Author archives: Abigail Ross

So You’ve Decided to Homeschool – Now What?

by Abigail Ross

August 31, 2021

After hours of consideration, prayer, and discussion, you decided, “Yes. I’m going to do it. I’m going to homeschool my children.” If this is you, you’re not alone. American homeschooling households have more than doubled since 2020. Why? For many parents, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to evaluate what America’s public schools have been teaching their children—and it’s terrifying. Radical sex education, LGBT ideologies, and critical race theory are some of the progressive ideas being pressed upon schoolchildren. After realizing what public schools are including in their curricula, many parents are refusing to sit back and let their children be indoctrinated. But that’s not the only reason parents are deciding to homeschool.

Deuteronomy 6:7 commands parents to teach their children about the Lord. The Bible teaches that parents are to be the chief disciple-makers in their home. This obligation takes on added significance when you consider research from George Barna demonstrating that a person’s worldview starts developing between 15 to 18 months and is set by 13. Homeschooling allows parents to choose curricula grounded in God’s truth.

Homeschooling allows parents freedom over their child’s education. The best structured education is one that meets the needs of each individual child; homeschooling allows parents to tailor the content and method of teaching to best fit their child. You are the expert on your child, and schooling them at home is an incredible opportunity for your child to learn from the teacher who knows them best—you.

Making the decision to homeschool is the first step in a wonderful journey. Those first couple of steps, however, can be overwhelming. But have no fear. Take it one day at a time, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way as a homeschooling parent. What follows are a few tips to keep in mind as you get started.

Know and Follow the Legal Requirements

The first consideration when getting started with homeschooling is to research your state’s homeschooling laws. Each state has different legal requirements for homeschooling. For example, some states require parents to notify the state of their intent to homeschool and submit their curricula. Some states may even require educational qualifications for homeschooling parents, while others have little or no formal requirements. The Homeschool Legal Defense Agency (HSLDA) has an interactive state map that lists the legal requirements, information on withdrawing from public school, and other resources for each state. Researching your state’s requirements should be done as early as possible, as some states require parents to declare their intent to homeschool by a certain date. Once the decision to homeschool is finalized (in your house and in the eyes of the state), then it’s time to plan the logistics of your new classroom.

Find a Community

One of the most common pieces of advice veteran homeschooling parents give new homeschooling families is to connect with other homeschooling families. These families have been in your shoes and can share their experiences and what they have learned. Ask around and see if there’s a homeschooling family at your church. Join local homeschooling social media groups. Research homeschool groups or co-ops in your area and reach out to them. The Homeschool Mom has a useful search tool to find local homeschool groups in your state. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do this alone. In fact, it’s best not to. Be intentional about building community. Relationships with other families can be one of the most beneficial and rewarding aspects of homeschooling. These families can help you navigate the legal requirements, plan, and give you insider knowledge of local resources or activities. Beyond the sharing of knowledge, connecting with other families establishes a support system and fosters friendships between both parents and children.

Develop a Vision

Now it’s time to dive into the details. How will your day look? First, think broadly and develop a vision. Ask yourself, what do you hope to accomplish by homeschooling? Start with why you decided to homeschool in the first place. Your vision will guide the decisions you make with planning and teaching. Ask yourself, “How does my child best learn?” “What environment is most conducive to learning for my child?” With your answers in mind, think through the best way to organize your school day. Some families choose to use a specific method (or several methods) of homeschooling. There are several different methods of homeschooling. Existing methods can be a helpful resource, but homeschooling also allows parents to organize their days in the way that works best for their family. If one method doesn’t work for your family, then try another. Ultimately, homeschooling is about educating your child in the way that works best for them, so be flexible and willing to try something different. Continuously go back to your “why,” your vision. Let your educational choices flow from that vision.

Select Curricula

As a homeschool parent, you have the autonomy to create your own curricula or to outsource. There is a vast amount of homeschool curricula available, including textbooks, teacher-led courses with daily lessons, and classes offered online or in person. 

Researching curricula can be overwhelming, as there are so many different options available. Use resources to narrow it down. Ask other families which curriculum they love. Research online. Cathy Duffy Reviews provides reviews of homeschool curriculum and is a great resource to help pare down all the options. HSLDA also has a list of free or inexpensive homeschool curriculum.

Keep in mind—if something isn’t working, you have the power to change it. As a parent, you are the expert on your child. Homeschooling gives you the unique opportunity to customize your child’s learning to challenge them in areas in which they excel and to provide additional support in areas where they may struggle. Know that you don’t need to be constrained by the grade number printed on the cover of a textbook. Choose curricula that will work for your child, in whatever stage they’re in.

