Thoughts on Home Schooling

In CategoryHome Schooling

I urge you to examine in your own mind the assumptions which must lay behind using the police power to insist that once-sovereign spirits have no choice but to submit to being schooled by strangers.                     — John Taylor Gatto


Every so often, I stumble upon one of the ever-present debates about the merits of home schooling. Smrt Mama is a regular read for me, and she had a link over to PhD in Parenting, who said this: 

I believe more strongly in the child’s right to an education than I do in the parent’s right to raise their children any way they want.

This is an unnerving statement. I almost think that perhaps it was said without entirely following that thought to its logical conclusion. Who decides what constitutes an education? Or what is a proper education? Who decides what is worth knowing and how much of it one has to know? What if you don’t think that school is synonymous with education? Who is going to determine whether the child’s right is being violated? What would happen if someone decides the child is not getting an acceptable education? Why would anyone think that a nameless, faceless, international body of arbitrary rule makers would be more heavily invested in the education of my child than myself? And if my motives for wanting to be in charge of my child’s education are suspect, what about the motives of the State? The motives of the individuals charged with enforcing the rules? Why do people persist in thinking that the State is a benevolent, fair, justice-is-blind, mistake-free entity, who has only our best interests at heart; when every day we can turn on the news and see otherwise? 

How did we ever come to believe that the state should tell our children what to think?

If only I were as articulate as these…

Three Degrees of Freedom – You Weren’t There

Life Without School – The Myth of Credentialism

Ken Robinson – Schools Kill Creativity


6 Responses to “Thoughts on Home Schooling”

  1. Smrt Mama Says:

    The motivation of the author PhD in Parenting is very clear, once you start reading the comments — she is an atheist, religious beliefs are not the “truth,” and she wants parents to have to teach their children that their family’s set of religious beliefs are just that, “beliefs” and not “truth.” She’s just as bad as the aggressively religious people who think their belief is the only right one. I used to read her blog rather regularly, but I’ve pretty much lost every ounce of respect I had for her.

    Now, I’m not a religious person in the slightest, but that rubs me the wrong way. We can’t go around legislating truth for people. Yes, I think public schools should only teach that which is evidence-based, not that which is faith-based, but that is because there IS the option of a private school or home school available to people.

  2. Deb Says:

    I agree with what you are saying about PhD. I read almost all of the comments, but they got so bogged down in this ridiculous “beliefs” vs. “truth” issue that I had to quit. I almost didn’t post about this, because I am not prepared to weather some firestorm of controversy, but in the end I couldn’t help myself.

    I find double standards frustrating. For example, many other religions and belief systems are referred to in public school, yet the symbols and beliefs of Christianity are a source of conflict. Forcing a belief system down someone’s throat is oppressive. But denying that it is the right of the parents to give their children religious/spiritual instruction is just as bad – if not worse.

    Furthermore, I find this idea that parents should treat all belief systems equally to be the sort of idealistic moral relativism that would be impossible for an actual human with feelings and thoughts and beliefs to accomplish. I also think that moral relativism, even though it sounds like it might be a good thing, because Hey, We’re Not Judging Anyone! it is actually a dangerous slippery slope that might have us setting aside common sense and intuition in an effort to not appear judgemental.

    Thank you so much for your comment Smrt Mama!

  3. Diane Says:

    It all boils down to the fact that – it is my child. Notice the word my, not theirs.

  4. Best Friend Says:

    Bravo Deb!! My children attend public school. I find in between helping my children with hours of homework, I must drill them on what teachers taught them (and any possible skewed views crammed down their throats), so I may refute any ideas contrary to what my husband and I believe. It can be exhausting to say the least!

  5. tracey Says:

    I am off to read what you’ve linked, but wanted to say that I enjoyed your post. There is SO much to learn and I am more than happy to encourage my kids in their pursuits of what they find interesting in addition to what I find important. Most of it is similar to the public schools, but we are able to go off on as many tangents and sideways studies as our little hearts desire. It’s awesome.

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