Posts Tagged ‘convention’

Give Them a Chance

Thursday, March 31st, 2011


One day years ago, I was walking though a homeschool vendor hall that was basically empty. This one vendor caught my eye because of the despair in his eyes. Since I’m good at cheering people up, I walked over to his table and let him give me his sales pitch. I had no desire to buy anything at his table, and he knew it. No matter what I said, the despair remained in his eyes. I finally couldn’t stand it any longer, and I grabbed a random product off his table and said, “How much does this cost?” He said, “Five dollars.” I took out my wallet and paid him. You should have seen the look of joy on his face. That look of joy was worth way more than five dollars to me.

You might not realize that small-time homeschool families have spent their own money to travel to your homeschool conference to be in your vendor hall. They have paid money for the vendor table, sometimes hundreds of dollars. They have a wife and kids to support (or the women need to pay back their husbands, who are now broke because of them). What will they tell their family when they get home, exhausted from the tons of work they’ve done, with less than no money to pay the bills? All because tightwad homeschoolers like you pride themselves on not spending money. You walk past their vendor table without even taking the time to listen to their sales pitch, even though they might have something super cool that you will never know about, that would make your life better. Meanwhile that poor homeschool family starves.

You know what these vendors deserve? I’ll tell you. During the homeschool workshops when there’s no one in the vendor hall, they should lock the vendor hall. The vendors could then choose between two rooms. Behind door number one would be bunk beds where they can take a power nap so that their utter fatigue and poofy feet can recuperate. The room should be pitch dark. Fifteen minutes before they need to return to their tables, the light should slowly fade on (so as not to give people a heart attack from being startled by a bright light). They can look in a mirror, comb their hair, and adjust their clothing. Fully refreshed, they can go back to work.

I bet you’re wondering what’s behind door number two. The second room should feel like a resort, with Hawaiian music and hammocks and crushed fruit drinks with little umbrellas. Dog gone it, these vendors have paid travel expenses. They deserve a vacation. Uh, huh. This is the way it should be…

You know what the funny thing is? That five dollar product that I randomly picked up was one of my children’s favorite things to do for years. That man with despair in his eyes was actually selling something good.

Oh Captain, My Captain!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

michael-farrisI had the immense honor of meeting Michael Farris this past weekend. When he walked by at the homeschool conference here in Spokane, I just wanted to stand up straight and salute him. Just in case you don’t know, he is the chairman of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). This man has defended the freedom of homeschoolers all over our country, and he represents everything that is just and true. When I heard him speak on Friday night, I wanted to stand up and clap. And I wasn’t the only one. The whole crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Listening to him speak reminded me of when I went to Mount Rushmore with my family. With the presidents all lit up, and the fireworks popping in the night sky, I sang along with hundreds of Americans these words, “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free…” As I belted out the words at the top of my lungs, I felt a lump in my throat. That lump was patriotism, and it was the same lump in my throat that I got when I heard Dr. Farris speak.

Dr. Farris says that persecution is coming, and that homeschoolers are going to be so regulated by the government that it will become impossible to homeschool. He quoted many documents to prove his point, and since he is one of the best lawyers in the country, I believe him. Venomous people who are anti-homeschooling continually attack Dr. Farris, and he is under enormous spiritual attack. Please join me to pray for this great and godly man.

You might be wondering why I pay the HSLDA every year to be a member, even when I don’t have enough money to put food on the table. After all, I’m a certified teacher, so the chances of me being taken to court for homeschooling are close to zero. But my freedom means more to me than my stomach. You take away my children, you take away my life.

HSLDA lets us know when we need to make phone calls to stop bills from becoming laws. I remember the first time I called my senator. (It’s never the real senator, by the way. It’s just a secretary who writes down your statement. So have one sentence written out to tell her.) But then she asked me for my address. I stopped dead in my tracks. She wanted to know if I was a voter in the senator’s district, and the only way to prove it was to give my address. I’m very careful about giving my address. You see, in my “Declaration of Intent to Homeschool” that I file every year, I have NEVER given my address because it’s not required by law. I want to be off the grid.

So when she asked me for my address, there was silence. I told her to wait 60 seconds please, for me to decide if it was worth it to give a statement if I had to give my address. It only took me 10 seconds to decide, and I went ahead and gave her my address. I consoled myself with the fact that my family is trained in the use of firearms, and that my husband is ex-military. No one will take my children. Over my dead body.

But I thought to myself, if I’m a chicken (and I’m one bold, gutsy woman), then how will the normal homeschool mother feel about calling her congressman when the time comes? But let me tell you, it’s worth it to stand up for our freedom together, because if we don’t make those phone calls when we need to, all of our freedoms will be taken away. This will happen sooner than you think. And you don’t have to say you’re a homeschooler. Just say, “I oppose bill such and such because of this reason.” So it’s safe. There’s no way for them to know you homeschool. You are just a random phone call. They add up all the phone calls and see that thousands of people oppose it, and they might change their position based on the votes of the people. We live in a democracy (only just). But if you don’t exercise your freedom, the government will take it from you.

So there I was, shaking hands with Michael Farris, feeling that lump of patriotism in my throat, and feeling so emotional that tears welled up in my eyes. I stammered, “I will pray for you every day ’til the day I die.” I meant it. And I’ll do it, too.