Living Stones Academy

Educating by atmosphere, discipline, and life

Why I keep records (hint: it’s fairly obvious)

on April 9, 2015

Every state in the US has different homeschool laws. It’s legal everywhere, but some states make it more or less complicated, with more or less oversight. And then it can also depend on district–while the laws are the laws of the state, how the district enforces those laws, if at all, can vary. Some are antagonistic to homeschooling and you’ll read those stories of persecuted families quite a bit. Some simply follow up when a nosy antagonistic neighbor calls because they see 8 year olds in the backyard instead of at school. Some say, “Oh, you have kids? That’s nice.” So it just depends. In Alaska, it really appears that way on paper. You have kids? How nice for you. School? Oh, do what you want, we don’t care.

California was rather intimidating at first. I have some experience with the darling state (note the dripping sarcasm). I was born in Monterey, and when I was in 4th grade my mom decided to homeschool me. But it was not legal at the time, so I was told to tell people I went to private school. Honestly I don’t think our neighbors cared, and even at 9 I didn’t like saying that. But the conversation never happened so it was a moot point. Still, it has never been a state known for it’s friendliness to homeschooling. Ironically, any other alternative lifestyle you want to engage in, you go right ahead. Be militant about it. But homeschool your kids? Who gave you the right to take the government out of your children’s lives? Humph.

Ok, yes I’m being mean. Did I mention we left CA when I was 10? Not exactly near and dear to my heart. 😛 Anyway . . .

Times have changed (even if mindsets have not). It is now legal, and you have different options. One I’d never heard of before, called charter schools. I’ll express myself loudly on that later. Not this time. Another option is to file what is called a Private School Affidavit. You are calling yourself a private school. You even get to make up a name for yourself (how cool is that?). You have to file every October from the time your child is 6 years old, because Kindergarten is not mandatory in CA. Yet. They keep threatening to spoil that one for us. But so far, you don’t have to do anything until the child is 6. When you sign the affidavit (pay attention, this is the “fairly obvious” part), you sign a part that says you agree to keep certain records on file in your “school”. It’s not complex, and a wonderful blogger out of Sacramento has taken the stress away with this great post I won’t rehash: Legally Required Records  That post also includes the links for filing, documents you can download, etc. So it’s actually easy and straight forward, and the only thing you have to worry about is a lousy school district and nosy neighbors. 🙂 The law is on your side, if you comply.

Now, I’m not a militant homeschool parent. I believe in what I’m doing, but I also believe that if the public school system would change, it could work too. I don’t keep my kids home from fear of influences, bullying, shooting, or anything like that. Homeschooling from fear is not a good choice. Doing anything from fear is never good or healthy or wise. I’m grateful we can  avoid those things, but that’s not why I chose to. I also don’t think, as a Christian, being militant and in your face simply for the sake of being “in your face” is acceptable. Not that I won’t express what I’m thinking quite loudly, as I did here. 😛 And frankly I should probably cut that back. But I’m talking about fighting authorities or snubbing authorities just because I think I can hide behind God. This does not send good messages to the world or to my children. Years ago, when Mel Gibson’s The Passion came out, Stephen King–as in, the horror writer–wrote a piece on it for Entertainment Weekly magazine. It was very interesting. His opinion of the film aside (and he liked it), what made an impression on him was the behavior of the Christians who went to see it. In particular, an unpleasant woman who sat near him, and who was angrily telling a friend how she had to put the ticket seller in his place because he wasn’t going to let her bring in her 6 yo and younger children in with her (remember, it was rated R).

I agree with Stephen, I don’t think her young children were impacted by anything but horror in the film. And I also don’t agree with how she behaved.

The Bible is very clear that we are to respect the laws of the land as long as they don’t violate the word of God. Do some of the laws of the land violate God’s word? Yes. But if the particular law in question does not, or it does not force you to, then you are required by God to obey it. The reason is bringing either glory or shame to God. That woman did not do God glory.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.   

I Peter 2:13-15

And remember who Peter was writing to: scattered members of Christ’s church who were under rulers of different types. And certainly none of them godly! But that didn’t matter, because godly or not, God set them up, and our job is to obey them. God said it way back to the Israelites who had just escaped slavery under Pharaoh! “You shall not curse God, nor curse a ruler of your people” (Exodus 22:28) (Think about that the next time juvenile memes about the President get circulated) Peter wasn’t the only one, though:

Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; . . . For rulers are not a cause for fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 

Romans 13:1-3

Paul clearly knew what kind of ruler was over the people of the Roman church. Yet he said it again. Now, does the government sometimes persecute wrongly? Obviously! Of course! But that’s never a license for us.

Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.

Romans 13:5

For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

I Peter 2: 20

. . . but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

I Peter 3:15-16

It’s not about getting caught; it’s about what that says about my integrity–as a person and as a professing Christian–should I be caught not doing what I said I’d do. Being belligerent about the laws doesn’t help our cause, it only hurts it. If they try to add more regulations, we should be able to all produce our notebooks with our records and say, “Look, we’re keeping what you ask, why impose any more?”

I have not kept some records out of neglect–either I forgot or missed a step. That doesn’t excuse me, though, and I’ve had to repent and go add those documents double quick. The thing in California is that not only is it easy, but you don’t even have to produce it unless the worst happens! And wouldn’t you rather be prepared for that? But as it says, not just for wrath, but for conscience. If your conscience is not guided by integrity and glorifying God’s name, our conscience needs to be slapped awake.

That’s sort of why I needed to blog about this. I don’t think this is a “to each his own situation”. Using charters, yeah, that’s a to each his own, though I have my opinions, to which I am entitled. 🙂 But this is black and white. If the law says it, do it. It might violate your personal preference or sensibility, but asking you to keep attendance isn’t violating God’s law as put forth in scripture. Not even a little bit.

I must say, as I’ve said before . . .I’M NOT PERFECT IN THIS!! I speed when I drive. Ok, I’m wracking my brains, that’s honestly all I can think of at the moment. :} I know I’ve violated laws in other ways. I know for a fact I’ve violated God’s laws in a million ways today. In fact when it comes to telling the truth, I cannot say I’m perfect. I won’t lie to the insurance company about how some damage was done. I won’t lie to the housing office about how a door broke. And we didn’t lie to the appliance company about how our refrigerator shorted out (long story that I won’t tell, sorry). But I’ve fudged it here and there, I admit it. Not proud of it–I wish I was braver. But darn it, where I CAN obey the law, I will.

Rich Mullins once made an interesting comment, and like many of his it resonated with me. (Anyone who knows me can roll their eyes and grin now . . you knew he’d work his way in, didn’t you?)  He said he didn’t consider himself a very good singer. Someone who heard him say that asked him, “Then why do you sing?” His response:

” I go, ‘Because it is the most reiterated command in the whole Bible.’ And I figure there must be a reason why it says over and over and over, sing sing sing sing sing. I also kind of go, this is a lot easier than loving my enemies so maybe I should start with the easy stuff and maybe by the time I am really old I will have been able to tie the more complicated knot.”

from his interview on 20 the Countdown Magazine transcript

I’ve always found that to be true. There are things I can obey well, and things I can’t. I’m sure it’s true for everyone. But the Bible calls us fools if we don’t heed instruction and help to get those things we struggle with right. It also calls us fools for not recognizing those things, let alone fixing them.

So that’s the long answer to why I keep records: because I said I would. Let’s be a people that keep our promises.

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