Dear NH homeschool parents,
I write this note as encouragement and motivation. The last two years have been weird, and not the good kind of weird that everyone has a bit of, but bad weird! The sort of weird that makes families confused about parental rights and educational options.
Students left public school in numbers the likes of which have never been seen. Parents everywhere woke up to the fact that the government school model is extremely flawed and archaic. You probably spent time nudging family and friends to consider homeschooling, and we spent an absurd amount of time trying to support the mass exodus! We did well, friends!
Then, the NH legislature hopped on the school choice train- and here's where all that progress started to get weird. You see, I'm a believer in parental rights. The less government interference in my homeschool, the better. I certainly don't want or need other people to tell me what's best for my own children, nevermind force me to comply with their opinions. I remain an unapologetic advocate for parental control. So, when the excitement and exhaustion of supporting hundreds of new families was still chugging along- new educational options were introduced to NH.
School Choice is a good thing. I'm a fan. I believe (again) that parents know what is the best educational setting for their own children. Responsibly curated programs to assist parents in realizing this truth are an absolute win for families, and NH as a whole. HOWEVER, when a person, a piece of legislation, a movement, a group put the freedom that we enjoy as homeschoolers in NH at risk, I will be there to speak the facts into our community. Granite State Home Educators will be there to speak the facts into our community. We are the grassroots homeschool organization in NH, and we wield our swords protectively in defense by sharing, speaking truth, creating content, showing up to rally, testifying in Concord...you name it.
I'm writing because we are in for a tidal wave of legislation, and families are not yet prepared. In my personal opinion, the Prenda program and the EFA program are, in theory, amazing leaps forward for NH families. In theory. The reality of the legislation, the programs and the details (despite all the good intentions) are a blow to traditional, RSA 193-A, reporting homeschoolers. They put our freedom at risk, plain and simple. Now, I've (we've at GSHE) become accustomed to being the bad guy(s) in clearly stating the concerns that are obvious to those who read the fine print. We walk a tough line in wanting to support these innovative programs while not wavering in our commitment to homeschool families in NH.
At present, we are sharing the exact same information that we have consistently shared for over a year: these two programs are different from homeschooling in numerous, significant ways. More so, these differences are not being effectively communicated and result in opening traditional homeschoolers up to risk. Risk of more oversight, more legislation, more government control- because of the conflation of these different educational pathways.
So, this is another transparent, straightforward, tough-love rally cry: PAY ATTENTION. Do not become complacent. We risk going down in this wave of legislation (mostly from people who don't like school choice) coming soon. Stay up-to-date, get involved and show up. All of NH families are worth it.
GSHE Action, NH EFA Home Educators, Prenda NH, Children's Scholarship Fund NH are all groups to join/organizations to follow for these various pathways.
By Amanda Weeden
Amanda Weeden is a leader in Granite State Home Educators, Christian Home Educators NH/S.ME, the Special Needs Homeschooling Representative on HEAC and a Special Needs Homeschooling Advocate. She loves people, anything with glitter and is a big fan of Jesus.