MiCHN Moment-WE Survived 2023! - Jan '24

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Happy New Year!
We survived 2023 without any changes to our homeschooling freedom. We remain vigilant to have the same result in 2024. While people think they are in control of our ways, it is God Who rules the day.

Proverbs 16.9 reminds us of this truth. Nevertheless, we must pray, and we must work to ensure our legislators know our desire to remain free to lead our children in the way they should go as we determine, by God’s grace, what is best for them since we love them most and have the greatest interest in their spiritual, emotional, educational and physical development.
 
You can help us in this work by taking your children to see your local legislators when they have open meetings, usually at coffee shops, to share with them your love for your children and the freedom you cherish to educate them your way. We need people to make these visits in every district but, even more importantly, in those districts where the legislators are of the current majority in our state government. They have total control over our freedom, except God’s influence and His work through you with us to continue praying and working for the freedom to homeschool our children in our state without government intrusion or oversight.
 
I pray you will join us in this battle and that God will continue His favor upon us. Blessings and welcome to the New Year.
 
Mike Winter
president, MiCHN

THERE IS STILL TIME!!!

From Friday evening to Saturday at noon, we will worship together and then hear the amazing Ginny Yurich! She will be encouraging us in our Homeschooling journey all while making us laugh a lot!!

Register HERE

Homeschoolers and Public School Sports

 

here has been a recent push from some members of the homeschooling community to pressure the state legislature to force equal access for homeschoolers to play sports in public schools. Some families feel they pay taxes and should get some return from the public schools (even if they don’t want their child to attend there full-time). I would encourage you to consider some of the reasons homeschooling parents may not actually want to push for their child to play on a public school team, and even more importantly, why involving the legislature is ill-advised.

1. When public school / homeschool partnerships were introduced in Michigan, allowing homeschoolers to have their co-op classes paid for by the local public school system, it ended up killing the majority of existing homeschool support groups and privately funded co-ops in our state. The huge network of homeschool groups that offered multiple levels of support and activities died because it’s hard to compete with “free.” It ended up giving us far less options and choices than before. I think we can safely assume the same thing will happen to our existing homeschool sports leagues here in MI if the public school becomes our go-to for sports as well as co-op classes.

2. In some states, in order to play public school sports, you need to register as a “part-time public school student,” which provides state funding for the local public school. Over time, this would increase the tax burden on citizens in the state as public school enrollment increases. (Perhaps this concern could be addressed in the legislative process by simply not allowing this when an equal access bill is drafted, but it would be a potential concern.) I do not want to increase the reach and power of the public school system by providing it with increased funding that cause our taxes to go even higher.

3. Is the social environment of the public school system something we really want our students to be involved in? Do you as a parent want your child hearing all the locker room talk and being in an environment where filthy and sexually charged language is rampant? While there is no guarantee this could never happen with a homeschool sports team, the likelihood is far less. For girls, they would need to be braced for the fact that they could be forced to play on teams with biological males. Such is the state of the public school system today.

4. The more your child is engaged in the activities of the public school, it becomes his social culture. His teammates become his friends. He is going to be far more eager to attend public school as a full-time student once he is on a team and his friends are pressuring him to go to the school. If you have decided that homeschooling is best for him, do you really want to invite a battle of him wanting to go in a different direction?

5. The public school wants to attract homeschoolers back to their system (because each student in Michigan represents $14,624 (in 2023) and they use bait like free co-op classes and sports to do so (as they often get at least partial funding for homeschooled student who participate in public school classes or activities). Should the government really be our go-to for all of our needs in life? Why can’t we create our own systems and programs without always looking to the government to be our savior and provider? If fact, we can! And we have! We have created an entirely privately-funded system of sports in Michigan and we can continue to expand it. Our privately-funded programs can remain unregulated by government control and political correctness.

6. We have seen in other states that allow equal access for sports scenarios where the entire homeschooling movement gets bad publicity because of homeschoolers being on sports teams. There is always that public school dad who thinks his kid is going to be the next NFL superstar, and his son was bumped off the team by some homeschooler “who thinks he is too good to go to public school.” The accusation is that homeschoolers are elitist, and they don’t want to be part of the normal social life of the public school, but they want to cherry-pick the perks and get benefits without really putting in the work and living the same lifestyle as everyone else. So, having homeschoolers on a public school team can sometimes sour people’s attitudes towards all homeschoolers because of the perceived injustices committed by a few.

7. In Michigan, we are currently in a legislative environment where politicians who support homeschooling are in the minority, so it can be unwise to introduce ANY homeschool legislation at this time because it waves a red flag about our presence to those would like to regulate us. In many situations, out of sight out of mind is best when the political situation is hostile to homeschooling.

