CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Homeschooling Under Threat

Sep 5, 2012

I have just penned a piece on how the secular humanists are targeting our children in public schools, and how successful they have been in their war against religion, as they push their own secular religion down the throats of hapless school children: billmuehlenberg.com/2012/09/04/education-wars-the-battle-for-our-children/

Given just how really bad the situation is throughout the Western world, many concerned parents – whether religious or not – have opted for other options, such as private schools, Christian schools, homeschooling, and the like. But sadly these are not problem-free.

Regrettably many so-called Christian schools peddle just as much secular and worldly worldviews as the public schools – and sometimes they have to, dependent as they are on state funding. I have heard plenty of horror stories coming from worried parents about the Christian education (or lack thereof) that their kids are getting at such schools.

Thus many parents look to homeschooling as a last resort. And that is certainly a real alternative; it is a growing movement in places like America and Australia. But even here, there are dangers to be found. The state wants access to our children so it can turn out compliant, obedient and servile citizens. So it is not crazy about parents educating their children independently of the state.

As a result, homeschooling is not necessarily a safe bet. The truth is, in many countries it is against the law to homeschool, and in other countries where it is legal, there are often onerous state restrictions on it and intrusions into it. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/12/03/the-secular-state%E2%80%99s-homeschooling-crackdown/

If the state does not ban it outright, it will seek to severely restrict it. Consider a few more recent examples of this. Brazil is one country which does not allow parents the option of choosing homeschooling. A bill put forward there late last year to allow homeschooling was unanimously rejected.

Christian activist Julio Severo comments: “Although homeschooling is common in many developed countries and is associated with higher levels of academic achievement, the increasingly-intrusive and socialist government in Brazil has not only abolished its constitutional tradition of home education, but has also repealed several homeschool bills in the Brazilian Congress since the 1990s.

“Control over people requires quality and freedom to be discarded and sacrificed on behalf of compulsory indoctrination. For a State possessed by socialism, it does not matter if schoolchildren are not learning to read and write satisfactorily. What matters is to turn away children from parental sphere, authority and values in order to indoctrinate them directly into the state interests.

“This indoctrination is a proven reality throughout Brazil. In a long story on the Brazilian schools, Veja magazine (the Brazilian counterpart of Time magazine) made the following revelations:
* A prevalent trend among Brazilian teachers of imposing leftism in the minds of children.
* Leftist indoctrination is predominant in private schools. It is something teachers take more seriously than classroom subjects, as a CNT/Sensus poll, ordered by Veja, found.
* It is embarrassing that Marxism has stayed alive only in Cuba, North Korea and in the Brazilian classrooms….”

He continues, “Now, we have only two choices: homeschool illegally and suffer the massive and violent state intervention in our parental, natural choice, or let our children suffer social, moral, psychological and spiritual violence in the public educational ‘jails’.”

But in places where homeschooling is legal, the state often can and does seek to greatly control it. Consider some recent developments in Alberta, Canada. Earlier this year some ominous activities were occurring there. As one report states:

“Homeschooling groups are sounding the alarm this week as the Alberta government prepares to pass a bill that they say threatens to mandate ‘diversity’ education in the home. The province’s new Education Act, re-tabled Feb. 14th by Alison Redford’s majority Progressive Conservative government to replace the existing Schools Act, stipulates in section 16 that all instructional materials in schools ‘must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.’

“But, in addition to publicly-funded school boards, the proposed Act defines ‘school’ to include private schools and ‘a parent providing a home education program.’ Paul Faris of Canada’s Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) says the law subjects homeschoolers’ entire families life to the Human Rights Act, the provincial version of ‘human rights’ legislation that has been used to target Christians and conservatives across the country, particularly those espousing traditional views on homosexuality.

“‘Basically what it would mean is all learning that goes on in the home, all material that goes on in the home, would essentially be subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act,’ Faris explained. ‘At least when the child leaves the school and goes home it no longer applies, but for a homeschooling family they never get away from this,’ he added.”

Another report says this: “Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk. ‘Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,’ Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.

“‘You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,’ she added. Reacting to the remarks, Paul Faris …  said the Ministry of Education is ‘clearly signaling that they are in fact planning to violate the private conversations families have in their own homes’.”

