Thursday, July 29, 2010

Blot on our Home School Reputation

You know what is the absolutely most stupid way you can possibly live in this world and make decisions? First, surround yourself with people who think exactly like you do. Allow no deviation in any area.

Next, add to the disdain and pity you have for those poor people outside of your little world a strong dose of paranoia. It will be easy to convince yourself of this need because you never have anything to do with them.

Finally, make all of your decisions in life by following the patterns of the few people you have allowed in your life. So, while you continually stroke one another's egos in this mutual admiration society, and congratulate one another for your dedication to be set apart from the rest of humanity, you will be blissfully oblivious until the day reality smacks you upside the head with a major course correction.

Proverbs 18:1 An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends;
he defies all sound judgment. (NIV)

Proverbs 18:1 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom (KJV)

Proverbs 18:1 Loners who care only for themselves spit on the common good. (The Message)

Proverbs 18:1 HE WHO willfully separates and estranges himself [from God and man] seeks his own desire and pretext to break out against all wise and sound judgment. (Amplified Bible)

I am just so mad I could spit right now at all those foolish, foolish home school families who operate outside the law. I don't have time to look up all the verses about honoring the king, obeying the civil authorities as agents of God, the example of Jesus in honoring civic requirements like the census at his birth and paying taxes. Nor all the scriptures about loving our neighbor, having good relationships with our neighbors, living in such a way that outsiders will recognize God in our lives as a good thing, etc. I have way too much to do today, but as time permits I may edit this post to actually add references.

Home school families who operate outside the law are NOT practicing noble civic disobedience! Get off your high horse, if you are one of those people. All you are doing is crippling your children's opportunities in life. It is cruel, and selfish and is definitely going to cause a huge rift in your relationships with your adult children. And if you hadn't been so arrogant that you refused to have anything to do with all those "other" home schoolers, the "worldly" Christian and the so-called "ungodly", you would have learned that truth without ruining your children's lives and your future relationships with them after they are grown.

I can hear it now. All your daughters will ever do in life is marry a son of the cult you ascribe to, because that's what you all tell each other in your insular little groups. So why does she need a diploma? For some of you, I'm sure it doesn't even matter if she's educated, much less that she have any documentation to prove it. Many sons fare no better, as you have decided your sons will be "entrepeneurs", i.e. will be unable to get a job and will have to think of some other way to keep from starving.

Home school families are for the most part extremely tolerant, as we are asking for a certain amount of leeway from society to do our own thing. Those of us who truly love freedom and education have no problem complying with home school laws. In fact, we welcomed a way to prove the existence of our home education program and show that we are productive members of society. We are not willfully keeping our children ignorant in order to foster their dependence on us or our chosen way of life. We are not selfishly separating from society to pursue our own selfish agenda. We are seeking more freedom for our children, not less. We are seeking a broader, more global education for our children because we believed an institutional classroom too small. We wanted the world for our classroom.

Patriocentric, religious zealots are a blot on our home school reputation. They choose home school in order to limit their children's experience of life, not to expand their opportunities for learning. Patriocentric, religious zealots rarely comply with the law. They believe themselves to be above the law, and teach their children that government is evil, rather than the reality that government exists for the common good so that as a society our mutual needs are met and we can better live in peace with another.

The true goal of a patriocentric home school is to cripple their children intellectually (with a restricted education), socially (no references of common experiences to build upon, no paper trail of an education to gain entry level jobs or higher education), financially and spiritually. Yes, these parents take for themselves the position of God, teaching their children that God speaks through them and that the children can have no relationship with God apart from submission to parents.

Why did we let this take root in our home school communities? How did this happen? And more importantly, how can bona fide home educators clean them up out of our midst?

I know it's a radical thought, but what about calling in truant any "home school" family you know is not in compliance with the law? That seems so unAmerican. We all internalized in public school that a snitch is the worst kind of person. But we are not children any more, and we do not have to fear reprisal from any of these families who are in fact, TRUANT.