8. The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) is “a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools that enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.”

I have seen petitions floating around on social media asking for the legislature to regulate the MHSAA and force them to allow homeschoolers to play on public school teams. For the government to begin dictating policy to a non-profit is a bad precedent on many levels. We want private schools and homeschools to be able to play against each other’s teams without the government dictating policy about how that happens.

As Deanna Ervin, a Michigan homeschool group leader of F.A.I.T.H. in Lapeer, said in a social media post:

“(W)e began homeschool sports in our area 19 years ago because we wanted these opportunities for our homeschool children, without the inclusion of the other aspects of public-school indoctrination. Homeschool sports have a fantastic momentum, and the types of sports are continually growing. Scouting at homeschool tournaments has become very real and homeschool athletes are getting the recognition they deserve and even earning scholarships in some cases.”

Summary

I believe we should continue to support and expand the wonderful homeschooling sports programs in Michigan that are parent-led and parent-directed. This gives us the ultimate freedom to enjoy sports in an environment that encourages our values and does not increase the control and dominance of the government school system as the only option within our state. If homeschoolers can play public school sports, it is almost certain that homeschool teams will disappear as most homeschoolers flock back to the public school teams, which leaves us with less “school choice” than we started with! Do we really want an environment where our only choice is for our kids to play sports on a public school team? As it currently stands, we can begin our games with prayer, we can invite our own sponsors and choose our own schedule. We have freedom and flexibility as homeschoolers in our own leagues because we aren’t regulated by the state. It is for these reasons, as well as others, that we need to be very careful about assuming that equal access for homeschoolers into the public school system will be for the ultimate good and benefit of the broader homeschooling community.

 

Israel Wayne is a homeschooled graduate and homeschooling father of 11 who lives near Kalamazoo, MI. Israel is an author and conference speaker and director of www.FamilyRenewal.org.

These are quite uncertain times. Right now, MICHN would advise you to make sure your account is up to date and accurate with Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Be sure to visit their website, and if you have not done so already, BECOME A MEMBER today.

