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Today, I saw my son present his 8th grade presentation at his current home study charter school. I was inspired and thrilled by all of the 8th graders. These kids epitomize why I chose homeschooling. They give me hope for the future.

Of particular merit, one young man who presented spoke of getting into serious trouble at his traditional school. His hardworking, young mother intervened and sought out the help of another family who were homeschool veterans. Although she works full time, she was able to work with the other family and get her son out of a bad situation. During this school year, he became engaged in wilderness independence and survival. He embraced the ethics of dealing with life’s situations. He went from running around with the “wrong crowd” to learning how to use nature and his own skills to survive. He spoke of feeling confident and ready to learn more. Such a young man but already so wise. You could see his pride and self-confidence shine.

A young girl spoke about her love of music and learning to play the guitar. She wrote her own song. Most importantly, she spoke of her shyness in performing for others but saw that if others could do it she could too. Another important life lesson learned by shear will.

The other children, including my own son, highlighted their interests, which included science, public open spaces, other cultures and design. These children all exemplify creativity, learning and the hard work of their parents and, most importantly, themselves.

None of the families, including mine, are wealthy, well-connected or particularly distinguished. We are working class people who believe in our children and believe in what we do. Most of us sacrifice or have sacrificed a great deal to homeschool our children. We believe in the power of knowledge. We obviously believe in the strength of thinking outside of the norm.

Each of these 8th graders will go on to different schools. One child will return to traditional school. Another child will attend a high school operated by a community college. Several will attend another home study charter school and focus on technology and media design. No matter where they go for high school, I believe these kids have a solid foundation for creativity, learning and success. They have learned time management, how to interact with people of all creeds, ages and socio-economic statuses, and they have learned to love learning for itself. They know how to educate and keep themselves informed.

Knowledge is power.

When I think of my son and his homeschooled peers, I think of these lyrics:

Built to last till time itself
Falls tumbling from the wall
Built to last till sunshine fails
And darkness moves on all
Built to last while years roll past
Like cloudscapes in the sky
Show me something built to last
Or something built to try -(lyrics by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia.)

Learning is a lifelong endeavor. Every day is inspired by the search for knowledge. These children have a firm foundation upon which they may build years of life and joy. Finally, I ask, isn’t this what we need now more than ever? We need a creative and educated youth. I do believe children can change the world.