I was asked in the comments to my post, The Beast Look At Homeschooling, why I believe that regulation of homeschooling is a slippery slope and what would be appropriate oversight to prevent abuse.
My opinion is that parents are responsible for their children, the state is not. I do not believe that the state should take charge of children unless there is a dire circumstance such as obvious abuse. I do not believe that the state should be checking on children in order to make sure that they are not being abused. In order to simplify my thoughts, let’s consider the following.
It is just as easy, if not easier, to abuse a child before they reach school age. So, if we’re going to worry about school aged children being abused, why not worry about pre-school aged children being abused? Should parents who plan to keep their children home from pre-school have to notify the state of their intentions? Should officials be doing welfare checks on babies and toddlers to make sure that they are well cared for? Should they be making sure that they have their own bed, are eating nutritious meals and are not spending the day watching TV? Who is going to decide what a nutritious meal is? Who is going to decide if they should be allowed to sleep with their parents? Who is going to decide how much TV they should be allowed?
That is how I feel about it. Children spend 5 years at home, learning what their parents decide to teach them and when they turn 5, suddenly they have to be schooled. If the parents chose to keep them home, that should be their decision. Each child has his or her own time table for learning and his or her own learning style. I believe that many children learn best at home. If the parents want to send them to school, that is their business. If they wish to keep them home, that is also their business. I do not believe that they are going to suddenly start abusing them when they turn 5.
I agree that if children want to learn and the parents won’t let them, that is abusive. I also believe that if they do not want to learn and the parents force them, that may very well also be abusive. But I still don’t know who would determine at what age the state should start demanding that a child be tested and who would determine the minimum they need to know. Again, children learn at different rates and in different ways. I really do believe that overwhelming majority of parents want what is best for their children. Therefore, I am opposed to testing. What children are forced to learn in school is usually forgotten quickly and often does them little good in life anyway. I lean towards self-led learning. There are so many things to learn, nobody knows everything and who is to say what is important?
The idea of checking up on all children to protect the very few who are being abused reminds me of the government listening in on all phone conversations in order to find the few terrorists. It takes away the rights of many and the few who are guilty probably still won’t be caught unless someone reports them.