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Humbled Home Schooler

As many of you know, my wife and I (mostly my wife) home school our children. It is a great experience, and I love to see my children learn and grow in the process.

In order to make the home school experience effective and more enjoyable, we often have activities where other home schooled children get together and share time, talents and ideas. And because I happen to have a key to our Ward (church) building, and I happen to be the person who schedules the building for our Ward, we have had several activities for home school kids at our Ward building.

Well, that has officially come to an end. The LDS Church has now officially issued a statement (pdf file, not a Church affiliated link) declaring that their church buildings were not to be used for home school activities.

If you look carefully at the letter that was read to all congregations (I believe in the only U.S.), they offer two reasons for their decision. I can understand and accept the last reason they give: “Adherence to this policy will help avoid safety and tax liabilities for the Church.”

If this were the only reason offered, I think I wouldn’t have as hard of time with this instruction from our leaders.

However, the second reason, which is really related to the first, is what bothers me. The second reason given is that “Church facilities are dedicated for the purposes of worship, religious instruction, and other Church-related activities.” Okay, the reason itself isn’t what really bothers me.

I am bothered by the many non-church-related activities that are presently being done in church facilities. It is a common practice in the church to hold family gatherings (i.e., grandma’s 90th birthday, or mom and dad’s 50th anniversary) at the church. It is also even more common to hold Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner’s at the church building. These are NOT Church related activities. Yet, there was no mention of such activities in the letter and as best I can recall, no such letter has ever been written.

As the scheduler of my building, I was tempted to start canceling all such activities just to make it fair. However, I am trying to humble myself in this mind set, and graciously accept the counsel of my leaders. I will graciously allow such activities to continue.

P.S. If there are any gracious (or tax right-off seeking) business persons who would like to donate a large room for home school activities (as occasion would arise), I would appreciate hearing from you.

Update: Just adding a couple of links from the Deseret Morning News and KSL-TV about this Home Schoolers and Church use policy.

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3 comments to Humbled Home Schooler

  • Jay

    My wife and I (overwhelmingly my wife) home school in Tennessee. There are very few LDS families here that home school, so we don’t have a need for Church facilities, but I think it would be nice if we could use them. I agree that there are a lot of non-Church related activities that take place in the Church buildings. It’s kind of sad that they single out home schoolers. Dang lawyers! (Sorry if you’re a lawyer).

    I would think that the Church would want to encourage home school not discourage it. I know that other Christian denominations open their doors to home schoolers (although they usually charge a fee). Maybe if they had the everyone sign some sort of a waiver they could avoid the liability problems.

  • I don’t know that the Church should encourage home schooling, I really believe that it is a personal choice. I just wish that there was some consistency when it came to non-church related activities in the ward buildings.

  • Jay

    I believe it is a personal choice too. If it wasn’t for my wife we would have never started. But after reading more about it and understanding how much better it is for my Children (if done right) I am now a strong advocate. Both of my boys are excelling in there work. This mostly has to do with my wifes effort she puts in every week. She spends hours preparing lessons.

    I think all children would do better in homeschool (again if done right). I have seen too many examples of our friends sending their kids to public school and their progress slowed because the teachers have to teach everyone the same.

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