Parents and teachers should not be in opposition to one another, likewise public school parents and homeschool parents shouldn’t oppose each other either. Sometimes their arguments against one another sounds like two divorced parents arguing over who gets to control the kids. Each side thinks they know what’s best for the children. Being a parent is hard work. It’s even more difficult when people are working in opposition to one another.
And it’s the kids who are suffering on both sides of the debate.
Full time parenting is not easy by any means. It’s not even a paying job. Being a full time parent isn’t a 40 hour work week with a medical plan. I’ve read many books on parenting, both religious and non religious. I’ve attended countless seminars on child rearing, child safety classes with the county, and I even took classes on how to get licensed for in-home day care. None of that education could have prepared me for what day to day parenting is really like. Just because a person takes an assortment of accredited courses on child development and child education doesn’t make them a pro. A degree in Child Development doesn’t make you a professional parent. Putting your hands to the task of daily reality with children is the best way to learn how to be a better parent. It takes practice. Many full time parents have more practice than their neighboring parents do, who only parent part time. That doesn’t mean they’re less of a parent, they just share their parenting responsibilities with other people. I would think a public school teacher would say something very similar. Their degrees and class time does not automatically make them a great teacher. It takes years of practice to become “Teacher of the Year”.
In America, we are free to make the choices we feel are best for ourselves and our families. Some folks mess up pretty bad and need intervention, but that doesn’t mean all parents need intervention.
For the past few years, I have worked diligently to understand people with different beliefs. I tend to play ‘devil’s advocate’ so I can see where people are coming from. Just trying to put the shoe on the other foot. I lived 15 years steeped in a twisted for of fundamentalism, then left it for various reasons, one of which is the blatant lack of support for our Constitutional rights. Yes, ironic isn’t it? Some fundamentalists are shouting for protection of their view on the Constitution, but if you want to exercise YOUR freedom of speech in THEIR community, they won’t have it. You’ll eventually be bullied into submission to their view or bullied out of their communities.
Sadly, some groups have twisted the passages of the bible into a weapon against children and demand their ‘freedom of religion’ to practice their parenting teachings with their children. This is how abuse gets covered up in a religious setting. So when I read the opinions of outraged former homeschoolers demanding for stricter standards for Christian Homeschoolers, I get it. I understand their anger. However, some of their cliches are just as absurd as some fundamentalist cliches are. I wonder if they’ve noticed.
Critics: “Homeschoolers are more likely to abuse, because they’re alone all day with their kids. They should be regulated by the government.”
So what about those critics when their public schooled kids are home all summer?
Shall we say :
“Parents of public schooled children are more likely to neglect (that’s abuse) their kids all summer, because they’re gone at work and not all families can afford summer camp. They should be regulated by the government.”
Both statements assume the parents are guilty and seek to control them as if they’re already criminals.
“Homeschool parents shouldn’t be allowed to teach their kids without first having a degree in education. Put the kids in public school until the parent can get a degree.”
Shall we say:
“Public school parents shouldn’t be allowed to be parents without a child development degree. Have CPS take their kids until they’re done getting their degrees. Then they can have their kids back.”
Both statements assume that parents should not have children unless they have degrees from a college.
You see, when you insist on a law to be targeted to one group, that’s discrimination. You also have to keep in mind that whatever laws are passed will set a precedence from which all new laws are created and supported. If you force one set of parents to comply then you have to enforce that ALL parents comply.
When you pass a law that demands the government to be the all-seeing-eye and “approval giver” on parents then you’re giving them the precedence to become owners of your children. Children are NOT property. They are human beings protected by our Constitution.
Many critics are former fundamentalists and I don’t think they realize how much they sound like their former pastors. They go around dictating how to be parents, what to believe, and how to live life. I’m all for wise and good advice on becoming better individuals and parents, but my freedom should not be infringed upon by zealous law givers. I don’t need, nor do I want, former fundamentalists coming at me like little cult pastors trying to tell me how to live and take my freedom from me. I’m sick to death of religious people claiming everyone else is stupid godless sinners and they’re the elite and enlighten all-superior thinkers. I’m also nauseated by how many former homeschoolers think homeschool parents are abusive simple minded idiots who need the government to do our thinking for us.
At the same time, I understand their frustration about children being abused. BUT, we can’t treat parents as if they’re criminals in need of ankle bracelets.
Families are sovereign. The state is required to protect our individual sovereignty.
Lets turn their criticisms around on them and see what they think.
