The freedom we have been given to homeschool our children in Oregon is a precious gift. Freedom gives us the flexibility to meet our children’s needs, individualize their education, and raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
A major part of OCEANetwork’s mission is to protect that freedom. To do that, we all need to understand what we are protecting.
There are four basic kinds of education in Oregon and each is defined by the statutes governing it. Rodger Williams, OCEANetwork’s Freedom Watch Team coordinator, has displayed the four kinds in an easy to understand infographic. (Also displayed below.)
What Are the Four Kinds of Education in Oregon?
The four kinds of education are:
1. Public schools – paid by state funds, classroom education
2. Charter schools – paid by state funds, can be classroom, virtual, or in-home education
3. Private schools – paid by private (usually parents) funds, classroom education
4. Homeschools – paid by private funds (parents), in-home education (or private classroom as arranged by the parent)
Variations occur within each kind of education, but the key component to how much freedom and flexibility parents have is determined by who is paying for the education. What the government pays for, the government ultimately controls.
OCEANetwork works diligently to protect homeschool law (ORS 339.030(e)) and increase homeschool freedom. One of the biggest challenges we face is the confusion between traditional or private homeschooling (#4 above) and charter schools that are helping families educate in their homes.
OCEANetwork believes in the right of parents to choose and direct their children’s education. You need to do what’s best for your family. We may praise the virtues of private homeschooling and occasionally share concerns about other forms of education, but ultimately it is your choice.
Understandably, charter school parents who are working with their own children in their own homes face many of the same challenges as traditional private homeschooling parents. They feel very much the same as private homeschoolers do when it comes to dealing with their children 24/7/365. However, the two kinds of education (private homeschooling and charter school homeschooling) are governed by two different laws.
Unfortunately, not everyone outside the homeschool community understands the difference between private homeschooling and charter school homeschooling. This is especially dangerous in the legislature where many legislators believe if government funding is involved, accountability (and control) need to be increased.
For example, former state representative Cheryl Walker wrote the following in opposition to our home education freedom bill in the past:
“I suggest that if they [homeschool parents] really want freedom from state control they stop accepting State Department of Education money. Taxpayers who are paying for home-schooling should have accountability from the students.” She went on to say, “If they have the benefits, why should they be exempt from accountability.“
Representative Walker did not make a distinction between home educators participating in charter schools and private homeschooling parents. In essence, she said if some homeschoolers are participating in taxpayer-funded programs, all homeschoolers should be accountable. Therein lays the key to the threat to traditional home education freedoms.
Protecting Private Homeschooling Law
It’s OCEANetwork’s intention and mission to protect the traditional homeschool law as we have been doing for the last 30 years. It provides the freedom parents need to meet their children’s needs and to encourage them in the Lord. But this freedom isn’t just for Christian parents. It’s for all parents. We are committed to protecting the right of parents to choose traditional home education regardless of their beliefs. We must protect it for all, or we will all lose it.
OCEANetwork can’t do this without you. The freedom to homeschool with as little government intrusion as possible depends on freedom-loving homeschoolers becoming involved.
Join OCEANetwork’s email list to be informed of important legislative action that needs your help. Legislators want to hear from families in their districts.
Act when you are notified that the Legislature needs to hear from homeschoolers.
Come to Apple Pie Day to show your support for traditional homeschooling.
Support OCEANetwork with your financial contributions. While OCEANetwork is an all-volunteer organization, there are still many expenses – website and email services, publications, insurance, and much more in order to keep the corporation viable and you informed. Consider becoming an OCEANetwork Supporting Family by making a donation today.
Pray for OCEANetwork. Put OCEANetwork on your regular prayer list. Pray for wisdom, for strength, for help, and for favor with the legislature.
OCEANetwork has been equipping homeschool families and protecting home education freedoms since 1986. With your help, we can continue to guard your freedom to homeschool.