The Washington Times
September 5, 2005

Washington Times Op-ed—Labors of love educate U.S. children

by J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

Since 1884, Labor Day has been observed on the first Monday of September, and it traditionally has recognized the contributions of the working man.

In 1884, Thomas Edison introduced the world's first economically viable system of centrally generating and distributing electric light, heat and power.

America has benefited tremendously from Edison's inventions and from the millions of people who have worked to build the country into what we see today. Of course, it wasn't just the "working man" who built this country. Women also played an invaluable role.

One of those women was Edison's mother, Nancy.

Today, we recognize the contributions of the "working man," but with significantly more women in the work force, Labor Day has been extended to include the contributions of women. However, Labor Day can be extended further to include home-school moms who are conducting a labor of love.

Nancy Edison saw that the small school Thomas attended was not providing the education or the environment he needed to flourish. She removed him from school and made the sacrifice to home-school.

Choosing to home-school is not a task to be taken lightly, but successfully raising the next generation is the most important task facing existing generations. Nancy Edison recognized this fact. Home-schooling certainly provides "full-time" employment. It is labor-intensive, requiring much time, effort and patience from parents.

Most people are amazed to discover that most home-school moms are able to educate numerous children at home. It's certainly a labor of love. The commitment and dedication of the average home-school mom is incredible, and I believe such mothers are true American heroes.

It is a long-term commitment, but despite the difficulties, tens of thousands of home-school parents can attest to the wisdom of their choice. There are great rewards in the process, especially when their children grow up to be mature, productive citizens.

The overwhelming majority of home-schooled children are well-educated and properly socialized. They are ready to make their contribution to society. Through the example of their parents, who have made a tremendous investment and labored to raise their children to maturity, most home-schoolers develop a strong work ethic. These values will provide a secure future for home-school families.

Home-school moms are making great efforts to ensure that the next generation receives an excellent education. Although they have not built the tall buildings of New York City or the interstate highway system, home-school moms are laboring in a field that is arguably the most valuable of all, raising the next generation to be responsible adults.

Home-school mom Nancy Edison contributed greatly to this nation, and we benefit every day through her son's inventions.

This Labor Day, take some time to consider the contributions home-school moms are making at great sacrifice, with little cost to the taxpayer, to educate the next generation.

Michael Smith is the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. He may be contacted at 540/338-5600; or send e-mail to media@hslda.org.

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