Germany May Be On to Something

homeschoolingI was just minding my own business when this popped up:

A German family racked up some $10,000 in fines, police visits and forced removal of their children when they refused to stop homeschooling them. They fled to America, and asked for asylum. That may not happen.

Now, I have not have good experiences with homeschoolers, let’s be clear. We demand that our teachers GO TO COLLEGE and be CERTIFIED to teach in our schools. Yet for some reason that defies all common sense, we think, (in some states at least) that it is perfectly okay to “edu-kate” your youngin’s with a high school diploma.

I mean it defies logic.

Now I have no quarrel, as I said in the past, with those who live so far from the school that such a plan makes sense. I’m also, I guess, okay with those who can prove to some standard that their available schools are so substandard that although they don’t have credentials that would allow them to teach, the can prove that they can do a better job than the local system.

I am unwilling to extend the offer to those who simply want to indoctrinate their kids with THEIR religious opinions, and prevent their darlings from learning about the real world, until they have had enough time to brainwash them into their way of thinking, and can safely send them into the enemy camp.

Germany apparently simply doesn’t allow it. When you look at the issue across the world, you find great variance. It seems to have little to do with form of government or population size, or anything else that I can discern. But in MOST of those countries that allow it, it is moderately to severely monitored, and in many cases, you have to show a real need in order to qualify.

While studies don’t suggest that homeschooled kids do badly when compared to their schooled counterparts, (in fact they score better on standardized tests often), they don’t do nearly as well in math and science, subjects that a high-school graduate is more likely to not have the requisite expertise. And of course, when they are being taught religious doctrine to wit: evolution is not true, climate change is a hoax, and similar anti-science drivel, it is  little wonder that these kids are not going on to become tomorrow’s scientists.

This has led some argue that homeschooling is a form of child abuse. While that is strong language, I do feel that there is some merit to the argument.

We have, in this country, a strong thread of “child ownership”. We believe that parents (for which there is no education at all) somehow, by osmosis know “what’s best”. As so many of us can attest to, that is not the case. An all too large number of adults today would admit that they were raised by people who were essentially incompetent.

We are not talking about physical abuse, although surely that exists as well (and of course homeschooling is a great way to avoid detection there too), so much as we are talking about emotional abuse, which is rampant in American families. We can it “dysfunctional families”. We are not talking about evil people, we are talking about people who are wounded themselves attempting to raise a well-rounded emotionally healthy child. Too many parents are as I said, emotionally damaged themselves and woefully uneducated as well. They do the best they can, but they don’t have the tools to do the job well.

Yet, because we have this strong sense of children “belonging” to people, we are afraid to touch this holy grail, even when it means that our children suffer. I know from personal experience of friends whose were fundamentalists and raised their children in such an atmosphere. When their children grew up and got into the world, what happened? They decided that their parents had lied to them, and a rift in the family occurred which never was healed. This is not an unusual outcome either.

Look at the ranks of the atheists. A strong percentage of them were raised in fundamentalist homes. They feel, as they explain it, abused and lied to. They reject, as a result, all religion and faith itself.

How many potential great scientists out there are nipped in the bud by parents who don’t believe in those “Eastern intellectual elites”? Much of the Madison Avenue sell to parents as to why they should homeschool is based on warning them that their kids are being indoctrinated by homosexuals, taught faulty science by atheists, and threatened by liberal elitists  whose intent is to turn their children into Marxists. “Keep you kids home and educate them in our Founding Fathers principles of God and freedom!” they spout.

Surely we need to improve our school systems across the land. Every parent has the ability to supplement their child’s education in dozens of ways. Every parent has the ability to indoctrinate their child in their religious views. But does EVERY parent have the right to keep their child from others and use them as some experiment in “my world view”? I say no.

I leave you again with the words of Kahil Gibran:

I think this sums things up rather well.

Your children are not your children,

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

you may strive to like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves the bow that is stable.

Kahil Gibran

Other posts I’ve done on homeschooling:

So You Wanna Homeschool?

Is It Child Abuse?

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24 thoughts on “Germany May Be On to Something

  1. I think indoctrination is the key here. Then again it’s bound to happen whether from home schooling or public schools. Think Texas or Arizona for example. I was horrified when I took over the care of a 15 year old about to start his junior year in high school who could just barely read and couldn’t do the most basic math. He had come from a big city school which just passed him on to the next grade regardless of what he might have learned, or not.

    At that time we were living in a very small community where the school was excellent, the graduating class had a dozen kids. The stepson did a major turnaround and loved school, finished high school and has done quite well since. I can’t help but wonder how much of his success might have been helped along by the fact that we didn’t own a TV?

