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Thanksgiving and Homeschooling

by Mike Smith • November 25, 2015

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Americans have much to be grateful for. Our country is still the freest and most prosperous in the world, a place where immigrants still want to come. It is symbolic that for almost 60 years, the 12 million immigrants who arrived in America via Ellis Island observed the Statue of Liberty on their way in. Despite obvious erosions of freedom and prosperity since then, America’s liberty provides opportunity that does not exist anyplace else in the world.

Our modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly traced to the harvest feasts and days of thanks celebrated by the Pilgrims in New England in the 1620s. In 1623, Governor Bradford of the Plymouth Colony proclaimed a Thanksgiving celebration and fast, but the practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the 1660s. As president of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration, marking November 26, 1789, as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with gratefulness the blessings from Almighty God.

I believe it’s no accident that the modern homeschool revival began at about the same time the courts began to rule that religion in school, including Bible reading and prayer, was contrary to the Constitution. (That would have been a big surprise to most of our Founders!) At about the same time, standardized test scores in public schools began to creep down. With the increasing disgruntlement about public education, school choice is now all the rage. As we think about the things we can be grateful for this Thanksgiving, certainly God’s divine intervention in the homeschool resurgence is paramount.

Home education is now a viable legal education option for all parents who want to make the sacrifice—yes, I said sacrifice—to take full responsibility for how their children turn out educationally. So I’d like to offer a personal thank-you to the moms and dads who’ve taken on this awesome but rewarding task. As I’ve said many times, I think homeschool moms are America’s greatest heroes!

I also want to give a hearty thank-you to all of you homeschooling moms and dads who have taken on leadership roles in support groups and organizations. Without your leadership, homeschooling would not be what it is today. With over 2 million children now being educated at home, you truly have taken homeschooling from a time when there were just a few of us, to a group that one member of the United States House of Representatives said is the most powerful lobbying movement in America.

The liberty that brought first the Pilgrims to America and then the millions of immigrants who have followed is equally important to the continued success and growth of homeschooling. Liberty will always be vulnerable to attack; certainly we’re seeing that now as it relates to homeschool freedom. So, as we give thanks for our many blessings—including the blessing of homeschooling—let’s remember our responsibility to maintain this liberty. With God’s continued protection and our faithful involvement, homeschooling will remain a legal and viable option for all.