found it helpful for myself to have an agenda of group things to discuss. However, this has taken an awful lot of energy on my part ... I am looking forward to this summer as being a time of more informal meetings, possi bly an open house ... IOWA: Barb Tetzlaff writes, "Our group~KIDS (Organization to Keep Iowa Deschoolers Strong) is really growing .. . At our first meeting we had 49 adults and their children in attendance . It was really beautiful to see all the children socializing so nicely' Our son, Josh, said that it was the best day of his life' ... We're planning a picnic for Indepen dence Day .. . NEW YORK: Peter Ackerman, now in Connecticut (RFD 1 Box 306, Kent 06757; 203-354-7003) says he gathered a great deal of information about the New York City school bureaucracy, regulations, etc, that should be most useful to would-be home-schoolers there, and he hopes they will contact him. OREGON: From HOMESCHOOLERS OF LANE COUNTY: "We have formed a home schooler group here in Eugene, involving about 10 or so families. It is a very informal and loose-knit gathering which we hold once a month ... At these meetings we share our homeschooling experience and any information involving legal or public school issues and whatever else peo ple want to discuss. We also form field trips ... Each family will share with other families, one or two days a month, their particular field of expertise or interest. So far we have families willing to share home compu ter courses, first aid, goat care, typing, chemistry, nutrition, Span ish, bread dough art, baking, sewing, building, and farming ... " UTAH: The UTAH HOME EDUCATION ASSOCIATTON's Third Annual Convention will take place June 23-24 with guest speakers Raymond and Dorothy Moore, and Richard and Linda Eyre (advisors on President Reagan's Committee for Financing Elementary Education). WASHINGTON: A group of home schoolers, with the assistance of attorney Michael Ferris, have started the HOME SCHOOL LEGAL DEFENSE ASSOCIA TION (PO Box 1219, Olympia WA 98507) . According to its brochure, "In the event that any legal action (or threats of legal action) are brought against a member family, the associa tion will furnish free legal represen tation through the attorneys on staff or retained by the association . .. Basic cost is $65 per year .. . " WISCONSIN: Sue Brooks writes, "Chris Mayou and I are going to pub lish the Wisconsin Regional Coalition of Alternative Community Schools News letter beginning sometime ~n July ... hope it works - organizing has been difficult here due, in part, I think, to great differences in phil osophy which seem to keep folks at arms' length . .. Folks can send legal info to Chris (W8229 Tower St, Ona laska WI 54650) and general info on meetings or short paragraphs describ ing their dealings with their school district (please name that district) to me . Subscription orders ($10) can also be sent to me (Rt 2 Box 230, New Auburn WI 54757) . .. " - DR
AN ALLY IN COLORADO Was delighted to hear the other day from my old friend Edward Pino in Colorado . Ed was for many years the Superintendent of the Cherry Creek School District (suburb of Denver),
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known nationally as one of the most innovative and by any measures suc cessful school districts in the entire country. He retired from that post ten years ago, but is still active, energetic, and very interest ed in home schooling. I asked him to find out for us what he could about the legal and administrative situa tion in Colorado . He very quickly replied with the following useful and encouraging information: 1) The Colo. Dept. of Education "monitors" home schooling families, currently estimated at about 114, but essentially the Board's function is simply to provide information. 2) "Colo. law leaves responsibil ity to local boards, both authority and responsibility. Colo. law is very flexible and open to home study ... " The State Dept. of Ed. has no authori ty either to permit or forbid home schooling, though of course they can always try to influence local boards to move one way or the other. 3) "Six boards out of 181 dis tricts in the state have chosen to disapprove of home study for various reasons ... if you want more help on this, let me know." Since Ed is very well-known and highly respected among Colorado educa tors, his advice and help are likely to prove very helpful. Perhaps togeth er we may before long find ways to bring around those few presently hos tile school districts. A useful first step might be to put into the hands of the superintendents and board mem bers copies of the Phi Delta Kappan article and our legislative proposal . - JH
SUPPORTING PUBLIC SCHOOLS From Pamela Pacula (CA): ... Not knowing that I would not be sending my 4-year-son to the local public school, a neighbor called and asked me to help a group of mothers in their fight to keep the school in our area open. The public school facility near us is in a very beautiful, serene location, surrounded by rolling hills and trees. The buildings are fairly new, and the children can see the lovely surroundings from inside their classrooms. I thought it was a shame that the children in our community might not be able to spend the better part of their days at this particular ly beautiful school site, and was more than happy to help the other mothers take a survey to present to the school board. As I called people from the list, some asked me as many questions as I asked them. When they found out that my son would not be going to pub lic school, they invariably asked: "But why are ~ helping with the sur vey? Why do you care if the school re mains open or not?" I told them that I cared very much' I reminded them that the child ren who go to public school are part of the same society my children live in. They will become the adults my children will encounter when they enter adulthood - so how can I not care about their education, their health, and their · happiness?' The peo ple I spoke with were very pleased that I was willing to help. I want others to know that I'm not being "elitist" or saying "To heck with society" by choosing to home school my child . I'm merely exer cising my right to choose how ~ child is educated and raised. While helping with this survey I made some
new friends in the non-horne-school community. They saw that I was eager to help their children and they were supportive of my right to home school my child. . .. Four and a half years ago . . . I decided that when my youngest went to school, I would volunteer to teach French in his class . .. Although I have since become firmly convinced that home school is best for Brian, still intend to volunteer (with Brian) to teach French at a local ele mentary school. I love the French language, I enjoy teaching young chil dren, and feel it would be as bene ficial to Brian and me as to the children . .. [JH: 1 Many thanks to Pam for this very important letter. We are of course very eager to hear from par ents whose local schools are working with and helping them; but we are equally eager to hear from parents who have found ways to cooperate and work with their local schools . For Pam is right - for a long time, the schools are going to be there, and most children are going to be going to them, and what happens to them there is going to affect the lives of all children, including home-schooled ones . It would be very short-sighted for us to assume that the worse things get in the schools, the better it will be for home schooling . Quite the reverse.
BUYING OUR BOOKS HELPS A reader told us that she and others she knew thought they were doing us a favor by not buying books from us - they thougnr-we didn't make any money from the books we sell and so they were saving us time and trouble. Well, let's clear this up without further ado. We do indeed make a profit on sales of books, and even at present levels of sales this profit makes a useful contribution to our total income. If we could double, and then double again, our book busi ness, it would go a long way toward making GWS self-supporting, instead of depending very heavily, as we do now, on the uncertainties of the lecture and publishing business . There is no reason why we should not do thiS, since the list is already good enough so that many people, if they knew about it, might order many books from it even though they had no particular interest in home school ing. Many people have told us that even though the Boston area is a great educational center, we offer a more varied and interesting set of books for and about children than they can find in any local bookstore - and we have many more good books and materials that we plan to add to the list as soon as we can. In short, one of the easiest and most useful things that people can do to help GWS is to put our book list into the hands of as many people as possible, or otherwise make it known to to them. To save on printing costs, we are designing a special short version of our list that will include descriptions of our most popu lar books . These will be ready by the time you read thiS, and you could help us a great deal by ordering a quantity of these short booklists (20/$1) and giving or sending them to people you know or with whom you have contact. One possible thing to try - put classified ads in small local papers
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