What do George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Alexander the Great, the Jonas Brothers, Tim Tebow, and Alexander Graham Bell have in common? Keep thinking. ... Give up? They were all homeschooled!
Now for the next question: What do Salem and apple pies have in common? I bet you can't guess. The answer is Apple Pie Day!
Apple Pie Day is a day that happens every other year at the capitol in Salem, when the legislature is in full session. It is a day when all of Oregon's home school families have the chance to meet with their senators and representatives and take apple pies to them, tour the capitol and supreme court, go to a homeschool rally, sing in a statewide choir, visit with other homeschoolers, and walk the beautiful grounds of the capitol.
This is the second time that my family has attended Apple Pie Day, and we have had a wonderful time both times. This year we met up with our friends, the Crabtrees, former Brookings residents, who also homeschool.
We were able to see state Sen. Jeff Kruse, and state Rep. Wayne Krieger. Though our time with Kruse was very brief, as he was attending three different subcommittee meetings that day, our time with Krieger was, to our delight, for a full 30 minutes.
We talked about a lot of subjects in that time, from family to education to taxes and government policy. Krieger even revealed his poetic skills with a beautiful poem that he wrote to his wife - very impressive!
I must say that it is a great comfort to know that both Kruse and Krieger support homeschooling and alternative forms of education, and we don't need to spend our meeting time convincing them to vote for laws in favor of homeschooling.
The most current homeschool laws for Oregon were put into effect in 1999. Many families enjoy the freedom and opportunity to homeschool in Oregon. In fact, there are approximately 20,000 registered homeschoolers in Oregon, which is double the amount of 1999.
Current Oregon law requires homeschooling families to send notification of homeschooling, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress only on benchmark grade years (3, 5, 8 and 10), to the district office for education. Oregon law does allow homeschooled children to participate in extracurricular activities and take classes in the public school system.
This is a pleasure that many of our local homeschool students enjoy. Each state has its own homeschooling laws, but all states now recognize homeschooling as completely legal, unlike other countries around the world.
Currently, there is a case before the U.S. Immigration Court concerning homeschooling. A homeschool family was granted asylum because they were being persecuted for homeschooling in Germany, a country in which homeschooling is illegal, based on a law created during the Nazi era.
After being granted asylum, the U.S. Government Agency for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) filed an appeal, because they did not believe this case qualified as political asylum. Judge Burman, who had granted the family asylum, in making his decision observed the fact that a family was being denied "basic human rights that no country has a right to violate."
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) president, Mike Farris says, "Homeschooling is not only a great academic program, it is the finest example of American liberty. The essence of liberty is to believe what you want and to teach that to your children."
Farris also stated, "Germany bans homeschooling for the express reason that they want all children to embrace the government's view of the world. The fact that the Obama administration wants to deport this family suggests dangerous things about its view of liberty for both Americans and those who see America as the last hope for liberty."
So, although Apple Pie Day is a lot of fun, it has a very important purpose of putting a "face to home education" to our state leaders. Letting our leaders know who we are, and how we feel about our freedoms and rights, and showing them home education works.
It must work, because home educated students typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public schooled students on standardized academic achievement tests, regardless of parents formal education level or family income level. Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges.
Also, research shows that adults who were home educated participate in local community service and vote more frequently than do the general population. Thankfully Sen. Kruse and Rep. Krieger already know that home education works.
I'm glad that we have HSLDA and OceaNetwork fighting for homeschooling rights, not only in our state, but also nationwide and internationally, and that we can have special events like Apple Pie Day, which are very important and a lot of fun.
Abigail Schreiber, 14, is a homeschooled student living in Brookings.