It is with mixed emotions that I come to my final “From the President” column (titled “President’s Corner” the first time I wrote it long ago). It is exceedingly difficult to retire after 39 years of involvement with HSLDA and 22 years as its president. The privilege to serve in this capacity has brought many blessings, and I’d like to share a few with you.
Blessing #1: HSLDA’s mission
HSLDA has a mission I believe in wholeheartedly: to protect and advance homeschool freedom. This has been our main mission from the beginning and will remain the main thing until Jesus returns.
Blessing #2: HSLDA’s team
HSLDA is a unique workplace because of the people who serve here. We all aim to be disciples of Christ; all our staff at HSLDA work as if working directly for our Lord. That means we want our service to be characterized by honesty, integrity, excellence, empathy, grace, humility, generosity, good stewardship, and care. There is a deep love and commitment to each other that is rare in a workplace, or any other place.
We refer to ourselves as “co-laborers” because we have a common mission, which translates into a desire to serve our members with excellence and compassion. And the fact that we all believe that homeschooling is a good thing, and that most of us were—or are still—involved personally in homeschooling certainly doesn’t hurt.
Blessing #3: HSLDA’s daily work
There is tremendous satisfaction in knowing that what we do all day, every day, is helping make homeschooling possible for our members and nonmembers alike. Parents like you often tell us that one of the main benefits our member families appreciate is peace of mind: you’re free to focus on homeschooling your kids because you know that we’ve got your back—and you’re covered from all angles.
Now, it’s a tremendous blessing to know that many members join even though they might never see a truant officer or social worker at their door. They believe in the cause of homeschooling and want to contribute toward preserving that freedom for generations to come.
Blessing #4: Partnering with those who believe in homeschool freedom
My greatest satisfaction is knowing that homeschooling is legal everywhere in the United States today. But today’s homeschool freedom was hard won: we owe a great debt to the pioneers—the early homeschooling parents—who courageously faced real threats of jail time and/or removal of their children just because they had the audacity to homeschool. Thank you, pioneers!
When HSLDA started in 1983, it was basically illegal to homeschool in most states. Those who partnered with us in the battle for homeschool freedom were almost too numerous to count. Statewide, regional, and local homeschool groups worked shoulder-to-shoulder with us, and thousands of homeschool families personally called, faxed, emailed, or visited their legislators to voice their support for pro-homeschool legislation and their opposition to anti-homeschool measures through the years. Thank you, leaders!
Blessing #6: Meeting thousands of homeschooling families across the US
A real privilege of working at HSLDA over the last four decades has been the ability to travel to almost every state, speaking to and meeting homeschoolers, hearing their stories of the benefits of homeschooling. Every family has an interesting and unique story of the why, how, and now of the saga of homeschooling’s impact on their family. Homeschooling families are ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing.
Blessing #7: The support of my wife, Elizabeth
I would have never been able to experience these blessings without my wife, Elizabeth, and her willingness to homeschool our kids. When she started home educating in 1981 in Southern California, it was hard to find another mom who homeschooled. But not only did she embrace homeschooling as a lifestyle, she also became an encouragement and comfort to many moms as she gave her testimony and spoke on the benefits of homeschooling across the country for many years. Thank you, Elizabeth!
Blessing #8: The vision and friendship of Mike Farris
Likewise, without Mike Farris, I would have never been involved with HSLDA, or even homeschooling advocacy in general. Mike is the founder of HSLDA. We got involved because he needed several other people to incorporate HSLDA and brought my wife and myself on board.
Mike is the rare visionary who can actually bring his dreams to fruition, and it’s fair to say that Mike Farris is a key contributor to the rise and growth of homeschooling’s becoming a significant educational choice. Mike, thank you for letting us tag along!
It is time to move on and give Jim Mason the reins as HSLDA’s next president. Jim has been with HSLDA for over 20 years and is perfectly prepared to lead HSLDA to greater heights. He is a strong Christian, a leader, and a homeschool dad. He and his wife, Debbie (an intercessory prayer warrior), homeschooled and graduated all of their seven children. Jim is well respected by our co-laborers. He has been successful in leading our litigation team, development team, and HSLDA Action.
My wife and I will remain connected to homeschooling by continuing to serve on HSLDA’s board—I will hold the position of President Emeritus—and by assisting HSLDA’s development and Compassion grant team.
I thank you for your support of HSLDA through your membership, donations, encouraging words, and prayers. Truly, without you, HSLDA could not exist. I can assure you that each one of you is important to us here at HSLDA, and that perspective will never change.
So, adios, and God’s blessing on your family.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24–26 (NKJV).