“As public education becomes increasingly opposed to the principles of America’s founding, both in the domains of politics and theology, it follows that for serious parents homeschooling may well present an increasingly attractive option. Home education can not only defend the truth but also promote the intellectual and spiritual health of children.”
Home Sweet Homeschool by Peter Jones
For a few weeks, during the coronavirus lockdown, we have all been homeschooling, whether we like it or not. Christians peacefully divide over the issue. Nevertheless, the shelter-in-place mandate forces us all to think about our children’s education. In Harvard Magazine’s May-June issue, Elizabeth Bartholet, a law professor and faculty director of the school’s Child Advocacy Program, expressed great concern that homeschooled children are in a dangerous situation and, moreover, will not be able to contribute to a democratic society since they have not attended schools.
“Do we think that parents should have 24/7, essentially authoritarian control, over their children from ages zero to 18?” Bartholet asked. “I think that’s dangerous. … It’s always dangerous to put powerful people in charge of the powerless and to give the powerful ones total authority.” This civil-rights and family-law expert believes homeschooled children are at high risk of abuse and need protection. Homeschool parents, on the contrary, believe that they are protecting their children from the dangerous ideological and physical abuse that often characterizes a “normal” day in many public schools. A Harvard University honors graduate student, Melba Pearson, who was homeschooled until she went to the Ivy League school, puts it this way: “The idea that a government, already so inefficient and inadequate in so many areas, can care for and educate every child better than its parent is wrong,” Pearson posits that she was better prepared for Harvard because she was homeschooled, not in spite of it. She also wonders why the government has more right than their parents to educate children. Ronald Reagan humorously warned some time ago that when someone appears at your door and says, “I am from the government and I am here to help you,” you should not accept the offer.
The unusual confidence that Bertholet demonstrates in state education goes back a long way. One early American secular philosopher, John Dewey (1859–1952), broke with the Christian faith of his family and worked to establish a system of education for children based entirely on the atheistic notion that human knowledge is the only true basis of our human existence. As a brilliant intellectual, Dewey became the father of public education in the U.S. by founding the University of Columbia’s Teachers’ College, which became the premier school of education in the country. Its graduates began teaching in many other universities and by the time of his death in 1952, Dewey was widely acknowledged as the most influential American educator in the nation.
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It seems presumptuous to speak of understanding God and his ways. And yet, he has graciously revealed himself to us! It’s not an exhaustive revelation, but it is a true and sufficient revelation. God’s self-disclosure is sufficient to humble us and make us aware of our need for his grace. It’s enough to bring us to our knees, to drive us to repentance, and compel us to worship. Order here