The Face of Home Schooling Is Changing
- Wednesday, December 19, 2001
The third day of the conference began at 7 a.m. with a breakfast for the international delegation attending the convention. This is not unusual in todays global economy, except this was a home-schooling convention.
I remember when home schooling was illegal in many of the 50 states. The possibility of home schooling becoming an international movement was not a blip on anyones radar screen.
But here I was in a meeting with delegations from Canada, Germany, and Mexicolistening to stories, many miraculous, of how home schooling is growing in their countries. Then Chris Klicka, Esq., recounted how home schooling is growing in other countries around the world--South Africa, Ireland, Japan, and Brazil, just to name a few.
After the International Breakfast Meeting, I attended the mornings plenary session. I waited expectantly as Eric Burgess, with his imposing physical presence and humble demeanor, confidently strode to the podium. Eric announced he is leaving his position as president of the Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Louisiana to begin the National Black Home Educators Resource Association. His announcement drew thunderous applause. Eric and his wife Joyce have a burden to help African-American families home school successfully. They also have a great desire to inspire black families to cherish the heritage that is uniquely theirs.
Eric surrendered the podium to the mornings featured speaker: Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Rabbi Lapin is an Orthodox rabbi, a nationally-syndicated talk-show host, and best-selling author. He urged us to cherish freedom and defend Americas Judeo-Christian roots. He and his wife home school their seven children.
After the plenary session, I attended a workshop on Research for a New Millennium, presented by Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute. During the course of the workshop, Dr. Ray mentioned he had been commissioned to study home schooling among both the Hispanic and African-American communities.
During the course of four hours, I had conversed with people from three other countries, and heard about significant events in many others. I heard from an African-American, an Orthodox Jew, and a Ph.D. conducting research in diverse cultural climatesall speakers with national platforms.
Home schooling is no longer a small, homogenous group of people (not that it was ever really homogenous). Numerically, home schooling continues to grow exponentially: today there are between 1.7 and 2 million students being home schooled. Academically, home-schooled success stories are heralded in the news on a consistent basis. But, as I attended the conference this week, I realized that home schooling is growingexploding reallyin perhaps another more significant way. It is growing in its diversity as ethnic groups begin to grasp the potential of home schooling. The movement is growing as it progresses from the United States to other countries around the globe.
The renaissance of home education began about two decades ago as a small, but unquenchable spark. Today the movements growth is nothing short of phenomenalencompassing various cultures, philosophies, and nations. Home schooling stands as a testimony to the Biblical notion that parents have a God-given right and responsibility to direct the education of their children. What God ordains, He blesses. May He richly bless us as we all strive to be effective parents in teaching and training the next generation to take their God-ordained places in this world. Home schooling is a vehicle to do just thatand I cant wait to see where that vehicle turns up next.
Zan Tyler is the senior education editor for Crosswalk.com and co-author of the book Anyone Can Homeschool. She and her husband have three children and have been home schooling since 1984. Zan founded the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools in 1990 and served as its president for ten years.
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