Friday, December 01, 2006

Fundamental Freedom

"Homeschoolers need more oversight. Prove to me why they don't?"


This was asked on a homeschooling board I read a while back. I was thinking about this tonight as I was sitting in my local Barnes & Noble, sipping a gingerbread latte, and enjoying some really fine conversation with several other homeschool moms. My response to this question was the following:


Fundamental Freedom


It is the fundamental feedom of the parent to choose what they feel is best for their child. It is an inherent right that parents have, for better (one hopes) or worse, to decide what their children do or do not learn.


As defined in the M-W online dictionary "inherent" means: essential character of something: belonging by nature or habit.


It is our inherent right to parent. It is not the inherent right of the state. Just because some people think it is the right of the state or as some use the phrase, "compelling state's interest" to make sure that all children are "properly" schooled, does not make it so. Who defines "properly?"


According to John Taylor Gatto, "A small number of very passionate American ideological leaders visited Prussia in the first half of the 19th century; fell in love with the order, obedience, and efficiency of its education system; and campaigned relentlessly thereafter to bring the Prussian vision to these shores." The Prussian ideology is easy to find.


Gatto says the major ideas of Prussian education brought here are: the purpose of state schooling was not intellectual training but the conditioning of children "to obedience, subordination, and collective life;" whole concepts or ideas were broken into disjointed "subjects" and school days were divided into fixed periods "so that self-motivation to learn would be muted by ceaseless interruptions." The last idea was that the state was viewed as the true parent of children.


I, obviously, don't think it is good from any standpoint (especially my Christian one).

It is, in my opinion, the heart of parental freedom to choose to school their children.


What do you think and why?


Marie said...

Oversight by whom, is the question.

When people say, "more oversight," I think they mean "more governmental supervision."

There are lots of reasons why the government should not be overseeing the education of my children. First of all they are MY children.

Secondly they are a secular state.

Thirdly they are inefficient, expensive, coercive, and have a very high failure rate.

I could see where the state, having a legitimate interest in defense, could require reporting of some kind once a child reaches adulthood, to determine whether they are literate, have basic mathematic skills, and a general knowledge of our system of government. These are all necessary, I think, for a workable military and citizenship. I wouldn't object to this type of reporting at age 18, nor would I object if the gov't offered an hour a day at a local library to get the illiterate reading.


spunkyhomeschool said...

In saying that homeschoolers need oversight, it is assumed that the state should be the overseer. But as you rightly pointed out it is an inherent natural right granted by our Creator and recognized by in the Declaration of Independence in the first paragraph. (laws of nature and nature's God) Children are given to parents not the state. To say that children's education should be overseen by the state gives the state not the parents as the final authority.

JessieBeachBum said...

I agree with everything you said!

One point I try to make when I am questioned about homeschooling is this...

Do you trust the government with your money? Most people reply "no" and go into how the government is so wasteful. I could keep going...."Do you trust the government with your ______ or ______?" And the answer would still be "no".

So, then why on earth would you trust in the government to educate and morally train your children???

momco3 said...

Perhaps this training is also the cause of the dulling of the motivation of parents to be parents to their own children.


UndertheSky said...

These were such great comments and such wonderful food for thought.


"These are all necessary, I think, for a workable military and citizenship." Did you mean upon entry to the military or sometime during their youth while learning? I was not clear here what you meant. If you did mean before entry I agree 100%. Our military has to have a standard of education as many employers do. I realize that the military is not simply just another employer, and that it has an even higher calling, so I completely agree that it needs a standard of education. However I think that it is very possible to meet it--even if one is self-taught some of their education over time.


"Children are given to parents not the state. To say that children's education should be overseen by the state gives the state not the parents as the final authority."

Hear! Hear! I completely agree. If only the rest of the country did.


"So, then why on earth would you trust in the government to educate and morally train your children???"

NO kidding! I cannot understand the mindset that the government can and will do a better job.


Yours is the most sobering of all. I had not even thought of it that way. We, as well as our parents, have all gone through this type of mind-numbing training. It is wonderful that some of the people of God have seen the "light" with regards to quality right education--but I think there are all too few of us as of yet. May those parents who have seen what is true keep on doing what they are doing!

Thank you all for joining in the conversation!



My4LittleWomen said...

A bit late, but I would add--because "oversight," fundamentally, does not work.

I can't think of anyone in the country who gets more oversight than our public schools. Reams and reams of paperwork, required certification of teachers, tests and more tests, reports, newspaper articles, parent teacher conferences, and layer upon layer of bureaucracy. And the results? Lower and lower test scores, and the tests themselves being simplified.

On the otherhand, unregulated homeschoolers are consistently outscoring these highly regulated institutions in every area, regardless even of parental education levels. (Even if, in a few cases, the scores are lower, they are still higher than public schooling's average, thus we can say that it is working better, overall.)

Why muck with something that is working?

(I will begin to consider such a thing, perhaps, when I hear of a public school saying, "I'm sorry Mrs. Jones. Your child has scored at less than the 20th percentile. Public school is obviously not working for him, so we will pay for a private school or your homeschool materials." Not going to happen any time soon. :) )