Homeschoolers south of the border are very worried about all this. “Homeschool defenders in the United States are wary of proposed legislation in Alberta, Canada, that could set a philosophical precedent for government intrusion into what parents are allowed to teach their homeschooled children.

“‘This is concerning to us because this is the first time we’ve seen anything like this on North American soil, where a government has actually proposed to include homeschools in a law that would constrain what parents could teach their children or to alternatively require them to teach something in a certain way,’ Michael Donnelly, staff attorney for the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, told Baptist Press….

“Donnelly mentioned California becoming the first state last summer to mandate the teaching of gay history in public schools, requiring social science classes to include the ‘role and contributions’ of ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.’

“‘You see increasing attempts across the country by legislators – Massachusetts too – to impose teaching requirements on public schools,’ Donnelly said. ‘From there the next step is private schools and then incorporating homeschools. So it certainly appears to be part of a larger plan. I don’t know that there’s any kind of conspiracy or they’re connected with one another, but there certainly seems to be an agenda to try to control what children learn from the government,’ Donnelly said. ‘That certainly is a very serious concern. One of the things we pay attention to here is watching legislatures in all 50 states to make sure they don’t do things like this’.”

Thus homeschooling too is very much under threat. But for many parents it may still be the best option currently available. But as always, freedom has to be fought for, and it has to be fought in the area of homeschooling just as much as in any other area.

www.lifesitenews.com/blog/triumph-of-the-state-over-the-family-brazilian-congress-reinforces-ban-on-h/
www.lifesitenews.com/news/alberta-readies-to-impose-diversity-education-on-homeschoolers/
www.lifesitenews.com/news/exclusive-homeschooling-families-cant-teach-homosexuality-a-sin-in-class-sa/
townhall.com/news/religion/2012/03/13/us_homeschoolers_wary_of_canadian_bill

[1245 words]

24 Responses to Homeschooling Under Threat

  • All this is perfectly logical Bill in the light of what you said in the other recent article on education. “Education” is seen as a way of indoctrinating and controlling people and therefore home schools are a “leak” in that system of control. A leak which from their point of view, MUST be plugged. And they will not give up on it any more than they are giving up in other areas.

    John Symons

  • “The state did not own men so entirely, even when it could send them to the stake, as it sometimes does now where it can send them to the elementary school”.
    -G.K. Chesterton

    Rob Withall

  • Homeschooling requirements in Victoria:

    “3 b) will be consistent with the principles underlying the Act, being the principles and practice of Australian democracy, including a commitment to:
    • elected government
    • the rule of law
    • equal rights for all before the law
    • freedom of religion
    • freedom of speech and association
    • the values of openness and tolerance.”

    I know some Christians won’t sign this and prefer to homeschool outside the law. Others decide to interpret it loosely enough that they can fulfill it without compromising their values.

    In Victoria aside from requiring registration the government leaves homeschoolers alone for the most part unless a concerned citizen makes a complaint.

    Some people push for a greater tax rebate or equal funding to schools but I fear the more money the government gives to homeschoolers/or doesn’t take the more control they will want to exert and I would prefer the government to leave us alone.

    Kylie Anderson

  • It is interesting to note that the first country to ban Homeschooling was Nazi Germany. It is clear why they did it and it is clear why it is happening now around the world.

    Ian Nairn

  • Kylie, in other parts of the Act, there are provisions for curriculum to be vetted or approved by the Curriculum Authority (can’t recall it’s current name), so there are some real teeth in the Act.

    The fact that the Education Dept is not chasing “unregistered” home educators is based on two factors:
    a) lack of departmental resources
    and
    b) a strategy of just getting the new ones in and letting the older home educators move out of the system by the passage of time, as their students pass on to tertiary or employment.

    John Angelico

  • Why don’t I feel a warm glow of reassurance when I hear about “the values of tolerance and openness” or “freedom of speech and association”? It’s because for tolerance and openness read “intolerance and agenda” and for freedom of speech and association read “thought police and totalitarianism”. Maybe world leaders, in suppressed panic at the current state of the world, think it is necessary to make us beholden to them to increase their power over us. For example, JP Morgan was quoted as saying recently “barring a miracle in Washington, America will fall head first into a fiscal meat grinder”. I wonder if world leaders see the prospect of secularist hordes under their control as a viable contingency plan if the worst case scenario should, God forbid, occur?

