Fundraising dinner held for the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center

A fundraising dinner was held on Saturday evening (April 15), to help secure a new building for the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center (FPHRC) at the business’s current location. Owner Heidi St. John is shown here addressing the gathering. Photo courtesy Leah Anaya
A fundraising dinner was held on Saturday evening (April 15), to help secure a new building for the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center (FPHRC) at the business’s current location. Owner Heidi St. John is shown here addressing the gathering. Photo courtesy Leah Anaya

The FPHRC team is in the process of purchasing a new building in East Vancouver that will more adequately serve their families

Leah Anaya
For Clark County Today

A fundraising dinner was held on Saturday evening (April 15), to help secure a new building for the Firmly Planted Homeschool Resource Center (FPHRC) at the business’s current location. 

“If you want to get to the root of what’s wrong with our country right now, you have to turn to our education system,” said FPHRC owner Heidi St. John, who added that parents are “running from” public schools in droves. “So much of it can be traced to public education.’’

St. John noted that there were a few hundred students enrolled at FPHRC when she and her husband, Jay, first opened in 2017, and there are currently almost 1,500 now enrolled.

St. John passed out a variety of pages and books found in curricula and libraries across Washington state that were filled with disturbing images, some with material so sensitive that they couldn’t be shared on the stage screen. Among those were posters showing pronouns being “chosen” and shared in elementary school, a cartoon book aimed at young children with a man and a woman masturbating, and a “transgender-affirming” poster, which read, “Everybody has the right to choose their own gender by listening to their own heart and mind. Everyone gets to choose if they are a girl or a boy or both or neither or something else, and no one else gets to choose for them.”

The keynote speaker was the Board Chairman of Homeschool Legal Defense Association, Michael Farris, Esq., who also serves as the chancellor emeritus of the Patrick Henry College, the co-founder of the Convention of States, and the former CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). 

The keynote speaker was the Board Chairman of Homeschool Legal Defense Association, Michael Farris, Esq., who also serves as the chancellor emeritus of the Patrick Henry College, the co-founder of the Convention of States, and the former CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom. Photo courtesy Leah Anaya
The keynote speaker was the Board Chairman of Homeschool Legal Defense Association, Michael Farris, Esq., who also serves as the chancellor emeritus of the Patrick Henry College, the co-founder of the Convention of States, and the former CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom. Photo courtesy Leah Anaya

“Freedom is not sustainable if the next generation doesn’t believe in freedom,” Farris said, “and you can’t believe in freedom if you believe in socialism. You can’t be a socialist and believe in freedom.” He discussed the importance of parents having the biggest role in deciding their children’s education while keeping the government out of it as much as possible. Farris and his wife homeschooled all his children.

Farris said that the ADF has argued and won many of the recent court cases to do with pronoun policies, specifically mentioning one regarding a professor being fired for refusing to use “inclusive” gender pronouns. The professor would use whatever name the student requested but would not use the opposite pronoun from reality. One expert witness they called for this case was a psychiatrist who has been in practice for decades treating, among other things, gender dysphoria. The psychiatrist is gay himself and recognizes the incredible increase of people who identify as transgender. The psychiatrist said that previously, he would see approximately five or six cases of transgender issues per year. In the last few years, however, “they’re now overwhelmed, with about five or six cases a week. It’s a social phenomenon. These are not medical issues that are arising. These are induced by social pressure from school officials, peer pressure, and the media.”

Critical Race Theory is already in most schools, Farris said, which is teaching children who have white skin that they are oppressors. “How do you escape being an oppressor? You change your sexuality. You can be gay, you can be lesbian, you can be transgender. Then you’re not a ‘straight, white oppressor’ anymore. The pressure for these kids to become a ‘hero’ is enormous.”

“So, what do we do to fix this?” Farris asked. “First, vote correctly. Second, we can sue, which I have been doing. We can also take our kids out of public schools. Competition does work if you compete against the government for the clientele, or the kids. They have to get themselves right, or they’ll collapse.

“The homeschooling movement wants freedom,’’ Farris added. “We are a tiny minority of the population facing the most powerful lobbying group in every state legislature in the country: the teachers’ union. The National Education Association. They are powerful, and they have anti-homeschool materials, but we beat them. We beat them because they stood up, we showed up, and because God blessed us. If you show up, you can win.

