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.
Other posts I’ve done on homeschooling: