Sunday, February 1, 2009

Home Schooling Under Siege

I take you to England ... not because most of the readers here live in England, but because this earth of ours is a global village where bad ideas propagate all too swiftly.

Recently, a Baroness of the Realm made the astonishing assertion that increased supervision of home schoolers was necessary because home schooling "could be used as a cover for abuse" (story here).

Under that kind of reasoning, every minute of every day, every facet of every life, should be under government supervision and control. Because, hey, just about anything could be used as a cover for abuse.
Even if a small number of parents were found to be using home schooling as a cover for child abuse, which so far as I know has not happened in Britain, that would not warrant an inquiry into home schooling as such. You might as well investigate all primary schools, or all nurseries, on the basis that some children who attend them are abused. (Peter Hitchens' blog)
But then, this is what small-government conservatives (or paleoconservatives) have been saying for some time: what the left and now the right (with the advent of neoconservatives so-called) want is total dominion. They do not want thinking persons, but obedient (and docile) automatons.

Further commentary on the situation from the same blogger:
The inflamed, all-seeing red eye of political correctness, glaring this way and that from its dark tower, has finally discovered that home schooling is a threat to the Marxoid project, and has launched its first open attack on it.

[...] What the modern left really don't like about homeschooling is that it is independent of the state, and threatens its egalitarian monopoly from below. If it became a mass movement, it would be very dangerous to their project of enforcing equality of outcome, while using the schools to push radical ideas on sex, drugs, morality and politics.

[...] And as long as it was just a matter of a few retired hippies and eccentrics keeping their young at home, which it was until very recently, home schooling didn't matter. But what is happening now is that many parents are taking their children out of state schools because a) they are being horribly bullied in anarchic classrooms and playgrounds and b) they have begun to notice that many of the schools aren't teaching them anything much anyway. - despite years of propaganda, stunts, gimmicks, 'specialist status', absurdly glowing OFSTED reports and allegedly improved (but fiddled) exam results.

If all the plumbers in your area were no good at fixing leaks, and kept flooding your kitchen, you'd teach yourself plumbing and do it yourself. The results couldn't be worse. Why not take the same view with schools? Why not just keep them at home and do a better job yourself? Of course this is impossible for couples who both trudge out to work every day. But one way or another there is now a significant minority of households where this isn't the case, where homeschooling looks like a serious option and may take off. I suspect the left-wing establishment want to nip it, hard, in the bud.
Home schooling is seeing a boom in America right now. The schools don't educate (or, at least, they educate at the pace of the slowest student), the classrooms are a breeding ground for vice and infamy (not least of which is rampant bullying), and for those of a religious turn of mind, the secular antipathy for all things to do with God leaves them feeling beset by evil on every side. And being good parents, they wish to save and protect their children.

Many decide not to gamble with a growing mind, a questing soul, a curious spirit. They choose not to leave their children with the latest social experiments or the Frankensteins who implement them. They choose not to abandon their children to the savagery of an unparented generation. They choose not to leave the spiritual nurturing of their children to Christian rock, barren baptism*, or Sunday school (if that). They fight for the next generation. They fight for the souls of their children, not against flesh and blood, but against an Enemy who wishes destruction upon us all.

And so they home school. Or they take their child to a private academy.

It isn't enough simply to stuff a child's head with facts. Intellectual formation is the learning how to learn, how to question, how to think.

It isn't enough simply to tell a child to suck it up when beaten. Psychological formation is love from two parents and a distinct absence of abuse.

It isn't enough simply to hope God will miraculously raise a child in the Faith when his parents don't give a d@mn (literally and figuratively). Spiritual formation is salvation itself. We canonize those who have been brought up well, and frequently the ones who brought them up.

So in home schooling I see a Christian defense against Satanic attack, and a Christian offense against the gates of Hell. I am not surprised that it is coming under seige.

- V.

* barren baptism: a baptism into a culture as much into a Faith, where salvation is assumed and no further provision is made for the spiritual education of the child.

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