Rarely have I used this blog as a platform for educational choice. For parents, I think that deciding when and where to help our children receive an education is highly personal. Over the past 20 years, I have been involved in some way or another in public, private and home schooling. With every setting, educators vary in their capabilities and commitment from poor to outstanding. In other words, you can find great teachers and not-so-great teachers wherever you look.
For our family, we have chosen homeschooling. This was not my plan when our children were born, yet somehow we are halfway through our 8th year in this process. Every year we prayerfully consider whether this is still our calling. The deciding factors were wanting to implement our faith in education as well be able to direct our children’s learning path. Part of our learning is completed together, and I generally like that fact. This has not been an easy path or one that I would always recommend to just anyone. Yet I do not think I will ever regret this decision, although to be honest, some days I question if I can continue to make this all work as some days can seem more challenging than others. One way that our family has managed to keep this commitment is by being involved in NCHEA (Nebraska Christian Home Educator’s Association).
A bit of background …If you homeschool in Nebraska, you have to file either a Rule 12 or Rule 13. If you file Rule 13, you are wanting to homeschool for religious reasons. Rule 12 is for other reasons. If you have read my posts long enough, perhaps you have gathered that we are a family of faith. The rest of this blog post has to do with the organization that supports those families homeschooling for that reason. (If you happen to be homeschooling out there under Rule 12, I am certain that there are resources available to you – I am just not personally familiar with them, so I feel I should refrain from giving suggestions on these groups!) As I am quite familiar with NCHEA, I can definitely recommend them as they have been a wonderful resource for us. This organization does this in several ways.
- Providing information and resources on homeschooling
- Helping connect support groups and even provide speakers
- Speaking out on behalf of Nebraska homeschoolers in legislation
- Hosting a Legislative Day where homeschoolers can meet representatives (we attended last year – extremely well organized)
- Hosting a Graduation Recognition Ceremony
- Hosting an annual homeschool convention
The last event is possibly the one that has impacted me so far. Other than one year when the timing and finances could not quite work, I have attended their two day convention. In fact, this will be the third year that I am also a presenter. While I am maybe do not have the same level of need for information as I did in the beginning, my need for support may be even greater. Seventh grade subjects seem to be a might bit harder than kindergarten was (plus in teenager form) definitely drives me to seek out encouraging words. Just knowing that I can have a week-end to be refreshed through seminars, to have access to basically a HUGE homeschool “store” and to run into homeschool friends that I often don’t manage to see more than a few times a year is a big deal to me. Since our kids simultaneously attend the FABULOUS kids’ conference, they also look forward to convention time. We all come back ready to have a strong finish to our school year! Tomorrow I am going to have a guest post by NCHEA with several more reasons as to why you should make this convention a priority if you are homeschooling in Nebraska.