History of the Homeschool Movement
and Crossroads Home Educated Children (CHEC, Inc.)
During American colonial times, and throughout the early development and settling of the United States, the sight of children learning alongside their parents at home was commonplace. When America’s economic structure was based largely on agrarian enterprises, many communities began to financially support local schools. One room school houses, educating children of various ages in the same classroom, became the norm. After the industrial revolution, towns and cities became more populated, and government funded public schools became more and more prevalent. By the 1980’s, most children in the United States attended public schools. In the 21st century, this is still the case.
A small movement toward educating children at home began in the U.S. in the 1960’s, gaining a little momentum in the 1970’s. In the 1980’s, those who chose home education did so with little support, and in fact sometimes faced legal prosecution. These families were true pioneers, and those who homeschool in freedom today do so because of the legal battles they fought.
At this writing, individual states have their own laws pertaining to education, including the education of children at home. Texas continues to be one of the most homeschool-friendly states in the United States. However, these freedoms should never be taken for granted. Many families who began homeschooling in the 1980’s will attest to this.
The 1980’s were challenging times for Texas families who chose to school their children at home because of vague laws concerning compulsory attendance. It was during this time that a handful of like-minded families in Victoria and the crossroads area sought to organize themselves into a support group. Most home schooling took place “in the closet” to avoid confrontation with truancy officers. James and Debbie Solomon found that there were homeschoolers not only in Victoria, but almost all surrounding counties. They began inviting these families to meet together for mutual support. In the mid 1980's Crossroads Home Educated Children was born. Moms met regularly in the park, exchanging experiences and ideas while their children played together. There were a few business meetings as well. Twelve-dollar annual dues went toward the monthly newsletter that was published and sent to the twenty members. In 1987, a home school court case, Leeper vs. Arlington, clarified the law concerning home schooling in Texas, thereby allowing homeschool families to operate more freely without fear. This freedom brought more families into the group.
Along the way, CHEC bylaws were written, CHEC obtained non-profit status, and was incorporated. Membership dues were increased to support various academic, athletic, and extracurricular activities for children. Each year, volunteers served as a board of directors (officers) to ensure that the organization continued to exist. For over 30 years, CHEC has been sustained because of those who have given generously of their time and resources.
Families who make the choice for home education do so for a number of reasons: concerns about religious freedom, safety, health issues, academics, and so on. Very simply said, most parents who homeschool their children do so because they love their children, and feel it is in their best interest.
There have been changes in technology, homeschool laws, and the public perception of home education through the years, but by the grace of God, CHEC continues to equip and support the homeschool community. We hope you will join us in supporting home education.