|Celebrate Home Education Week in Your Community
By: Deborah Butler
April 26 - May 2 is Home Education Week in Oregon. The Governor's proclamation provides an excellent public relations opportunity for home educators around the state. Both homeschool families and homeschool support groups should think about taking advantage of this great opportunity.
Meet Your Legislator
Make an appointment and take an apple pie to your legislator at his or her home or place of employment in your district. During even years, legislators spend more time in their districts. Find out who your legislator is by going to the Oregon state legislative web site.
Apple Pie Day (the homeschool lobby day during legislative sessions) makes a big impact on legislative attitudes toward homeschooling. Taking apple pies to your legislator's place of work or home can have a large impact, too.
Make sure you check with your legislator before delivering the pie.
Make Home Education Week a learning experience
Plan a civics class for students during Home Education Week. Study how a bill becomes law in Oregon . Invite your state legislator (or other candidate for state office) to come talk to your group. Ask your legislator why he (or she) decided to run for office, what running for office is like and what he hopes to accomplish while in office. Share information about homeschooling with your legislator. Provide an opportunity for your legislator to ask your students questions about homeschooling. The class provides a great reason to introduce your legislator to home education.
Display your students' work
You can ask to set up a homeschool display in your local library, county courthouse or senior center. This can be done by a support group or a family. Show off some of your children's projects. Make a pile of all the books they have read on their own this year. Include a few of their textbooks and awards they may have earned. Make a photo diorama of field trips you have taken. You want the display to demonstrate that homeschool children learn many things and some of them in very interesting ways. If your support group is constructing the display, you may want to include contact information for your group. If the display is at the library, you could pull some homeschool books from the shelves to include in the display or have the library print a list of homeschool books they have available.
Conduct a service project
Opportunities for our children to serve others abound. Celebrate Home Education Week by serving others. Set up a music performance at the nursing home or senior center. Have your homeschool students read to the younger children in a day care center or do a project with them. Do a community beautification project such as setting out plantings in the park. Also let the local newspaper know how you are celebrating and invite them to cover the story.
Set up a homeschool information meeting
Hold a homeschool open house and post flyers around the city. Invite people to come find out about homeschooling. Be prepared to answer questions about the law and where to find curriculum, as well as "How do you get it all done?" Bring some of your favorite homeschool materials to display. Include your children and let them answer questions about their experience. You may enjoy yourself so much that you decide to hold these meetings several times a year.
Get a local proclamation
Ask your city or county government to proclaim Home Education Week in your community. Ask if you and your children can see the proclamation signed. Notify your local paper of any events you plan. Invite them to come take pictures.
OCEANetwork has resources
OCEANetwork publishes a flyer called Frequently Asked Questions About Home Education which gives general information about home education and lists several sources for more information. You can use the flyer at library displays, for open houses, or to give to government officials and media personnel. Order the flyers in groups of 10 from OCEANetwork, 27880 SW Baker Rd., Sherwood, OR 97140. Send $1.50 for every 10 brochures ordered.
Have fun with Home Education Week. Make it part of your school. Have your children write letters to the editor of your local paper describing something they like about home schooling. Home Education Week is for you. Make the most of it.
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