What could be more natural than educating our own children? Everyone can agree on that. Where people differ is who has the responsibility to educate our children?
Unfortunately, because of mis-education many believe the State is responsible for educating our children. This is not the same thing as the State being responsible for providing an option for education. Rather many presume that the State has the authority to force their version of education on parents and their children.
If your answer is that parents have the responsibility to provide education, then we can safely assume that we have the right to homeschool our own children, yes? Several industrialized nations where homeschooling is outlawed say no. And although most Americans would say we should have that right, they overwhelmingly demand oversight by the State to ensure this right is not abused.
Now we're back to the question of responsibility. Is it the government's role to make sure every child is learning the same things even if they aren't in the public system? According to the Constitution, the government's role is to protect our rights and liberties above all else.
But what if parents keep their kids home and don't teach them anything that is taught in schools? I say who cares -- if it's the right and responsibility of the parents. It's not as if the public system has proven to be perfect either. Far from it.
Isn't that child abuse to unschool? Well, it goes both ways. Isn't locking up children all day in a room, child abuse? Isn't forcing them to learn an obsolete curriculum, child abuse? Isn't forcing them to wear RFID tracking devices, abuse? And so on.
As we can see, it's all a matter of perception. Fortunately, homeschooling is legal in all 50 states. Yet, since education is regulated by the states, requirements vary dramatically from state to state for homeschoolers. The difference ranges from complete freedom with no requirements to forced curriculum and achievement tests.
- States requiring no notice: No state requirement for parents to initiate any contact.
- States with low regulation: State requires parental notification only.
- States with moderate regulation: State requires parents to send notification, test scores, and/or professional evaluation of student progress.
- State with high regulation: State requires parents to send notification or achievement test scores and/or professional evaluation, plus other requirements (e.g. curriculum approval by the state, teacher qualification of parents, or home visits by state officials). (Source: HSLDA).
States requiring no notice
States with low regulation
States with moderate regulation
State with high regulation
- New Jersey
Where do you homeschool and what has your experience been?
Read more articles by Eric Blair here
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