The roots of home school­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION - Pete Kelly, Catlett, Va.

The March 5 Wash­ing­ton Post Mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle “By the book” de­scribed a painful is­sue in home school­ing that has a root cause be­yond the im­plied sus­pects. It’s help­ful to un­der­stand why fam­i­lies home-school. The “un­school­ing” ap­proach of John Holt cited doesn’t ad­e­quately rep­re­sent the roots of home school­ing or the mo­ti­va­tions of most home­school­ers.

I helped pro­mote the home school­ing move­ment in the 1970s and rarely heard his name. Look in­stead to the work of Paul Lind­strom, Ray­mond and Dorothy Moore, Gregg Har­ris, and R.J. Rush­doony. Th­ese writ­ers un­der­stood the power of deeply com­mit­ted par­ents teach­ing their chil­dren to see all things through the co­her­ent lens of the bib­li­cal world­view. There is noth­ing in­trin­sic there to make fam­i­lies overly re­stric­tive or an­ar­chi­cal.

Home school­ing took off with a pos­i­tive sense of pur­pose, not out of es­capism. But some start from a dif­fer­ent point, with painful re­sults. Mon­i­tor­ing can­not be the so­lu­tion. The con­trol-freak men­tal­ity that plays badly in some fam­i­lies would play worse if given the lever­age of pub­lic pol­icy. The is­sue is not with home school­ing or Chris­tian­ity. Both pro­duce pos­i­tive out­comes. The is­sue is the un­prece­dented weak­ness of churches to­day in set­ting a frame­work for the world­view of their mem­bers. Mo­ral­ism then takes root, with its dif­fer­ent set of ob­jec­tives in child rear­ing.

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