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Why FHE? (Families for Home Education)

By Holly Broyles, former Region 5 Director for FHE

One question I seem to get a lot is “How is FHE different from HSLDA? Isn’t joining HSLDA enough?” The short answer is that while joining HSLDA is extremely important, no, it is not enough. Many of you are probably very familiar with both FHE and HSLDA, but it can be confusing for newer homeschoolers (and even some who have been homeschooling for years) to sort out of all the different groups out there. So, I would love to help make it easier!

Basically these two organizations have the same mission and purpose. The HSLDA website states “Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.” FHE’s website states “The purpose of FHE is to protect the inalienable right of parents in Missouri to teach their own children without state regulation and control.” The difference is in the way that each group goes about its mission. HSLDA primarily works on the judicial level. They argue cases in courts across our nation in order to protect families’ right to home educate. FHE on the other hand, is primarily a lobbying organization in the state of Missouri. We have a lobbyist who looks over every piece of legislation that is proposed during the legislative session to make sure that the bills do not contain anything that might be detrimental to families who chose to home educate. Most times when things do come up, they are not intentionally meant to harm homeschoolers or to infringe on our rights, but never the less, they do. Our lobbyist, Kerry Messer, has the opportunity to work with the various legislators who are forming the bill to rework or tweak it so that homeschoolers are not adversely affected. As a registered lobbyist Kerry can make lawmakers aware of how home educating families would or could be impacted by the bill. Since Kerry is at the capitol every week of the legislative session he is immediately on hand when issues arise and is able to get quick and accurate information. HSLDA dose not lobby in the state of Missouri, but they do get involved when FHE requests their assistance on any particular issue.

This is where you come in! When Kerry goes in to speak to the various representatives and senators, he is representing a certain group of people, in this case, homeschoolers in the state of Missouri. The more families that Kerry can say he represents, the closer the lawmakers will pay attention to what he has to say. In other words, numbers talk. This is why it is so important that every homeschool family in the great state of Missouri bands together on this one particular issue, protecting our right to educate our children as we see fit with out interference from the government. Homeschoolers are a wonderfully diverse group and are getting more so every year. People choose to homeschool for many different reasons, we are not all the same and our homeschools are not the same. But what we all can agree upon is that we want to continue to be able to make educational decisions for our families. Homeschool families are never short of opinions and ideas, but we must not allow our differences to divide and conquer us on this foundational issue. What a great feeling it is to really make a difference for your children and your children’s children for many generations to come. Please consider joining FHE and renew your membership every year in June. There is a $10.00 yearly membership fee which is a small price to pay when you think about how important this issue is. Also, we would love to see as many of you as possible at our yearly Rally in the rotunda at the capitol in Jefferson City. Bring your whole family and make a fun day of it and let’s show the legislators how much we appreciate their hard work and let them know how important our freedom to home educate is to us!

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The following is taken from the FHE web site:  www.fhe-mo.org

About FHE: Our Purpose

The purpose of FHE is to protect the inalienable right of parents in Missouri to teach their own children without state regulation and control.

It is NOT the purpose of FHE to monitor, legally defend, or assume responsibility for the actions of its members.

FHE is not affiliated with:
any religious organization
any political organization
any special interest group

Families for Home Education serves and represents all home educators in Missouri, but its purpose is limited to the support of home education. While members may participate in other organizations according to personal interest, any attempt to affiliate this organization with another or to advance another cause within the official activities of FHE is prohibited.

The Board members, staff and others who make up Families for Home Education are all volunteers. We have no office, and we generally work to serve you out of our homes. We have and do homeschool our own children while attempting to serve you in a variety of ways. 

FHE Membership:

Membership only $10/year! 
Benefits of Joining:
Your membership increases our lobbying influence
Your rights protected by our registered lobbyist
Help with contacts by government officials
HSLDA group discount
FHE seals for high school diplomas (small donation requested)