Category Archives: Liberty

Homeschool Student Essay Contest

Sponsored by our friends at the Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties
Topic:  The Relationship Between Religion and Government, the Founders’ intent
Age groups:
16 thru 18
12 thru 15
$500- first place

$250-second place

Essay composition suggestions:
(these are not written in stone, but varying greatly from them might reduce your chances of success)
750-word maximum
Include footnotes for sources and quotes, original documents are encouraged
Footnotes are not included in word count.
Essays must be postmarked by August 1, 2017.
Judging will be completed by September 1, 2017. Awards will be presented at our Constitution Day Celebration.
Only winners and honorable mentions will be notified. A list of the winners will be available after September 2017 at
Your essay will not be returned to you, so make a personal copy before you send it to us.
Honorable mentions might also be shared (without exposure of your personal information) as examples of our youths Constitutional knowledge.
We invite you to accept the challenge and examine our First Amendment, and the intent of our Founders with regard to religion.
Be sure to provide your age and contact information.    Action Logo Square BW 10.28.15 SMALL
Send your entries to:
Essay Contest
c/o Wm Price
3570 N, 150 W
Lebanon, IN 46052

Constitution Day Celebration Recap

Many thanks to the Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties for offering the Indiana homeschool essay contest!  

A Constitution Day celebration sponsored by the Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties was held in Danville, IN on September 17th. Winners of an Indiana homeschoolers’ essay contest read their essays entitled, “Explain why our Federal Government has no Constitutional authority to be involved in education.” Prizes of $500 and $250 were awarded to first and second in two age divisions. John Crane gave an insightful revisiting of our Constitution, and former Thunderbird F-16 pilot, Matt Modleski, gave an exciting video presentation of the “American Dream.” Around 100 people enjoyed quite an inspirational afternoon!


Constitution Day Celebration

Congratulations to those who placed in the Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties Essay Contest. The top entries will read their essays at the Constitution Day event below.

16-18 Division
First Place:  Isaac Che

Second Place:  Christina Ganahl

Honorable Mention:

Carson Bailey

Grace Murrell

Zach Graber  Action Memes Winding Road


12-15 Division

First Place: Olivia Hajicek

Second Place:  Max Brown

Honorable Mention:

Isaac Deak

Lily Barger

Hannah Kabrick


Constitution Day Celebration

Hosted by Indy Defenders of Liberty and the Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties

Date: Saturday, September 17th from 11:30 AM until about 1:15 PM (EDT)

Location: Hendricks County Government Center

355 South Washington St.

Danville, IN  46122

Second floor, accessed from northwest entrance off of Washington

Program: John Crane of the Sagamore Leadership Initiative will introduce us to this day of celebration of our Constitution.

Presentation of awards to winners of the Coalition sponsored Indiana homeschooler’s essay contest entitled, “Explain why the Federal Government has no Constitutional authority to be involved in education.”  

The top entries will read their essays.

Featured speaker, Matt Modieski, was a Thunderbird F-16 jet pilot who will talk about the “American dream.”

Life-size replicas of four of our Founding Fathers will be on display with a large “timeline” of our founding history. Have your picture taken with a Founder!

Come meet some of the thinkers and makers of our past and future. Everyone is invited, especially our youth, so bring your friends to an exciting mid-day event.


Seven Reasons Why Indiana Homeschoolers Do Not Need More Regulation

This post originally appeared on the Indiana Association of Home Educators blog in October 2015.

Homeschooling has been a tradition in Indiana for over a century. Due to the longstanding legal environment regarding home education in Indiana, we have seen how less regulation facilitates the parent-directed learning experience. Below are some reasons the Indiana homeschool law works successfully.


1.)  We have the right to operate as a private school. 

The Indiana Appellate Court held that the Indiana compulsory attendance law must treat home school programs the same as a private school. In State v. Peterman, 70 N.E. 550 (Ind. App. 1904, the Court said a school at home is a private school.

The Court defined a school as “a place where instruction is imparted to the young… We do not think that the number of persons, whether one or many, make a place where instruction is imparted any less or any more a school.” Peterman, 70 N.E. at 551. The court explained further: “Under a law very similar to ours, the Supreme Court of Massachusetts has held that the object and purpose of a compulsory educational law are that all the children shall be educated, not that they shall be educated in any particular way.” Peterman, 70 N.E. at 551.

