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January / February 1991
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H. R. 6

Cover Stories

Iowa Supreme Court Rejects Historical Challenge to Teacher’s Certification

Pittsburgh School Superintendent Chastised by Federal Judge

Home School Students Better At Basic Skills

Ireland’s Department of Education Gives “Thumbs Up” To Home Schooling

The George Air Force Base Ten

To His Own Beat…

“Dear Mrs. Bush...”

South Carolina Testing Suit


President's Corner

Across the States

National Center Reports

C O V E R   S T O R Y

Dear Mrs. Bush,

In our fall issue we asked home-schooling children to write to Mrs. Bush and tell her why they like learning at home. The children responded enthusiastically to the project, and many sent us copies of their letters. We are delighted to offer a small sampling from the hundreds of letters we received. All of the letters were wonderful, but regretfully, space limitations prevent us from including every one. Thank you all for your participation!

Dear Mrs. Bush,

My name is Michael G. Smith.
I am six years old.
I am home schooling.
I am in first grade.

I can tell that I love home schooling because I'm finishing first grade.

My favorite subject is social studies.
Learning about long ago is interesting.
Will you change your mind about home schooling?

Age 6

My name is Julia. I am in Kindergarten.

My favorite book to read is Madeline. I made a papoose board that Indians used to put babies on. My mom read me a book about Sacajawea.

I like to pretend I am a librarian.

Very truly yours,
Julia Mae Bridges
Age 6

My name is Tara Cardinal. I am 6 years old. In 20 days it is my birthday. I am going to be 7. When I grow up I am going to be a mommy. I hope I can have at least 3 children because I love holding babies. My mommy is 34. My daddy is 37. My brother is 9. I also have a little dog that is only 2 years old. I love my little dog. We home school. My mommy teaches us and I love her teaching us because she is a very good teacher. Right now my mommy is helping me spell the words in this letter.

We start each day out with The Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and Prayer. We go rollerskating with our friends once a month. We also go on other field trips together with other children who home school.

Please write me.

Age 6

My name is Jared. I am eight years old and in the third grade. My mother educates me at home so I am a home schooler.

We study many things. I like history. I am learning about American Indians. I drew a picture of Cherokee homes and food.

My mom taught me to read. I like my reading book because it has good stories in it like “O, Say, Can You See?” about the writing of the national anthem.

We do other things outside of school too. We go on field trips to places around town with other home schoolers. My favorite field trip was when we went to the Police station. They had to put their guns in a special place before they went in. I memorized a poem last month. This is the poem.

The Wise Old Owl
“A wise old owl lived in an oak;
the more he saw the less he spoke,
the less he spoke the more he heard:
why can't we all be like that bird.”

I memorized that poem by heart. If you could visit our homeschool, I could say my poem for you. Being homeschooled is fun.

Jared Thomas Friesen
Age 8

My name is Gracie. I am 9 years old. My mom teaches me and my brothers at home. I like being at home with my family.

Most of my friends go to school. They tease each other and me too much. I have long hair and they pull it. They don't like teachers or each other very much.

I take tap dancing lessons with my brother Albert. He admires Fred Astaire. We watch his movies and dance together.

I play the flute. My neighbor, Mrs. Thomas, and I will play a duet at church. I got the “Most Tenacious Player” award for soccer. I collect insects and send them to the Smithsonian. I help my mom all day long. I can do any chore I want…

…I have a homeschool on the front porch. I am the teacher. I teach my friends Kyle, Lee Ann, and Sarah and Albert.

Thank you for reading my letter. I have your picture on the wall in the kitchen.

Age 9

I am in second grade. My Mommy teaches me at home. I like home schooling.

I like to read. My mommy taught me how to read last year. Thank you for all the work you do helping people to read. I'm reading a book about Nancy Drew now. We live one block from the library. I like subtracting in math. I am learning to multiply. Math puzzles are fun.

Last month, we went to Washington, D.C. I saw the house where you live. I liked all the monuments and the capitol building. Last night I met the President and you in my dream. I was so excited.

I am in the elementary choir at Church. This Christmas I will be an angel. I have a solo to sing. My brother is 5 and he sings a solo, too. I take piano lessons. I want to take violin lessons next year. Two times every week I have tumbling class. We do cart wheels and hand stands and many other things.

Every month I go to the nursing home. I like to talk to the older people.

My favorite Bible verse is John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If my dream never comes true (to meet you), at least I can write to you. I pray for you and your husband.


Melanie Martin
Age 9

I am 9 years old. I have been home schooled since kindergarten. I like home schooling for these reasons:

1. Most kids don't get to be with their mom and dad during the day and I get to. 2. I can read an 11 chapter book in one week. 3. We have a club called The Kids Nature Club that we made up ourselves. We set up a voting booth for kids at our library when your husband was running for President. Home schooling is great!

Mike Brennan
Age 9

My name is Amanda. I have been homeschooled for 4 years. I am in the 5th grade. I have been to public and private school. When I was in public and private school I got bored because the teacher didn't go at my pace. My pace is fast. In homeschool I don't get bored because when I get done with one subject I can go to another subject.

