The roots of home schooling
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.