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Minnesota’s Economic Reasons To Free Up Homeschooling

August 15, 2011 by Jesse Light No Comments »

Homeschoolers save tax payers billions of dollars every year because they let their children learn at home.  And homeschool children test higher on required annual tests than do their government school counterparts.

So Minnesota has every reason in these hard economic times for passing the recent laws, July 1st 2011, that give more freedom to Minnesota homeschoolers.  By rewarding homeschool parents with more legal freedom to homeschool, everyone wins.   

Parents win because there will be less paperwork to do: Parents without degrees no longer have to submit quarterly reports to their school district.  And the annual letter of intent has become simpler to fill out for current homeschoolers.  And now it is legal for homeschool parents to teach their children driver’s education.  And other changes to which if interested you can find at MACHE, or Minnesota Homeschooler’s Alliance.

Tax Payers win in Minnesota because for every child not sent to government school, approx. $12,000.00 to $18,000.00 will not have to be expended on that child.  The amount varies from state to state, school to school, child to child, and study to study.  No matter what, just for one child its a lot of money over a twelve year span.  Most homeschool families have more than one child, some quite a bit more.  When you think about it, its a very patriotic thing to do to homeschool by saving tax payers so much money and by doing such a good job teaching and raising their wonderful children.  I know a lot of homeschoolers, and I don’t know one homeschool family that isn’t simply amazing.

Kids win because they get to learn with the people who love them the most, their families, who like to be with their kids and who are interested in what, where, how and so on in what their kids are learning.  And parents and kids themselves get to mold their own learning to what works best for them, and also learn more of what they want to learn and what they are good at.  Which is something institutional schools can’t possibly do.

In the first place God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.
~ Mark Twain



What If Grocery Stores Were Run Like K-12 Schools

August 4, 2011 by Jesse Light No Comments »

What if grocery stores were run like K-12 schools?

The government would assign you to a local grocery store.  Groceries would be “free.”  You’d pay for them through your taxes.  You wouldn’t have as many options.  Seems absurd, but that is how schools are run.

Don Boudreaux, an economics professor, wrote an article on April 24th, 2011 called “Grocery School.”

The gist of Mr. Boudreaux’s article called Grocery School, is that even if you thought the grocery store your family was assigned to by the government was bad, and you decided to pay out of pocket for a private grocer, you’d still have to pay for the bad local grocery store out of your property taxes.  Huge chunks of that tax money would be spent by government by operating and running supermarkets.  Each family would get its weekly allotment of groceries for “free.”  And the Department of Supermarket officials would determine the amounts and kinds of groceries each family are entitled to receive.

And nicer grocery stores would be located in richer neighborhoods.  And tax payers who are thinkers and believe in separation of supermarket and state would be criticized by most everyone as being delusional, and misanthropic devils who are indifferent to malnutrition and starvation that would sweep the country if grocery stores were privatized and made not to be compulsory. 

This is how our schools are run.  And the worse schools are, almost always they complain they need more money, and they get it!!  This would never happen in a free market.  Chilling isn’t it.  Does anyone still think this is a good idea?

Parents should be the sole deciders on how and where they want to have their children learn.  Homeschooling and private schools, or a combination of both, is better for everyone.  Summer camps, other camps, museums, private clubs like 4-H, the Scouts, church groups, field trips with homeschooling groups, and family traveling and so on and so on are much better options.

A totalitarian state will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing.
~ Adolf Hitler




But What About The Social?

July 24, 2011 by Jesse Light No Comments »

But what about the social?  This is the most asked question I’ve gotten since becoming a homeschooling family.  Ironically, it is the least of the worries for our family.  But you don’t know that until you homeschool.  I can remember long before I knew anything about homeschooling, just like it was yesterday being in an education class at the university and asking that same question to a homeschool Dad who was also taking the class. 

Now when someone asks me that, I inwardly cringe because I have to try explain it yet again, and even after I’ve explained about homeschool social, many seem like they aren’t convinced.

First, was anyone concerned about my children’s social life before school age?  Is anyone concerned about my children’s social life once they are adult; and they will mostly live their life as an adult.

Second, is school social really all that valuable that people should be concerned about it?  Think about it.  You’ve got kids raising kids for 12 years of their most informative years of their lives.  As a former secondary education teacher, I saw plenty of undesirable “social” to not want me to ever let my children go to school.  You name it, it was there.  Welcome to the jungle.

No thanks; I’ll let my children take their chances with summer camps, 4-H, church, sports clubs, music clubs, private lessons, apprenticeships, and family get-togethers, family traveling, library events, and so much more.  Is this social enough for everyone?

A long time ago I remember overhearing one teacher say she thought it was so unfair of homeschool parents to keep their kids away from school social life.  I wish I would have thought to say at the time that I know so many people who were bullied in school and it devastated their lives.  I know there are many people who enjoyed their time in school, but I’ve come to the conclusion they are the minority.