    Rachel Smith, UK

  • As in every issue, theological and worldview positions are critical. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Sadly, in my 30-year involvement with defending homeschooling, I have found some of the strongest opponents to homeschooling to be amongst Evangelicals who teach in Government Schools. As someone (sorry, can’t remember who) once said, “The nation follows the Church.”

    Lance A Box

  • For some excellent homeschooling resources check out
    http://www.lem.com.au/

    Blessings,
    Isaac Overton
    ACT

  • Ken Ham of Creation science is pro-homeschooling for all Christians but also sees a teacher in a government school as a missionary.

    Many people oppose homeschooling on the grounds that parents shouldn’t be able to indoctrinate their children in the myths of the Bible. What they don’t realize is that children are being indoctrinated with something whether it be Christianity, Islam or Secular Humanism.

    I also find that many Christians believe education is facts and not biased by a worldview whereas the truth is all subjects are wrapped in a worldview package, even mathematics has word questions that encourage/normalize homosexuality or environmentalism or population control.

    Kylie Anderson

  • I agree with Kylie that I would rather leave government out of education funding altogether, though if government has to be involved, the voucher system would be at least the “fairest” way to deal with it. The encroachment of government has occurred so gradually that we were not aware of it in many instances, possibly also due to a lack of understanding of our own world view. Maybe again, there is need for a clear understanding of the role of government, the role of the church and the role of the family according to a Christian world view, before we can attempt to get back to a system that seems to have worked more successfully though it may not have been there at the time by design, but by providence, as at least in Australia the government was initially small and had education depended on it, which it thankfully didn’t, it would have ban an even more dismal failure than it is now. I also agree with Rob that material resources or the lack of them have never really determined the ultimate outcome of a person’s education. Aspects of character like determination, fulfilment of duty, servanthood etc are much more of a determiner of educational outcomes.

    Financial restraints are not the only seeming hindrances to home schooling – sometimes these hindrances are more of a physical or mental nature. In the case of the Pilgrim Fathers in America or the German settlers in South Australia’s Barossa valley, church-run schools were a natural development arising from their already close-knit communities. In our pluralistic mindset, sadly even in the church, it is much harder to find consensus of content or even methodology of education.

    What I however really appreciate in the attitude of teachers and which we thankfully experienced in AICS in Canberra in the 90’s, was that they took the roll of the assistant to us as parents rather than that of the professional educator as they now predominantly tend to adopt, where they see parents as helping them in educate children rather than the other way round.
    Many blessings,
    Ursula Bennett

  • Whoa, great. So deny your children proper interaction with peers and socialisation and an ability to face life beyond the home just in case they grow up to adopt different worldviews and moral truths?

    Children are different people, they don’t belong to parents. It’s a parent’s duty to guide their offspring and offer advice wherever they can, not to enforce their own views on children through force. That’s the surest way the child will grow up to wholly rebel and reject everything that’s been foisted on them. Children have their own minds, they are free to accept or reject their parents’ worldviews and prejudices. It’s what growing up is all about.

    Tom Ellis

  • Thanks Tom

    So homeschoolers keep their kids locked up in caves, never to see the light of day, or other human beings? You really are completely clueless about homeschooling aren’t you? And you obviously have never met a homeschooling family either – how else are we to account for your appalling ignorance in these matters? And you also obviously do not have any children of your own. Only someone without kids would make such bizarre remarks as you have here. Sorry, fail, go to the back of the (public school) class.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hey, Tom

    Every parent is passing their values on to their children, whether you like it or not. I guess the problem that you have is that the values being passed on here are Christian values. Am I right?

    Lucy Zubova

  • Every home-schooled kid I’ve ever met has been socially awkward, with under-developed skills in relating to their peers. Denying children the right to a proper education alongside their peers because of the parents’ prejudices is barbaric and cruel.

    I feel very sorry for children who have this “education” inflicted on them. They need teachers who are specialists in every subject. Not many parents have the intelligence or breadth of knowledge to teach every subject in the curriculum. As for the list of people who’ve done well from homeschooling, not many modern examples. I’ll wager they did well despite the homeschooling, not because of it.