    • There is no question that our education system is in full failure. I don’t know the answer, but I do feel that homeschooling for most people is not the answer. It’s one thing to be a college graduate and take on this task…you at least know where to go for resources other than the homeschooling industry. I am just sick to see kids so screwed up by parents with an agenda. !END

    • Oh absolutely! I agree with you. I welcome your insight, and I bet the fact that you all were not setting in front of the tv every evening made a difference. We should all spend more time doing something constructive! !END

  2. Unless it’s really the case that school isn’t accessible, the point of homeschooling is often not in teaching these children, but in not letting them to be taught. It’s really not that different from refusing to vaccinate your kids, or not letting them to see a doctor when they are sick.

    • Yes, I so agree. They are trying to keep them from learning except what they want them to learn. I find it just awful. This children often do learn the truth eventually, but obviously some do not, and go on to perpetuate the lies taught them. Nobody has the right to do this to another person. !END

    • Yes, how do you teach like analytical geometry if you barely passed it yourself or never took it at all? How about calculus or physics? Lots of kids graduate from high school never having taken these subjects. Or they barely passed in English. How do you teach given that? It is horrifying. Some states maintain higher standards at that is at least better! !END

  3. I am a homeschooling mom and i live in texas, but thats the only resemblance i have to the parents you described. Those are stereotypes. I am not religious, dont go to church, was liberal until i became a mom–now im libertarian. I am not an ignorant hillbilly. I have BA in psychology, MS social work, used to work with child abuse survivors. As for abuse, theres plenty happening at schools–lots of news about bullying, predatory teachers, etc. As for freedom of thought–schools are about conformity, not individualism. Check out recent headlines about cscope curriculum for a peek at how schools are indoctrinating kids. As for results in education, i graduated with honors without knowing much–just had decent short term memory and could take a test well. The families that i know are much different than your description. Have an open mind. Spend a day with one. Show some tolerance and allow diversity in how we raise our kids in this land of the free. There is no one size fits all method of education.

  4. ps there is a growing movement among homeschoolers to raise “free range” kids that arent tied to a desk all day, that are free to explore their talents and passions. As a middle of the road thinker–i have observed the left to be intolerant of the right for being intolerant of the left too often! Freedom of thought also applies to those you disagree with.

    • There are many alternative theories on how best to educate children and there are actual schools who practice this form of free range teaching. I give a rats ass what you believe. But when you seek to inculcate your personal beliefs upon a human being AND keep them from seeing the other alternatives, I do believe the state should step in. Again, you like to paint alternatives that don’t match. I am never intolerant of thoughts, but I am of actions. Learn the difference. !END

  5. ok…this is my last comment! ;) if we outlaw homeschooling because there are a few “bad” parents, should we outlaw public schools for a few “bad” teachers?

  6. Are schools teaching alternatives? Are parents and kids able to choose these free range teaching methods or whatever method of education that suits them at public schools? Do kids get freedom to make choices at school about what to learn, what teachers they would like, how they can practice whatever their religious or personal beliefs are? you are assuming that homeschooled kids arent seeing the world or the alternatives. But the same could be said for public schools.. Even the best teachers find that their hands are tied at times. If homeschooling works better for some families and gives them the freedom to move forward, why not? I just dont see this massive movement to indoctrinate kids with weird cult beliefs, thats all. you are saying no one owns the child–neither does the govt. Why is it ok for govt to control education, but not the child and his or her own parents??

  7. as for higher education, many homeschooled kids begin attending community college classes of their choice during high school years. Some begin volunteering in field of their choice, others start apprenticeships. Their time can be focused as they see fit. Homeschooling families also pool resources to form co-ops depending on needs and interests of the kids. Tutors can be hired, other parents and other kids can help out. Homeschoolers dont stay home in a vacuum. as for teachers being certified experts where parents are unqualified–colleges pass people without merit just as schools do. A degree doesnt make you an expert. Many geniuses are self taught. Parents can educate themselves about education models and most are very dedicated with their kids’ best interests at heart. John gatto, a former public school teacher of the year for nyc, has some good info about this topic.