The idea of learning acceptable social skills in a school is as absurd to me as learning nutrition from a grocery store.
~ Lisa Russell



Statement of Letter of Intent to Homeschool

July 23, 2011 by Jesse Light No Comments »

A letter of statement of intent to homeschool your child is required by state law in many states.  I think there are a few states where you don’t have to send a letter of intent to homeschool to the local school district.  They might be Alaska and or Texas and I don’t know of any others.  Every state is different.  The letter of intent to homeschool is just informing your local school district that you intend to not send your children to school but to homeschool them instead.  Usually I think you don’t have to send a letter of intent to homeschool until your child is in first grade, or seven years old, something like that.  Looking up a states homeschool law requirements is easy online. 

Sending in a letter of intent is very easy.  Many of your local homeschool organizations will offer a simple one page form for you to use to send in.  My family does not use a form at all.  We simply type up a brief letter stating we are going to homeschool, what the kids names and birth dates are, immunization information, testing information, we happen to both have bachelors degrees, so we add that too.  Although I personally feel having a bachelor’s degree makes no difference to homeschooling.  Its just a status thing and can keep the authorities off your back.  But that’s another post, for another time. 

What is required information on letters of intent vary from state to state too.  Some state school districts require by law proof of parent’s high school diploma, and college diploma.  Usually you have to state how you are going to have your child tested and what test you will use and what monitor.  Proof of up to date immunization records are usually required also with the letter of intent.  Usually homeschool families are required by state law to turn in a letter of intent to homeschool every fall within the first month or two of school starting.  My family almost always has ours in about a week or two before school starts.

How do I feel about having to send in a letter of intent every year.  Personally I don’t feel its any of the government’s business if I intend to homeschool my child or not.  Or even what school I’d be sending them to if I were to send them to private school.  Which I would do before I’d ever send them to a government school.  Its no more the government’s business how and where my children learn than it would be what daycare I send them to, or what churches we go to, or what restaurants we eat at, or what college my children might attend, you get the point.  I think the whole letter of intent to homeschool thing is about government control over families, especially their children.  It has nothing to do with learning.

When we make our laws and educational policies primarily for the parents who don’t care, instead of for those who do, those laws are backwards. We urge that the burden of proof be on the state to show which mothers and fathers are not doing their job.
~ Dr. Raymond Moore



Reasons Why Parents Homeschool

July 22, 2011 by Jesse Light No Comments »

One parent told me she homeschools her children because she is a creationist, and doesn’t want her child to get exposed to the concept of evolution in high school biology.  She was very adamant about that. 

Other families I know homeschool because they just want to mix religion with school, so they homeschool, even if they do believe in evolution.

I’ve met parents who homeschool because they think government schools are a waste of their family’s time.  They think school can’t teach their kids as well as they can.

Another homeschool Mom said, “No one can love my children the way I can.”  Thus she wants them to learn at home because she likes being with her kids.

Some kids are learning at home due to health reasons.  I know of one girl whose parents really didn’t want to homeschool, but had no choice due to their high school age daughter’s illness.

 Some homeschool I know due to being mercilessly bullied at school.  And learning at home was the only way they could be free of being bullied. 

There are many reasons why parents let their kids learn at home.

I don’t judge parents for choosing to place their children in institutional schooling.  It’s a family choice and that freedom must be protected.

I personally would never choose institutional schooling for my children again though.  For my family, learning at home has been very empowering.  My children are happy and thriving. 

Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.
~ Melinda Harmon, U.S. Federal Judge, 1996



As A Former “Educator” I Get It

by Jesse Light No Comments »

I’m a former secondary education teacher.  I’m not sure I would have had the courage to begin thinking about homeschooling my children if I hadn’t known the k-12 education system from the inside out the way I do.  Although I think anyone whose been through twelve years of institutional schooling is an expert too.  Twelve years is a long time.  All us products of this industrialized system know how to raise our hands, ask to get permission to go to the bathroom, sit through boring out-of-context lectures, and all the other mindless robotic shuffling and waiting, always waiting for instructions from school staff.  Every minute you are told what to do in school.  You don’t think for yourself and learn to manage your own time.  Children’s time is every bit as precious as a grown ups.  We all only have so much time in our lives.

Being a former teacher has nothing to do with my being qualified to homeschool my children.  If anything, it sometimes hinders homeschooling.  Its my children who put my mind at ease.  They are natural learners.  My anxieties about worrying if they are learning everything they should know by so and so age, melts away like snowflakes on a hot car hood when I walk into a room and one of them is composing music with an online program designed just for music composing (which he uploaded onto his computer himself and got for free online!).  Or when my youngest gets out the box of science experiment stuff and has her nose buried in our thick science experiment book.  I take a deep breath and relax, grateful they don’t have to get permission from anyone to go to the bathroom.  I remember seeing many times teachers in schools not allowing kids to go to the bathroom for various reasons.  I was a witnees to their sad, confused expressions when those kids wondered why they couldn’t go to the bathroom.  I still do think that is wrong.  Its more important to learn to replace the toilet paper when it runs out, than it is to learn whose boss, who says when and if you can have control over something important as emptying your bladder. 

