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by Mary Leppert

It is the dawn of the new Millennium and it is hard to believe that 35 years have passed since the top front cover picture was taken in- 1965! At first glance, I have a nostalgic feeling when I look at that picture, partially because it brings back memories of a time that seemed much simpler and I am remembering the dream that I had of growing up and giving my children that "Mayberry RFD" life. When my eyes drop down to the pictures below, I am quickly slapped out of my nostalgia and I realize that what we offer our "homeschooled children" is very superior to what is in the 1965 picture. Today our homeschooled children have such rich lives!! These pictures make me so proud that we have chosen to homeschooled our son.
When I take myself back to the moment that picture was taken, I remember being so conscious of what I was wearing, how I acted, what we did earlier that morning in class, and I was thinking about the climbing ropes hanging from the ceiling in the gym, wondering if I would ever be able to climb past the second knot. Here I was, already judging myself according to someone else's standards and my entire frame of reference, while I was in school, was NOT being in the moment. No matter what we did in school, which activity, fun or not, inwardly I was somewhere else, "doing" something else. I believe this type of internal dynamic happens to most of us who went through the "institutional" educational system. I also believe that we carry it into our lives after school and when we grow up, even we homeschoolers, sometimes inadvertently pass this baggage on to our children. That is what happened to me the day that Lennon was playing the piano with his helmet on instead of doing what he was "supposed" to be doing. For me, the maturing process -in terms of both chronological age and homeschooling experience - is one of progressively losing the desire to conform that school inspires and nurtures. I become more my own person; therefore, it is easier for me to allow Lennon to become his own person without the chains of my school past. When I look at the pictures below, it makes me glow with excitement for the future at being part of this wonderful world of "homeschooling" and I look at each picture with a feeling of pride.
[Another confession is that the boy playing piano is my son, Lennon. I also must share with you that on the day that photograph was taken, I remember exactly what my feelings were: Lennon was about 8 and he doing supposed to be doing something that qualified as "schoolwork" because it was only 10:30 in the morning. I walked into the room and there he was playing piano with his helmet on! My first reaction was to be upset - and then I broke into laughter and had to take a picture of him. It has really taken me the last four years to fully feel and accept the comfort of that moment. Over this time period, I have almost fully matured in the sense of realizing that school does not have to look like my First Grade class of 1965. In fact, that class of 1965 really had very little learning and growth going on at all. When you compare it to the pictures below - Wow! What a difference!]
It is the year 2000 and I do know where my child is!

In this issue

This issue - at 64 pages, our largest ever -- is brimming with great material from a huge array of sources. John Taylor Gatto will be writing a regular feature called "The Guerrilla Curriculum" and this issue, he kicks it off with an article of great insight into the corporatizing of American children. Cathy Duffy covers the issue of school vouchers -- a matter of great concern to California voters this November in the form of Prop 38, but with vouchers a continuing issue of contention all over the U.S., Cathy's analysis will serve anyone concerned with homeschoolers' losing their liberty to this latest "long-arm" government program. Cafi Cohen not only covers timely topics in her usual "Cafi's Commentary," but contributes a major article on "College Admissions and Homeschoolers," including a list of some of the colleges and universities that provide fertile learning environm ents for homeschoolers. Greg & Moira Bell, in their piece "Homeschooling Intrigues Me . . ." provide clear insight, calming guidance and an excellent resource list for new-to-homeschoolers or those contemplating homeschooling as the way of life for their families. Diane Flynn Keith, well-known (especially throughout California) as the founder and editor of Homefires: The Journal of Homeschooling, offers Link readers the first of her new regular feature, "Wax On, Wax Off." Kathy Richardson discusses some of the differences between unschooling and other homeschoolers in "A Mother's Thoughts on Freedom-Based Education" "Activities for Homeschoolers" provides some interesting ideas for you and/or your support group to use in the future. Regular columns, "In An English Garden", "The Field Trip Lady," "Select Science," "The Link Librarian," "Lennon's Room" and "Messages from our Advertisers" round out this issue. Only "Ocean View" and "Gary Grammar" do not appear this time, but will return in Issue 5.

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