I attended a “Ladies of Faith” dinner last evening. In addition to the two friends I attended the event with I was seated at a table with eight other ladies that I did not previously know. There must have been 30 full tables of women (nearly 300 ladies from all wakes and stages of life). So, to me, it seemed a miracle that the one person I was randomly seated next to was one of Colorado’s elders of home schooling. Her name was Annie.
I really think that God’s purpose for me being at the Ladies of Faith dinner was to be seated next to this amazing woman. Her presence reminded me of how easy it is for me to home school my kids. You see, when this wonderful elder was home schooling her children (1970’s and early 1980’s), she literally lived in fear of being arrested with the charge of child neglect due to truancy. According to an article listed in the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center, if she didn’t use state-approved curricula, for example, she would have likely been visited by a truancy officer.
Today, I don’t live in that fear because of the nasty battle that this amazing woman, other pioneering home school families, and supportive conservative leaders, fought, and won. Through their efforts, the section of the Colorado Constitution that deals with school attendance, Colorado Educational Article 33: School Attendance Law of 1963 Section 104.5, was amended to allow for home schooling. This gives Colorado families the legal option of home schooling their children, using the curriculum of their choice.
Before this amendment, several Colorado parents were literally arrested with the accusation of neglecting their children’s educational needs. Instead of taking the easy road and using state-approved curriculum and/or just enrolling their kids into school situations that made school districts happier, many of the home school parents from the 1970s and 1980s continued home schooling, using curriculum of their own choice. These pioneering families were confident that they were providing their children with the education that best fit their particular needs. They were willing to defend their right to determine how best to educate their children. And they did this knowing that they would be threatened, attacked, and sometimes arrested.
At the end of the Ladies of Faith dinner, I thanked this woman for her pioneering work. I told her that I realized that it was her generation that paved the way for my generation to be able to home school with such ease. Annie seemed appreciative of my thanks. And only then did she admit, “Yes, I WAS actually arrested back then…and I’d do it all over again.” Oh my God. This woman sacrificed so much to retain her right to educate her children as she saw fit. She sacrificed so much for my freedom. Her sacrifice is a humble reminder that freedom is not free. Have the courage to fight for your rights. Have the decency to thank those who have fought for you. Remember, people in your life time and in your own community have been persecuted for fighting for their (and your) rights. Never forget.