The sixth annual National Christian Home Educators Leadership Conference, held November 4-7, in Williamsburg, Virginia, drew leaders from 42 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The conference was designed to highlight the freedoms we have committed ourselves to protect so that parents across our nation can home educate their children according to the dictates of their conscience and preference.
A FIFE AND DRUM corps rallied the troops and set the tone for the conference at the first night’s dinner. “Faces of the Founders,” was the subject of Peter Marshall’s address after dinner. He called those assembled to recover the original American vision of hope and purpose by involving themselves in every area of American life as “salt” and “light.”
DR. JOE SUTTON CHALLENGED US to recognize that God has created the “special” children among us with their individual needs, and called us to focus on our responsibility to protect them from institutional methods and care. He pointed out that home schooling benefits children with special learning needs by providing a more comfortable instructional setting, more individualized attention, and more flexible scheduling. Dr. Sutton also described the three components necessary for effective home schooling to take place: one-on-one instruction, a tailor-made program, and alternative testing.
LEE FORSTROM, MIKE FARRIS’ PASTOR from Washington state, encouraged us to actively bless others rather than becoming frustrated in our local churches. “There is more at stake in the relationship between home education and the church than most of us realize…. Our challenge is to make sure that the home school and the church are complementary—that they are not in competition…. There is invisible spiritual warfare taking place in your life, in your home, in your church, and in your home school… Satan has disguised his tactics by trying to make both sides look bad to the other. And his strategy is to get us fighting against each other so that we will be divided and have no impact on our world.”
OUTCOME-BASED EDUCATION expert Peg Luksik explained how OBE differs from traditional education, described why this reform proposal is inherently wrong, and outlined strategies for opposing its implementation.
A SERIOUS LOOK at the state of our national and local governments challenged each leader to consider what political activity God might call them to implement so that our nation might experience the hope of return to its foundational principles.
STRATEGY SESSIONS explored a number of topics: opportunities for standing up against the erosion of our republic and parental rights, lightening state leaders’ workloads and increasing our efficiency, and home education in the inner city.
Chris Klicka and Scott Somerville role-played a “worst case scenario” of a social worker’s visit to a home-schooling family, followed by a demonstration of how such a visit should be handled.
Saturday evening’s speaker, Representative Don Manzullo (R-IL) (c), encouraged the leaders to be involved in the political process and to support good candidates.
AFTER A WEEK-END jam packed with inspiration, motivation, information, and discussion opportunities, leaders returned home looking forward to a year rich with opportunity and fruitfulness.
George Fosset and McDonald Abraham were panelists for the session, “Home Schooling in the Inner City: What Leaders Can Do to Help” (moderated by Gregg Harris (r). Mr. Abraham pointed out that the “concerns of home-schooling parents in the inner city are the same as those everywhere else.” Discussion focused on how to let parents in urban areas know that home schooling is an option. Suggestions included home-schooling groups stocking inner city churches with literature, pooling used curriculum for poor families to use, and inviting pastors from the inner city to attend home school conferences.