All around the Western world parents are moving to homeschooling, and all around the Western world governments are getting nervous about all this, if not down-right hostile to it. Neither trend should come as a surprise. As to the first, many parents are sick and tired of the joke that is public education.
Not only do plenty of kids come out uneducated, illiterate and innumerate, but increasingly the public school system is becoming just a hothouse for force-feeding kids politically correct propaganda. Anti-faith and anti-family values are being pushed all the time in the modern school system, and plenty of parents are appalled at this.
Thus they are moving to homeschooling to ensure that their children get a proper education, coupled with decent values. And the results have been consistently shown to be much better. As just one example, a recent study found that homeschooled college students significantly outperformed their peers.
As one news report states, “Among the major findings: Homeschooled students earned a higher first-year GPA (3.41) when compared to other freshman (3.12). Homeschooled students earned a higher fourth-year GPA (3.46) when compared to other freshman who completed their fourth year (3.16). Homeschooled students achieved a higher graduation rate (66.7 percent) when compared to the overall student population (57.5 percent).
“Other research has shown that parents spend on average $500 per child, per year to homeschool. In comparison, the average public school spends over $10,000 per child, per year. Homeschooling is proving itself everyday to be a credible and cost-effective method of educating children.”
The second trend is also fully explicable. Secular leftist states know that if they can get access to children from early on, and for many years, they can easily instil their agenda, their values, and their worldview into the children. And as the state’s ideology and worldview becomes increasingly hostile to that of the Judeo-Christian worldview, then you can expect states to definitely frown upon homeschooling.
Plenty of quotes can be produced from those who have insisted that the school system become a PC indoctrination system. Consider just two. Charles Francis Potter, signatory to Humanist Manifesto I, said this: “Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-schools, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching?”
Or as John Dunphy wrote in a 1983 issue of The Humanist, “The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new – the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of humanism.”
And many recent reports can be mentioned of governments cracking down on those parents who dare to educate their own children in a manner they deem appropriate, and not the state. Consider the opening words of one alarming report about all this: “Think about it. Out of all the world regimes over the past century, which ones do you think would be most opposed to homeschooling? Nazi Germany, communist Russia, and nations enforcing Islamic Sharia Law first come to mind.
“And what is the common tie to all of these? Control. Unfortunately, with socialist agendas sweeping the globe, the mindless conformity of youth through indoctrination at government-run schools to the government’s point of view on social, political, and moral issues is a top priority of many nations falsely aspiring for a global community of ‘tolerance.’
“But today, the suppression of parental rights to teach and influence their own children isn’t restricted to overtly fascist regimes. Take a look at Sweden, home of Ikea and Volvos. A couple months ago in June, attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund and the Home School Legal Defense Association filed Johansson v. Sweden with the European Court of Human Rights so that that the Swedish government will return a seven-year-old homeschooled boy to his parents. Dominic Johansson was forcibly seized by Swedish authorities from his parents in June 2009 after they had boarded a plane in their move to India. The reason? He was homeschooled.
“No warrant was issued before taking him into state custody, and the family was charged with no crime. Young Dominic was abducted because officials deemed home instruction to be an unsuitable method of raising a child, insisting that the government knows better about how to rear children. Dominic is now in foster care and attends a government school. Heartbreakingly, his parents are only allowed to see their son for one hour every five weeks.
“To ‘justify’ their action, Swedish authorities cited the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and quite shockingly, the White House and some members of Congress have expressed interest in ratifying this authoritarian treaty so that this type of government control could be exercised on our shores.”
And some famous cases of persecuted German homeschooling families continue to make the news. As one recent story describes this, “After police barged into the Busekros family home in Bavaria, the family’s 15-year-old daughter, Melissa, was placed in a psychiatric facility, and later long-term foster care.
“The police, the girl said, told her she had been brainwashed by her conservative evangelical parents, who home-schooled her. ‘They never even tested me to know for sure that I had a mental problem,’ said Busekros, now 19. The moment Busekros turned 16 and could legally choose where she would live, she slipped through a window at her foster home and returned to her parents.
“Earlier this year, Elke Schupp missed a court date to answer charges of home-schooling her two young boys. Later, when a police car with lights flashing pulled up behind her on a German highway, Schupp said, she panicked and slowed down long enough to send her boys running off into a forest.
“When police caught up with them, she said, she lost custody for good. ‘I told them I wouldn’t home-school again,’ said Schupp, a nonreligious woman who said she simply wanted to nurture her children on her own, without state interference, ‘but they don’t believe me’.”
All this sounds like stuff straight out of North Korea or Cuba. Instead, it is happening all over the Western world. The crackdown on homeschooling families is simply part of a bigger crackdown. Various states, more or less fully committed to the agenda of secular humanism, will clamp down on anything it considers to be in opposition or resistance to its agenda.
That is why it is using all sorts of nice-sounding laws (such as discrimination, vilification and hate-speech laws) to harass and persecute anyone or anything that seeks to say no to its ever-encroaching reach. This is a war against freedom as much as it is a war against religion and religious freedom.
Parents have a fundamental right to raise and educate their children as they see fit. Of course fundamentalist atheists like Dawkins regards this as a form of child abuse. But that simply tells us how much he and others like him really value freedom, democracy and freedom of conscience.
The war against homeschooling and homeschoolers will undoubtedly only get worse in the days ahead. It is ultimately about a war of worldviews. And as always, we must never forget that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.