My subjects are: Reading, writing, spelling, math, english, Bible, history, science, typing, and I'm looking forward to sewing next semester. My mom is teaching life skills so I can be a good wife and mother later on.

When my dad is off work, we take educational field trips. We took one to Colorado where I worked on office machinery for 2 weeks. We also went to the Denver Mint…

…I go to a literature club every month. This month I read the Yearling by Marjorie Kinnon Rawlings. My literature club has 8 girls in it. I have had piano lessons, ballet, music, and gymnastics. I go to G.A.'s (Girls in Action) a missions program for girls. Also I sing in the choir, attend Sunday School, and discipleship training at my church.

May God Bless You and President Bush!

Amanda L.
Age 10

My name is John Bracht and I live in New Mexico. I am 11 years old and am a homeschool student. I wanted to write and tell you why I like homeschool.

One of the reasons I like it is because I get done with my school work a lot sooner and have more time to pursue my hobbies and interests. Some of the things I am interested in are collecting coins, stamps and rocks; catching insects and other invertebrates; astronomy, and chess. I also enjoy drawing and painting, calligraphy, and gymnastics.

I have a lot of friends in our homeschooling support group and every month we go on a field trip. Last month we learned about lasers and how they work, and how holograms are made. We also went to the FBI office in Albuquerque one time….

I am glad you are interested in literacy. We do a lot of reading together as a family, and I like to read by myself, also.

John Bracht
Age 11

I am a freshman in high school, and I am being taught at home by my mother. I have dyslexia. In my home school we read about one of your sons that has dyslexia, so I know that you will understand that I have to learn in a different way.

I was in the public schools for six years in New Jersey, and they had a great program for children with learning disabilities. My teachers cared about me very much, and I was able to learn a lot. In 1987, my family moved to New Mexico, and I started into sixth grade. I had a wonderful teacher, but she had one BIG problem. She had fifteen students without any teacher's aide! It was very hard to learn. I kept getting sidetracked, because I get very easily distracted.

…I feel very happy about being home-schooled! This is our third year, and I have learned so much!...

I'm glad that Mr. Bush is our President and that you are our First Lady!

Christian Neergaard
Age 14

…I have been successful in all of my studies and endeavors. Through home schooling I was able to complete both seventh and eighth grade in one year and at the age of twelve I attended a semester of college. I took Etymology, Grammar and Basic Math for which I received two A's and one B.

I truly believe that being taught at home has opened so many doors academically and socially. I am deeply involved in my church, 4-H club and my piano competitions. Through 4-H, I have taken trips to the capital in Sacramento where I became extremely interested in Republican politics and want to pursue a career in political science. In comparison to traditionally schooled children I have seen that I am better educated about current events and I am much more aware of government issues and procedures…

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter and I hope to hear that you have changed your mind about home schooling.

I am praying for your continued good health.

Respectfully yours,
Amy Goldman
Age 14

In response to the comments you made about home school on national radio with Peter Jennings, I feel that you don't really know what home school is about. I'm Jennifer Savage. I'm 13 and in 8th grade. I've been home schooled for seven years now and I really enjoy it. I don't feel like a sheltered child either. I do a lot of activities outside of my home.

For one, I volunteer at our local library. I've been working there for 2 years. I started out shelving books. As I began learning more and more about the computer system, I was able to checkout and return books. Some kids doing community service came to our library to fulfill their obligation. Mrs. Wilcox, the head librarian, put me in charge of them. I had to find jobs for them to do and make sure that they did them and did them well. After that I started training new volunteers. I am responsible for ordering all the children's books for Monument. I get a budget of $6,000 every year. I really enjoy my job at the library and enjoy meeting people there…

…Last year, my next door neighbors asked me to tutor their 4th grade daughter when she was having problems with her school work. As I began to work with her twice a week, her grades began to improve immediately.

Another reason I like home school is I believe I'm getting a better education than my friends. When I finished 7th grade last year, my Iowa Test of Basic Skills score was 10th grade 0 month. I am planning to go to nursing school when I finish high school.

I hope you have a better understanding of home schooling now.

Jennifer Savage
Age 13

…Homeschooling has done wonders for us. It has drawn our family closer together. I'm doing much better with my school work. Last year I came up four grades in spelling.

People always attack the social side of homeschooling. They act as if homeschooling kids are kept in a closet. I have many friends and I am very active. I'm involved at church. Art classes and piano lessons fill up my Thursday afternoons…

…In November, two of my homeschooling friends and I were invited to the Environmental Legislation Workshop, sponsored by The Garden Club of Georgia, Inc. Georgia Secretary of State, Max Cleland, State Senator, Arthur Edge, and my State Representative, Mrs. Helen Selman, were speakers at this meeting. We met and talked with these state leaders.

Thank you again for looking for ways to improve education. I hope you now see homeschooling as a good option for education.

April Ramey
Age 15

…I have really enjoyed being home-schooled because it gives me extra time to participate in other “extra-curricular” activities.

I don't have to wait until everyone in a class understands a new concept. Once I understand it, I just go on and complete my work for that day. Usually I can do all my assignments in less time than if I had six hours of school and two or three hours of homework…

Christy Huff
Age 16