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Call to Action- Legislative Update Dec '23
Our MiCHN family and friends, “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7   We want to thank you for your patience as we have begun to sort through and come to understand the full extent of everything going on in Lansing right now. With the latest developments and statements from certain elected officials, we know there are many unanswered questions, concerns, fears, and doubts that you all have. It is our hope and prayer that this letter and all the information within will help guide you and bring some momentary peace to a very volatile situation. Many of you may even be largely unaware of what has been happening. On December 2, 2023, the Washington Post published a story highlighting the abuse and death of a child whose family claimed to “homeschool.” MiCHN’s own Vice-President, Israel Wayne was highlighted and quoted in that article, in defense of you, our homeschooling families. Since the release of that article, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel has called for “monitoring mechanisms'' to be used in order to “protect children.” Along with the Attorney General, Representative Matt Koleszar (D-22nd District) has also called for the registration and regulation of home educators state-wide. First, we must stress with you that as of the writing of this letter, no bill has formally been introduced to either chamber of our legislature. With that said, Representative Koleszar has stated that the legislature is “likely to see a bill” when they reconvene next month in the beginning of January. With that said, MiCHN does not expect a vote to take place on ANY bill introduced to the legislature until the two vacant seats left by Representative Coleman and Representative Stone are filled after the special elections on April 16, 2024. This means we, as a community, have a lot of work ahead of us. So what CAN we do? PRAY! We are in a situation that is going to require God to move and lead. If you are not accustomed to spending time in prayer, we would encourage you and your family to begin doing so.   Pray for the following: State law-makers whose hearts need to be softened toward homeschooling families Attorney General Dana Nessel State Representative Matt Koleszar (House Education Committee Chair) State Senator Dayna Polehanki (Senate Education Committee Chair) Governor Gretchen Whitmer Your own state representative and state senator (FIND THEM HERE)   State law-makers fighting for the rights of homeschoolers State Representative Jaime Greene State Representative Gina Johnsen State Representative Luke Meerman State Senator Lana Theis State Senator Ruth Johnson   Your MiCHN Team We are working and communicating non-stop in order to make sure we are understanding and pursuing all the right channels we need to in order to give this the best fight possible. We are all volunteers. We are tired. We have families. Please pray for strength, perseverance, and protection. Educate yourself on the issue. You can’t defend to your family and friends what you truly don’t understand. Below you will find a few resources we have compiled to make it easier for you. Please visit each website and familiarize yourself with the arguments to defend home education against these ridiculous arguments about abuse. https://www.nheri.org/child-abuse-and-neglect-of-the-homeschooled-versus-the-conventionally-schooled-groundbreaking-study/ https://homeschoolfreedom.com/homeschooling-and-abuse https://homeschoolingbackgrounder.com/   Talk to EVERYONE! Word of mouth is the best way forward right now. Make sure you are sharing this information with everyone you know. GET THE WORD OUT.   Be prepared to sacrifice your TIME. Come January, things could ramp up quickly in Lansing. Strategize with your family and friends and come to Lansing to sit in on education committee meetings. Lawmakers in Lansing listen to those who show up. Let’s pack the committee meetings. If your children are well behaved, bring them along. This is a great opportunity for them to experience civics first-hand. Phone calls to your state senator and state representative is a HUGE thing you can do. You can find their contact information by visiting the state’s website for your lawmaker. If you live in Representative Koleszar or Senator Polehanki’s districts, this is IMPERATIVE!! (FIND THEM HERE)  Write a letter to your state senator or state representative. (Find them HERE)  We have attached a form letter you are more than welcome to use. Please note: most lawmakers agree these letters do NOT do much to persuade them. When they receive form letters, they often end up in a bin never to be read. MiCHN would recommend you utilize our draft as a starting point and create your own letter to your lawmakers. (See below)    Financial Support. As mentioned above, everyone at MiCHN are volunteers. They volunteer their time, gifts/talents, and experience to fight for you. Every dollar you donate to MiCHN goes directly to the fight we are about to face. Please prayerfully consider partnering with us through an end-of-year donation. We are a 501c3 and your donation is tax deductible. (DONATE HERE)   Prepare your homeschool. We at MiCHN recommend you: Become a member of HSLDA right now. The threat is looming and you want to make sure you’re legally ready for any fight ahead. (Get our discount HERE) Keep records. We do not know yet what this bill will look like and what they hope to impose on us. By keeping records, you are preparing yourself for what could be ahead. Sign-up at our website to receive legislative updates. (Do that HERE) While it is not our goal to spam your email, things in Lansing can change quickly. The best and quickest way to communicate with all of you is through our email system. The last thing we want to mention is that we are strategizing and planning a Facebook/Twitter Live video where you can engage with us and ask us questions directly. While the details of this event are still forthcoming, we want you to be aware and be on the lookout. This will be a great opportunity for you to come directly to us with your questions regarding all the above and the situation quickly unfolding in our state’s capital. We love and appreciate each and every one of you. You and your families are why we do what we do. Keep your faith in the Lord, rest in Him and His peace. Through it all, He remains sovereign. Your MiCHN Legislative Team: Israel Wayne-Vice President Shanté Pickford-Legislative Director Patti Sailor-Legislative Liaison See the form letter HERE
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Legislative Update: 12/05/23
MiCHN Condemns State Representative Koleszar’s Attempt to Blame Michigan Homeschool Families for State’s Failure to Protect Foster Kids Lansing, MI  The Michigan Christian Homeschool Network today condemned a social media post from State Representative Matt Koleszar (D-22nd District) that called for increased regulations of homeschool families following an unrelated case of abuse within the foster care system of Michigan. In response, Michigan Christian Homeschool Network (MICHN) Vice-President Israel Wayne issued the following statement: “MiCHN is unequivocally opposed to any and all abuse of children, and believe those who abuse children should be prosecuted by the adequate child abuse laws that already exist in our state. Instead of exploiting a false political narrative about home education to make headlines, Representative Koleszar’s time would be better spent focusing on improving Michigan’s struggling public school system, focusing his attention on the real problems that plague the state’s Child Protective Services and the abuse of children in union-backed schools." “We have fought long and hard in both the courts and the legislature to secure our current Michigan homeschool laws, and today we reiterate our position that we will resist, to the fullest measure, any efforts to restrict the homeschool freedoms that families have enjoyed since 1993. Homeschool families should not be burdened with additional regulations because of a few bad parents who break the law and abuse their children.” The Michigan Christian Homeschool Network (MICHN) was founded in 1984 to advance homeschool freedom in the state of Michigan so that it can be a place for families to freely pass on their values and faith, training their children through home-based, parent-directed, privately-funded home education.   We have more research and information HERE. Read MiCHN's Statement on Abuse and Child Protection Policy. Homeschooling and Abuse. Child Abuse and Neglect of the Homeschooled Versus the Conventionally Schooled: Groundbreaking Study. One child fatality is one too many.