Thursday, January 30, 2014

National Week of Prayer for Homeschoolers

January 27 to February 1, 2014 - This week is National Week of Prayer for Homeschoolers. Please pray with us!

Monday Prayer Focus -- Fathers

Please pray for homeschooling fathers to walk in integrity before the Lord in every area of their lives. Pray for their hearts to be turned towards their children and that they may instill in them a love for Christ and His Church. Pray for these men as they carry such an important responsibility for the spiritual care and physical provision of their families. Pray for protection of marriages.

Proverbs 20:7 The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

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Tuesday Prayer Focus -- Mothers

Please pray for homeschooling mothers to walk generously in the fruit of the Spirit. Pray that every moment in their day would be filled with much rejoicing and gentleness. Pray for their hearts to be encouraged as they fill so many different roles in their family, church, and community. Pray for their minds to be focused on the Lord and that they will trust everything to Him, not giving place to comparisons. Pray for protection of marriages.

Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

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Wednesday Prayer Focus -- Children at home

Please pray for the children that are being educated at home to come to faith in Christ, walking out personal and deep relationships with the Lord.  Pray for their minds to be saturated with the things of God and that their hearts would be set aside for His glory and work.  Pray for relationships with parents to be solid, strong and healthy.

Isaiah 54:13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

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Thursday Prayer Focus -- Graduates of all ages

Please pray for those children who have graduated from homeschools.  Pray that the truths of the Word will accomplish the purposes of God in their ives.  Pray for clarity of thought as they build their own families and careers.  Pray for strong relationships with parents and healing of any broken relationships within their families.

Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.

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Friday Prayer Focus -- Second generation homeschoolers

Please pray for second generation homeschoolers who are discipling and educating their own children at home.  Pray for these families to create their own traditions and learning environments while building on the good things their parents did.  Pray for them to stand firm in their convictions and follow the Lord in all things.

Psalm 78:6 That the generation to come might know them [laws of God], the children who would be born, that they may arise and declare them to their children that they may set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.

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Saturday Prayer Focus -- Grandparents

Please pray for grandparents of homeschooled children to be encouraging towards the efforts of their adult children to disciple and educate the grandchildren at home. Pray for them to have wisdom on how to speak into their adult children's lives when needed and how to help facilitate the vision of homeschooling.  Pray for them to have great influence for good in the lives of their grandchildren, always pointing them to Jesus.

Psalm 145:4 One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

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Sunday Prayer Focus -- Revival in the homeschool family

Please pray for the Holy Spirit to do a mighty work in homeschooling families across the world.  Pray for hearts to be humbled and submitted to the Lord.  Pray for true repentance and turning from sin.  Pray for entire families to seek the face of God together, crying out for His presence in their homes. Pray for a harvest of souls through the witness of the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of homeschoolers.

Psalm 130:1-6 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, that You may  be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning. Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Yesterday, I received  an encouraging call from Representative Mark Gillen who is a member of the PA House Education Committee. As sponsor of HB1013, he informed me that the Ed chairman is considering putting our bill on the schedule to discuss in the committee. This is the bill we have been working on that will reduce the requirements on home educators. Mark also said that he has gone the extra mile in explaining to the House Ed Com what HB1013 is and what it is not. Apparently, they had some fears that this bill will leave the government school superintendents with no recourse or control over homeschoolers. Chairman Clymer is concerned that it will also end up being loaded with amendments.

There's enough worries to spread around but with Rep. Gillen's advise, I went ahead and presented an overture with Rep. Clymer's office for CHAP to meet with the Education Committee members. I also wanted to include their staffers since they are the ones who engineer legislations, lay out leadership decisions, and determine the realm of the possible. At least we can give them the benefit of perspective and who knows how God can use the occasion in our favor. I thought that this would keep the momentum going lest our cause get shelved. I left it open ended with the secretary. I expect to hear from Chairman Clymer's administrative assistant soon and requested that we be given a week's notice when they schedule this meeting.

In our desire to change homeschool laws, I feel the urgency to get this moving while we have the best possible situation in the Capitol -- with Governor, Senate and House all Republicans. I know it does not mean they are conservative, but the majority of us did elect them and this can be viewed as an advantage for us.

