Harvard Magazine recently made the news when it ran an article by Erin O’Donnell titled, “The Risks of Homeschooling.” The article shares the thoughts of Harvard Professor Elizabeth Bartholet who bemoans the trends toward homeschooling in America.
The article begins by saying, “A rapidly increasing number of American families are opting out of sending their children to school, choosing instead to educate them at home.” O’Donnell seems alarmed that approximately three to four percent of school aged children are homeschooled in our country.
In the early years of colonial America homeschooling was the only way children were taught, but as our nation grew and mothers and fathers became busier with the demands of running a household and pursuing careers, communities banded together to hire teachers who could provide an education to their children.
The public school system was founded on the principle of “in loco parentis,” a Latin term that means “in the place of the parent.” Public school teachers were tasked no only with teaching children how to read and write, but with instilling them with a moral foundation in keeping with the views of the parents.
In the early years when there was a Christian consensus in our nation that moral foundation would have been biblical. As time passed and our culture became increasingly pluralistic, Bible reading and prayer were stripped away from the public consciousness in our schools.
Professor Bartholet said, “The issue is, do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control over their children from ages zero to 18? I think that’s dangerous…I think it’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless, and to give the powerful ones total authority.”
Bartholet thinks parents are a danger to their own children because they are “powerful people in charge of the powerless” and possess “total authority” over their children, but advocates giving that same power and total authority over to the school system. I think she wants to kidnap our children.
Moses told Israel, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons [i.e., children] and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up,” Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
It is the parents’ responsibility to give their children an education grounded in biblical morality not the state, not the school system which has proven ineffective in doing so.
Every school shooting and massacre I see reported was executed by either a current or former student of the very school they assaulted. This has given us metal detectors at school entrances and police officers patrolling campuses to prevent potential assaults. But Bartholet says homeschooling is dangerous.
I think it is dangerous to attempt to educate children to become productive, law-abiding members of society in an amoral, educational atmosphere that is just a reflection of a culture that is turning its back on God.