The Court concluded: “The result to be obtained, and not the means or manner of attaining it, was the goal which the lawmakers were attempting to reach. The [compulsory attendance] law was made for the parent, who does not educate his child, and not for the parent who…so places within the reach of the child the opportunity and means of acquiring an education equal to that obtainable in the public schools….” Peterman, 70 N.E. at 552.


2.)  Since 1983, the Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE) has provided support and assistance to Indiana families interested in home education. Parents who choose to homeschool have a readily available network of resources to help them start and continue their homeschooling journey. For parents who do not understand any particular aspect of their responsibilities, there is an established network of experienced and successful homeschoolers who are available to assist and answer their questions. We recommend all home educators connect with IAHE and utilize the resources available to them. We also recommend families seek out and connect with other home educators in their community.


3.)  Parent-directed, privately-funded home education is successful.

Multiple studies show that homeschoolers score at/or above their public school peers on standardized tests. No matter what type of K-12 education is chosen for a child it requires the active involvement of parents to be successful. Homeschooling parents are already highly motivated to be involved in their children’s education. Very few parents take on such a huge responsibility without a commitment to education and a belief (if not a conviction) that they can do as well as the public school. Parents who are willing to take on this responsibility rarely do it without counting the cost, both in dollars and time.


4.) We provide a comparable education to the public schools.

Indiana law requires parents to provide instruction that is comparable to what is provided in the public school. Parents choose to homeschool for many reasons, but most also recognize the unique ways in which their children learn. Many parents who homeschool begin to investigate their options when their children are preschoolers, while others, finding their child struggling in the traditional public school setting, desire to enhance and not hinder their children’s educational experience. Homeschooling resources have exploded in the marketplace. One look at a homeschool convention will tell you there is no lack of educational materials available for homeschoolers to use. All have one thing in common, however: a comparable, if not superior, education to the public schools.


5.) The state has the authority and ability to investigate and prosecute if there are problems.

The state already has the ability to investigate and prosecute if there are problems. State laws already prohibit parents from neglecting or abusing their children. The fact that there may be the occasional parent who does not adequately educate his or her child doesn’t negate all of the excellent parents who homeschool any more than a few poorly-rated public schools do not negate the excellent public schools out there. A few isolated situations of parents who have been prosecuted for failing to properly educate their children have resulted in their children being placed back into the public school system.

While the state should be concerned with the abuse or neglect of all children, regardless of where they are educated, there are plenty of ways to locate and identify abusive parents without having to further regulate homeschooling in our state. While most homeschool support groups are there to provide assistance when a parent needs help in educating his or her child, there have been reports to the authorities within these groups when a parent has demonstrated a failure to ensure their child is educated. Even if more homeschool regulations were passed, it would not catch all abusive parents any more than public schools catch all of the abusive parents with children in their schools.


6.) Homeschoolers have a higher percentage of college graduates than public schools.

While many factors may influence why some students graduate from college and others do not, it should come as no surprise that homeschoolers find the transition to college much easier than their public school counterpart. First of all, homeschool parents tend to give more independence to their children to take charge of their education by the time they are juniors and seniors in high school. One of the goals of homeschooling is to teach children how to teach themselves. Another is to give a student a love for learning.

College is no different, and many colleges seek out homeschool students because they have seen how homeschoolers are not focused on learning only to pass a test or to get a good grade, but they learn because they love to learn.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society. One of their goals is to recognize students who “love to learn.” If this collegiate honor society understands that the most successful people must have a love for learning, then perhaps this also explains why so many homeschoolers successfully obtain a college diploma.


7.) Homeschooling parents are responsible parents.

Clearly, this doesn’t mean parents who do not homeschool are not responsible, but rarely do you find parents who are as committed to the education of their children than homeschooling parents. They take their parenting responsibilities seriously and strive to help their children, whether they are gifted or struggling learners, to become productive members of our society. Homeschoolers come from many different backgrounds and philosophies, so one cannot generalize; however, homeschooling results in as much character training for the parent as it does for the student. Parents who homeschool over many years realize the road isn’t easy, but they homeschool because they believe it is best for their family and their children. Those who try it and return their children to public or private schools do it for many reasons as well. The state or public school system will never replace a parent’s love and care for a child. We should always expect and believe that parents above anyone else are responsible, accountable, and motivated as home educators because they love their children.

For additional information on how homeschooling compares with public schooling: Click here.