Make a Plan for Success 

Planning encompasses looking long-term and thinking through the year, as well as daily lesson plans. Set aside time before the school year to plan out the pacing of your year. Setting goals and checkpoints throughout the year is a great way to stay on track. Build in breaks, vacations, and time for field trips. Map out generally where you want to be. Then begin planning your school days. You can plan a month in advance, a week in advance, or even the morning of. Begin by determining how your day-to-day will look. Will you study subjects in the same order each day? Will you dedicate x amount of time to each subject? Or will you go lesson by lesson? Then write out what you hope to accomplish each day and how. Use a planner, calendar, or to-do list with your child. This visually shows them what they will be accomplishing that day.

Something to keep in mind as you plan and begin schooling—give yourself grace. Your home is unique, and your children are each unique. It might take some time to get into a rhythm. Some days they’ll be hyper-focused and accomplish everything on their to-do list by lunch. Other days, they might struggle to get through one lesson. It’s okay. Some days, life lessons are just as important as school lessons. So, take it one day at a time.

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon. There will be days when your home is filled with happiness, your children diligently accomplish their schoolwork, and they love learning. And there will be days when you want nothing more than to stop homeschooling. In those moments, allow grace for yourself and your children. If a negative pattern emerges, try something new. Each child is unique, and what works for one child may not work for another. As their parent, you’re the most qualified person to determine what your child’s needs are and how to meet them.

Remember that homeschooling is a season. Some families homeschool their children through high school. For others, their homeschooling season may only last a year or less. And that’s okay. Embrace this season while you’re in it. You won’t always be able to monitor what your children are learning. Take this opportunity to help build their foundation.

Under your tutelage, your child can learn the precepts of a biblical worldview. Teach them first and foremost about Jesus Christ. Be encouraged that you are practically fulfilling God’s command to parents in Genesis 6:5-7 (ESV), which says: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

Homeschooling is a wonderful opportunity. Pray and ask the Lord if homeschooling is right for your family. Talk with your family. Talk to other homeschooling families. If this is what you’re being called to, then welcome to the beginning of your homeschooling journey. 

Abby Ross is digital content editor at Family Research Council. She was homeschooled through high school and is a certified high school English teacher.

The World War II Memorial: A Tribute to Our Nation’s Heroes

by Sarah Rumpf

July 30, 2020

The history of the United States is preserved in archives, books, and the collective memory of the American people. It is also preserved in monuments, memorials, and statues made from marble, granite, bronze, or plaster.

Our nation’s capital is home to some of the world’s most recognizable and frequently visited monuments. This blog series will explore the events and people they commemorate, devoting particular attention to the spiritual themes depicted. By shedding light on our nation’s deep religious heritage, this series aims to inspire the next generation to emulate virtues and merits from America’s past that are worth memorializing.

FRC’s blog series on monuments is written by FRC summer interns and edited by David Closson, FRC’s Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview. Be sure to read our previous post on the Lincoln Memorial.

On the National Mall, situated between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, stands the World War II Memorial. The memorial honors the 16 million men and women who served in the United States’ armed forces, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions of civilians who supported the war effort from home. Today, the World War II Memorial is a poignant reminder of the spirit, strength, and sacrifice of the American people during the largest armed conflict in history.

World War II began in 1939 and ended in 1945. But it wasn’t until 1987 that the idea of a national monument memorializing the war was born. Roger Durbin, a World War II veteran, approached Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio, with the suggestion. Representative Kaptur introduced the World War II Memorial Act to the House of Representatives on December 10, 1987. However, the bill did not pass in 1987, nor in 1989 or 1991, when it was reintroduced. However, on March 17, 1993, the Senate finally approved the Act, and Rep. Kaptur’s tireless advocacy finally paid off. The World War II Memorial Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on May 25, 1993, and on May 29, 2004, President George W. Bush dedicated the completed memorial.

The World War II Memorial is comprised of a pool and fountains flanked by two archway pavilions and surrounded by 56 granite pillars arranged in an oval. Each pillar stands 17 feet tall and is inscribed with the name of a U.S. state or territory. The states alternate around the oval in the order that they ratified the U.S. Constitution. The pavilions, each adorned with eagles and a laurel wreath, represent the two theaters of the war, Atlantic and Pacific. A medallion shows the striking image of Nike, goddess of victory, standing on the helmet of Mars, god of war—indicating the U.S. victory over the war. The memorial features quotes from presidents and generals throughout. One inscription from President Harry Truman states, “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.”

War memorials are a focal point for remembrance, both for individual families and for a collective culture, and play a vital role in ensuring that a permanent record and an everlasting tribute is appointed to lives given and affected during wartime. The World War II Memorial expresses the emotions of sacrifice, sorrow, and, eventually, victory. It acts as a historical touchstone that links the past to the present, enabling its 4.83 million annual visitors to remember and respect the sacrifices of those who fought, died, or were affected by the war.

