Home schooling: As American as apple pie

By Abigail Schreiber, age 12 May 14, 2011 04:00 am

Home school students Abigail Schreiber, Courtney Gage, Carly Gage and Peter Schreiber meet with State Sen. Jeff Kruse. Submitted photo.
It’s the last week of March and my mother is franticly calling every bakery from Brookings to Coos Bay in search of apple pies.

You see my mom is a great cook, but cooks throw things together.

“An apple pie thrown together does not look very good,” she says.

Why do we need apple pies? Because we are going to Salem for Apple Pie Day.  Apple Pie Day is a day when all the home school families in Oregon are invited by OceaNetwork (Oregon Christian Home Education Association Network) to Salem to celebrate home schooling, and encourage our government leaders to continue providing us with the freedom to home school.

Families who attend visit their state representative and state senator, tour the capitol, take classes about government and picnic on the lawn.

The best part, I thought, was when my brother Peter and I sang in the home-school children’s choir during the rally. There were more 100 girls and boys singing in the choir and an orchestra of about 25 students. We sang the first and fourth verses of the “Star Spangled Banner” and the first and fourth verses of “America the Beautiful.”

On the tour of the Capitol, we learned about the state seal, visited the House and Senate chambers and we climbed 121 steps to the top of the Capitol tower. From there you are so high you can see a good portion of the city, and wow, is that Gold Man on top big.

There were many speakers at the rally including Wes Butler from the OceaNetwork board, State Rep. Jason Conger of Bend, and Will Estrada from HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association). Estrada also is the head of Generation Joshua, which provides leadership training to Christian teenagers and helps them see how they can, now and in the future, make a difference to their community and nation. We have a local Generation Joshua group for those home schooled teens interested.  

Our senator, Jeff Kruse, has been at every Apple Pie Day rally since he took office. Two of Oregon’s state representatives currently home school their children: Rep. Mike McLane and Conger.

We visited both Kruse and Rep. Wayne Krieger. Neither of them has homeschooled, but they both support home schooling and other alternative educational forms such as charter schools.

Krieger and Kruse both have had positive experiences with home school students in the past. They also strongly support parents’ rights and family values.

Kruse’s web page states, “I am here to help make the following a reality: State government should address only legitimate needs of the people of Oregon, in a cost effective manner, so Oregonians can have the freedom and personal resources necessary to run their own lives.”

Both our family and the Gage family had attended the town hall meeting in Brookings the week before to watch these two men at work. That also was quite interesting, and it helped us to better understand their job and the many issues facing them. At the end of each visit, my parents asked each what we could do to help them. They both answered us by saying, “Raise respectful, responsible, hard- working, well educated children.”

Apple Pie Day was very exciting and educational and fun. My family and one other family, the Gage family, represented the Brookings home school community by going up to Salem. I would strongly encourage other home school families to go to Apple Pie Day in the future. It is very much worth the drive up there. Also note that Apple Pie Day only happens every other year when the congress is in full session.

Oh, you are probably wondering if we got an apple pie. We cheated and purchased a frozen one. It actually looked pretty good once it was cooked, but not nearly as good as Tracy Gage’s homemade Amish apple pies, which is what we delivered to Kruse and Krieger.

For more information on  OceaNetwork, visit www.oceanetwork.org, for the Home School Legal Defense, visit www .hslda.org, and to find out about the Brookings home school group go to www.meetup.com.