Yes, I Am a Religious Homeschooler
By Bill Pride
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #47, 2002.
Government officials have scrutinized homeschooling from academic capability to social success. What new criticisms have they come up with?
When the homeschooling movement began, the NEA and their cronies claimed
there was no way a child could get a good education at home.
Homeschoolers countered by getting standardized test scores way above
average. They said, “Yes, homeschoolers can do better academically, but
what about socialization?” What about socialization indeed! Between CAP
or scouts, music lessons, martial arts classes, volunteering, etc., a
homeschooler has contact with the real outside world almost every day,
even more than public school kids.
Having worn out these straw men almost completely, educators are trying
a new tack. “Homeschooled children aren’t being given their politically
correct right to decide for themselves what belief system they will
Rob Reich, of the Department of Political Science at Stanford
University, said in a paper presented at last fall’s annual meeting of
the American Political Science Association:
Children are owed as a matter of justice the capacity to choose to lead
lives—adopt values and beliefs, pursue an occupation, endorse new
traditions—that are different from those of their parents. Because the
child cannot him or herself ensure the acquisition of such capacities
and the parents may be opposed to such acquisition, the state must
ensure it for them. The state must guarantee that children are educated
for minimal autonomy.
Reich suggests that, “while the state should not ban homeschooling it
must nevertheless regulate its practice with vigilance.” Reich’s
proposed regulations include “periodic assessments that would measure
their [homeschoolers’] success in examining and reflecting upon diverse
Is this true, parents? Do you present your own worldview to your
children as the correct worldview? If you do, you fall under Mr. Reich’s
condemnation. Whatever you believe, he thinks it is wrong for you to
teach it to your children. He thinks children must be instructed by the
schools in the politically-correct secular worldview, relativism—that
there are no right or wrong values, no black and white, only shades of
Reich wants children to experience the vaunted autonomy of the schools:
walking in little straight lines from place to place, regimenting their
lives by the sounding of a bell like Pavlov’s dogs, being coerced by
their peers to dress alike and act alike, having their unique interests
ridiculed and enthusiasm crushed by their classmates and sometimes their
This is the real reason why I homeschool my children—to give them a firm
moral and spiritual foundation on which to build a responsible adult
character, and to spare them the pressure that will be brought to bear
on them in public school to conform to the relativism of the world. I
will continue to train them at home until they have the maturity and
understanding to make truly autonomous decisions.
Yet, it has been reported recently that when people are polled about
their reasons for homeschooling, most respondents no longer give
“religious conviction” as their #1 reason. In the interest of not
“mixing causes,” I also find myself listing other reasons ahead of my
religious convictions when talking to people about my reasons for
homeschooling. As society becomes less Christian-friendly and more
Christian-hostile, it becomes easy to strategize that people will
tolerate reasons such as violence in the schools and declining academic
quality more readily than religious reasons. We want to keep
homeschooling separate from the stereotype lots of people have of
Christians as wild-eyed fanatics. But we may no longer have the time for
Ken Connor, president of Family Research Council, wrote in FRC’s
Washington Update email newsletter:
Another FRC supporter reports that he attended a conference at Harvard
University last week [late May 2002] on “Undermining Terrorism.” The
University hosted a session in which the panel spent half the time
talking about Evangelicals and Fundamentalist Christians with clear
implications that religious conservatives were part of the problem. Dr.
Jessica Stern tried to associate pro-lifers with the 9-11 terrorists.
These Harvard folks set national policy, migrating back and forth
continuously between Washington, DC, and Cambridge, MA. We should take
them seriously. They are trying:
- to marginalize Christian and other religious homeschoolers as no
longer significant in number, and
- perhaps to make a play to limit or abolish freedom of religion in
Christian homeschoolers need to stand up and be literally counted.
If the schools were guaranteed 100 percent safe I would still
homeschool. If the schools were 100 percent effective at teaching
academics I would still homeschool. Raising my children as Christians is
my primary responsibility as a parent before God and my ultimate reason
If you agree with me, please agree also on this. From now on, when
someone asks why you homeschool, if your real reason is religious
conviction, just say so.