Earlier this fall six of us traveled north to Baltimore, Maryland for the 25th Annual National Homeschool Leader’s Conference hosted by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). The three days we spent there were packed with incredible speakers, informative workshops, and a luncheon in the Capital with several elected officials.
The first night took off with a visit from the most amazing Thomas Jefferson impersonator! Each morning Tedd Tripp, author of Shepherding a Child’s Heart, led us in very encouraging devotionals. Author and historian, William Federer, spoke to us several times as well. He did a slide show from his most recent book, From Change to Chains: The 6000-year Quest for Control, Vol. 1 Rise of the Republic, that was absolutely incredible. And of course we heard from HSLDA founder, Mike Farris; president, Mike Smith, and several staff attorneys.
We setup a booth and talked to homeschool leaders from all over the country, and several from outside of the US. Pictured to the left, HLA’s Administrator, Ken Shreeve, talks with a servant leader. We truly learned so much and connected with such amazing and committed people. It’s inspiring to see how men and women are serving the homeschoolers just like you.
During the conference we met some amazing leaders in the homeschool movement, such as Steve Demme, founder of Math U See. Steve is a great man and now the director of a ministry called Building Faith Families.
Between the two conference days, we took a tour of our nation’s most popular memorials, including the Capitol. The weather was amazing. As I walked by the Capitol, I grabbed this picture of God’s beautiful sky above it and bright red flowers below it. This picture reminds me that God is in control. We should always focus on the beauty He has created. Man’s creation pales in comparison to the splendors of the universe.
Once inside the rotunda of the Capital we were surrounded by great art and statues from all the nation’s Founding Fathers. I took dozens of pictures but this one is my favorite. This is a statue of George Washington in front of a picture of the signers the Declaration of Independence. I know our nation’s past is not perfect; however, these men truly did want the people of the new America to live freely! Their sacrifices still last today in the lives of you and me.
After our tour of the Capitol, HSLDA had arranged for us to have lunch and listen to several Senators who support homeschooling, the homeschool director for the Department of Education, and Josh Duggar, the oldest of the Duggar kids. Josh has a new role at the Family Research Council.
Just when we thought the weekend couldn’t get any more inspiring the entire Romeike family was awarded by HSLDA for their courage in the light of recent struggles to stay in America. This video shows them taking the stage to a standing ovation from homeschool leaders from all over the nation. It was an amazing and thrilling sight to see!
As our time together concluded we paused to pose with friends. Pictured here are Ken and Tina Shreeve, April and myself, with Tennessee Home Education Association Directors, Claiborne and Lana Thornton. In the middle is our new friend and amazing homeschool advocate in Kenya, Thomas Mundia. We were so thrilled to meet him and plan to stay in touch as we hope to help with their struggle for homeschool freedom.
Pictured here is my wife April, me, Mike Donnelly, and Jennifer and Tyler Parkerson. Mike serves HSLDA as director of international affairs and as staff attorney for member affairs in the states of Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.
All in all, the HSLDA Leader’s Conference was even more inspiring and educational than we expected. Membership with HSLDA is not a requirement for homeschoolers, and you may not feel a threat to your homeschool freedom; however, in last two years I have been very impressed with the ministry side of what they do. We’ve come to know the hearts of the men and women who labor there, and we believe they are looking out for our continued right to homeschool.
I’ll leave you with this video that was shown to us on closing night. In a time when so many are concerned for our liberty, this is the time to pray and act. There are things we can do. But mainly we must be diligent to give ourselves to God’s purposes for us and for our children. May he give us wisdom as we guide and grow the next generation.
May God bless you and your children.