The World War II Memorial challenges and inspires its visitors to consider the cost of the freedom that we enjoy. The sheer number of Americans who laid down their lives, marked by a wall of 4,048 gold stars, reminds us that freedom requires sacrifice. For Christians, it may evoke thoughts of the greatest sacrifice of all—Christ laying down His life for the sins of mankind. 1 John 2:2 states, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our but also for the sins of the whole world.” Without Christ sacrificing Himself for us, we have no forgiveness and no freedom from our sin.

Without monuments like the World War II Memorial, it can be easy to forget the hardships endured and sacrifices made by previous generations. Our freedom only exists today because of the brave actions of those who believed that freedom was worth tremendous sacrifice. The World War II Memorial should inspire us to fight for freedom and against injustice in our world. Moreover, if so many American heroes were willing to sacrifice their lives for our nation’s freedom, how much more should we Christians be willing to sacrifice for the spread of the gospel, which gives the ultimate freedom—freedom from sin.

Sarah Rumpf is an Events intern at Family Research Council.

Pro-Choice” Planned Parenthood Discourages Choosing Life

by Abigail Ross

July 24, 2019

Planned Parenthood’s vision is a “pro-choice” America. The nation’s largest abortion supplier claims to support a woman’s right to make her own health decisions, which, in their opinion, should always include abortion. However, they do the exact opposite of supporting all women’s health decisions.

Planned Parenthood’s agenda is not focused on women, but on profit. The abortion supplier does not support the life-ending abortion procedure as one option among many, but as the only viable option. Planned Parenthood honors a woman’s choice for her baby’s life as long as she chooses to abort her unborn child, therefore increasing Planned Parenthood’s profits.

Former Planned Parenthood employees have revealed that the organization’s boasts about supporting a woman’s choice are inaccurate. Choice is often unwelcome in the doors of their clinics. Their employees have coerced women into getting an abortion over adoption or raising their child. They have ignored the pleas of women who chose life for their baby.

Planned Parenthood furthers the irony of “choice” as the pro-abortion mantra by aiding those who force women to get abortions. Parents, the fathers, abusers, or even pimps often force girls and women to end the life of their unborn baby regardless of her wishes. Planned Parenthood has assisted these people by honoring their wishes to abort the baby, sometimes against the woman’s desire to let the baby live.

Planned Parenthood has assisted sex traffickers and abusers by supplying the abortions they request and then returning the victims back to their pimp or abuser. In a report from the Annals of Health Law, more than half of sex trafficking victims in the United States visit a clinic, most commonly Planned Parenthood. The organization has adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude, even though employees are mandated reporters, which requires them by law to report even suspected instances of abuse or trafficking.

Lauren, a human trafficking survivor, says, “No one ever asked me anything when I went to a [Planned Parenthood] clinic.” Lauren was so young that a Planned Parenthood doctor had to sign a waiver for her to receive medication. Planned Parenthood does not fulfil their legal and moral obligation to report instances of abuse and human trafficking. They allow these abusers to force their victims into abortions, regardless of if the mother wanted to let her baby live, and then allow the women to be returned back into these abusive situations. This has happened time and time again within the clinics’ doors, such as in the instances below.

  • In 2017 a report was filed against George Savanah documenting the abuse of his 13-year-old daughter. Savanah raped his daughter over many years. When she became pregnant at 14, 16, and 17 years old, he took her to Planned Parenthood for an abortion. Planned Parenthood did not report the crime and returned the daughter back to her abusive father. Many cases like Savanah’s have come to light with the same heartbreaking outcome—girls were placed back into abusive situations as a result of Planned Parenthood’s failure to report.
  • Live Action released an undercover investigation of Planned Parenthood. In this investigation, actors posed as a pimp and one of his sex workers. Multiple Planned Parenthood employees, who were made fully aware that the customers were involved in a sex ring, failed to report the crime. Additionally, they even aided the pimp and gave him advice to get birth control and abortions for his sex workers, many of whom he claimed were minors.
  • After Live Action released their investigation, Planned Parenthood responded by calling a mandatory training on how to spot and report sex trafficking for their employees. However, they yet again failed to right the dangerous problem within their walls. The training simply taught employees how to identify if they were being recorded and how to avoid saying anything incriminating on camera. Lila Rose, president of Live Action, responded, “When confronted with child sex traffickers, Planned Parenthood cared more about protecting its image than protecting children.”

Planned Parenthood boasts about how they help women make their own health decisions. They have not done this. They have allowed parents, boyfriends, and even pimps and abusers to coerce mothers to abort their unborn babies. Planned Parenthood has allowed women to stay trapped in abusive situations.

