Yesterday I published an exaggerated post to show how ludicrous some of the statements made about homeschoolers can be. Along with that, I wrote about our freedom and my thoughts on how inappropriate it is to place laws on parents under the notion that they’re already criminals in need of supervision by the government. Perhaps I didn’t make that clear enough, as some folks on Facebook didn’t even address the point I was trying to make. They simply wanted to insult me for the exaggerated statements I made instead of acknowledging that those statements were examples of the same approach many critics make against homeschooling. Neither of which, in reality, do any good at all.
I’ve genuinely tried to listen to opposing views and tried to reason with ideas of improvement. One part of improving any community is learning how to cooperate with one another and allow the ability to disagree and find better solutions that people can agree to accept. One common phenomena I see is the insistence that we all agree with what critics are saying and bow down to their will for our lives. That’s not how collaboration works.
I also know from experience, that if you want to see change in a community, you need to be a part of that community. Trying to force change in a community you hate, belittle, and accuse isn’t going to bring about long lasting change. The best change a community can move toward is one that is inspired by love for the community and for those within it.
Reprimanding a child every day with threats that they can’t eat the cookie in the jar or else, isn’t a healthy way to inspire a child to follow healthy eating habits. Raising children on threats and punishments puts a child in fear and anxiety. Imposing the “fear of possibly breaking the rules” every day is abusive. That’s no way to raise a child and no way to lead a community or our country.
When you inspire a child to make healthy choices and offer positive results, it will produce a child with a desire to live well. The same applies to a community. We are supposed to be free citizens. Living a free life comes with the responsibility to live wisely and respectfully. When people don’t live wisely and respectfully then there are measures that can be taken to bring proper justice and restoration to the people involved.
Assuming people are not going to live respectfully and so creating laws to control them ..”just in case” does not nurture a person, nor a community. It’s saying, “I don’t trust you to be a respectful person so I’m going to put restrictions on you for the rest of your life”. We are not to be treated as though we are on parole. The Constitution guarantees that the government will not deprive us of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law” (Fifth Amendment).
The US Constitution website says this about due process of law,
“A law must be clear, fair, and have a presumption of innocence to comply with procedural due process.”
When critics of homeschooling say, “Homeschooling parents might be abusing their kids so we need to regulate them” , then that doesn’t show a presumption of innocence. It shows a presumption of guilt.
Another argument made is that homeschool teachers should be held to the same education standards as a public school teacher (by having a degree). However, a homeschool teacher is also a parent of the children they teach. A public school teacher is not our children’s parent. A homeschool parent-teacher is teaching only their own children, while a public school teacher is teaching a class full of other people’s children. A homeschool parent-teacher is teaching (on average) between 1-4 children, not a class of 30.
What some critics don’t seem to acknowledge is that all parents are teachers in some respect or another. We teach our own children to use the toilet, to feed themselves, to cut their meat, to wait their turn, to be patient, to speak, to dress themselves, to wash their hands, to communicate, to recognize shapes and colors, to do household chores, to read, to count, and to inspire them to have interest in life and all it entails. We do all of this by the time they’re five years old. We do it all without any degree or oversight from the government. We do it without filing an affidavit of which TV shows we’ll let them watch nor do we inform them of what letters they know by the time they’re 3 years old. Yet, critics think that once the kids are five years old we all need to register with the government if we’re going to continue to teach at home. Most recently, critics assume a homeschool family is more likely to abuse their children.
Our Constitution protects a woman’s right to have an abortion in her first trimester, but people seek to halt parents from educating at home?
Our nation has protected that same right for girls as young as 12 years old without her parents consent, but critics want to make parents follow strict guidelines for teaching math, history, and grammar.
Politicians have created laws that allow strangers to give our children condoms and abortions, but critics want to establish laws to infringe upon a parents decisions to teach their own children how to write, learn multiplication, and study science.
Let’s compare the sides, shall we?
Strangers in Government want to:
Allow children to have surgical procedures on their sexual organs
Permit them to have sex
Give birth control (chemical medicines) to girls
…all WITHOUT a parent’s permission.
And parents want to:
Teach English/Foreign language
…but critics want to FORCE parents to get government permission to do so.
Odd thing…several of those critics protest about parents consenting to infant boys having a circumcision, but want to force parents to allow their girls to get abortions.
Folks, I’m just shaking my head here.
Then we need to consider the First Amendment;
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
Some religious folks have deeply sacred beliefs about who they let influence their children. They might object to have their children spend non-parental time with certain children and they might object to the political and moral influence some textbooks contain. They also might believe strongly in teaching their religious tenants in conjunction with their academics. Regardless of whether you agree with their views or not, it’s their freedom to exercise their religious convictions without government oversight, approval, or intrusion.
Now lets take a look at the child’s rights, because I do feel this is an important topic. Our children, born in the United States, are also protected by the United States Constitution. Well, within reason anyway.
