by Angela Chagnon
Hundreds of homeschool kids (and their parents) enjoyed the thrill of sitting at their legislator’s desks in the House Chamber, where they listened to Retta Dunlap, a long time homeschooling advocate, as she explained how the legislature operates and how bills are passed.
Dunlap asked the children to say what they liked about being homeschooled.
“I like homeschooling because I don’t have to worry about bus crashes,” said one little boy, eliciting laughter from everyone.
Most children talked about how they liked having some control over their schedules and the content of their studies. A young girl explained, “I like being homeschooled because I can study the things I like to study that interest me.” Another little girl said she liked being able to do her school work outside “when there was a sunny day.”
Other children spoke about being able to spend more time with their parents, going on field trips, and not having to be confined to a school building when they finished their work early. “I like being homeschooled because I can get done before lunch and not have to be stuck in school all day!” a pre-teen girl exclaimed.
Parents also had their say. One woman told how her son struggled with reading and writing, but excelled at math. Under her careful home study supervision, her son flourished and now works as a fiscal analyst in a major corporation. Others shared how they enjoyed the freedom of choosing what their children study, spending quality time with their kids, and being able to teach their children about God and other religious principles that public schools don’t allow.
“I like the student-teacher ratio,” remarked a homeschool dad.
One young woman, a “homeschool graduate”, explained how her home education helped her to focus on her strengths. “I had to learn what my dad calls ‘train your weakness, run your strength’,” she said. “I learned how to really improve the areas where I was weakened, and I had to direct myself to do that. I also learned how to run my strength, how to just go with passion with what I was good at.”
She said that her strength was writing and she now works as a tutor. “I feel like homeschooling gave me that confidence and that basis to really make my dreams reality, to go somewhere.”