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
~ Albert Einstein

Jesse Light


Sacrificing for Education

by Jesse Light No Comments »

I get excited when I think of getting learning material for my children’s education.  I went to a garage sale a couple of weekends ago.  And I found Kate Dicamillo’s book, “The Tale of Despereaux” like brand new for only 75 cents.  I read it at night, just before we put the kids to bed. We all loved it.  I often frequent thrift stores, garage sales, and clearance for learning treasures.  Although we did save up for a scientific microscope on sale at  And we bought about $300.00 of dvds from the teaching company a while back.  

I work part time so I can homeschool the kids, and so we are on a tight budget.  We plan our car trips.  We plan everything and get the kids involved in it.  We read books on frugality and saving.  I recently picked up a book on the Amish and how they live and how because of their frugality they have money.  We use the library to save money.  We have a TV, but don’t have cable, and don’t get any channels since it all went from analog to digital television.  Funny that, we were supposed to get more channels after it changed.  But our digital television still doesn’t pick anything up.  Oh well.  I think we are better off without television.  We have more time for reading and hobbies and time together that way.  We do have internet, so we get netflix and watch hulu sometimes and everything else online. 

Sometimes I worry about my future retirement, but then I remember what not homeschooling my oldest child did to him, and nothing else matters except that I let my younger children learn at home.  I will blog about my oldest’s educational experience in another post another time.

It is a sacrifice to homeschool your children.  But it never feels like a sacrifice to me.  Its always felt like the natural, wouldn’t have it anyother way kind of thing.  Like going to the movies, or out to dinner, or how while on a family vacation with the kids feels kind of natural.  I wouldn’t dream of not taking the kids on a family vacation, most of us wouldn’t.  And thus I would not dream of sending my children off to a government school any longer.  Its no longer natural to us, the idea of sending them to school under the government for twelve years during their most informative years.  Once we started homeschooling, suddenly everything is a family affair.  Suddenly all the power over our children is in our hands, my wife’s and I, and sometimes trusted family and friends.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  We are not perfect, no parent is, but homeschooling to us is better than the alternative. 

A civilization in which there is not a continuous controversy about important issues … is on the way to totalitarianism and death.
~ Robert M. Hutchins


Jesse Light


You Are Never Too Old To Learn, With The Kids

July 21, 2011 by Jesse Light No Comments »

I believe this, that you are never too old to learn.  I think part of the reason I started homeschooling my children is because it gave me an excuse to learn with them.  It seems like when my oldest child was in public school, it was just a given that it was his thing he had to do, and not me.  I tried and did help him with as much of his homework as I could, but I could not go to school with him.  Could not be a part of his school life really.  His learning there was very separate from mine.  This is a very sad thing for me when I think on it.

I like the homeschool way, way better.  I get to be a part of my younger children’s education and I get to learn with them.  I actually enjoy looking through a telescope with my children and watching them say, “wow” because its the first time they’ve ever seen Saturn’s rings with thier own eyes.  I enjoyed every moment when I read all the Narnia books from page one to page 767 when one of them was only five.  And everyday, the five year old would beg, read Narnia, read Narnia…please.  I read to my children so much for so long, sometimes my voice got croaky.  I enjoyed doing long division with them.  Still do.  The point is, I enjoy learning with them, and sharing my own joy of learning with them.  And that never ends.  You are never too old to learn, with the kids.

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
~ Adlai Stevenson

Thanks from

Jesse Light





by Jesse Light No Comments »

Hello, I’m Jesse Light

I’ve started this blog as a place where anyone concerned about k12 edcuation alternatives can discuss and share ideas about what other options there are for young people to learn rather than leaving children’s education up to institutional schooling.  I’m a homeschooling parent.  I believe all parents are homeschooling parents to differing degrees.  Some of us just choose to do it full time.  There are many opportunites where ever you live to involve your children in learning.

For example, tomorrow, Friday, at the local university the Astronomy Club will be hosting a FREE star party for families interested about learning about the stars.  These are the kinds of alternative learning opportunities our family takes advantage of and actively seeks out.

Earlier this summer my family took a trip to an Old Time Fiddle Camp.  We met wonderful interesting people of all different ages and from all over including Canada, the U.S., and Scotland.  And we all learned a lot about music and because people were from all over, geography and history.  Just by talking to people.  And there wasn’t one brutal memorization anxiety causing test there.

I hope a lot of people visit, share, and comment on this blog.

You will not reap the fruit of individuality in your children if you clone their education.
~ Marilyn Howshall

Thanks from

Jesse Light,