BLOG Featured Image_Action Logo Square BW 10.28.15 SMALL

Camille Cantwell graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Journalism and Political Science. She worked for the Wisconsin State Assembly and Governor Tommy Thompson until 1989. She received her law degree from Regent University and was admitted to practice law in Indiana in 1993. Her license is currently on inactive status. She and her husband, David, have graduated their oldest son from their home school and are currently homeschooling their high school-age son.

The Seduction of Homeschooling Families

Has the time come for homeschoolers to reevaluate a relationship with the local government school?  Pioneers of the homeschool movement were very leery of any involvement with public schools due to a myriad of reasons.  It appears homeschoolers are not the only ones who foresee a loss of liberty with involvement in this educational system.

Regarding “… homeschool-public school partnerships … In fact, finding ways to draw homeschooling families back to the public school system seems to me a necessary complement to the passage of effective regulations [of homeschoolers]” [p. 39-40]. *

* Reich, Rob. (2001, August 30 – September 2). Testing the boundaries of parental authority over education: The case of homeschooling. Paper prepared for delivery at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, August 30 September 2, 2001.

Indiana Association of Home Educators and IAHE Action have been concerned about the government’s reach into the area of homeschooling.   The word “seduction” is a perfect description.  We may even describe it as two Trojan Horses.  They appear to be gifts, but on closer inspection, there may be hidden, undesired surprises.

The first Trojan Horse is the virtual public charter school.  We have attempted to make a distinction between home schools and these type of schools which are accredited, public schools which are funded by the state.  Homeschools are non-accredited, nonpublic schools which are funded by the parent.  We are pleased to see improved marketing where these schools are now advertised as online, public schools.  In the early days of these programs, many believed they were the same as what IAHE has been advocating for over three decades.  IAHE has spent considerable effort educating the Indiana homeschool community as to the difference.

The second Trojan Horse is the idea of government-funded homeschooling.  For those who are new to the homeschool community, they may not understand that taxpayer funding forces the recipient to have accountability to the government.  This is as it should be.   The best way to protect your autonomy as a parent is to avoid the strings of government-funding.   What “choice” do parents have if all educational options are funded by the taxpayer and therefore under government control?

ESA Trojan Horse

IAHE Action wants to share an excellent article that we believe ties in well with the concerns expressed above.  It is called, “The Seduction of Homeschooling Families” and is from Foundation for Economic Education.

Government Homeschooling Programs Seek to Eliminate Parents’ Choices for Their Children’s Education

Do the public school authorities feel threatened by homeschooling? Judging by their efforts to lure homeschooling families into dependence on local school districts, the answer is apparently yes.

For the last several years, homeschooling has been the fastest growing educational alternative in the country. Estimates of its growth rate typically range from 15 to 25 percent annually. Homeschoolers are notoriously difficult to count; however, the National Homeschooling Research Institute believes that currently 1.2 million children get their education at home. While that constitutes only about 2 percent of all school-age children, it’s more than 20 percent of those who are outside the government educational system. and, with a 20 percent annual growth rate, another quarter million children will join the homeschooling movement this year.

The sheer number of homeschoolers represents a distinct threat to the hegemony of the government school monopoly. Qualitatively, the academic success of homeschoolers, measured by standardized test scores and recruitment by colleges, debunks the myth that parents need to hire credentialed experts to force children to learn.1

Read more here.

Homeschool Student Essay Contest

 Homeschool Student Essay Contest

Sponsored by our liberty-loving friends at the Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties

Explain why the Federal Government does not have the Constitutional authority to be involved in education.

Age groups:

16 through 18

12 through 15


$500 first place

$250 second place

Copies of the winning essays will be presented to the Indiana Governor and State Legislature to read.

Essay composition suggestions: (these are not written in stone, but varying greatly from them might reduce your chances of success)

750-word maximum

Include footnotes for sources and quotes. (not included in word count)

Essays must be postmarked by August 1, 2016.

Judging will be completed by September 1, 2016.

Only winners and honorable mentions will be notified. A list of the winners will be available after September 15, 2016 at

Your essay will not be returned to you, so make a personal copy before you send it to us.

Honorable mentions might also be shared (without exposure of your personal information) as examples of our youths Constitutional knowledge.

We invite you to accept the challenge and examine our Constitution and the intent of our Founders with regard to education.

