Twenty years in, the certificate was starting to show age. Here: September 2012 commentary to go with the last few paper copies of the "Certificate of Empowerment"


As bearer of this certificate you are no longer required to depend on the advice of experts. You may step back and view the entire world—not just your home, neighborhood or town, but the whole Earth—as a learning experience, a laboratory containing languages (and native speakers thereof), plants, animals, history, geology, weather (real live weather, in the sky, not in a book), music, art, mathematics, physics, engineering, foods, human dynamics, and ideas without end. Although collections of these treasures have been located in museums for your convenience, they are to be found everywhere else, too.

This authorizes you to experiment; to trust and enjoy your kids; to rejoice when your children surpass you in skill, knowledge or wisdom; to make mistakes, and to say "I don't know." Furthermore, you may allow your children to experience boredom without taking full responsibility for finding them something to do.

Henceforth you shall neither be required nor expected to finish everything you start. Projects, books, experiments and plans may be discontinued as soon as something more interesting comes along (or for any other reason) without penalty, and picked up again at any time in the future (or never).

You may reclaim control of your family's daily life, and take what steps you feel necessary to protect your children from physical, emotional or social harm.

You have leave to think your own thoughts, and to encourage your children to think theirs.

Each person who reads and understands this is authorized to extend these privileges to others, by reproducing and distributing this certificate or by creating another of his/her own design. Those who don't feel the need to obtain approval to experiment, to think, or to do things they've never seen others do are exempt, as they didn't need permission in the first place.

Sandra Dodd

March 23, 2006 was the tenth anniversary of the first use of the certificate, at a homeschooling conference in Albuquerque. In 1996 when it was new, Kirby was nine, Marty was seven and Holly was four. The original had a specific local phrase: ", art (including Chevies on Sticks, in junk yards, on the road, in car lots and car shows), mathematics..." Chevy on a Stick is the common name of a sculpture in Albuquerque.

Laurie Wolfrum's version, 2013

In Spanish and a printable PDF in Spanish

Procovery's Version of that certificate (very cool use).

Rhode Island's

At Maryland Homeschool Resource Network:

In 2021, when I was touching-up details here, the certificate goes back over 25 years, to March 1996.