We recently attended the convention and I want to share about it with you. Partly, I want to share the things I learned in hopes that I can encourage others the way I was encouraged. Also, I know that writing it down will help me remember what I have learned too :) This will be a four-part post. In today's post I will share with you about our main speaker and the important message he shared with us. In my next posts I will share with you about the things I learned at the other workshops and also what I bought. In my last post I will share with you why I think YOU should go to a homeschool convention :)
Michael Donnelly - HSLDA
Michael serves HSLDA as director of international affairs and as staff attorney for member affairs in the states of Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. As director of international affairs he coordinates HSLDA’s support of homeschooling freedom all over the world. He and his wife homeschool their seven children.
As head of HSLDA's international affairs, Michael knows all too well what is really happening in international homeschooling, both in North America and abroad! He shared with us about what is happening to homeschoolers in various countries around the world. Did you know that homeschooling is illegal even in some democratic countries like Germany and Sweden?
In Saskatchewan last year the government changed the regulations about how we can register our children for homeschooling. They did not notify the homeschoolers, or even the school divisions about these changes!
In a nearby school division they had a new director come into power and this new director interpreted the rules differently than the previous one had, and a lot of the homeschoolers had their education plans rejected! One mom pointed out that she had been using the same education plan for 10 years and had never had it rejected before, until someone new came into that position!
Michael Donnelly shared with us stories of cases in the USA of homeschool parents who had to go to court because of things like the one mom told her children to wear off some excess energy by running laps up and down the driveway! Other parents were in trouble because they gave their child hot sauce on their tongue as a punishment. (As a side note, my mom put tobasco sauce on my tongue when I lied, and I survived just fine!)
I think that we, as homeschoolers, need to be aware that these things are happening, not just in far off places around the world, but also right here at home! We need to be praying for people like those at HSLDA who are fighting these battles. We also need to be doing our part to defend our freedom to homeschool!
My husband went to a session with Paul Faris, who I believe is the head of HSLDA Canada. Paul pointed out that with many cases he has been involved in he has had to do whatever lobbying needed to be done himself. He gets hired by his clients, and then they let him do all the work. But when he works on homeschool cases he has noticed that homeschoolers are much more likely to get involved. They will sign petitions and plan rallies. Those things help the government stand up and take notice!
The news that Michael Donnelly shared with us on the weekend was not all negative either. What I found most interesting was that although homeschooling is illegal in countries such as Russia and China, it is also growing in those same countries!
The theme of our homeschool convention was World Changers - Making a Difference Across the Nation and Around the World. Homeschoolers really can, and will be world changers, because we are the ones who are willing to be different and willing to stand for what we believe in!
What are your thoughts? Do you think it is good to be aware of these things? Do you think it is necessary to fight for the freedom to homeschool?
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