Capitol Day 2008

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Originally Published Winter 2007

All Oklahoma home educators are invited to exercise vigilance as we stand shoulder to shoulder to protect our freedoms at the state capitol on February 12, 2008. The importance of carefully watching potential legislation that could take away our liberties is critical. Home educators have proven to be a powerful voice in defeating legislation that encroaches on our liberties. However, we cannot overemphasize the importance of positive, face-to-face communication. A polite, articulate parent or child can go a long way toward persuading legislators that homeschoolers have earned their freedom. You and your family can be an integral part of putting a “face” on home education for our state legislators.

The primary goal of Oklahoma Home Educators’ Capitol Day is to make positive contacts with legislators. This can be done in a variety of ways, all of which are valuable and have an impact on our elected officials. All home educators are encouraged toevaluate the options on the next page and participate in the best way suited to their families and schedules.

Track I

is the Legislative Impact session for homeschool parents and young adults. Due to limited seating, children may not participate in this track. This year participants will spend the morning becoming familiar with current legislation, legislative policy, and how to approach legislators. By signing up for this track you will be making a reservation to meet with legislators over lunch.

  • Check-in begins at 8:30am.
  • Program will be from 9:00 to 11:30am, followed by lunch from noon to 1pm.
  • Registration fee: $10

Track II

provides a more relaxed approach for large families or others who wish to operate on a more flexible schedule. People following this track will deliver pre-boxed cookies and information packets on home education to legislators’ offices. Participants in this track are encouraged to meet individually with legislators in their offices. Involve your children in these visits, whether they are accompanying you or not. Young children may draw a picture while older children may write a letter. It is always appropriate to thank our legislators for the work they do on our behalf. You might like to consider bringing a sample copy of something your child is doing in his/her schoolwork such as a picture of a science fair project or a written essay in history, government, or language arts. Legislators enjoy the opportunity to get to know your homeschooling family on a more personal level. Many legislators have no experience with home education, so this is your chance to make an impression. And don’t forget that additional baked goodies from home are always received well. If your legislators are not in their offices, wouldn’t it be great for them to find your letters, pictures, and goodies on their desks when they return?

  • Check-in begins at 10:00am. 
  • Cookie drop will begin at 10:30am, with flexible time allowed during the day to visit legislators’ offices.
  • Registration fee: No fee, but pre-registration is requested.

Luncheon with Legislators

Available to all Track I participants, Track II adult participants, and other adults. Due to space constraints and acoustics at the capitol, attendance at the luncheon this year will be limited to adult voters and legislators only. The goal is to provide a business lunch atmosphere to facilitate one-on-one contact with legislators. Track I participation includes a boxed lunch and automatic reservations to the luncheon. If you are a Track II adult participant and would like to attend the luncheon, please make a reservation.

  • Boxed lunches will only be available for advance purchase by those making reservations to the luncheon for legislators, but are not required for participation.
  • Note: For those not involved in the luncheon for legislators, see “Tips for a Successful Day at the Capitol” for further lunch information.

Future Statesman Program

is open to students ages 12-17 whose parents have pre-registered in Track I or II. Students will learn answers to questions such as these: So exactly what is a republic? What rights and responsibilities do we as citizens have under a republic? Is there such a thing as a separation of church and state?

Participants in this year’s Future Statesman Program will learn about government, civics, and history. Credit hours may be given in government/civics for the time spent in completing the unit study and participating in the program itself. Prior to Capitol Day pre-registered students will complete a 20-page unit study. Upon its completion and participation in the activities planned at Capitol Day, t-shirts and certificates of participation will be awarded.

  • Check-in begins at 8:15am. Program runs from 9am to 1pm. Registration fee: $8.
  • The program is limited to the first 75 students. Pre-registration is only available upon parental registration at www.ochec.com.
  • Volunteer to be a parent helper or ask questions by e-mailing Cindy Nicolai at futurestatesman@ochec.com.

Recognition of Home Educators on the Senate Floor

The past two years home educators have crowded into the galleries to be recognized on either the House or Senate floor at the beginning of the legislative session, proving to be an exciting closing to Capitol Day. If your schedule allows, please plan to participate in this tradition which has never failed to make an impact on our state officials. The afternoon legislative session begins at 1:30pm. At the time of publication the Senate agenda has not been finalized. Please watch the OCHEC website for detailed information.

Tips for a Successful Day at the Capitol

Come prepared.

  • Know your district numbers and legislators’ names. Enter your address at www.capitolconnect.com/oklahoma/default.aspx to get this information, and if you have never met your legislators, go to www.lsb.state.ok.us to view a picture of them.
  • Visit www.ochec.com for additional resources on “How to Approach Legislators” and “Communication with Your Elected Officials.”
  • Dress for success. Business or business casual is appropriate for both adults and children.
  • Discuss with your children the importance of acting in a respectful and polite manner while visiting our capitol building and elected officials. Good manners are never out of style.
  • Children under 12 years of age should be accompanied by a parent or adult at all times.
  • Remind children to walk, not run, and to talk, not yell. Take the stairs, not the elevators. (Remember that important business is taking place at the capitol, and the noise of large numbers of people can be disruptive.)

Those who are not participating in the luncheon with legislators may either bring a sack lunch or purchase lunch at the capitol snack bar in the basement. Some additional seating will be available in the first-floor rotunda. Advance purchase of boxed lunches will only be available to adults making a reservation to the luncheon.

Can’t Come?

If you can’t make it this year, there are other ways you can help:

  • Pray for successful, positive contacts with legislators.
  • Donate — Did you know it costs approximately $3,000 to implement Capitol Day? Your contribution will help pay for lunch for legislators as well as print materials and mailings. OCHEC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
  • Make cookies — It takes 165 dozen cookies to thank our legislators and friends at the capitol. Spend quality time in the kitchen with your children, and make an impact on your elected officials. It is even more special if your children decorate the cookie boxes. See your OKC metro support group leader or e-mail happybranch@cox.net for more information.
  • Write your legislators to remind them of Capitol Day on February 12, and encourage them to protect our freedoms as parents and home educators.

Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Registration will be available online at www.ochec.com after December 1. As further details become available they will be posted online, including maps of the capitol complex and parking areas, volunteer opportunities, and schedules. Questions? E-mail Terri at staff@ochec.com.