    • It would seem to me that you might be neglecting your homeschooling duties, flooding my comments with this constant barrage. Who are you trying to convince? You’re sounding entirely too defensive now…You’ve said your peace. Now, get on with your own life. !END

    • yes, it is isn’t it. I wish more people understood that children are ALL our futures and we have a stake in their being educated with truth, not personal opinions. !END

  8. as for homeschooling being a haven for abuse, the stats simply dont support that. Churches can be a haven for abuse. So can classrooms and scouts and non profit groups like sandusky’s. That doesnt mean that all classrooms or scouts or churches or non profits should be banned. Nor does it mean degreed professional educators dont become abusers of innocent kids. Many degreed professionals miss signs of abuse and kids fall through the cracks. Just as there are some kids that are abused and die under the watch of cps or in foster care. There is no sterile safe haven. Abuse is evil and inexcusable, but it doesnt happen more often in families that homeschool. If the abuse rates for the general population were applied to homeschoolers, something like 40 deaths would occur every year in hs kids. That stat hasnt been reached over the last 20 years combined. No correlation between abuse and homeschooling. Does it happen? Yes. Does it happen at public school? Yes.

  9. you said you believe if a person tries to inculcate their personal beliefs and not show the child the alternatives, the state shoud step in. Let’s say a person holds human rights as an absolute truth. Does that mean they should present bigotry as an alternative? If they impose their own view of human rights, civil rights, global warming, abortion–if they do not present the counter argument, is that indoctrination? Or only if you disagree with their position does it become so? I am not religious, but religious people do not scare me or pose a threat to me. I have found common ground with them. I have found common ground with atheists. We each have absolute truths that we hold dear, and it would be absurd to think we would not want to instill those values in our kids, whether everyone agrees with them or not. At one point in time the earth was the center of the universe and you would have been crazy to teach your kids otherwise, but popular demand didnt make it right. Consensus vs individualism.

  10. Maybe if Sherry was homeschooled, she would have been taught better manners. It’s obvious that if you don’t share her views, your thoughts are not welcome here. Obviously, she has an extremely limited knowledge of this particular subject. It’s sad to see someone be so narrowminded, tossing around tired old stereotypes that she probably picked up in public school. I applaud the parents who are stepping off that crazy train and seeking out a better education for their children.

  11. Okay, first off, do you even realize how ignorant you sound? From what I can see, you obviously know nothing about homeschooling.

    “Homeschooling is a form of child abuse”? If the child wants to be homeschooled, then in what way is it child abuse? If you ask me, I’d say that forcing your kid to get up at 7 AM to spend seven to eight hours in a building full of people they don’t even want to be around is a lot worse. Homeschooled children are exposed to their families’ political and religious views, but publicschooled children are exposed to the school system’s views as well. Anywhere they go, they’ll be exposed to some sort of religious or political view. Homeschooling provides a chance to help the child form their own view, the way they themselves see it. I’ve been homeschooled for my whole life and honestly, I love it. I know multiple homeschoolers that have gone to school and they have said that they much prefer homeschooling. As for the whole religion thing, sure, there are some kids out there that are only being homeschooled for religious purposes, but they’re only a minority. You’re basically trying to generalize all homeschoolers with what you’ve said and I understand that you’re only stating your opinion, but maybe you should actually learn more about something before you go around saying things about it.

  12. I think it’s amusing that you chose to quote Khalil Gibran, who received no formal education until the age of 12. Although, he was taught about the Bible by visiting priests. And while you were quick to include his writing On Children, you conveniently omitted the following, which is more indicative of the homeschoolers we know:

    On Teachers
    Khalil Gibran

    No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half
    asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

    The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his
    followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his
    lovingness.

    If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his
    wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

    The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space,
    but he can not give you his understanding.

    The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space,
    but he can not give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the
    voice that echoes it.

    And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the
    regions of weight and measure, but he can not conduct you
    thither.

    For the vision of one man leads not its wings to another man.

    And even as each one of you stands alone in Gods knowledge, so
    must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his
    understanding of the earth.

    I’d also like to point out that the main purpose of teacher certification is not to provide mastery of the subjects to be taught, but to train teachers to control large groups of children,which is completely unnecessary in the home environment.

    • I must say, I’ve never met a more defensive group of women. If you read more carefully, you might have gotten the point. But it seems you guys are used to defending yourselves and do so in groups. “Spread the word! Go to X blog and defend!” You see, this was just a post on a subject that comes up with a new angle from time to time. We’ve all moved on. Now return to your little world of positive re-enforcement. We are so past caring what yo think at this point. And anecdotal information is really not evidence of anything. Education might have helped you realize that. And as to Kahil Gibran. Did you actually even READ what you posted? It says essentially the same thing in a different way…the point is the teacher is to teach HOW to learn not WHAT to learn. Get it? And of course with your great discerning mind, you are deigning to teach another generation who will have to spend more than most in unlearning all the tripe you might inadvertently have offered. You stand out as poster child for those who are unfit to teach anyone.

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