“The idea that I have the ‘right’ to do anything I want with my child, without respect to his/her or society’s well-being, strikes me as utterly barbaric.”
I am a former attorney homeschooling my child because I love learning and want to share it with them rather than outsourcing it to institutions that are distracted by many concerns other than education. Homeschooling has been a wonderful thing for our family and my academically advanced child. I think homeschooling should be legal–and heavily regulated.
I am troubled by the prevalence of stories about abuse and neglect of homeschooled children. I am also saddened to see that many in the homeschool community have taken a “rights” approach to the problem of how homeschooing should be regulated. The idea that I have the “right” to do anything I want with my child, without respect to his/her or society’s well-being, strikes me as utterly barbaric.
Unfortunately, this idea is embraced too readily by people in the homeschooling community, some of whom have been whipped into an “us vs them” frenzy with respect to government oversight by conservative organizations and online echo chambers.
Homeschooling in America is full of contradictions and extremes. Homeschooling parents include both those who want to give their children more love and support than average and those who want to give them less, those who want a more rigorous education than public school provides and those who want virtually no education at all. Unfortunately, mentally ill, abusive “child hoarders” seem to have also discovered homeschooling as a means to prevent the outside world from interfering with the dark worlds they create.
Both lawmakers and the homeschooling community need to reckon with these contradictions in order to find a regulatory solution that preserves the opportunities of homeschooling while eliminating its terrible dangers.
Faye Marcinko homeschools her children in California. For additional thoughts and experiences from other homeschool alumni, see our Testimonials page.