Matthew Hennessey: “In Spain, where my brother-in-law and his wife are raising two young boys, if you don’t send your kids to school at the age of six, you get a visit from the cops.”
Shoot, that’s peanuts compared to what can happen in Sweden.
“homeschoolers are no different than the uninsured in the costs they impose on the rest of us. Doesn’t society suffer if kids aren’t being properly socialized? Don’t institutions suffer if children aren’t being properly educated into citizenship?”
My first instinct is to scoff at this worry. If anyone were to dare question my academic standards, I feel confident in my ability to embarrass the heck out of such impudence through sheer volume of educational documentation, as well as the obvious in-person brilliance of my poor unsocialized hell spawn.
But then, Mr. Hennessey makes a good point when he says, “Do the Spanish live in a free country? . . . They probably think they do. Compared to Saudi Arabia or China, Spain is practically a libertarian paradise. . . .”
We Americans think that we live in a free country, too. Yet, we allow our government to tether us in innumerable ways, from the cars that we drive, to the foods that we eat, to the manner in which we light our homes.
Never forget: the collectivists in our midst hate the concept of homeschooling. To these totalitarian adherents, the idea that parents alone should decide how their children are educated . . . perfectly scandalous. We can’t be trusting parents with responsibility over their own children, can we?
On top of all this is the fact that most folks feel dependent upon the school system, whether public or private. I should know. I felt not just dependent, but deliriously grateful for a British school system that would take a difficult boy off my hands full-time, because the Brits have a lovely thing called “reception” that begins at age four (4!). Sod that silly German kindergarten starting at age five.
So we started down a well-trodden path that seemed so easy at first.
It quickly grew thorny and treacherous. Experts wanted to diagnose my son, and label him as something more than difficult and strong-willed. My advice to be firm was ignored.
This is the point at which I give anti-homeschoolers reason to squeal: she’s over-protective! Her child has special needs that she refuses to acknowledge! Like this commenter to Mr. Hennessey’s article:
“my wife and I have experience with several local homeschooled children that makes us question their socialization skills, as well as the motives of the parents. The parents of one child we know pulled him out of the public school because the school psychologist tried to persuade them that he had a learning disability and needed special therapy. They could not accept that. Now that their son is a teenager, we can easily see that he is grossly unsocialized and has an obvious speech disability. The public schools were eager to help him with the problem, free of charge, but no, he had to be homeschooled to protect him from the taint of being considered impaired in any way.”
Now, don’t you dare ask whether this child could have been worse off by remaining in the public school system. Derp. The notion that public school would have improved his situation is to be taken as unalterable truth.
This is the point at which I ask: why am I writing this post? Do I really need to defend my decision to homeschool?
No. I am unwavered in my dedication to home education.
But some of the commenters really got under my skin. Like this one: “That’s why we have medical professionals, and I see no reason not to elevate education professionals to the same logical level. Child development is a science, bona fide and constantly being improved.”
Ahh. Child development is a science. We need professionals to help us navigate our way through this science, like the professionals who created a 1st grade curriculum that instructs kids to water a rock.
I have a question for all those education professionals. Why do I have to find a nonprofessional homeschool teacher to teach my son Latin?
Bah. I should not have allowed the comments on Hennessey’s article and Dreher’s article to bother me. The way I reckon, the more cash-strapped states become, the more likely they are to embrace homeschooling, which costs the state exactly zero dollars, while the parents still pay property and other taxes.