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We, a group of homeschool graduates who work for, volunteer for, and serve on the board of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education;
Considering that millions of children in grades K-12 are homeschooled in the United States each year, that these children have inherent dignity and rights, and that being homeschooled impacts not only a child’s education but also their whole lives, including their friendships, socialization, and access to the wider community and resources;
Recognizing that homeschooling does not offer a single unified experience, and that some homeschooled children have an empowered, fulfilling education and a childhood that prepares them for successful lives as self-sufficient adults, while other children who are homeschooled experience educational neglect, deprivation, isolation, and abuse aggravated by a lack of contact with mandatory reporters who might intervene;
Bearing in mind that children who are homeschooled are not present in the nation’s public schools, and as such lack access to programs for the promotion of child welfare that are operated through these institutions, including food and nutrition programs, age-appropriate sex education, monitoring for child abuse and neglect, and professional college and career counseling;
Recalling that children who are homeschooled do not automatically have access to mentors outside of the home, exposure to views and ideas other than those of their parents, or access to educational records, medical screenings, or friendships, and that access to these experiences must be cultivated intentionally with the support of their parents and guardians;
Acknowledging that most parents want what is best for their children, and that laying out the rights of homeschooled children in an organized and deliberate fashion may help these parents better support not only their child’s education but also their child’s physical, mental,and social well-being and development into self-sufficient, independent adults;
Understanding that change comes first through sharing stories, educating our communities, and raising consciousness; that widespread changes in society and culture will more fully safeguard and promote children’s rights than legal mandates; and that we are communicating an aspirational vision for the future;
Drawing on our personal experiences being homeschooled, as well as knowledge gained over years of advocacy for children who are homeschooled and on a growing body of research and published data on homeschooling;
Do affirm the following rights for homeschooled children:
Children who are homeschooled have the right to the care necessary for their well-being, physical and mental safety, and respect for their human dignity.
Children who are homeschooled have a right to a quality education that centers their interests and prepares them for an open future.
Children who are homeschooled have the right to relationships with friends, family members, and mentors, as well as access to the wider community, both in-person and in other contexts.
Children who are homeschooled have a right to physical and mental healthcare.
Disabled children who are homeschooled, including those with learning disabilities or invisible disabilities, have their own distinct needs and rights.
Homeschooled children who are adopted, particularly transracially, have a right to full membership in their adoptive families and the right to explore and access their birth cultures.
Children who are homeschooled have a right to freedom of expression and belief.
Children who are homeschooled have a right to the autonomy they need to develop into self-sufficient, independent, functioning adults and citizens.