Stop and think about it. If the children from these truant homes ever need to get work outside the home, or want to pursue higher education later in life, they will be unable to do so. They will be forced to take the GED to document their knowledge, and the longer it has been since they studied the harder that will be for them. And even if they ace it, there is real discrimination out there in the world against people who took their GED rather than earn a high school diploma. Turning in these families as truant will do the children a huge favor, as their parents will have to face up to how ridiculous their lives and beliefs have become while there is still a chance to help the children.

Oh, eventually life will slap them upside the head. In spite of the "multi-generational" cult lifestyle they believed they had chosen for the children, these children are real people. They are true autonomous human beings.

Eventually each one will discover this truth. When that happens, they will leave the family cult, and step out on their own. And will they be mad! Hoowhee, will they be mad!

Just ask around, or check out Hillary McFarlands new book Quivering Daughter or her blog. Some will figure it out younger than others.

The saddest stories will come from those whose parents married them off into their own patriocentric marriage while they were young. Many of these will not snap out of it until middle age is upon them and they have a house full of children to think about. You can find stories of women already in this boat at No Longer Qivering.

At least these stories are from first generation QF moms, many of whom have a documented education to fall back on in their day of awakening. How much harder will it be for their sons and daughters to rebuild their lives if they do not awaken to reality until they are parents themselves?

Shame, shame, shame on every home school family operating outside the law. Each of the fifty states has legal provisions for home schooling. It is your reasonable duty as a citizen of this country to comply. The home school movement was started by people who valued learning and liberty, then sadly it was co-opted by the religious zealots who have since taken over on many levels. But there is a new wave of home schoolers who value learning and liberty as much as our pioneer home school forerunners. I am appealing to this new wave today.

Call in as truant any family you know of that is operating outside of the law. It is in the best interests of their children, society itself and our own home school reputation. And wherever you live, make sure you are in compliance with the law. If you feel that is too hard for you, then you are not competent enough to be home schooling future citizens of our great country.

And please don't bother to leave a comment that "God gave me these children, so he approves of the way I raise them" or any variation. Any two human beings in a heterosexual relationship, who have no biological impediments and do not use any form of birth control, will reproduce. It is not a sign of God's approval when you get pregnant. It is not a divine intervention.

It's reality. It's biology. It happens all over the world everyday to many people, people of other religions, people of no religion, morally upright people and morally repugnant people. So please, don't even go there. I will be embarrassed for you if you come back with that line.


  1. Thank you for your voice. {{Hugs}} You are such a vital member of the body of Christ! Blessings to you.

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  3. Ironically enough, we are still illegal homeschoolers (although the state is aware of us since my kids are enrolled in an enrichment center through the public school district). When we began homeschooling years ago, I was afraid of The Man, government interference, and wanted nothing more than to "go off the grid" and live "under the radar". But for entirely neo-hippy reasons that had nothing to do with religious convictions. The energy and attitudes were all the same--I just didn't quote the bible or theology to back up my fears.

    I've gotten over myself slowly as I realized how absurd it is to think that anyone can actually live without the infrastructure of a government and that I in particular have no interest in being so isolated that I can't take advantage of cultural events and libraries--and the student rates and educator discounts available!

    So I actually legally registered as a homeschooler during our years in NM but never got around to it when we moved here. You'd think we'd have to prove our legal registration to enroll at the enrichment center but we didn't. It just comes down to I've been too lazy to file.

    The discount program at my favorite used bookstore recently computerized and requires proof of educator status. So I went so far as to fill out the affidavit and have it notarized as proof for the discount but I still never sent it in to the state... my excuse is that I don't want to rock the boat after all these years. More likely it is a gasping dying gesture of neo hippy rebelliousness. Pridefulness, really.

    Hmmm, guess I should examine this issue a little further...

  4. LOL Sandra!

    I am so glad you are coming to this place where you realize that the government is made up of people, working together to make life work for the three hundred million people who live together in this country.

