When does a home school day include watching a hilarious skit, touring historical monuments, debating in legislative lingo, meeting and listening to the Lieutenant Governor, and conversing on a comfy couch with your state senator over pressing issues of the day?
When it takes place at THSC Capitol Days!
Years ago, my oldest daughter attended a THSC Capitol Days, and it led to a year-long internship with our state representative, a letter of recommendation from him, an award, and even further down the road, a scholarship.
In 2015, I decided it was time for my son, 12, and daughter, 15, to attend this THSC Capitol Days. We also took along my daughter’s friend who is 17. THSC taught us in a fun, meaningful way, including games, handouts, and special guest speakers, which included a senator and the lieutenant governor. We even got an inside look at how THSC protects our rights as home schoolers and the intriguing history behind that battle.
The entire day was well-organized, practical and exciting. But to better illustrate why I so highly recommend this opportunity, I want to share…
10 Takeaways from THSC Capitol Days:
- Knowledge. We learned how a bill becomes a law and how our state legislation system works, including senate committees, the veto process and more. Best of all, this was taught in a way that was engaging, easy to understand and memorable.
- Courage. It was hard for all of us, especially the kids, to speak up, introduce yourself, and explain a bill that you just learned about that morning was daunting. But there is nothing like facing your fears and conquering them. I saw my kids grow in bravery and independence that day.
- Satisfaction. It felt good to get involved in a current issue that really mattered. We relished the gratification of playing a role in defending freedom.
- Enlightenment. The THSC staff schooled us on the importance of fighting for parental and home schooling rights and how citizens can affect legislative change to protect families.
- Opportunity. We were grateful to be a part of breaking down misconceptions or negative views of home schoolers. As a group, it was a chance to show how articulate, professional, courteous, and intelligent home schoolers are. I was told directly by one representative that he really wanted to get to know his home school community better and build those relationships for the future.
- Influence. I noticed how the THSC Watchmen, being stellar role models, made quite an impression on my kiddos. Also, when the senator and lieutenant governor spoke to our group, my children listened intently. Not only did these speakers enthuse and educate my kids, but they even told them to be thankful they were home schooled and what a wonderful thing that was. The whole day was worth that moment alone for me.
- Experience. If I taught my kids months of public speaking skills and read stacks of brilliant books on government to them, it wouldn’t compare to what this experience did for them. By the end of the day, they were “bit by the bug.” They felt what it was like to converse freely with politicians about issues that mattered to them. When we ran out of legislators to visit, my 15-year-old was practically begging me to find one more representative to talk to.
- People skills. This was a great opportunity to practice eye contact, enunciation, firm hand shakes, posture, getting rid of “um’s” and “like’s,” smiling, etc., and best of all—to put it together while being nervous. Before entering each office, we discussed a different people skill we would each try to work on. I saw big improvements as we went along.
- Contacts. We personally met our local representatives and spoke at length with them and their friendly staff. They let us know about future ways to get involved—like our county’s Capitol Day and the Page Program.
- Understanding. We now understand how accessible our legislators are. Much of the intimidation that we felt before Capitol Days about getting involved in the political process is now gone. After discovering how easy it is to make our voice heard and make a difference, even in just a small way, there’s no going back. A whole new world has opened up to us.