".

---Too many textbooks move on to a new concept before my child understands the previous concept.

---Too many textbooks pile on exercises to excess, covering concepts our child already understands.

---There are secular homeschoolers who speak resentfully of religious homeschoolers when they speak of their religious ideals and ideas.

---There are religious homeschoolers who believe and say that homeschooling is of itself religious.

We have not neglected to discuss these matters with fellow homeschoolers. We have frequently remonstrated with homeschoolers presuming to pressure fellow homeschoolers to compromise their and their children's individuality to conform to some single method or set of associations. We have appealed to the very principles such persons claim to profess, and to our common ideals in homeschooling for such homeschoolers to abandon and disavow their former attempts to pressure fellow homeschoolers to compromise their and their children's individuality. They have been deaf to the voices of principle and common purpose.

We, therefore, on behalf of our family, having carefully considered, appealing to the Supreme Judge to whom we must give account for our decisions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good members of our family, solemnly publish and declare that our family and its members are, and by right, ought to be, independent homeschoolers: that we are absolved from undue allegiance to homeschooling methods that do not suit our family, and from uncongenial associations with homeschoolers who habitually pressure fellow homeschoolers to subordinate their and their children's individualities to some certain set of homeschooling customs or associations. As independent homeschoolers we have the full authority to educate our children using such methods and paces of instruction that we deem will facilitate our children's learning, and to associate with such homeschoolers as support our and others' freedom to so educate our children.

Obviously the above "Declaration" is a work of satiric hyperbole, modeled after the United States' "Declaration of Independence". No shots will be fired, and I promise that our family's house door is not barricaded with school desks and textbooks. At the same time, this articles has two serious ideas that I hope will be impressed on its readers. First, the freedoms we have found in homeschooling are too great to allow ourselves to be pressured into doing or trying to be something we know won't work for our families. Second, while offering advice and support is commendable and very necessary, we need to avoid going too far and becoming the ones pressuring other homeschooling families to try or be something that will be unsuitable for them.

Copyright © 2003, Peter Storz and Homeschool

About the author: Pete Storz grew up in Woodland, CA, near Sacramento. His family attended a Lutheran church, and for grades 1 through 3, Pete attended the private school run by that church, and public schools thereafter. Pete attended a college in Phoenix, AZ, graduating with an Associate's degree. While in Phoenix, Pete worked in a Christian bookstore and tape library, was involved in a ministry that reached out to Jehovah's Witnesses, and ran sound for several local contemporary Christian music bands. Pete moved to "Silicon Valley" to work in electronics and be closer to his parents. He met Becky in 1978 at a church, and they were married in 1980. They have three children, Suzy, Chris, and Katie. Becky first heard of homeschooling on a Focus on the Family program, and about a video seminar by Dr. Raymond Moore that was to be hosted at a nearby church by his daughter. After attending this and a seminar by Gregg Harris, Pete and Becky were encouraged to believe that they could homeschool their children. Remembering that first year or two, when support was crucial but hard to find, Pete and Becky started a support group in 1992 with a special emphasis on fellowship, person-to-person support, and helping new homeschoolers get started. Though Pete and Becky stepped down from leadership after 4 years, SELAH Christian Schools continues to assist homeschoolers in the San Jose, California area. Pete and Becky continue to publish a resource directory for San Jose area homeschoolers as well as other support activities. Resources Related to This Article

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