    That's a lot of people to get to cooperate long enough to accomplish any good! No wonder our efforts are sometimes insufficient, and other times too heavy handed. And yet with our nation's legacy of good will and personal responsibility (to vote, run for office, and obey the law to name a few ways that works towards good government) we have accomplished quite a lot of good over the past two hundred and thirty four years! No that it is all good, but good has been done here. =)

    I never understood the sermons demonizing the government. We,the people, make up that government. If strong government is so bad, move to a place with a weak government and I think you'll be running back here in no time with a new appreciation for Big Government!

    Likewise, I have always seen public education as a good thing, though the implementation of it may leave much to be desired on a class by class, school by school basis. Access to a free education is a good thing, a great thing!

    I guess that's why compliance with home school laws has never felt onerous to me. I am proud to live in a country where the government cares that each child have access to education. I have no problem following the law. Laws exist for the common good.

    It's possible that someday some law will be passed that I cannot in good conscience comply with. It hasn't happened yet, though there are plenty of laws I find maddeningly stupid in my current state (the DMV is the portal to hell!), none of them call for civil disobedience on my part. I reserve the right to rant about how stupid they are to those unfortunate enough to be in my life at times, but I WILL suck it up and do the right thing.

    My guess, Sandra, is that your piece of notarized paper will get summarily filed, and unless you run for public office, no one will ever see it again. For all that clerk knows, you just left a private school and started home schooling. Or you just moved into the area.

    But there will be a paper trial that your children were home schooled in compliance with state law, and that could come to be very important when they apply for college and/or apply for a job one day.

    In my current state, you get a little card from the state upon their receipt of your home school registration. When we went to apply for college, it was the first thing the admissions officer asked for. After verifying that, she was happy to look at our portfolio and transcript.

    Home school laws were passed to benefit home school families, each state balancing parental rights with a state's obligation to provide access to an education for all children. The Supreme Court told each state to do this with the least restrictive means possible. It was a huge victory for home school families.

    So besides the selfish reason of having my home education program made more palatable to future colleges/employers, I would still comply with state law to honor the families who fought for legal recognition of my right to home school. =) Regardless of their motives (nod to MofM), it worked out well for my family.

  5. Hi, shadowspring, I'm L's brother. I just recently started reading your blog.

    I agree in general that homeschoolers who operate illegally are making a huge mistake. And I believe there is a place for reporting them to the authorities. But wouldn't it be appropriate first to talk to these families directly? I don't necessarily think Matthew 18 applies to every situation, but I think this might be a good situation in which to apply it.

  6. No, I don't at all believe that Matthew 18 applies to situation where a person is knowingly and willfully breaking the law.

    Matthew 18 applies when a brother sins against YOU. It has no bearing at all in this scenario.

  7. Each of us is responsible to abide by the law.

    In any from of law breaking where another person is put at risk (and these children are clearly being put at risk of educational neglect- a handicap that will cast a shadow over their entire professional lives) all citizens have an obligation to report willful law-breaking.

    Roman 13:3-5 (NIV) 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

  8. Napoleon Bonaparte Shadowspring! What a disgustingly shameful thing to suggest! And what a "shadowspring-centric" view of life to think that your approach to government and American citizenship is the ONLY right one and expects that different views should be reported to the Authorities. We can be sure Obama & Co. will court you to be a snitch!

  9. Lolz Your rant made my day! That is hilarious.

    I hardly came up with the concept of government regulations though I whole-heartedly support living in compliance with them. See my above post for the importance of being a law-abiding citizen as far as guaranteeing the rights of all our citizens, including that of home schooled children. Each state has laws guaranteeing exposure of each child to an education through what are called compulsory attendance laws. This is to protect children from being denied an education.

    It may also surprise you that I did not propose the individual home school laws in any of the fifty states, pass them or sign them in to law, so technically I can not take credit for the laws either. Though to all who worked hard to get home schooling acknowledged in each state, a hearty well done!

    I sincerely hope that you are not in charge of educating children in the areas of civics/government/history or debate! =D