Thursday, October 05, 2006

Examining the Homeschool Option

As the Amish privately grieve and mourn the loss of their children, many others are taking a second look at the homeschool option.

It's been a horrible couple of weeks for public schools, with fatal shootings in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Wisconsin. We've also heard stories of teachers sexually abusing their students. It's all got parents questioning the safety of public schools, and taking a closer look at homeschooling.
I have also received several emails from parents seeking advice because of recent events. Parents are worried and justifiably so. They no longer believe that this would never happen in their quiet little school or community.

When we made the decsion to homeschool, school safety was hardly a factor. But if we were faced with making the decision to homeschool today, I am sure their safety would definitely weigh heavily in our minds. And not just from the physical harm they may face, but from the perspective of what type of environment my children are presented with on a daily basis. Julie, a parent with children in the public school, wrote in a comment,

I have many reasons for sending my children to public school, and they are just as important to me as the reasons you home school your children are to you. My children's schools have armed guards. We do have a large police force driving around our schools. We are in a very affluent community where we pay high taxes and get what we pay for. We have a huge volunteer force at our schools, including off duty military (we live very near an Air Force Base) and police people who eat lunch with out kids, sit at the entrance to our schools, and other security related tasks. Our PTAs have raised money to install security cameras at our schools, because we live in an affluent area and can afford it. This is about our nation as a whole. And our nation is only as strong as our education system. And while home schooling works great for you, there are many families for whom it won't work. And don't we need to fight for their kids, too?
Do I really want my children learning in an environment where there are armed guards at the door, wondering who may accidentally get in? That's not a slam against the public schools, they have to do what they have to do. But parents have to ask themselves, is this really the best learning environment for their children?

Further, a nation with that much security at a public school is no longer really free. I pity the children who grow up thinking that the only way to be safe is because a police officer is nearby. How far we have fallen as a nation and how very sad that we have accepted this as normal and necessary.

Julie, I agree that an educated citizenry is necessary for a strong nation. However, there is something even more vital to the over all strength of our nation - freedom. Our nation is only as strong as our nation is free. A police state in our schools doesn't bode well for the future freedoms of our great nation. Indeed every single one of us should be fighting to ensure that our children enjoy the same freedom that we do. Your ability to provide armed guards in your schools, doesn't speak to your community's wealth but our country's moral poverty.

Speaking of the need for educated citizens, it seems that our children are not learning the facts that made our country great. According to a recent report issued by ISI, 14,000 freshman and seniors at some of our country's best universities flunked a 60 question test in basic American history. The state obviously understands that it is easiest to take away freedom from those who don't know its true value.

Stephen Jacoby wrote more about the study in his article, Dumbing Down Democracy He appropriately quotes Thomas Jefferson who wrote in 1816,
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
And for those who may be considering the homeschool option, don't miss the Carnival of Homeschooling. You'll find lots of inspiration and information to get your started.

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