If something doesn't happen this year, our prospects in the future are not inspiring. Chairman Paul Clymer is not running for re-election. Plus this is even year so all PA House members are up for re-election. Another consideration is that we don't know how long until the bill hits the Senate and our friend and Senate Ed Com Chair, Mike Folmer, is also up for re-election. The other concern is this bill will expire if it doesn't get out of committee before December this year.

I wish that there's a way to measure homeschoolers' participation and get feedback, but it seems that all the Ed Com Reps know about HB1013 now as a result of our CHAP Legislative Day! I am anticipating committee hearing days down the road, and the budget meetings will be starting soon. We can be that shining example of true liberty and independence, asking for zero money and freeing up more tax funds for hopefully, worthy programs. If we tie this bill into saving the taxpayers money I think we have a good chance of getting this bill to the House floor and even passing it.

The battle will be long and it will get tough, but who knows if the LORD will grant us His favor in some way we least expect. Let's keep in mind the words of John Quincy Adams, "Duty is ours, the results are God's" .

Friday, January 10, 2014

HSLDA's Action Request for HB1013

Calls Needed to Pass Homeschool Bill

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

House Bill 1013, legislation that would remove superintendents from evaluating home education programs, has been stalled in the House Education Committee for the past 10 months. Your calls and emails to members of the committee are needed to get this bill moving. They need to know how important passage of this bill is to home educators.

Following are the noteworthy changes that HB 1013 would make in the current law for home education programs:

       - Eliminate the public school superintendent’s review of portfolios;

       - Require superintendents to accept an evaluator’s determination that an appropriate education is occurring in the home education program;

       - Provide for an administrative procedure to resolve any claim by the superintendent that the parent has failed to comply with any aspect of the homeschool law;

       - Ensure that the home education program may continue during the time of any appeal of an adverse ruling by a hearing examiner; and

       - Require that a high school diploma issued by the supervisor of a home education program be recognized the same as a diploma issued by the commonwealth.

The current homeschool law was passed in 1988, 25 years ago, at a time when there was a great deal of skepticism about the viability of homeschooling as an educational option. As a result, Pennsylvania’s law remains one of the most restrictive in the nation, second only to New York. Homeschoolers in Pennsylvania have tried for over 10 years to get relief from the oppressive requirements of the current law. It is time for Pennsylvania to join the majority of states that have enacted laws that do not demand unreasonable and unnecessary government oversight of parents teaching their children at home.

Action Requested

(1) Please call or email (both would be better) members of the House Education Committee with this message or something similar in your own words:

“Please vote for House Bill 1013 which would improve the homeschool law of Pennsylvania. It would remove the unnecessary double evaluation of home education programs and streamline administrative procedures for both school districts and parents.”

If your last name begins with A-K, please contact:

Hon. Paul I. Clymer, Chair
Email at 
(717) 783-3154

Hon. James R. Roebuck Jr., Democratic Chair
Email at
(717) 783-1000

Hon. Will Tallman, Secretary
Email at 
(717) 783-8875

Hon. Jim Christiana, Subcommittee Chair on Higher Education
Email at 
(717) 260-6144

Hon. Bernie O’Neill, Subcommittee Chair on Basic Education
Email at 
(717) 705-7170

Hon. Kathy L. Rapp, Subcommittee Chair on Special Education
Email at 
(717) 787-1367

Hon. Ryan P. Aument
Email at 
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2041

Hon. Joe Emrick
Email at 
(717) 260-6159

If your last name begins with L-Z, please contact:

Hon. Harold A. English
Email at 
(717) 260-6407

Hon. Mike Fleck
Email at 
(717) 787-3335

Hon. Mark M. Gillen
Email at 
(717) 787-8550

Hon. Seth M. Grove
Email at 
(717) 783-2655

Hon. Mike Reese
Email at
(717) 783-9311

Hon. Todd Rock
Email at
(717) 783-5218

Hon. Justin J. Simmons
Email at 
(717) 783-1673

Hon. Dan Truitt
Email at 
(717) 260-6164

(2) Please forward this email to other homeschooling families who are not members of HSLDA and ask them to contact members of the committee as well.

Please call or email today!

Very truly yours,

Dewitt T. Black, III
HSLDA Senior Counsel