We are on record here at In His Image as being strongly in favor of homeschooling. We are not without bias on the issue, as our founder was homeschooled along with several people who have written for us. However, education is not a core issue we focus on so we do not make a habit of addressing that topic. However, Harvard University, in a sloppy, poorly researched hit job published both online and in their Harvard magazine, took a nasty shot at homeschooling recently, which has prompted us to respond. This cheap shot, by a Harvard employee, is likely indicative of how the secularists will seek to cast home education in the future.
It is hardly surprising that this article appeared now, during the great coronavirus scare. Many parents are currently dealing with the education of their children for the first time. It is possible that many parents who really don’t care for the public school system, but feel inadequate to teach their own kids might realize how poor public education is and how much better they are than the school system. (begin sarcasm)Thus the great elites in their ivory towers must look down upon us serfs and inform us how we should think. In their minds, it is incredibly obvious that the serfs cannot think properly unguided. I mean look at the ghastly man they voted for in the presidential election. Surely this is proof that the serfs must be told exactly how to think, and who better than those in the high ivory towers of academia? (end sarcasm) Sarcasm aside, this attitude is alive and well in academia and manifests itself in this article. The secularists are worried about the possibility of losing control of the education of children and are responding accordingly.
With that background established, let’s take a look at what the article claims. It opens hard, talking to an expert who recommends a “presumptive ban” on homeschooling. I’ll leave the civil rights arguments to the political commentators, but this is in violation of the Scripture as well. Throughout Scripture we see parents commanded to teach their children. It was never a responsibility to be delegated to someone else. This is not to say that everyone must homeschool, but it should be the rule, not the exception.
The Harvard expert goes on to claim that, while there are laws on the books in all fifty states regulating homeschooling, they don’t require parents to do much. That is utter hogwash and Harvard should be ashamed to put that lie in print. I grew up with my mom slaving hours during the summer to put together lesson plans and a massive curriculum sample for the local school district every year. My home state did not even have near the requirements of other neighboring states. Homeschool parents work hard to meet the requirements for their school districts. How this Harvard expert missed this, I have no idea.
The “expert” then makes an incredible logical blunder. She cites an anecdote and uses it to smear all homeschool families as people who abuse their children. Not to excuse child abuse, it does happen and it is horrific. But to paint a whole group of people as potential child abusers simply because they don’t want to send their kids to a government school system where one in ten will be sexually abused by a teacher, and an even greater number by their peers is simply malicious. It is also a fine example of the logical fallacy of argument by anecdote (as well as the pot calling the kettle black).
The Harvard professor then goes on to call the vast majority of homeschoolers Christian fundamentalists who reject science and teach white supremacy and female suppression. These are just buzzwords that the left always throws around to smear people they don’t like. Hilariously, an atheist homeschool parent in the comments called out Harvard for claiming most homeschoolers are Christian. However, as if to prove just how out of touch the elites are, Harvard completely messed up their smear of homeschool families. I have a pretty good feel for the homeschool community. I was homeschooled, I coached a homeschool sports team for a number of years, played on the team myself in my school years, and went to a college which had a large minority of homeschool students. They are not all even Christians. Only a very few are truly fundamentalists. They come in all “races”. Some of the kids I remember best were “black”. (sarcasm) I’m sure the “black” kids were white supremacists. (end sarcasm). In all my time coaching and playing with the homeschool team, we never questioned someone’s “race”. That was literally never an issue. One of my better players was “biracial”. He was a team captain and leader. He would be shocked to hear he is a “white supremacist”.
While all this is absolutely absurd, it gets even richer at the end of the article. The Harvard professor says “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.” Read that again. This quote is so myopic I need glasses to read it. It’s dangerous for parents to have control over their children? What? See this professor believes the state owns the children and that they are temporarily entrusted to the parents to take the burden off the state. Thus in her mind, this makes perfect sense. To the rest of us who don’t live in the ivory towers, the illogic is blatantly obvious. Notice how she ends the quote. She thinks its dangerous to give the powerful ones full authority. Is she not wanting to give the most powerful entity in the country, the government, full power over the powerless parent? Her argument only works if you don’t think about it. (begin sarcasm) And I totally think we should entrust the care of kids to the same government that LOSES 18,000 children PER YEAR! (end sarcasm). And by “loses”, I mean puts in foster care only to have them vanish, without anyone moving a finger to find them.
As an aside, Harvard really needs to look in-house before attacking homeschoolers. Homeschoolers traditionally perform much better academically than their public school peers. Whoever did Harvard’s art probably should have been homeschooled. They might have learned how to spell “arithmetic”.
Harvard must have noted the blowback on social media because they stealth edited the image to correct the spelling but the internet has a long memory and some of us have the foresight to take screenshots like the one above.
Unfortunately, this is just the first shot across the bow. This will continue to be an issue in the culture. If you’ve been on the fence about homeschooling, get off the fence and do it. You may not get to do it if you delay. The elites in their ivory towers and with their fancy ways of spelling words are going to do their best not to let you.
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