    Tom Ellis

  • Thanks Tom

    Sure, you have met a few kids, and extrapolate that to millions of others. That’s a real logical and scientific way to go about things. I know plenty of home-schooled kids – they are fully socialised, fully competent and fully capable of interacting with others. What does socialisation in public schools get you? The ability to do drugs, have early sex, get abortions, swear, rebel against parents and so on. Great socialisation that. The only person who would wish that upon a child is someone with no kids of his own, or who is pushing a radical secular agenda – kinda like you. And there are no awkward kids in public schools either? Spare me – your remarks keep getting more and more ridiculous every time you come here.

    And which school teachers in the earlier grades have “the intelligence or breadth of knowledge to teach every subject in the curriculum”? It is only in later years that such diversification even begins to occur in public schools. But expert help is often made available to homeschoolers. So once again all you are doing is betraying your woeful ignorance here.

    And just ignore all the evidence – higher educational results, placement in major universities, superior academic abilities, long lists of great achievers (as noted above) etc. You simply want to explain it all away to reinforce your own uninformed prejudices.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hey Tom,
    Thanks for the laugh. Needed that!
    🙂
    Maureen Tully

  • I homeschooled my three youngest children who are very socially equipped. All three have gone on to further education in music, hospitality and childcare. One is now manager of the computer department of a large retail store. One is gainfully employed in the hospitality industry and is undergoing further study in Interior design. The third has been employed for several years in childcare and is undertaking further study, in this field.

    All three have wonderful friends and interests outside of their professions. Two are working mothers.

    Rose Klein

  • Tom, in debating the first thing we teach students is avoid false charachterisations. Deal with reality not your fantasy. Is it true that some homeschoolers are socially awkward, sure but to claim that all are or even that a majority shows you have no idea what your talking about.
    James Leach

  • I’m on the Board of a non-denominational Christian school, and yes all Christian schools receive Govt funding, but thankfully at this stage, we are not bound by any Govt requirements about what to teach. Our school teaches from a Christian worldview, we are in the process now of implementing the new nation-wide curriculum. It probably depends on the Principal and the governing body of each particular school as to how Christian the teaching and culture is at a school. It just takes more work to present the curriculum from a Christian worldview. Thankfully we are blessed to have a Principal who is committed to our school being salt and light in our community. I also know many home-schooled children and all of them are well-adjusted, bright and have good social skills. The same can not be said for some children I know who are in the state school system.

    Karina van Vliet

  • Tom, after twenty seven years of home schooling, with at least seven or eight more ahead of me, I have to confess I have single handedly produced sociable, intelligent, funny, hard working members of our society otherwise known as my children. None of the six of them has ever collected government benefits, smoked, used drugs or abused alcohol, been promiscuous, had an abortion, used foul language, been arrested, made false allegations to incriminate an innocent person, stolen or been guilty of any criminal behaviour, been unemployed, failed to pay their taxes or done anything their mother would be ashamed of.

    If only the same could be said for the hundreds of children I know who attend every kind of school you care to name.

    Forgive me for slightly altering your main statement above, I found it irresistible ; )

    “So deny your children proper interaction with you and normal family socialisation and an ability to face life beyond the school just in case they grow up to adopt different worldviews and moral truths?

    Children are different people, they don’t belong to schools or governments. It’s not a school’s duty to guide your children and offer advice wherever they can, or to enforce their own views on children through force. That’s the surest way the child will grow up to wholly rebel and reject everything that’s been foisted on them. [of course, we never see that do we? Lynn]

    Children have their own minds, they are free to accept or reject their school or government’s worldviews and prejudices. It’s what growing up is all about.”

    Lynn Nerdal

  • Speaking as someone who was homeschooled I can categorically refute the statements of the person attacking homeschooling. I turned out well educated despite the fact I didn’t go to a normal school and the fact that my parents aren’t specialists in every subject. Not only that but there are books which are designed to help teach the subjects. Just because someone doesn’t have some scrap of paper saying they are smart as the next guy doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent or that they can’t teach. Given that you hear stories of kids who aren’t able to read or write properly who’ve been to public school all the time that speaks volumes in itself to the fact that the quality of education that homeschooling provides is at least the equal of public schools. Homeschooling also instilled a love of learning which is always useful.