Be sure to give us your age and contact information.

Send your entries to:   Essay Contest; P.O. Box 472; Lebanon, IN 46052

BLOG Featured Image_Action Logo Square BW 10.28.15 SMALL

Liberty v. Freedom

During the recent IAHE Action Government Affairs panel at the 2016 IAHE Convention, State Representative Tom Washburne (R-HD 64 Evansville) mentioned there is a difference between freedom and liberty.  We asked him if he would share his thoughts with home educators.


“Give me freedom, or give me death!” — right?  Wrong.  We all know that when Patrick Henry of Virginia made his famous speech before the War for Independence with England, what he really said was, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”  Now some may say: “So what?  Who cares?”  Well, we all need to care, for these are two very different statements with very different implications.

Let’s first consider the concept of freedom — the ability to do whatever it is that we want to do.  Note the word “whatever” in my definition, because herein is the problem with freedom: it has no associated value system.  There is no real right or wrong.  If an action feels good to you, your “freedom” allows you to do it.  Kris Kristofferson (through Janice Joplin) nailed this meaning of freedom in his hit song Me and Bobby McGee:  “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose,

And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free…

You see, if there is no value, no right and wrong associated with freedom, then what we end up with is a collection of valueless actions, and conflict will be inevitable.  In such conflicts, who is to say who wins?  Ultimately, the government wins, through lawyers, judges, and litigation — the power of the sword.  But the government will have its own world view, which may or may not agree with yours or have at its base any concept of enduring values. I think that this is why we have seen such frustration with the explosion in the number of lawsuits in the last few decades.  People are losing the ability to resolve conflict on their own and are turning to a more and more valueless Court system for answers.

In contrast to freedom is the concept of liberty.  Liberty is like freedom in that it maintains that humans have choices.  But liberty also has with it an element of values, right and wrong.  Yes, people enjoy a sort of freedom in liberty, but it is a self-constrained freedom.  A society based on liberty voluntarily limits available actions to commonly accepted views of morality, or as John Locke put it, operates within the bounds of natural law. Accordingly, when values conflict in a society based on the concept of liberty, it is not solely the government that dictates the outcome, but instead the broader, deeper principles that the people hold dear.

Like John Locke, America’s founders loved liberty.  Indeed, they based our society on it.  They spoke of liberty often in terms of self-government.  For them, what we today call the government is only half of what they referred to as government.  They saw another form of government at work in America: the duty and ability of Americans to govern themselves.  In the words of John Adams: “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

BLOG Featured Image_Action Logo Square BW 10.28.15 SMALL

If you have read this far, you may be saying to yourself, “Wait a minute, if liberty depends on values, then there must be different forms of liberty depending on the values in play,” and you are correct. In addition, it must be pointed out that some societies will not support liberty at all.  Value systems which support liberty are said to be systems which maintain the conditions of freedom.

In the United States, we have simply taken it for granted that when given freedom, society will flourish.  We accordingly fail to realize that freedom is only possible where the values of the society support the conditions necessary for freedom to work as intended.  In other words, giving freedom is not enough. Without a value structure that also gives rise to liberty, a society will fail.

At the founding of the United States, Christianity was the dominate culture of the people, and  Christianity provided the foundation for liberty. In such liberty, America has flourished without heavy government intervention.  Remember, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).  Note the contrast of this with the recent experience in Iraq where a well-intentioned imposition of freedom through war has resulted not in a prospering society but rather in chaos.  The reason? These countries have inherent cultures that give little support to liberty or even freedom.

I should add that one virtue at the time of America’s founding was that minority voices should be tolerated.  Put another way, in the Christian view of liberty true free speech, free association and free exercise of religion are to be respected. But with this toleration of dissension, there was and is the risk that some other culture can use these rights to emerge from obscurity.  And should that culture get strong enough, it could even gain control of government and curtail the very values that gave it life.  God help us should such a culture prove hostile to Christianity.

Every generation of Americans must be mindful and recognize that our original Constitution was built on Christian liberty. Should we drift from this concept of liberty to a concept of freedom, there is a danger that the exercise of these freedoms will actually undermine the system of government that recognized them.  In other words, we must teach our children that there is right and wrong, there are values, and that these values are critical to ourselves, our families, our churches, and, yes, our government.  Indeed, America as we know it depends upon true liberty.

By  Tom Washburne, J.D., Indiana State Representative District 64