by Mary, Michael and Lennon Leppert
This issue marks our 7th anniversary of publishing The Link! It is very hard to believe that so much time has gone by! This issue is 132 pages – our largest ever. The Link was only 12 pages when we started it and had a circulation of 3,000 – sent or given to a handful of people in Southern California and around the country, that we knew from our previous travels. In many ways homeschooling has changed as much as our newspaper has – all for the better, we think. Today, The Link has a circulation of 100,000 and is sent all over the world – Canada, Africa, Greece, Italy, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Brazil . . . ! Today, as Cyndy Rogers’ column in this issue, A View From Home, relates, homeschooling is becoming accepted and even encouraged by politicos and others officials in many states that have not already placed their stamp of approval upon it. While there are still minor patches of stormy weather, the future for homeschooling autonomy is brighter than ever before.
I, Mary, originally had the idea to start the paper as a way to connect the divergent camps of homeschooling I encountered. I was trying to find or create field trips for Lennon, our son, and in this process, I came in contact with homeschoolers from every background and point-of-view possible. This made me aware of the fact that our family did not “fit” into any particular pre-existing homeschool group. We were not homeschooling for religious reasons, although we agreed with some of the values and philosophies of this branch of homeschooling, and we often shaped our homeschooling day and week like religious homeschoolers do. We did not fit completely into the unschooling group nor the “secular” side, either, but also agreed with some of the beliefs and practices of this portion of homeschooling.
At that time, 1994/5, the homeschooling world was much more rigidly divided, with religious and non-religious families being so isolated from each other that they were both missing out on great products and services that were perfectly suitable -- they just had to become aware of them. I started The Link to be totally inclusive and “link” the two sides (and any other branch of homeschooling) together, so that my newspaper would serve as a place where anyone interested in homeschooling could read informative articles – mostly written by other parents – and be exposed to ads, resources and notices that would serve them well. Thanks to the interest and input of our readers, The Link has become an increasingly vital source of information and inspiration to thousands of families on this journey of home-centered childrearing that is mistakenly called “homeschooling”.As most of the homeschooling families I know personally, in our house, we talk a lot!! We discuss and decide every issue imaginable. We, the Lepperts, wish to be autonomous and self-reliant in each aspect of Life. Structure for its own sake does us no good; it must have meaning and reason or we don’t pay it much heed. Social mores and conventions must have detectable purpose to us. We question all forms of so-called “authority” for we need to know why people and their agendae are in our lives. Most likely, this is why homeschooling appealed to us in the first place. We wear the mantle of responsibility easily and naturally. We feel quite comfortable deciding our future and that includes our child’s path.
In this 7th Anniversary issue, we have gathered together a large number of great articles – a few from past issues but mostly “fresh”, from both homeschooled parents and interested observer participants in this microcosmic world we have fashioned around “school”. The Urban Man, Marc Porter Zasada, contributes a “Beginners Only” feature that will help new-to-homeschooling families navigate the waters immediately ahead. Marc is a very experienced homeschooling dad of four who has much light and advice to shed to those recent embarkees. As already mentioned, regular columnist, Cyndy Rogers, offers example after example of optimistic legal and social occurrences that are affecting homeschooling liberties and rights all over the country. From The Link archives, we have a compilation of “Colfax Corners” that are still insightful.
Dr. Renee Fuller of Ball-Stick-Bird provides an article that is of tremendous value to all parents in these apparently callous, rude times – “Manners of the Heart”. We also have a new entry of our critical thinking column, “Cranial Gymnasium” and I, Michael, offer a deep-felt article supporting the fact that parents, with few exceptions, are qualified to teach their own children. We also have a number of articles from past issues that have received praise relating to the Christian homeschooling perspective, including : “Christian Unschooling” “All right, Lord” and “Ten Things That Keep Me Sane, Sort Of”. Of course, there is much, much more than we mention here, so please take a long look at the Index below and please notice our new address, too.
We want to take this moment to thank every one of you who has ever hand-written a note, sent an e-mail or told us in person that The Link has benefited you and your family. Those messages seem to pop up at the darkest hours, when encouragement is most needed and we appreciate your support and participation.Warmly and cordially, Mary, Michael and Lennon Leppert
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