    Matthew Dykes

  • I have just recently finished year 12. I was homeschooled since day 1. I would just like to say, I do not feel that I have been at a disadvantage. On the contrary, I believe I have the advantage of having had that quality time with my parents and family at such a crucial time in my life. Just a covering note, I am not writing this to boast or talk myself up in any way. I just feel the need to defend what my parents were wise enough to give me the opportunity to do: learn from not only two of the wisest people I know, but also to learn from a well-developed, in-depth and thorough curriculum.
    I have four sisters, who have all been homeschooled from year 1. One is in year 9, while the other three have graduated year 12. One is in the public service in Sydney, another is at present studying for a diploma in fashion design. My third sister is working two jobs, one being a gymnastics coach, coaching age groups from very young to high-school groups. She has aspirations to study to be a PE teacher. Me? I am considering at present to do a degree in Christian Counseling.
    Do I believe that me and my siblings have been disadvantaged by homeschooling? Not in the slightest. I believe that, although homeschooling isn’t for everyone, homeschooling gives children the opportunity to learn to relate to all age groups, not just their peers.
    I am grateful to my parents for homeschooling me. I feel honoured and priviliged that they took their role as a parent so seriously as to guide me through such a crucial part of my life with a curriculum that taught and encouraged self-discipline, character building, discovering who you were as an individual, and standing on good morals. Am I socially awkward? I do not believe so. The fellow-homeschoolers I know are well-educated, well-spoken, and able to relate to every age group. Sorry I have made such a long comment, I’ll leave it there.

    Michelle Ryan

  • I was home schooled up until year 10, after which I attended school for years 11 and year 12, and now am at uni. I ended up with a very high ATAR and have been successful at uni.

    I was not disadvantaged at all – quite the contrary, I am very thankful for the experience. You learn lots of things particularly well, which I suspect otherwise you wouldn’t learn as well:

    – how to interact with people of different ages.
    – how to self-learn and take personal responsibility.
    – how education should be of the whole self, not just academic skills.

    Also, contrary to what many people believe, it is still very easy to make friends while being home schooled, whether they be sports friends, church friends, relatives, other home-schoolers, etc.

    On a more practical level, what struck me when I started going to school in year 11 was how much time was wasted. By the time the teacher was late, the role was done, the bleeding obvious was stated, and all stupid questions were answered, I learnt in 1 hour what I could have learnt in 10 minutes at home.

    I appreciate homeschooling is not for everyone, but all parents should seriously consider it, especially with the state of the school system in Australia.

    Blaise Joseph

  • Tom, you said:

    “So deny your children proper interaction with peers and socialisationand an ability to face life beyond the home just in case they grow up to adopt different worldviews and moral truths?”

    But if you look at the classroom structure of the current school model (which Bismarck developed for his Prussia), you will see that it portrays collectivist ignorance.

    One adult in front of 15-30 children might have worked to dispense facts (maybe!). But one adult who is no more than a facilitator of self-directed “learning by exploring” peer interaction is a recipe for disaster.

    The only socialisation that occurs is the making of little socialists, who can’t think for themselves, and who are led by the nose. In adult life, they tend to swallow and regurgitate 30-second sound bites and imagine that they are thinking logically.

    World-views and moral foundations are not a matter of preferences, like preferring summer to winter. The question of world-views goes to the recognition of Absolute Truth – which world-view actually comes closest to accurately and consistently representing the fixed reality around us?

    As others have already told you, Tom, the students who are fed a false world-view (as they are in schools, especially our public schools), will be the ones incapable of coping with the realities of life.

    Simple school example: nobody fails, every student is promoted to the next grade level each year. Result: (1) no student learns anything about coping with failure, or even the possible occurence of failure; (2) students do not understand about perserverance in the face of setbacks, expect an armchair ride through life, and give up too easily when things don’t go their way.

    Real world: if you stuff it up you wear the consequences – usually lack of promotion in a job, or business failure and bankruptcy if you are the owner. See Peter Principle on Rising to Your Level of Incompetence.

    Christian world-view: we have all stuffed it up totally, and are incapable of saving ourselves. Therefore we need a Saviour, Who is Christ The Lord (see Luke 2:11). It is possible to have a second chance.

    I’ll have to stop there, or my reply will rival Bill’s original article.

    John Angelico

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