“You can’t be allowed to feed your kids unless you have a medical degree of some kind. You should go to college and get a degree in health and nutrition before you feed your kids. You need government regulation to make sure you don’t starve your kids to death or over feed them and cause obesity.”
“You can’t have sex unless you have a license first. You should be required by the government to have a degree in child development just in case you (girls) or your girlfriend gets pregnant. Because if you have a kid, you’ll need a degree in parenting and nutrition.”
“Public school children are with their parents all day, every summer. Those parents need regulation. They aren’t used to being with kids all day every day, they are more likely to become impatient and beat their kids, or neglect them by leaving them home unsupervised. Domestic violence stats rise when the weather gets hot. How do we know those parents, who lack experience being with kids all day, will not abuse or neglect their kids? They should register with the state and sign an affidavit to let the state know how they plan to occupy their kids all summer.”
“Any parent of a public schooled child needs to have a weekly CPS worker come by and check up on them to make sure they aren’t beating their kids or neglecting them all summer. Complete with strip searches for the kids to make sure they don’t have bruises.”
Oh what a tangled web we weave. Control, control, control. Not to mention the idea that you’re creating a victim mentality in children.
You see, homeschooling is full time parenting. So you’re either a full time parent or a part time parent who shares parenting responsibilities with public school officials. When you share parenting responsibilities with strangers, then they need government oversight to be sure those people are respecting your children. It’s your CHOICE to co-op with them in parenting your kids. Homeschoolers choose to parent their kids full time. Just for the record, I’m not saying one is better than another.
When you begin sharing your children with teachers, those teachers are with your kids 8 hours a day all school year long. It’s no wonder some of them assume that they are better parents than you are. After all, they have a degree in child development and education and you don’t. If they see a child struggling socially or if their grades start dropping, they often assume the problem is at home. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s in the hallway between classes or on the street when they walk home. But how would it feel if YOU were suspected as a criminal any time your kid had a bad day at school? Now all of a sudden YOU get a CPS visit when you didn’t need it. Your kid is now on a watch list at school, which means you’re on a watch list too. The real culprit who needs to be on the watch list is in the hallway or on the street when neither you nor a teacher is even around.
My point is really this…you can’t treat people as if they’re criminals when there is no evidence. This chaotic-paranoia-suspicion mentality has been plaguing humanity for AGES and perpetuated by systems and organizations from government to churches. Our society is being pulled apart at the seams. People are suspect of one another and it creates an Us vs. Them society which can only lead to a total break down.
What we need is real community where people are willing to trust each other and work together for the common good of all. What we need is a whole lot of good Samaritans to love those in need and assist when we can and when it’s needed. The public schools have PLENTY going on to keep their hands full as it is. I don’t oppose them. I’m not out to shut them all down. While they do have some bad teachers who need to be weeded out (or helped to improve), they do have some excellent teachers that need our support. Likewise, although their are some abusive families claiming to be homeschoolers, there are many good families who really are educating their kids and they also need our support.
“But the homeschool community isn’t doing a good enough job at policing themselves.”
Well we could say the same about public schools. That’s not deflecting, it’s the truth.
If we continue to push against each other then we’re still a part of the problem. The Us vs. Them mentality will keep breaking down our society and weaken our nation as a whole. Just as getting a degree in Child Development doesn’t make you a professional parent, getting a degree in education does’t make you a professional teacher. I’ve known plenty of “teachers” who were total flops at teaching and they make the rest of their community of teachers look bad. I’ve also seen enough “homeschoolers” who were total flops at raising their children and they make the rest of their community look bad too. We could argue all day about which community has the worst leaders, but that doesn’t really solve anything. It causes more paranoia, less trust, and perpetuates more fear.
Living in fear is no way to live. Homeschool families should not have to live in fear of CPS or public schools. CPS and public school should not have to fear that homeschoolers will shut down their jobs. Wouldn’t it be so awesome if CPS didn’t need to exist? But sadly, many children and families do need their intervention. Wouldn’t it be great if all parents could successfully educate their own kids and let the teachers get better paying jobs? Sadly, not all parents should homeschool and so public school teachers are needed. Our society needs all of us to work together, to collaborate, and to support each other. This is what we need for GROWTH in this nation.
This is what our children need for their own growth and safety. They need a community who works together to give them the best chance to become successful, to be safe, and to build a better nation for future generations. I’m tired of writing about child abuse. Shouldn’t we all be striving to be better parents no matter what education style we choose for our kids? Shouldn’t we all be striving to be better people in general?
Can’t we do a better job as Americans so our government officials can handle the really tough situations?
If we can’t even manage our own homes and schools then how will our nation ever have a chance to move forward?