By Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin,
At the CHEC Conference this year, a gentleman stopped to talk to me about threats to the Colorado homeschool law. When I told him that across the nation, state governments are trying to place more regulations on homeschoolers, he wanted to know why I had a problem with that. “What’s wrong with telling the government what curriculum I’m using to educate my children,” he asked.
To be honest, I was stunned by the question. After getting over my initial shock and gathering my thoughts, I brought out the following points in our conversation. What the government regulates, the government wants to control.
- I explained how I moved here from New York State which is the most regulated state in the union. In New York, homeschoolers must submit an Individual Homeschool Instruction Plan (IHIP) for each child every year to their local school district. According to state statute, the school district has no say over what you teach but that doesn’t stop the school district from trying to deny the plans that are submitted to them. Homeschoolers are also required to submit quarterly reports that explain how far each child has progressed according to the plan. Despite these higher regulations, statistics have shown they don’t produce better academic results. It’s important to let history be our guide.
- Has there been a place where the government provided for the direct funding of homeschools and ended up wanting to control what is being taught? Yes, in Alaska homeschoolers were given money to purchase curriculum and other teaching materials. Soon the state began restricting what curriculum could be purchased. I’m sure you can guess what materials were banned — anything with a Biblical worldview. Increased regulations will bring unwanted restrictions.
- If discipling our children in the way of the Lord is our goal, not everything we teach will fit neatly into a curriculum box. The government will find a way to use the information they gather, and you can be assured that it will not be used in our best interest or in the best interest of our children. On a practical level, how would those using a more eclectic, flexible approach to learning document the curriculum they are using?
- The education experts who work for the government have a very different view of the meaning and goal of education than most homeschoolers. Many believe homeschoolers are being educationally negligent by not putting their child in the public school. If increased regulations through stricter reporting, more testing, and the threat of home visits would discourage moms and dads from homeschooling, they feel justified in promoting them.
Have these assaults come to Colorado? Not yet. However, a wave has begun across the nation, so we must be prepared to engage in the battle.
Please pray that our leaders will protect our unalienable rights! Stay informed about what is happening in our state! Join the Colorado Homeschool Freedom Team.