This issue has not gone unrecognized by the Trump administration. The administration took action by publishing the “Protect Life Rule” which prohibits family planning clinics that receive Title X funding from referring women for abortions. The Trump administration has taken action to protect the lives of innocent babies, thereby helping to reduce the amount of federal funding that Planned Parenthood receives, an organization which cunningly manipulates women into abortions.

In reality, Planned Parenthood does not comply with the pro-abortion mantra “pro-choice.” The nation’s foremost abortion supplier cannot see past dollar signs and deceives women into “choosing” what is best for their organization, ending the life of a baby.

Abigail Ross is an intern at Family Research Council.

Political Agendas are Destroying the Unity of Sports

by Abigail Ross

June 25, 2019

I grew up around sports. My family spent nearly every weekend cheering on our teams at various sporting events. At the age of five, I joined my first swim team. Today, I am a collegiate athlete. Sports have allowed me to meet so many wonderful people, many of whom had differing political, religious, and personal convictions from my own. The politically neutral platform that sports provide has allowed fans and athletes to have open conversations about our different views, while still being unified in our love for the sport. This free and open space is now being jeopardized.

It seems that no entity is free from the hyper-politicized climate of today’s society, including sports. Profit-driven political agendas are being pushed by teams. Players and fans are forced to conform to and adopt the political messages their team is promoting. This is forcing many to compromise their religious beliefs as they engage with their team. The sports arena is no longer a unifying space.

In a recent FRC Speaker Series event, Dr. Jennifer Bryson spoke about the politicization of sports, and how it is forcing many to jeopardize their religious beliefs. Dr. Bryson, an avid sports fan, is the founder of  Let All Play, which advocates to protect inclusivity and fairness in sports and games by keeping political and religious exclusivity out. In her presentation, she shared examples of the politicization and religious exclusivity that is happening in the world of sports, particularly in soccer.

In 2018, the German Bundesliga team, VfL Wolfsburg, issued a press release detailing their decision to have team captains wear a LGBT rainbow armband. The publication details the team’s stance, proclaiming, “One Team, One Belief.” VfL Wolfsburg made it clear that they were using the armbands to make a political statement: “[We’re] sending a clear message that we stand for diversity.” However, this so-called “diversity” only stands for leftist ideals, excluding religious or political diversity. Josip Brekalo, when offered the position of captain, was faced with a difficult choice. He could accept the honor of captain and wear the armband, but would be forced to compromise his beliefs by doing so. Brekalo refused to support his team’s political agenda and declined the position.

This is not the only instance within the soccer world where players have been forced to display the LGBT rainbow.

Jaelene Hinkle, an American soccer player, was called up to the U.S. Women’s National Team in June 2017. She declined the offer. In an interview with CBN, Hinkle revealed that accepting the promotion would have forced her to violate her religious beliefs. The U.S. Women’s National Team’s uniforms sported LGBT rainbow numbers. Hinkle, a Christian, refused to promote the team’s political agenda, and gave up her dream to do so, saying, “I’m essentially giving up the one dream little girls dream about their entire life… It was very disappointing. And I think that’s where the peace trumped the disappointment. Because I knew in my spirit I was doing the right thing. I knew that I was being obedient.” The sport is becoming disturbingly exclusive—forcing out those who disagree with the political agendas rife on the field. 

Not only were these instances violations of religious liberty, but they were in direct violation of FIFA rules. 

FIFA’s Law 04 Section 5 states that equipment, including the uniform, “must not have any political, religious or personal slogans, statements or images.” The LGBT rainbow is one of the best-known political symbols worldwide. LGBT rainbow uniform numbers and armbands are not acceptable under current FIFA rules. Many Muslims and Christians who have spoken out about these instances have not been heard. The celebration of this falsely labeled “diversity” is drowning out those who are standing up for religious liberty in sports, such as many Muslims and Christians.

As Dr. Bryson pointed out, people in all walks of life can take a stand for religious liberty in sports.

  • Sports ministries like FIFA need to enforce the rules they have set.
  • Parents must familiarize themselves with the rules of the team their children play on. They must prepare themselves and their children to take a stand for religious freedom when necessary.
  • Athletes must stand up for religious freedom by advocating for their own religious accommodation rights and advocate against the politicization of sports.
  • Non-profits should educate and have materials for parents, athletes, and teams on how to respond to instances similar to those detailed above.
  • Congress must hold national teams accountable to the rules they have set. They must take action to keep politics out of the sports arena.

You can help keep FIFA free of political symbols. Sign the petition today.

Read more at LetAllPlay.org.

Abigail Ross is an intern at Family Research Council.

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