Desert Hills Christian Homeschoolers: 1986-2006
"20 Years of Biblical Values & Family Tradition in Education"

The following article was published in the AFHE Journal, July/August 2006 issue.

Desert Hills Christian Homeschoolers: 1986-2006

By Teri Ann Berg Olsen

Desert Hills Christian School, one of the oldest homeschool organizations in Arizona, was established in June of 1986 by a group of parents from New River, Desert Hills, and Black Canyon City. It was a school on paper only, but those who homeschooled were protected under the umbrella of DHCS. Some families attended the monthly meetings from as far away as Camp Verde. At that time only about 776 children were taught at home in the whole state of Arizona. In comparison, today there are almost 12,000 registered homeschoolers in Maricopa County and approximately 23,000 statewide, according to the Maricopa County School Superintendent's office.

In the year 2000, Desert Hills Christian School was renamed Desert Hills Christian Homeschoolers (DHCH). The legal protection that the satellite school arrangement provided was no longer necessary because the state homeschool law had changed. Additionally, the name was causing some confusion since it is a homeschool support group and not an actual school. DHCH is now also serving the newer communities of Anthem and Tramonto. Throughout the years, members have participated in field trips, hikes, fairs, extracurricular classes, graduation ceremonies, community service projects, and social get-togethers.

DHCH alumni, current members, and prospective homeschoolers celebrated the group's 20th Anniversary on Saturday, May 6, from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm. The special event took place at High Desert Park in Black Canyon City. It was a real honor to have both Tom Lewis (AFHE Chairman Emeritus) and Len Munsil (homeschool dad of many years and gubernatorial candidate) as our guest speakers. Jennifer Clark of The Center for Arizona Policy gave an enthusiastic and informative presentation on legislative issues. Dean Kramer, one of the founders and the first principal of Desert Hills Christian School, talked about the group's early days. The inspirational homeschooling testimonies of DHCH graduates Jeralee Maynard and Ryan Corby prompted at least one new family in the audience to solidify their decision to homeschool.

Meanwhile, Pastor Joseph Oswald (also known as "Coach Joe") and Rob Porter, Homeschool Director for Athletes in Training, played fun games with the kids. Other activities included a science/history fair, picnic lunch, book sale, and a display of DHCH photos from over the years. Door prizes were awarded, and all attendees received goody bags full of materials donated by various companies and ministries. It was a perfect day - not too hot, with a pleasant breeze and beautiful scenic mountain views. Everyone enjoyed getting together while reminiscing about our homeschool history and remembering the homeschooling pioneers who paved the way for the rest of us. For more information about Desert Hills Christian Homeschoolers, please visit www.dhch.org.

Click on the links below to see event photos

DHCH 20th Anniversary
High Desert Park, BCC
May 6, 2006

Registration Table
Lisa and Joe at Book Sale
Dean and Charlotte Kramer w/ Colleen Lewis
Coach Joe and Kids on Field
Coach Joe and Kids
Parachute Game
Coach Rob and Kids on Field
Coach Rob and Kids
Kids Playing
Jennifer Clark, CAP Legislative Analyst
Tom Lewis, AFHE Chairman Emeritus
Tom Lewis, AFHE Chairman Emeritus
Dean Kramer, first principal of DHCH
Jeralee Maynard, DHCH Graduate
Ryan Corby, DHCH Graduate
Ryan and Jeralee
Lunch Time
Len Munsil's Arrival
Len Munsil, Gubernatorial Candidate
Len Munsil, Gubernatorial Candidate
DHCH Leaders
DHCH 20th Anniversary Volunteers