Homeschool Freedom Fighting: It’s So Not About the UN

12 06 2009

Homeschool advocates, please, please educate yourselves first before you “defend” homeschooling freedom in the public square, lest you make our community’s thinking skills seem inadequate and thereby bolster the regulators’ case or the standardizers’ case or the social worker-teacher union-UN case.

UN headquarters in Manhattan

UN headquarters in Manhattan

I can see this summer’s bloggery heating up for some self-righteous blood-boiling already. (Heck, Spunky never cooled off from last summer!)

So before homeschooling advocacy devolves into another long hot one of “who do they think they are?” and “you’re not the boss of me!” not likely to impress the president, the US Ed Dept or the general public with our maturity and superior educational philosophy 😉 I suggest we do our own homework, not because anyone can make us but because that’s who we think we are.

Only then can we understand, much less craft and succeed with, higher order arguments for homeschool freedom like “Government of the Gaps” or The Ethics of Teaching and Training”.

And seriously, you can’t win if you don’t enter. Ranting about something that doesn’t address the criticism or concern being leveled at us, is worse than useless. To win you have to figure out what the other side’s offense is and then engage them in a match, play by the rules of that game if you hope to ever beat them at it.

For example, if we hope to win against academic arguments, what academic ammunition options can we make and learn to use at home? (That’s kinda the whole point of home education, right?) And we need to keep that power dry — it’s important that we recognize and resist lowest-common-denominator peer pressure among ourselves (not just our kids!) as well as the cynically unhealthful doses of outrage and hysteria packaged like cheap fast food from WND and HSLDA.

Particularly this summer as anti-government rhetoric and lone wolf lunatic violence is spiking in the news cycle, thinking homeschoolers should redouble our commitment as good citizens to carefully reason our way through collegial public concerns, and thereby prove we can resist both the temptation to conflate every conversation into religious war, and to drag it down to tea party soundbites about socialism and Hitler and dark suspicions that our fellow citizens and elected leaders are conspiring to strangle homeschool parents with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Those of us who can home-educate ourselves and our families with higher quality food for thought sources than those, will enjoy the abundant fruits of higher quality critical thought at home and still have plenty to share freely with the neighbors.

As recommended introductory course material, here’s a virtual trip seven years back in time, to the beginning of the philosophical case against homeschooling and our challenges to that case. An intense and imo important discussion with Stanford philosophy professor and homeschool critic Rob Reich in August of 2002 took place on the list then known as NHEN-Legislative. That discussion Read the rest of this entry »