Homeschooling in California is completely legal right? No one needs to hide in the shadows. Even the Department of Education itself is on board and giving the green light to public homeschool programs. Why would we need to pay $30 a year to a homeschool advocacy group? What does that group offer me? A monthly newsletter or magazine? I can get those types of articles online for free. Social support? I can get that through my local park day or charter school for free. Annual conventions? My family can’t afford a weekend in a hotel plus registration and eating out. Group camping trips? Maybe, but why do I need to be a member for that?
The real reason you should belong to one or more of the statewide groups is the same reason you should belong to any advocacy group because watching the legislation that comes through our state and federal governments takes a lot of time, energy, and knowledge. That is what groups like
CHN and HSC do for homeschooling families. And it’s vital to keeping our rights. Both groups have committees that are well versed in the intricacies of legislation. They watch what is being talked about and put forward across the state, talk about it, and inform the membership in the case of any changes that may affect our families.
It may seem like everything is going swimmingly. And in the history of California homeschooling, it is. It’s just about the easiest it has ever been to homeschool in California, but that can change with one new law and it’s not a scare tactic to say so. It’s just the way our government works. Social media has made it easier than ever to get the word out about any potential problems or laws that might change things for us, but if not for statewide advocacy groups, we’d have to just trust that someone out there is watching what the government is doing and is ready to let the citizens know about it. The annual membership dues that CHN and HSC get, in part, go toward keeping a committee of knowledgeable people that watch these things. Having a large membership base gives those groups the power to get the word out to a lot of people all at once before any bad legislation can get moving too quickly to stop.
Over the past eight to ten years, homeschooling has begun to grow exponentially, especially with the invention of public charter schools that cater to parents wanting to take control of their child’s education. But membership to advocacy groups has declined. I believe it is due to everyone feeling confident that nothing can go wrong. Complacency is a dangerous attitude in our style of government. It gives the state the leeway to take advantage of the people and they will, not because they are evil but because they believe they are doing the right thing and there is no one there to voice their opinion otherwise.
This isn’t just about homeschooling. We’ve all grumbled about how difficult it is to keep track of what laws are being passed and who to believe when it comes time to vote. Advocacy groups hold a special place in the workings of our government. They are the groups we can trust to watch things for us while we peacefully live our lives. And they are the ones that let us know when we need to pay attention and listen in on what the government is doing. Homeschooling advocacy groups got us where we are right now. They are the people that fought the legal battles to make it so easy for us today. We need to continue our support of these groups so that they have the money and personnel to keep the up the watch. It’s only about $30 a year to become a member of these groups. Like the commercials say, it’s only pennies a day to keep a good watch on our rights! Isn’t it worth it?