“We will not prevail in this country if we turn our children over to the indoctrination machines of public schools and allow them to produce the people who are going to steal our freedom. Socialism and Freedom are utterly incompatible, and socialism at its core is utterly violent. We are seeing velvet-coated violence right now, but it’s getting worse, and it’s because the ‘other side’ does not believe in freedom. We can’t sustain this freedom, we can’t keep going, unless we teach our own the truth about God, about who they are as human beings, and about freedom itself. That’s what tonight is about.”

“People ask me why I care what’s happening in the public education system if I homeschool,” St. John said. “The reason we should all care is because these kids, homeschooled or not, are tomorrow’s leaders. They’re the doctor’s, parents, politicians of tomorrow.”

Photo courtesy Leah Anaya
Photo courtesy Leah Anaya

As mentioned, the enrollment at FPHRC has increased almost three-fold and, St. John said, they are “bursting at the seams.” The center offers supplementary classes ranging from core subjects like math and science to languages, several methods of art, and physical fitness, to many extracurricular subjects and activities like woodshop, dance, and theater. It also holds a family lounge area for parents to work on schooling, a coffee shop, a used curriculum book store, preschool classes, occupational and speech therapy, music lessons, teen mentorship, and other resources like transcript writing and state testing. The theater and dance departments host performances multiple times throughout the year, and the center also sponsors a prom for high school-aged students.

With the vast array of offerings, the St. Johns now have what they call a “good problem”: they’ve outgrown their building. The St. Johns and the FPHRC team are in the process of purchasing a new building in East Vancouver that will more adequately serve their families. Whereas the current facility hosts 54 parking spots with 12 small classrooms and one multi-purpose room with a total of 19,000 square feet, the new building will have 250 parking spaces with over 15 large classrooms, a multi-purpose room, and a full auditorium sitting at 54,000 square feet. Between large, generous donations from private donors and grants, the FPHRC team has secured about $15 million. The building will cost a total of $16.4 million, so the team is currently fundraising to hit that final milestone to finalize closing. The funds raised will also be used for several updates to the space, including converting some of the space to a gymnasium, dance and art studios, an automotive space, and more.

To help the St. Johns, FPHRC, and the hundreds of families who benefit from their existence, visit their  giving website.

Photo courtesy Leah Anaya
Photo courtesy Leah Anaya

Farris also discussed a treaty in the works by the federal government. Farris said that the treaty is being misused as it’s presented. “A treaty,” he said, “was never meant to concern themselves with how the country is governed internally. Treaties are meant to be ratified by Congress and to say how two or more countries treat each other. The treaty going through right now is the Biden administration partnering with the [United Nations] and the [World Health Organization] to have it completed by around April 2024.” 

The intent of the treaty, according to Farris, is regarding future pandemics, where “implementing laws relating to the pandemic would be completed on the implementation level by the federal government and the policy level by the UN. The number one rule of treaties is to keep your promises. If we make a promise as a country that we are going to abide by the edicts of the UN on how we treat pandemics, we have a legal and moral duty to keep our word and obey the treaty.”

The treaty will not be sent to the Senate for ratification, according to Farris. “Starting with Franklin Roosevelt, we started a process called Executive Agreement. There’s no such thing in international law as an executive agreement; that’s called a treaty. Biden doesn’t intend to send it to the Senate for ratification: He’s going to sign it himself. That’s a fact…The United States should not be giving away our treaty power to let one man make a law that binds the entire country and changes it. That’s a dictatorship.”

Farris first touched on his concerns with the country in general, bringing up the fact that Article 1 Section 1 of the United States Constitution says that legislation is passed at the Congressional level. Even so, he said, while there are 50 volumes of laws passed by Congress, there are approximately 200 books filled with laws enacted by the administrative agencies under the auspices of the President. “Four times as much law is made in this country,” he said, “by the administrative agencies! When lawmakers pass laws that we don’t like, it’s our right and our job to vote the rascals out. But you can’t vote the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] out. They’re giving away your right to make the laws.”

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