A commentary on The US Constitution site says,
“Generally speaking, the Constitution applies equally to everyone, regardless of age, color, race, religion, or any other factor. However, minors are a special category of person, and in many cases, the rights of minors can be suppressed in ways that the rights of adults simply may not be.”
The topic of a student (child) rights can be tricky and the most obvious reason is due to their age and ability to be responsible and accountable as equally as an adult can be.
Another commentary on the site goes on to say,
There are several reasons why violations of student rights are upheld by the courts. One of the most basic reasons is known as in loco parentis. This Latin phrase basically means that while a student is in the custody of a school, the school can and often should act as a parent. In this duty of the school, many decisions can be made that are outside the normal governmental purview. The other basic reason for violation of student rights has to do with the goal of school — to educate. If an act of a student can interfere with the educational process, that act may, in many cases, be suppressed.
A few things should be noted here. First, most of this essay applies only to public schools. As private institutions, private schools are not subject to any restrictions in terms of violations of the rights of students. Hence, while a public school might have to prove that its violations are for a higher purpose or stem from its in loco parentis responsibilities, a private school may set limits arbitrarily.” (emphasis mine)
A school can act AS a parent WHILE the child is AT SCHOOL. A child (and his/her family) have the right to have the child attend a public school so the doors are always open. Many states classify homeschools as private schools and private schools (homeschools) have the freedom to set their own rules. As a private school, I don’t have to act AS a parent for my children, because I AM THE PARENT of my children. In a private school, they can restrict speech, religious beliefs, and create their own dress codes. This is their freedom. A private school’s teachers are not required to have a state degree nor are they required to use the same curriculum. And parents have the right to choose which school their kids attend.
The public school (in my opinion) should ONLY act AS a parent when a child is endangering themselves or others, or being disruptive to the educational experience. Otherwise, decisions such as giving permission to leave school for an abortion should be deferred to the parent. But since the public school has infringed upon the parents rights to guide their own children, many parents have opted for other choices for education. There’s a big difference between a school looking out for a child’s health (like calling 911 if they split their head open on the playground) and counseling the minor girl to open her legs for a stranger to perform a surgical procedure on her sexual organs.
Back to the student’s rights. A student (child of the USA) has the right to attend a public school and the parents have the right not to send their children to public school. The parents have the right to choose their child’s education. The public school is required to allow all children to go to their schools without discrimination, but that doesn’t give them the right to force children into their schools.
Parents have the right to disagree and voice their grievances about government laws and how those laws affect the schools their kids attend.
From Amendment 1: “….the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The states get to decide how to implement family laws. In California, the parents have the right to choose their child’s education. When a marriage is dissolved, the state mediates to assist the parents in dividing up their time with their children. Each parent, so long as they aren’t abusive, have equal rights to be with their children and make decisions for their children’s lives. In a custody hearing, the judge and parents decide together, how much time the children will spend with each parent and how much percentage each parent has in the legal decisions regarding their children. The hope of courts is that parents can be equally responsible, sharing legal decisions 50/50. Often times this isn’t the case so one parent is awarded 100% legal custody, insuring that parent makes the legal choices.
Sadly, sometimes parents both lose their rights and the courts seek an adoptive parent(s) to assume responsibility for the children. While the custody of the child(ren) is in limbo, THEN the courts can decide which school the child attends.
Sometimes parents mess up ROYALLY and the children NEED intervention. I support that with all my heart. However, not all parents are making “bad decisions” for their kids just because they don’t agree with the decisions public school officials make. A public school official (or government official) is not automatically a better ‘acting parent’ than the birth parents are.
Requiring a parent to have a degree to teach academics would have to be a law equally applied to all parents for all needs of a child. If we went that direction then parents would need a license to get pregnant, a child development degree to raise a child, a nursing degree to administer first aid and decide when the child should see the doctor, a health and nutrition degree in order to plan meals, a cooking degree to make meals, a physical education degree to lead the child’s daily exercise, and a mental health degree to counsel their own children. A part time parent who chooses public school would need the same degrees and licenses of a full time parent who chooses to educate at home. A part time parent still has their children all day every summer and on vacations. That’s still a lot of time alone with their kids without a school official to keep an eye on them. A part time parent isn’t gaining the same full-time experience that a stay at home parent does. So they could potentially be required to have more oversight due to their lack of hourly experience. But parenting just doesn’t work like that.
People have babies without a degree and with no parenting experience at all. This is natural. Families find ways to create communities for their children whether it be in public schools, churches, karate classes, baseball teams, or any number of other clubs and organizations in their cities. This is the freedom we have and it must be protected.
Just because someone has a government identification card doesn’t make them better decision makers than parents are. Not all government leaders are good leaders…granted not all parents are good parents either. But we grow and learn together and we’re all innocent unless proven guilty.
And living life trying to find guilt in everyone is a pretty pathetic way to live.