June 24, 2024

Scientific American Disingenuously Attacks Homeschooling

In a case study of projection, the editors parrot the “homeschooling is unregulated and rife with abuse” narrative.

Scientific American magazine is calling for the regulation of homeschooling, ironically with little scientific evidence to back up its assertions.

The editors introduce several arguments that deserve debunking, the first one being that allowing parents to educate their children according to their values and beliefs is rife with dangers. I.e., some parents might teach their children about evil orthodoxies such as Nazism or write off the African slave trade as “black immigration.”

They also complain there is so little regulation of homeschooling — 11 states ostensibly have little to no regulation of homeschooling — that we have no idea how many children are being homeschooled in the U.S.

While SciAm concedes that “Home­schooled students have won the National Spelling Bee; one was the most prolific mathematician in history” and that “Many are well-rounded and well-adjusted children who go on to thrive as adults,” it also cautions that “others do not receive a meaningful education — and too many have suffered horrific abuse.”

Already, there are several flaws with these first few arguments. Let’s start with the freedom of parents to educate their sons and daughters. Children are the responsibility of their parents. Period. They have the right to decide how they want to educate their kiddos. Yes, sometimes that means children are raised with not-so-great values.

SciAm invoked examples typically used to smear the Right, but some homeschool families teach bad ideas that are typically associated with radical leftism as well. Regardless, it’s not the place of the government to tell people what to think. For good or ill, parents have the right to see to the education of their children according to their own values, beliefs, and traditions. Public school has become the arbiter for only leftist secular ideas (with the exception of those few great teachers who subvert the system). Kids are going to be indoctrinated one way or another; at least homeschool parents have a say in what that indoctrination is going to be.

As for the claim that 11 states have lax homeschool laws, this is misleading. According to the U.S. Career Institute:

There are 11 states with little to no regulation for homeschooling. They are: Idaho, Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Connecticut. These have no official regulation that you must give notice that you intend to homeschool.

Connecticut[:] May ask that you file a letter of intent, plus keep a copy for yourself

Illinois, Texas, Michigan, and Idaho: all require that certain subjects, like mathematics, reading, science, and social studies be taught to students who are being homeschooled.

Oklahoma and Indiana: both require that students be taught for at least 180 days per year, plus that a record is kept of the student’s progress.

Missouri and Alaska both have no statewide regulations. However, there may be resources and requirements based on your county or student needs.

New Jersey and Iowa: are the remaining two states with little oversight. They both have a number of options for students who would like to homeschool.

As someone who was briefly homeschooled in one of these states, I can attest to the fact that there were state standards that needed to be met.

Finally, the argument that homeschooling hides abuse is spurious because maltreatment and neglect happen to kids regardless of whether they’re homeschooled or in a private/public school. Even the example SciAm used — a small study on child torture instances — attests to this fact. Of the kids who were school-aged (17), only six were homeschooled. That’s less than half. Even more importantly, have the editors seen the abuse that goes on in public schools by teachers and administrators? It seems like every day there is a story about a teacher sexually abusing a student.

Or how about the ever-increasing bullying, violence, and chaos in the classroom? Because of the leftist notions of social and emotional learning and reparative justice, disruptive and/or dangerous children are kept in classrooms and constantly derail the learning of their peers.

It truly is laughable that once-respected magazines like Scientific American are calling homeschooling rife with abuse and neglect.

At least with homeschooling, there is significant evidence that kids are learning and thriving, putting to shame most public school education. Many homeschoolers are able to complete their required academic work in a matter of a few hours and have the rest of the day to play, which is also critical for development. Kids are able to study and have a childhood, both of which complement each other.

SciAm concludes the piece with this thought: “Education is a basic human right. We need to make sure kids have chances to investigate what makes them curious, study history and science and reading, and ask questions and learn from others. We want them to reach adulthood ready to take on the world.”

If we want to make sure kids have the chance to investigate what makes them curious, public and private schools usually don’t have that freedom, having neither the time nor enough teachers. That is a luxury of a homeschooled child.

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