It’s no secret that liberal indoctrination is a problem in our public education system. It’s also no secret that conservatives are rare among young Americans today. And it’s pretty obvious that in order to spread conservatism among the youth in our country, we need to combat this indoctrination, because the conservative message requires that one be able to think for herself. One of the best ways to battle liberal indoctrination is by homeschooling -- so when the right to homeschool comes under fire, every conservative, every defender of rights and liberty, whether they homeschool or not, should jump to arms.
On February 11, the Home School Legal Defense Association’s founder and chair, Michael Farris, wrote an article entitled, “German Homeschool Case May Impact U.S. Homeschool Freedom.” It’s a must-read that outlines and commentates on a court case that, in Farris’s words, the United States government put forth this very notable position: “a nation violates no one’s rights if it bans homeschooling entirely.”
Um, okaaaaayyyy. Sure. It’s not like were the land of the free or anything.
In his article, Farris does a great job breaking down just how false this statement is. And because it’s a right that is in jeopardy, every lover of liberty should want to defend the right to homeschool.
But it’s more than that. The right to homeschool is critical to our society, and it’s critical to conservatism. Strictly academically speaking, the statistics show that homeschooled students perform better than those in the public school arena. But it’s more than just what homeschooled students are taught. It’s how they’re taught -- specifically, how they’re taught to think.
I’m a sophomore in high school, and I have been homeschooled my entire life. It’s something I am eternally grateful to my parents for doing, because I know it sure hasn’t all been easy for them. Yet what is better than being raised and taught by the people who care about me the most, in the way that best suits us? Certainly, not being indoctrinated by liberal teachers that my parents have never met, for eight hours a day, five days a week, during the years when I am at my most malleable and vulnerable. Add on a few more hours every day for extra-curriculars, homework, friends, and leisure, and what little time I’m spending with my parents -- who are supposed to be raising and mentoring me -- is pretty much guaranteed not to be spent talking politics and worldview and “big life questions.” Maybe, when I graduate, I’ll still hold some of my family's values -- but then I’m shipped off to college for four years, with barely any contact with home, professors jamming liberalism down my throat, and absolutely no foundation to defend my values on. Then it’s over.
Now, my family is very thankful to have been blessed with the ability and opportunity to homeschool, but I understand that homeschooling is not for everyone. For some families, it’s simply impossible (for example, if both parents work full-time). I’m not saying that unless you’re homeschooling your kids, they’re doomed to adopt the political and religious beliefs of their teachers. You just have to actively talk to your kids about the big stuff! Sending them out to the bus stop every day and making sure they get decent report cards does NOT mean you can assume that they are getting a good education. Good golly, if parents just talked to their kids about current events and religious values, and asked what the kids’ teachers were telling them about those subjects -- if that happened, we would be so much better off as a society.
Because really, that’s all it takes. Talking. Keeping up with them. Asking them deep questions -- and letting them know that they can ask deep questions of you. Giving them reasons why this is right, and that’s wrong. Why we believe this. Why that doesn’t make sense. Giving them a foundation on which to ground themselves.
Parents are becoming less and less involved in developing their children’s critical thinking. Homeschooling is great at making the opposite happen. Homeschooling encourages family values and independent thinking -- both important in conservatism. (Out of all the fellow homeschoolers I've met, very, very few were NOT politically right-of-center.) The kids learn family values, instead of the beliefs of a stranger. And if we’re even thinking it might be okay for homeschooling to be banned, then we need to stop. If we can’t trust parents with their own kids -- then we’ve gone too far.
What do you think? Do you think parents are too uninvolved in the developing of their children's worldview, and if so, how can that be changed?