October 13, 1996
To those holding down the fort back home:
We are about to embark on the arduous journey home after a successful conference-some are calling it the best ever. Many stout-hearted men and women answered this year's call to go West. Joining us here in this strange new land were over 300 home school leaders from 48 states, 3 provinces, and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It was an incredible time. The Bullwhip Kid sends his greetings.
The National Center
Conference attendees were given a hearty Texas welcome the first evening, first from the Bullwhip Kid, and then at the Circle R Ranch where they enjoyed genuine Texas barbecue, calf-roping, quick-draw contests, and a rodeo complete with mean bulls and fast horses. Briefly addressing the group was Michael New, the soldier who made headlines by refusing to wear a U.N. uniform last year.
[CAPTION] Brother Joe Adams (l) and Mike Farris (r) in a stand-off … '90's style!
The rodeo included opportunities for audience participation. Tracy Klicka (right) acknowledges the audience's applause after successfully tying a calf. Becky West of Illinois Christian Home Educators was the women's calf-tying champion-she had him thoroughly trussed in 12.21 seconds. In the two-person barrel race, Judy and David Eddy of North Carolinians for Home Education (below, right) were the fastest galloping team.
Friday morning opened with a presentation from Conna Craig of the Institute for Children. Through her own story of adoption at age eight and the shocking statistics demonstrating the breakdown of nation's adoption system, she reminded the state leaders of the importance of getting big government out of the business of parenting.
Dr. George Grant, of King's Meadow Study Center in Franklin, Tennessee, was Friday morning's second speaker. He challenged and inspired the group to recognize that "home schooling is not a defensive posture … if we're going to address the crisis in our inner cities, we will have to bring home schooling to this 'New Frontier'… The family is the only thing that will save the inner cities." Dr. Grant also presented two afternoon workshops on classical education to standing-room only crowds.
Jim Ryun, home schooling father, Olympic silver-medalist in track, and candidate for Congress in Kansas, joined the group for lunch along with his wife, Ann. Mr. Ryun also had time to present an afternoon workshop session on the role of fathers before returning home to continue campaigning.
Friday and Saturday afternoons were filled with various workshop sessions which provided state leaders opportunities to delve more deeply into topics, to discuss, to ask questions, and to share their experiences.
Friday evening's speaker was Marlin Maddox of Point of View and USA Radio Network. Maddox told the story of his "conversion" from a satisfied, uninformed defender of public education to an active, enthusiastic supporter of home schooling.
George Scipione of Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation was Saturday's speaker. Describing the need for a third great awakening in America, George prompted the listeners to recognize the importance of their role: "The church needs home schoolers. It needs thinking theologians, counselors, pastors, and preachers … You are working to save the family and the government, but if you miss the church, you will fail."
Chris Klicka, Doug Phillips, Mike Smith, and Mike Farris presented a national legislative briefing on the Parental Rights and Responsibilities Act, abolishing the Department of Education, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other issues of concern to home schoolers.
Youth Sessions: Jack and Tim Lash, a father and son team, led the young people through a study on serving God in the teen years. Rev. Jack Lash is the pastor of Gainesville Presbyterian Church in Virginia.
Mike Farris closed the conference with a look toward the future and its unlimited potential for the home school movement. Classical education, the possibilities offered by advances in technology, progressive support groups, home school friendly churches, and apprenticeship were the trends he highlighted, giving his listeners a vision for the days ahead.
Joyful Sound!, a home school choir from Houston, Texas, provided the music for the conference. A worship team led singing and provided special music during the sessions on Friday and Saturday. They were joined by the choir on Saturday night for a musical presentation at the closing banquet.