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Writing a Letter to the Editor

If you have an opinion on a bill regarding homeschooling, writing a letter to the editor (or op-ed) of your local newspaper is an effective way of reaching your local representatives (who pay attention to news in their district), and sharing your opinion with others.

Your letter does not need to address a specific bill (though you may reference one if you would like). You can make an impact by giving a more broad, pro-homeschool and pro-status-quo message to the public from a first-hand perspective.

Many high schoolers can write an effective letter and, to add to the impact, say that they are currently homeschooled, even mentioning that they like being homeschooled!

Writing a letter to the editor is a little different than writing to your legislator, but the same principles apply. Here are a few tips and a sample as you write your letter:

  1. Conditions – Be sure to check the newspaper’s editorial and publication guidelines and policies before beginning your letter.
  2. Clearness – Be upfront about the issue you are writing about and your concerns.
  3. Conciseness – There is not much space on a newspaper, so keep it brief and focused on one topic. Check with the newspaper on their word count per op-ed.
  4. Calmness – Do write with a confident voice, but do not be disrespectful.
  5. Completeness – Address all your points, state your opinions, and sign your letter.
  6. Courtesy – Write with respect to the editor and reader, as they are the ones who curate what goes in the newspaper.
  7. Correctness – Be sure to check all your facts (especially in regards to a bill) before sending or emailing your letter.
  8. Creativity – Personalize the letter and mention how it would impact your family if a representative voted a certain way (if you are writing about a specific bill).

A great example of a letter to the editor is Ben Boychuk’s article for The Sacramento Bee.

Read the original article by Boychuk in The Sacramento Bee here.