The birth of the United States of America came about because people wanted to exercise inalienable and fundamental rights such as life, liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the pursuit of happiness, the freedom to raise families, the ability to conduct commerce—generally, the ability to live outside the purview of excessive government control.
So our Founders proclaimed these rights in the Declaration of Independence. Then, they hammered out the US Constitution, a contract between the government and the people that spells out how to maintain the balance of power between them. The goal of this contract? Protecting freedom!
Today, our freedom to homeschool flows out of these fundamental rights. As parents, we enjoy the ability to raise our kids with the values that we hold dear and to provide each child with the educational experience that fits them best. We get to take advantage of flexibility that comes with learning outside of school walls. And millions of homeschooled kids are thriving in an environment where family relationships are strengthened, learning happens naturally, and they are free to pursue what interests them the most.
Our biggest challenge: government overreach
Our Founders based their deep distrust of government overreach on oppression they experienced under European monarchies, as well as on their Judeo-Christian view of man.
This is why the US Constitution divides power between federal, state, and local governments: so that no one person or one entity can exercise too much authority or impose too many regulations. And so that the sovereignty of the people is preserved against any one institution that seeks undue amounts of influence.
However, at times throughout history, the power of the government and the sovereignty of the people have come into conflict. One example is the internment of Japanese Americans in World War II. Or, more recently, when COVID-19 pitted the power of the government against the rights of the people. In both instances, fear prompted federal, state, and local governments to leverage their emergency powers to restrict freedom in unprecedented ways.
But in the midst of the COVID tragedy, there was an unexpected flourishing of freedom for millions of families who realized that homeschooling’s flexibility, personalized one-on-one approach, and kid-centric environment really work. In fact, when comparing numbers before the pandemic to those after the onset of COVID-19, the number of homeschooling families in the US more than doubled.
And despite ongoing attempts to regulate this educational method, homeschooling continues to enable more and more kids to thrive. The past two years’ experience underscores the need to preserve freedom—especially educational freedom!
A great responsibility
The importance of the freedom that our Constitution enshrines cannot be overemphasized: It provides the only means through which we can have the opportunity to achieve whatever worthy goal we set for ourselves. It lies in the heart of every person. It’s ingrained in our DNA.
As a loving, caring parent, you know best how to raise and educate your child—because only you have the high duty and responsibility to do so. That, too, is ingrained in our DNA, and parents need educational freedom to fulfill this duty.
Freedom is not free, and it can’t be taken for granted. It must be fought for, requiring sacrifice by each generation to preserve it. Once lost, it is almost impossible to retrieve.
The greatest enemy of liberty has historically been government overreach, not invasion by a foreign power. That’s not to say that government is evil, it’s not—but unless contained to its proper roles, it will seize freedom from the people.
The chief issue of our time will be whether government is the master or servant.
The Constitution and Bill of Rights codified our liberty, but they do not guarantee it. If the principles of freedom laid out in our founding documents are not practiced in everyday life by the people, these groundbreaking texts will end up as mere scraps of paper.
That’s where the responsibility of “we the people” comes in. A key step to practicing these principles and preserving our freedom is understanding what our Founding Fathers, Constitution, and history have given us.
Homeschooling gives us as parents a wonderful opportunity to continue expanding our civics knowledge while at the same time teaching our kids about civics through real-life involvement.
Freedom isn’t free . . .
And homeschool freedom is no exception. Homeschool pioneers over many decades have fought long and sacrificed much so that we can give our children the best education possible. And it’s up to us to continue to preserve homeschool freedom, for us, for our children, and for generations to come.
In this issue, we’re highlighting our advocacy arm, HSLDA Action, which others many civics resources for your family.
In this article, HSLDA Vice President Jim Mason will tell you a bit more about HSLDA Action. And, in this article, HSLDA Action Executive Director Joel Grewe will walk you through exactly what this new organization does and what opportunities it offers your family.
I hope that as your family learns more about civics and how you can help protect homeschool freedom, you’ll be inspired to get involved in new ways throughout the coming year!
Thank you for standing with us.
Defending freedom at every level
Challenges to educational freedom can show up in many different ways. From small local court cases to municipal or statewide policies and national conversations, HSLDA has been responding to these challenges at every level over the last 40 years. Here are a few recent examples.
In each case where a homeschooling family is wrongly taken to court for truancy, we’ve responded—many times, with your help. When the DC Council suggested preventing parents from making the medical decision best for each of their children, we responded. When Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Bartholet suggested that government should ban homeschooling, we responded.
And we’re looking ahead, alert and ready to respond on behalf of your freedom as needed.