What is CAPE @ the Capitol?
CAPE @ the Capitol is an annual event sponsored by CAPE-NM in which we bring the face of Home Education to the legislature.
You can meet your Senators and Representatives, and other homeschool families, while also having the opportunity to see how laws are made during the 30-day or 60-day Session of the New Mexico Legislature.
This day is also a time to recognize the Governor’s annual official proclamation of Homeschool Week in New Mexico.
At the conclusion of CAPE @ the Capitol, you and your family can explore everything that Santa Fe has to offer, including world-class museums, historical sites and delicious food.
When is CAPE @ the Capitol?
It happens on the first Thursday of February, during the 30-day or 60-day annual Session of the New Mexico Legislature, every year, weather permitting.
This year’s CAPE @ the Capitol happens on Thursday, February 1, 2024, beginning at 9 am.
When does the NM Legislature meet?
The New Mexico Legislature alternates between 30 and 60-day sessions and meet during January, February and March.
This year, the Legislature is a 30-day session. It begins January 16 and ends February 15.
In 2025 the Legislature will meet for a 60-day session (January 21 through March 22).
Where is CAPE @ the Capitol?
We meet at the Roundhouse, the legislative building for New Mexico, which is found in the heart of Santa Fe.
The address is 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501.
Parking can be found across the street from the Roundhouse.
Who can participate?
Homeschoolers and their families are welcome! We encourage entire families to attend as it is important for legislators to see the faces of real homeschooling families, including delightful (and sometimes tired and cranky) little ones.
In 2024, the Roundhouse will be fully open to the public, although some meetings may still take place via Zoom. You do not need a vaccination or a mask to enter the building.
What if I don’t know who my legislator is?
There’s never a better time than right now to find out who your legislators are!
We will also have room numbers and maps on the day of the event so you can easily find your legislator’s office.
What if I don’t like politics?
To be fair, it is often hard to like politics because of its divisive nature. But CAPE @ the Capitol is not about political affiliations, but about coming together to pray for and thank our legislators for working on behalf of New Mexico and her citizens. It is also an opportunity to influence leaders who make critical decisions that affect homeschoolers during the Session.
It’s especially important for those of us who have legislators with different political opinions to see homeschoolers and how we are trying to positively impact our communities.
How do I register?
Registration opens December 15 and closes on January 30.
If you have any problems with the registration process, please contact Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I bring?
Bring your families, including young children, and your questions for CAPE and your legislators.
You can also bring something to give to your legislators, like a handmade card from your child(ren) or a plate of baked goods. Small gestures leave a big impression with the front office staff and legislators.
What should I wear?
The Legislative Session is a professional atmosphere, but more importantly, you are the face of homeschooling in New Mexico, so consider dressing up on the day of the event.
You don’t need your Sunday best, but the ripped jeans and sweatshirt you use to clean out the garage should probably stay home for the day.
Why should I attend?
Oftentimes, legislators are versed in very specific areas, or have only had experience with particular groups of people. CAPE @ the Capitol is an opportunity for these legislators to see real homeschoolers and helps dispel myths they have about our families or the education we are giving our children.
New Mexico’s laws concerning homeschooling are among the freest. But this can quickly change in the span of a 30-day or 60-day Session. Your attendance at CAPE @ the Capitol shows lawmakers that homeschoolers are normal, engaged citizens, and are watching what happens when laws are being proposed.
A trip to the Roundhouse is also a wonderful field trip and can strengthen your own teaching on government and politics.
What if I can’t make it this year?
We know schedules can make it difficult to travel mid-week, but you can still help CAPE by providing help throughout the rest of the session as a bill watcher. Bill watchers look for any legislation that can have a potential impact on homeschoolers. Once found, CAPE can martial our community to oppose changes through email, letter and phone campaigns, up to and including peaceful protesting.
If you are interested in becoming a bill watcher, please contact Erin at email@example.com for more information.
You can also meet your legislators at any time during the year. If you can’t make it to CAPE @ the Capitol, it is best to arrange a meeting with your legislators after the yearly Session ends.
We have suggestions for these meetings on the Resources page.
How can I incorporate this into my school day?
CAPE @ the Capitol is a school day for you and your children.
You can prepare for the event by praying for our State, its leaders and your own legislators. Your children can create cards thanking our legislators for their work on behalf of New Mexico, regardless of political affiliation.
Perhaps a portion of your school day before CAPE @ the Capitol will be devoted to learning how New Mexico became a state or memorizing the names of New Mexico’s counties. You might also assign research projects for your older children – why does New Mexico only have a 30-day or 60-day Session instead of a professional legislature? What does the day in the life of a legislator look like?
On the day of CAPE @ the Capitol, you can watch debates on bills and see firsthand how laws are created.
The Roundhouse is also an art gallery, with paintings, photographs and sculptures throughout the building. The history of New Mexico since Statehood is woven into the public areas and is a sight to behold.
Our Resource page has links and education content for you and your children – whether they are studying government, New Mexico history, or current political affairs.
Is this the only time I can visit the Capitol?
The Capitol is open year-round to visitors. It’s a very different place without the hustle and bustle of the Legislative Session. We encourage you to visit, as slow days can lead to treasured experiences – like meeting the Governor or Lt. Governor.
What if I have more questions?
Contact Erin at firstname.lastname@example.org.