In Memory of Treon Goossen

In Memory of
Treon Goossen
Colorado Homeschool Freedom Fighter

It is with a sad and heavy heart I announce the passing of my dear friend, Treon Elaine Goossen, on May 9, 2016. In between homeschooling seven children, she worked for decades to bring homeschoolers together from across the state to discuss and decide how best to go about making home education legal in Colorado. In the early 1980s, parents were allowed to homeschool, but were required to use specific curricula, submitting their syllabus for the entire school year in advance. They might have been approved the year before, but there was no guarantee they’d be approved this year. Home schooling permission was decided case-by-case, with no rules, no guidelines, no laws. It was subjective. Parents were frequently and arbitrarily denied, told they had to put their child into public school or face jail and have their kids taken away. It was a terrible time for Colorado homeschoolers.

Like many parents, Treon chose to stand up for her beliefs, defy the state and homeschool anyway. But families had to have an escape plan in place: if you see the truant officer or social services, the children were instructed to run and hide in the cornfields; shelter in the neighbor’s house; duck down into the basement and be very quiet. Your escape plan depended on whether you lived in the country or city. And how accepting your neighbors were. Did they understand your plight? Or would they turn you in? Treon decided to do something about the madness. She gathered homeschool leaders from all over Colorado to discuss what the law should say. She went door-to-door talking to parents, ran up a huge long-distance phone bill (no cell phones back then). She then sat down with former Gov. Bill Owens, homeschool parent Rory Schneeberger, and support group leaders to craft the wording of the law we have today. Then there was the battle of getting the Bill approved by the Colorado legislature. Most elected officials were dead set against home education. Treon spoke to every one multiple times, sat in on legislative sessions, listened to arguments, testified before both the House and Senate. Eventually the Bill was introduced on the floor of the House for a vote. It failed. But she didn’t give up. She and Rory and Gov. Owens tried again the following year. The Colorado Home School Law was finally passed in 1987.

When C.R.S. 22-33-104 (the Colorado Home School Law) went into effect, it was a time for celebration! It was short lived. Almost immediately Colorado lawmakers and special interests jumped in. They insisted on adding regulations, weakening the law, or outright killing it. We needed someone with a level head, and an enormous amount of patience to keep an eye on these doings, be our ‘legislative watchdog’. That someone became Treon. For the next 28 years she was our eyes, ears and voice in the state legislature. She attended thousands of committee meetings, testified at hearings, defended parents in court, fought social services cases. She kept homeschoolers notified about each new danger that popped up. Every year there is some new threat. Or six. Or ten. They just can’t leave our law alone.

Rocky Mountain Education Connection would not have existed without Treon. This site wouldn’t be online. You wouldn’t be reading The Law in a Nutshell or the Rookie Workshop. I probably never would have home schooled my own. Treon taught me everything she knew, advising me, and connecting me with other homeschool leaders across the country so we could brainstorm, share news, be a united front. It’s very likely you wouldn’t have home school as an educational option in Colorado right now if it hadn’t been for Treon. She dedicated her life to fighting for your child’s rights. She was Colorado’s Homeschool Freedom Fighter. We owe her so much.

Treon Elaine Goossen 1954-2016

Treon Elaine Goossen 1954-2016

View Treon’s obituary.
Christian Home Educators of Colorado published a tribute to her.
Colorado Senator Kevin Lundberg had also paid tribute to Treon on the floor of the Colorado Senate in January 2017.
The Home School Legal Defense Association honored Treon as well.

An interview with Treon in in a 2012 Westword article, “Reading, Writing and Refridgerator Raids.”
Treon writes about her greatest fear for current homeschoolers.
Watch her in action in 2014.
And again in 2015.

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