Meet the Clay Family
We never planned to homeschool. Originally from Dallas, I met and married my wife, Dana, in Denver. During the time we lived there, we merely looked upon home schooling with interest–from a distance. Once we were back in Texas and after many restless nights with two children in public school, the adventure began in 1992 in Wichita Falls
We now live in Bowie with our three children, Elizabeth, William, and Dale. We have experienced many benefits from home schooling aside from the academics. We now have time for family activities such as field trips, vacations, and visits to relatives–all during traditional public school hours. This enables us to see and do things at less busy times. Dana stays home with very few outside activities. Teaching three students–two high school-aged and one junior high-aged–is a full-time responsibility. It has been exciting and rewarding, and we look forward to more of the same.
We are able to better develop our family relationships and are best friends with each other. We study things of interest together and are part of one another’s everyday lives. Being from a small town with no private driving school, the parent-taught driver education program enabled me not only to teach our daughter to drive but also to hone my own skills, which were almost beyond repair. Elizabeth at sixteen plays the piano and enjoys most sports as well as reading. Our fifteen-year-old William has now started driver education. He enjoys baseball and plays on a successful team. Dale just turned twelve and also enjoys baseball. As a family we enjoy together most outdoor activities.
After returning to Texas and getting plugged in, being active in Republican politics at the local, state, and national level has been an important part of my life over the last ten years. Having been exposed to many other politically active home schoolers and other conservatives, I have been educated and now understand the importance of making time to have a voice. The more a person knows and understands about the system, the more effect he can have on it. The easiest way to influence the system is to STOP ridiculous bills from becoming law. HR 6 back in 1994 comes to mind. This disastrous bill–that would have virtually wiped out home schooling as we know it–was stopped. But that happened only because people were willing to drop what they were doing momentarily to make a phone call or two. One of the reasons we have to work so hard these days is because of the apathy permeating our society over the last several years.
When was the last time you did something political? Do you always vote? How about attending your precinct or county convention? Have you ever walked a neighborhood for a candidate or worked at a phone bank? How about hammering signs in the ground during the election cycle? Do you know enough about your candidates or the issues to even intelligently discuss them? Not everyone can do all these things, but ALL of us can do something. Good citizenship is one of the BIG 5 required subjects in your home school. Part of good citizenship involves the political processes. Our children learn best from a hands-on learning experience. Getting involved in a local campaign would be a great experience for any family. You will meet some fine folks and learn something along the way. If your candidate wins, you have just become part of a winning team–and you did not even have to buy a uniform! By helping a campaign, you have also just found a quicker way into your candidates’ offices. Get to know your elected officials. Plan to attend the town hall meetings they hold in your area. Go to an event when they are in town, and thank them for votes they have made (You can probably even find some good votes by a representative who is not always friendly.). Get to know your representatives, whether friendly or not so friendly, as they might be able to help us on a vote one day.
There are so many young people entering the world with absolutely no concept of how the political process works. In the days before an election, I talk to many people who are asking for whom they should vote. Do you run your home school the same way, waiting until the last moment to make decisions and then doing something based on what someone else tells you to do? You have probably heard what I am about to say before, but it is worth repeating: “The only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke) Get involved–learn the process–be a part of the solution.
By the way, one way to do this, as well as spend quality time with your children and have a great field trip at the same time, is to plan to attend one of THSC’s Capitol Days. My children and I have participated in these in the past, and we had a great time together! At the Capitol Days, we will have a great line-up of speakers to instruct and educate. We will also get to meet and lobby our representatives. The Clay family will see you there!
George W. Clay, IV has served on the THSC board since 1996 and currently serves as the finance chairman. He has a degree in Petroleum Land Management from the University of Texas and has twelve years experience in oil and gas leasing. He presently heads up a business housing and caring for mentally handicapped adults in group homes in Wichita Falls.